Coming up with content for your blog at the last minute can create a lot of stress on you and your business. Rushing around to get your content out there can make the blog suffer, which can make your business suffer at the same time. There are steps that can be taken, as a business owner, to prepare yourself for the next 12 months of blogs you plan on putting out there.
The Top 10 Tips and Tricks for How to Pick Topics for Your Blog
1. Begin with the basics- Going back to the basics of blog posting doesn’t mean that you have to start over from scratch. Reviewing the basics simply reinforces the foundation that you have already built for your blog, or if you are just starting out, it allows you to build on top of that strong foundation from the beginning.
It isn’t uncommon for business owners to be so busy that they try to take shortcuts here and there to expedite blog postings. This can cause businesses to suffer. Inconsistency and ignoring your audience are sure ways to push your audience away.
2. Your audience matters- The customer is the one who is responsible for making a business thrive. Just like your customers driving your business revenue, your audience drives the results of your blog posts. Interacting with your audience and even inviting guest writers are ways to make them feel involved. (Spoiler Alert! Your customers tend to be your audience, choose content that drives them to buy from you.)
3. Create a content calendar- Now that the two biggest influencers have been addressed, it is time to decide how many posts you want to produce for the year and when you want to release them.
Audiences like consistency in blog posts. They want to know that every Monday you are going to release something new and fascinating for them to read. They want to see the bi-weekly posts that you write in long-form. No matter how you plan on doing it, the audience is seeking engagement as much as you are seeking to engage.
4. Use the holidays to your advantage- There is no shortage of holidays in the United States and around the world. Once you know who your audience is and what they like, build posts around the dates that are important to them. This doesn’t mean that you need to have a post centered around the Hawaiian holiday of Lei Day that is celebrated on the first day of May if your audience lives primarily in the Midwest.
Use traditional holidays like Christmas, Easter, Valentine’s Day, and Thanksgiving. If you are a retail business, it might be worthwhile to include Black Friday. If the business you own is a green one, incorporate Arbor Day into the mix. Holidays are a gold mine for blog posts.
5. Try new types of posts- Think of your blog posts like the outfits that you wear. Even if you are only posting a couple times a month, posting the same format can get old and boring. Imagine only wearing black cotton t-shirts for a month straight. After repeated washings, it becomes faded and ragged looking.
Using this analogy, switch up your blog posts like you mix up what you wear. If you post a straightforward post one week, try posting a how-to on a product you sell the next week. Keep it fun, no one likes reading the same formats over and over.
6. Use the video marketing approach- Facebook Live and YouTube are growing in popularity on business sites and personal blogging sites. People like to watch videos, that is a fact. 80% of people can remember an advertisement that they watched, 30 days after seeing it. Those statistics are mind-blowing. There is a huge following to acquire just by adding video to your blogs.
7. Incorporating influencers- Your customers trust the word of other customers, especially those who have a large following behind them. Follow these influencers on your own, read the comments they leave, write on topics they promote, basically influence them to be your influencer. Have them guest post for you and watch your ratings and traffic get a boost.
8. #SocialMedia- Link your blog to popular social media sites. This is the best way to get feedback from your audience, as well as interact with them. Monitor what is being shared and what isn’t. Do your research using social media too. Look at what your competition is posting and rise above them.
9. Make your plan- Start writing lists on the topics that you want to cover. Break down what month you think they would fit best in and what format you want to present them in. Come up with a plan as to when you need to start writing them and when they are going to be released. Nothing is worse than not having a post when you told your audience you would.
10. Accept that there will be changes- Flexibility has to be your number one asset on how to pick topics for your blog. Think of the plan you make as a rough draft and as you see what traffic looks like on your website, be okay with the fact that your initial plan may have to change.
There is no crystal ball that can predict what topics will entice your audience or push them away. The only thing you can do is be on top of your website statistics and analytics constantly. Be proactive instead of taken by surprise when something isn’t working the way you wanted it to.
Begin with What You Know
Nobody else knows your business like you do. You have raised it from its infancy to the blossoming young company that it has become or is becoming. Your business is like raising a child, full of blood, sweat, and tears-maybe the occasional drama.
There is a balance between finding what excites your audience and remaining true to the brand that you are building. Don’t allow yourself to lose integrity just to gather a following in a quick amount of time. Take your time and build up momentum slowly so that you do not burnout.
