"Blog ideas, please. Please tell me how to come up with interesting blog ideas!" This is the first question I am asked when talking with small business bloggers. It seems like interesting blog ideas are as rare as hens' teeth, and writing does not come easily to many people.
No need to dread the blank screen! My solution for this challenge is to use blog ideas that have their roots in the work of other people—half the work is done when you focus on reporting rather than starting from scratch.
Some potential blog ideas to spark your creativity:
Upcoming events in your industry
I never seem to have my finger on the pulse of interesting conferences, or special designated "weeks" like National Chocolate Week. You know how tragic it is when you miss National Chocolate week! Save people from this disaster. Do some research; inform your readers. A pertinent illustration, and you have a useful post. Even people who don't attend conferences regularly will enjoy tuning in on the activity on Twitter or Facebook. This year's SXSW conference, for instance. I watched a lot of the videos, and kept up on Twitter. I learned a lot, and celebrated vicariously with the attendees and friends who were there in person.
The Tutorial du Jour
The "how to" is always an option. Tutorials about your own products or services are particularly good. You probably have an idea about what customers are interested in (or confused about!) and could write up a 1-2-3 tutorial that they can refer to again and again. If you use software like Desk.com, you can check your incoming issue labels or other Business Insights and address "moments of truth" where your customer is encountering barriers or friction. If writing doesn't come too easily to you, you'll find it much easier to write factually about your own product or service. Who knows more about it than you?
Interview someone interesting
As blog ideas go, this is a no-brainer. An interview is a great way to get some fresh ideas out to your readership, while at the same time minimizing the sweaty-palm feeling of a blank screen with a blinking cursor. Just lead the interviewee into a discussion that makes sense for your brand. Then write it up in a question and answer piece . An introductory bio and a closing of thanks is all you need to tie it up. If you use www.freeconferencecall.com, you can record the whole thing and concentrate on the interview rather than taking notes.
Get a reputation as an aggregator of "best of" lists. I can say that some of my favorite blog posts are these kind of lists of resources, which I keep close on my bookmarks and refer to again and again.
Customer story or a case study
Kill two birds with one stone. Make a customer happy by featuring them on your blog, and pass valuable information about using your product/service along to your readers.
Blog Ideas: Change it up
Include a post that's a bit out of your comfort zone. Take a stand on something. Write in a different tone or to a specific age group. See what happens—maybe you'll find your sweet spot and writing won't seem so intimidating. When I do this, during drafting I pretend that it will never be published. Then I have freedom to write what I want, and often it comes out as worthwhile.
Infographics are not exactly "writing," but they are universally appealing. Infographics in particular can have a long life on the Internet. Make them fresh and relevant—as evergreen as possible—and you may see them bringing you mentions for years.
Don't forget . . .
- Be sure to use all your social channels to put posts in front of readers who will be interested. Use hashtags that pertain to your industry to augment the push.
- Ask other sites to include a link to your blog on their blogroll, or to link to a specific post that may be relevant to their readership. This takes a bit of time and patience, but it can pay off in more inbound links, which pushes your posts higher in search ranking.
- Ask for contributors—and not just for written content. A great illustration, photo, or cartoon can really add to a post. Once in awhile, spend some time delving into the art world to find something out of the ordinary. Just don't forget to ask permission and/or purchase the right to use in editorial content.
There, just a few blog ideas for the non-writer! It's actually easier than you'd think. You don't have to be a professional writer to publish popular, memorable blog posts.