One of the biggest ways to differentiate your company in today’s age of aggressive digital marketing is to use creative and original content to attract new customers, engage existing clients and establish credibility and trust within your market. After all, nearly 2 million blog posts are written every day and if you can’t differentiate yourself then you’ll have a tough time sticking out from the crowd.
Here are some tips on how to generate content ideas for your business blog:
Gain Insight From Your Customers
Your biggest source of information are your customers. The best way to give them the content they want is to determine the type of information they need. You can gather this information by simply interacting with your clients – either in-store, through emails, social media, website feedback forms, comments on your blog, etc.
Use Your Sales Team for Ideas
Your sales and customer service teams are your point of contact with your clients. They are the ones who deal with them directly and therefore have the best understanding of what customers need and desire and what possible gaps exist in the market. By using your sales team for customer information, you are not only finding ideas for generating relevant content for your clients but you are also providing your sales team with an additional tool to convince customers and close deals. The essence of your content should be to answer your customers’ questions and what better way to do that then to find out from your sales people what those questions are.
Find Inspiration from Online Forums
General forums like Yahoo, Quora as well as social media platforms like Twitter and Facebook can also provide great inspiration with respect to the type of questions people ask and what kind of information they are looking for. Find out what people are asking on these online platforms and answer their questions through your blog posts. In addition, you can find similar inspiration from industry-specific forums as that will provide you with a more concrete idea of what your customers need.
Analyze Your Competitors
Always keep an eye on what your competition is doing. You should know the markets they cater to, the customers they target, the kind of social media presence they have, the type of blog posts they have, and the kind of information they offer on their website. This on-going analysis will keep you abreast of the market dynamics and the type of information your competitor is providing. You can then aim to surpass that – both in terms of quality of content as well as by identifying any gaps that your competitors have been unable to fill.
Don’t Miss Out on the Controversies
Let’s be real. People love controversies and they love breaking news. Not every industry experiences a scandal or controversy everyday but that is where you need to be creative. Be vigilant as to what is happening within your external business environment. Find out any major controversies, product failures, product successes and breakthroughs and any other information that you know your readers will find interesting. Your goal is to grab their attention and to keep them engaged.
Use Data to Generate Ideas
Be aware of online dynamics. What are the hot keywords within your industry? Which blog posts get the most mentions/shares/likes? What topics generate the most buzz? A great tool to find out all this information is Buzzsumo. Using this data will help you identify the type of content that will grab your target market’s attention, help you validate your content ideas, and will establish your credibility within your market.
The above discussion clearly demonstrates the important roles research and observation can play when generating ideas for your business blog. All your sources are right there – your customers, your sales team, your competitors and your market. The only thing you need to do is be vigilant and identify the most interesting topics, the biggest controversies, the market gaps, customer needs and areas of opportunities where you can establish your expertise and your skills within your market segment. The goal of your company’s blog may be to generate business but you can only achieve this by ensuring that you provide upfront value to your blog’s visitors.
Stephen Fox is a digital marketing consultant and the Co-Founder of Upkeep Media. If you would like to connect with him you can find him on LinkedIn.