As a Content Strategist for HELLO Marketing Agency, it’s my job to develop ideas for business blog topics, both for a diverse collection of clients as well as for our agency’s website. Clients will often say things like: “You’re so creative! I don’t know how you dream up all these ideas!” They seem to believe some kind of magical thing happens in my brain.
The truth is, coming up with blog topic ideas (or ideas for anything, really) isn’t as much about being born a creative genius as it is about doing the work and having the right process.
In this article, I’ll share some of my secrets about what NOT to do (because it doesn’t help) and what you SHOULD do instead to generate business blog topics that attract and engage your audience. You’ll never have to wonder, “what should I blog about?” ever again!
Let’s start with the DON’Ts.
DON’Ts that never help with blog topic ideas
Many new business bloggers (especially those without a marketing background) have the best of intentions when they start a blog on their company’s website. They want to publish blog content daily or weekly, but they don’t have a real plan for what to write about. Before long, they struggle trying to come up with blog post topics.
If you find yourself in that situation, don’t waste your time on any of these ineffective means of developing blog content ideas:
DON’T wait and hope for the best blog ideas to come to you…
… then panic when your deadline is hours away and you have no blog topic ideas. Most people are not lucky enough to have ideas (or good ones) just pop into their head at the right moment.
Instead, read the DOs in the next section to learn the steps needed to produce the most successful blog topics.
DON’T focus business blog topics on your products & services
When publishing a business blog, many make the mistake of writing only about their products and services. You may wonder why this is a mistake… aren’t you trying to sell those products and services through your website?
Yes, of course. However, remember this: the primary role of most business blogs is to attract prospects to your company website who may not already know about you. People with problems that your products and services can help to solve.
Those people are probably not searching the Internet for your products yet (and if they are, you want them to land on an optimized product page, not a blog).
Most people who become buyers begin by searching for answers to their questions and challenges. That’s why the best business blog ideas are articles that address buyer problems and answer questions, even before they are ready to buy.
DON’T write about things completely unrelated to your business
While you should avoid blogging only about your products and services, you also don’t want too many creative blog ideas that have nothing to do with your business.
Even though lots of people may be searching the Internet for content on timely or popular subjects, chances are most of those people have no need for what you sell. Also, search engines likely won’t see you as an authority on those subjects, so your blogs won’t rank high enough in search results to bring many visitors to your website.
DON’T bother with generic lists of blog ideas for writers
Have you already come across articles that list hundreds of blog topic “ideas” that are not really ideas at all? For example, “The One Thing Nobody Tells You About __ .” About what? That’s the real blog topic idea they don’t give you.
Those lists are just frameworks for helping you write a catchy title. While that can be useful, it doesn’t help you come up with successful business blog topics.
Now that you know what NOT to do, here’s the right way to come up with blog topic ideas that will achieve your business goals.
DOs that help you develop the RIGHT business blog topics
DO know your target audience
As I mentioned above, your business blog’s job is to answer questions and provide helpful information. The goal is to attract visitors to your website who will (at some point, if not immediately) need what you sell.
To come up with blog topic ideas that are helpful and informative to your target audience, you need a deep level of knowledge about your prospective buyers. And I don’t mean their age, gender, or other demographic information. You need to know things like:
- What are their top concerns related to what you do?
- What triggers them to start looking for a solution to their problem?
- What does their buyer’s journey look like?
- What resources do they trust?
- What outcomes are they looking for (both business and personal)?
How do you get those insights? With buyer persona research.
DO invest in keyword research
Buyer persona research helps you understand how your buyers think and what they care about. Keyword research tells you exactly what they are searching for online.
Use keyword research to help you identify business blog topic ideas that address the issues your buyers are searching for.
DO develop a content strategy
At this point, you are armed with knowledge about your buyers’ challenges, questions, and search behavior. Use those insights to develop a content strategy for your blog topics (as well as other content that plays a role in your marketing, including website pages, content assets, and more).
Your strategy should include a blog content calendar where you plan out your topics well in advance… at least a month and ideally a quarter at a time. Keep these tips in mind as you develop your blog content calendar:
- Create clusters of topics around a topic theme or persona
- Include blog topics for all stages of your buyer’s journey
- Don’t forget to include your existing customers as part of your target audience, and include topics for them as well. Remember that happy customers bring you new customers!
Having a content strategy ensures that every blog post you write contributes to your marketing goals. Plus, you’ll never have to panic at the last minute because you don’t know what to write about!
DO check out competitors
I’m not suggesting that you copy what your competitors are doing! However, keeping an eye on their content can suggest blog topic ideas that you may have overlooked. If a competitor is getting results from a topic, it’s likely a subject that interests your target audience as well.
What I like to do is see what is ranking well in search results for a particular topic, then write something better. Maybe it’s expanding on the topic to make it more useful, or honing in on one aspect to cover it in more detail.
DO read everything
The more content you consume yourself, the easier it is to come up with blog topic ideas. Personally, I make it a point to read industry publications, competitors’ blogs, and everything I can that’s related to my clients’ industries. Ideas can come from anywhere… a sentence in an article you read can give you an idea for a blog.
I know, all of this sounds like a lot of work to come up with business blog topics. And you’re right, it is a lot of work. But it’s the only way to come up with the right blog topic ideas that will deliver the results you want.
Want some help? Learn more about HELLO Marketing Agency’s content strategy and content creation services.