SMALL BIZ BLOGGING 101: WHAT (THE HECK) TO WRITE ABOUT

{This is installment #2 of my small biz blogging 1o1 intensive primer. You can catch part one, focused on format and frequency, here, and part three, focused on process here. I’ve also created a consolidated PDF guide which includes all this info in PDF form for future reference – grab it here!}

This series of posts is dedicated to breaking down the (often onerous) task of blogging for your biz into bite-sized, doable steps. Today, we talk about where and how to come up with post ideas, so you have a constant funnel of relevant and inspiring ideas to draw upon.

Ready? Let’s go!

First… a quick tip:

KEEP An ‘ideas’ file

Keep a notebook in your bag (or list on your phone) where you can jot down blog post ideas as they come to you. The best inspiration comes as you’re talking to existing and potential customers in real life, and going about your day, doing what you do best.

We think we’ll remember these ideas when the time comes, but the reality is we often don’t. So jot ’em down! This list can then act as inspiration when you’re feeling stumped – and even those thoughts that don’t make the cut for a full post might make for a great social media post.

Now, let’s focus on filling that list…

SIX PLACES TO FIND INSPIRATION

So you’ve exhausted your list – or have yet to start one – and it’s time to write a blog. Here are six places to look for topic inspiration:

  1. What do people ask you about the most? No matter what business you’re in, there are questions that tend to pop up over and over again. Clearly, people want to know more about these things, which makes them perfect blog material for your dream customers. Tip: even if questions are of a technical nature, be sure to use layman’s language in your post.

    In addition to avoiding confusion (remember: clarity is our top priority ALWAYS!), using simple words your customer is likely to use will help with SEO.

  2. Hot topics in your industry. If there’s chatter in the world about an issue that touches your business, use it for inspiration! A great example is my husband’s business.

    He’s in the fitness realm and there are always new studies, programs, diets and fads hitting the market – often to great attention and fanfare. He will sometimes weigh in on them on his own blog. Doing the same for topics relevant to your industry is a great idea because people are likely interested in – if not searching for – the subject, and it can help position you as a subject matter expert or thought leader in your field.

  3. Ask your audience. Do you have a list? A social media following? If so, have you ever asked them what they want to know about? If not – do it! People love to be asked for their opinion – especially if they can provide it quickly. So think short-and-sweet surveys or, better yet, answer-on-the-spot social media polls or question threads.

    Mine these ideas – they are straight from the horse’s mouth (so-to-speak) and therefore pure gold.

  4. Read LOTS of blogs in your niche. See what others are writing and talking about. Does it inspire you to weigh in and add your two cents?

    Two points on this one: I’m not suggesting you copy anything. This exercise isn’t about writing the same post, or copying other people’s ideas. It’s about finding your own inspiration.

    Secondly, if reading your competitors’ stuff makes you feel twitchy, don’t do it. Instead, stick to blogs of businesses that serve the same market but don’t provide the same product or service you do.

  5. Look to past posts for inspiration. If you’ve scratched the surface on a topic – perhaps provided a top five or 10 list – is there an opportunity to do a deep dive on something you touched on briefly? 

    There are likely many posts just waiting to be written in your old material. Bonus: These kinds of posts provide an opportunity for some cross-posting, which is always good for SEO!

  6. Consider a semi-regular guest post. If both inspiration and time are in short supply for you, consider taking the heat off yourself by scheduling a regular (perhaps monthly or quarterly) guest posts. Look for like-minded but different businesses that serve the same (or a similar) market and invite them to write a post that would be relevant to your audience.

    If they’re just starting out or looking to grow, they’ll likely welcome the opportunity to get in front of a whole new audience.

    Guest posts typically include a short bio about the contributor with links to their website and social media profiles. Word of warning: be sure your contributors aren’t posting the same content on their own site(s) – it’ll work against both of you when it comes to SEO.

So there you have it – six solid ways to fill that list of yours. Keep it going and you’ll never be lacking for post inspiration. Once again, if you missed part one of this series, click here to read all about format and frequency – it covers how often you really need to blog as well as concrete tips and guidelines for length, format, and headlines. You can also read part three, which breaks the task of blogging down into three manageable chunks so you can execute without getting bogged down or overwhelmed. And ALL OF IT is available in a consolidated PDF for your future reference here.