A conversation I often have with my clients is how important it is to have a blog for their business and to make sure that they are writing about the right things. One of the most common questions I hear is “How do I know what to write about?”
The answer is actually not as complicated as it might seem and it doesn’t require spending hours scouring the internet for the most popular topics that are related to your industry. A common mistake that bloggers make is writing posts about things that are “interesting” but not specifically related to what they really want to promote.
It doesn’t matter if you’re selling a product or service, promoting an organization, or trying to sell a book, there are three key factors when it comes to writing good content for your blog. These guidelines really apply to all types of content both online and printed material.
What Makes Good Blog Content?
- Unique and original – Don’t roam the internet to find and mimic what everyone else is talking about, unless the topic is relevant to your audience and then take the time to write about it using your voice.
- Relevant and meaningful– Take the time to learn who your audience is, what questions they are look for answers to, and how you can help them. Be sure to keep the information related to what your offer is. You may be able to answer their burning question about how to un-friend Aunt Mabel on Facebook, but unless you’re a social media expert who specializes in family relationships, it’s not right for your blog.
- Easy to read – Make your posts “skimmable” by keeping paragraphs short and incorporating bullet points and numbered lists. Use every day language. Even if it takes a few more words to get your message across, three or four easy to understand words are more compelling than a three syllable word that makes your reader pull out a dictionary (or more likely leave your blog, never to return).
This all sounds logical, but the question still begs – “What do I write about?” or maybe a better way to phrase it is “How do I figure out what my visitors want to know?”
The answer is simple – Ask them.
One of the great things about the internet is that it’s made answering that question easier than ever before. Here are a few content generating ideas that will get you engaged with your visitors and customers.
- Conduct a question building seminar –
- Provide a way for your visitors to submit a question and their email address.
- Schedule a teleconference, webinar or Google Hangout and notify your customers and visitors of the details.
- Answer the questions during the event.
- Create a transcript of the event and publish it on your website.
- Make the event available as an audio or video download.
- Use the list of questions as a resource for keywords and future blog posts.
- Create a customer survey or poll –
- Create a form that will capture the answers to your questions in real time. You can use Google Docs to create a survey by selecting “Form” when you create a new document.
- Promote your survey or poll on your website as well as through email and on social media platforms.
- Publish the results on your blog or website.
- Use the answers as a resource for future blog posts
Relevant forums and social media sites can also be a good resource to discover what the hot topics are, just keep in mind that the content is anecdotal and it can be difficult to quantify the true importance of a topic.
In addition to information available on the internet, there are also great resources for information within your organization.
- Call Center – Whether it’s one person or a thousand taking calls from customers, tap into their knowledge and don’t underestimate the level of insight they have into both customers and prospects.
- Sales Reps – Take advantage of the feedback sales reps can provide. Why are people saying yes and what are the reasons they say no? Use that information to generate content that can help generate leads and overcome objections.
- Inbound Emails – Organize your inbound emails by topic and use the content to find great keywords and subjects for future content.
Last weeks post focused on the importance of looking before you leap into the world of blogging for an organization and the reasons why you should:
- Analyze your competition
- Define your blogging strategy
- Identify the important metrics
- Determine your target audience
- Define your position
- Tell your story
One thing I’d like to mention is that the sources of information mentioned in this article are not only good ways to identify what topics you should be writing about, the information you collect can also be incorporated into your overall social media communication. Use the content you write to tweet, update statuses, and in email.
On tap next – Planning your content, creating an editorial calendar, and how to attract visitors.
What are your strategies for identifying topics and creating great content?
I’d like to share a resource for some great practical tips related to “Writing a Blog Post that Begs to be Read.”
Also, check out the hands on search engine optimization workshops and learn more about how blogging can help improve your visibility on search engines. Learn More Now.