20 places to find inspiration for your business blog
Is blogging really that important?
This is one of our favourite stats from the clever bunch over at HubSpot:
“Companies that published 16+ blog posts per month got almost 3.5X more traffic than companies that published between 0 – 4 monthly posts.”
If that’s not a reason to commit to your blog schedule, we don’t know what is.
However, that can be easier said than done when you’re a time-strapped startup, or one-man-marketing-band. Even if you make the time to blog regularly, you might find that you quickly run out of blog ideas. Where do you go for content ideas when the inspiration is just not flowing? We’ve got a few suggestions. Keep reading to grant your blog a new lease of life…
Answer the Public
Powered by our friends behind the trusty PR app, Coverage Book, Answer the Public is a free tool that aggregates search data from Google and Bing. Enter a keyword, and it will provide you with a list of questions people are asking about that topic. Combine it with your keyword research, and your blog will be dangerously effective. Ouch!
Since Twitter is often the first place people go to for discussing breaking news stories, it’s a good way to discover the trending topics affecting your industry. Sniff out what comes up a lot, and incorporate it into your blog schedule.
Do you get asked particular questions about your business all. the. time? Explore those questions – and their answers – in more detail with a blog post.
Not only can the media provide an excellent source of inspiration for your company blog, but newsjacking can be a good way to put your own fresh take on it. Check out our guide to newsjacking for more info on how to get started.
Need some data in a hurry to inspire and inform your blog post? You can create a Twitter poll in under five minutes. Run it for up to a week, and collect valuable insight from your followers and their wider community.
Check out what your competitors are doing with their blogs, then do it better. Check out this guide from Entrepreneur magazine to help you get started with competitive analysis.
As well as keeping an eye on your business’s nemesis, don’t forget about your idols. Pay attention to what the big players in your field are doing with their blogs. We’re not saying you should copy what they’re up to, but you can certainly learn from the content they’re producing and put your own spin on it.
The sales team
This should be a no-brainer, but we’ll say it anyway. Speak to your sales team, and make sure your blog schedule reflects the conversations they’re having with prospect clients.
For example, if you know they’re meeting with a host of retail brands, make sure you’re producing content about the retail sector. This will show your prospects that you know their industry inside-out, and may even help those sales convert.
Your most popular blog posts
Cast your eye back over past content that’s performed well. Could you revamp an old classic to put a timely spin on it, or even create a follow-up post? Obviously, you should be using a free tool like Jetpack to track your site traffic and top-performing blog content.
Been to a good one recently? Write it up for your blog.
If you don’t get out of the office very often, why not create a list of upcoming industry events that you’d like to attend and write about why (though you really should try to get out of the office every now and again).
A book review
Read an interesting book recently that’s relevant to your industry in some way? Create a book review for your company blog. Sum up what it was about, and give your take on why others should – or shouldn’t – read it. You can do the same with TV shows, podcasts, or news features.
Open it up to the floor – what do the rest of your team think you should be writing about? Better still – get them to write the blog posts for you. Just be sure to set a deadline, or it might get lost in workflows.
If you know there’s something big upcoming in your sector, this makes the perfect topic for a blog post. Cover what this event will mean for you, others in the sector, or even customers. For example, check out our blog on how the GDPR data legislation will affect tech businesses.
Whether we care to admit it or not, pop culture has an impact on all of us. Watch out for any big movies, sporting events, or other big happenings that might be relevant to your sector. For example, an AI business might do a blog post to celebrate the Academy Awards featuring a list of their favourite AI-themed movies. We would totally read that…
Did you enter an industry award? Did you win? Or did an award open your eyes to some other cool businesses operating in your space? Congratulate them in a blog post – and make a mental note to enter next year!
HubSpot’s blog topic generator
It may not be a foolproof tool, but HubSpot’s blog topic generator can generate five blog titles at a time. All you have to do is enter a keyword.
Check out some of the ideas it gave us when we entered ‘public relations’.
Google Trends allows you to see what people are searching for on the world’s most popular search engine. The homepage gives you a good overview of trending topics, while searching for a keyword allows you to see the relative popularity of a keyword over time.
You can even compare up to four keywords to see how they fare against each other. Be warned – you can lose hours to searching and comparing different terms in there!
Almost every sector has a community where they go to share, learn, and rant. Where do your target customers go to talk about their sector? Find their groups on Facebook, Quora, LinkedIn, and Reddit, and see what you can learn.
When they’re not a hotbed of spam, comments left on relevant blogs can provide some interesting further insight on a topic. First, check out the comments readers are leaving on your blogs, before scouring your competitors’ and trade/sector blogs.
When you tell people at networking events what you do, what’s the first question they usually ask you? That could inspire a great blog, revealing the things people really want to know about your industry.
You could also cover what makes a good networking event, things you’ve learned from networking events, or what you wish was done differently at networking sessions.
And if you never go to them – this could be the time to start!
The sky’s the limit!
Of course – this is by no means an exhaustive list. Whenever – and wherever – inspiration strikes you, don’t be afraid to create an informative blog post on the topic.
Next step – create a blog calendar!
Don’t worry, we’ll provide a thorough how-to guide on that in the very near future. Watch this space!