Tuesday, April 7, 2015

4 Questions for Prompting Fresh Blog Topics

Writing a blog article can prove challenging enough without having to write hundreds of the stupid things. But once you launch your company blog, that's just what you've put yourself (or your associates) on the hook to do. The generation of topic ideas is as mentally draining as the creation of the articles themselves, if not more so. That's why so many businesses fall down in their attempts to blog regularly -- or never even bother to try, despite the importance of blogging as a means of refreshing their online presence in the eyes of Google and other major search engines.

Fortunately, you can often make the ideation process a little easier simply by providing your brain with the right prompts. Here are four basic questions to ask yourself whenever you're having trouble coming up with that next great idea:

1. "Are there big events impacting my industry right now?"

No matter what line of work you're in, there's bound to be some major event related to it occurring at some point or points during the year. If you're in the healthcare field, for instance, you've pretty much got it made -- there's always a National X Awareness Month or National Y Week designed to raise public consciousness about this or that health condition. Maybe your industry has a national convention coming up, or a professional association has just released a major study affecting users of your products or services. Use these events as springboards for blog articles.

2. "What are my competitors blogging about?"

The last thing you want to do is copycat your competitors' blogs, since the whole point of any marketing effort is to stand out from the crowd. But it never hurts to study the other guys' blogs just to see what issues they've identified as pain points or interest points for their target audience (which presumably is also your target audience). What basic concerns are they addressing? They may well inspire your own unique spin on the subject matter.

3. "What are my competitors not blogging about?"

Here's a golden opportunity to fill an important information gap for your readers, if you can spot it. Do you keep looking for a particular topic that surprises you by its absence? Are you asking yourself, "Why is nobody writing about this issue?" Hey, even the smartest people can overlook the obvious -- or maybe it's only obvious to you, thanks to your special expertise and experience. Either way, once that negative space reveals itself as a potential topic, grab it and fill it with words!

4. "Who have I rescued lately?"

You probably have some great success stories to share, from resolving customers' emergencies to helping a small business grow into a large one. Sure, you could (and probably should) have some of these written up as full-blown white papers and case studies, but there's no reason you can't blog about them as well. You can even write the blog article as a summary or tease of the larger piece, with a link for further reading. On the other hand, if the success story in question doesn't merit the full treatment, maybe a little blog article would make the perfect frame for it.

Don't let the need for a steady stream of blog articles prevent you from performing this essential marketing task. Make the ideation/writing process easier and more efficient by hiring an experienced freelance blog writer. It just so happens that I know a guy....