Product promotion should be mixed with insightful posts and videos on how to use your product. If it is a retail line, like clothing, post a photo diary showing the clothing on real people. Also, make sure that reviews of your products and business are visible to the public eye. Allowing comments on your social media and blogging sites will allow audience interaction, not just with you but other potential customers as well.
Bring a little bit of yourself into your blog posting. Keep things professional, but make sure that your customers know that you are no different than they are. If you have a family, share it with them. If you have a pet, write an interactive post that allows your audience to share about their pets as well. Be relatable.
Tools of the Trade
If you have a business website, there is a good chance that you use Google Analytics to track your marketing data. If you don’t, you should be. This is a free application that is put out by Google and it allows you to track your website traffic and gives you tips on the optimization of your site.
Tapping into this hidden gem can give you a wealth of power against your competitors too. Buffer.com offers up a list of marketing spreadsheets that can be used in Google Sheets. These range from general grafts showing your trends, social media traffic and interactions, and blog tracking information. Using these tools can help you see what blog content is generating traffic and what is not.
Google Webmaster Tool
Google’s Webmaster Tool can help you keep your site healthy in the eyes of the popular search engine. This tool can give you free advice on why your site wouldn’t be showing up in search results and alert you of the potential red flags that your site may be pinging on Google’s end.
Google Forms allows you to set up surveys. If you want to know the opinion of your audience and customers, the easiest way to do this is to ask them. Create a survey using Google Forms and allow them to speak for themselves.
Google AdWords and AdWords Keyword Planner
Google AdWords and AdWords Keyword Planner can help you find out new and innovative keywords that are being used to search for things that your business would be associated with. You do not have to use the AdWords pay per click account to post an ad to use the keyword planning feature. You do have to create an account though. Figuring out a good strategy with your keywords can help you with your blog writing as well by keeping you up to date on how to word certain aspects of your business to be populated in the search engine.
Enter the star and MVP of Google applications-Google Alerts. This beauty of an application can be set up to send you an email alert when someone searches for specifics on your business or certain keywords associated with your brand. This can help you stay ahead of your competitors by adjusting strategies before they know of any changes in the current SEO world.
Use the Google Calendar application to help plan out your blog posts and topics. This can help your editorial staff, if you have one, stay on the same page as you. If you don’t have an editorial staff and you are the writer, editor, and publisher, it is good to have something to keep track of all your deadlines and post material.
Use Social Media to Your Advantage
Use your social media applications as a tool. Make sure that you are active on all the popular sites like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat. This puts you in the public eye and helps you promote not only your brand but yourself as well. Linking your blog on these social media applications can help you generate more traffic, especially if promoted by someone else.
As you are browsing various social media sites, allow it to influence how to pick topics for your blog posts. Staying up to date with what is fascinating to everyone else is sure to help you gain the advantage.
Putting It All Together
The dreams that you have for your business are ambitious, just like your blogging plan. Now that you have figured out all of the essential blogging basics and tools that you can use to put them into action, it is time to actually do it.
It only seems overwhelming at first, but once you start making your list, the ideas are going to flow freely from your mind and form into a shape. That shape is the framework for your blog, in raw form. It will be up to you to fill in the spaces and decorate the walls.
Think of your blog like building a house. You have been given all of the tools to create it, it is just a matter of putting it together in a way that you like.
Your foundation is the basic principle of your blogging style.
Your framework is all of the things that you want to address and cover in your blog.
Your drywall is the content that you begin to build that covers the framework you have selected.
The interior décor is all the components that make your blog one of a kind. The style and formats that you use to express your brand.
The roof and the siding are what keep it all in place. They protect all your components and allow you to weather the storm, should one arise.
The last thing you need to think about when it comes to this “blog house” that you have built is the neighborhood where you built it. Using Google Analytics is a lot like looking at the census information on a given city or neighborhood. You wouldn’t build an igloo in the desert.
Something else to keep in mind, it takes time to build a house. It is going to take time for you to build up your blog as well. Having a successful blog, even though you have successfully planned your content ideas for a year in under an hour, doesn’t happen in under an hour.
The Truth Is in The Numbers
Ryan Robinson, a writer and blogger, posted some statistics that are worth mentioning.
- 77% of people on the internet read blogs
- 60% of customers are more likely to buy a product after reading a blog post about it
- 95% of people who conduct searches on Google never go past page 1
- On average, it takes a blogger 3.5 hours to write one blog post
- 44% of those writing blogs tend to publish them three to six times a month
- The ideal blog post is under 2,500 but over 1000
Some Things That Need to be Considered
You are running your business, and if it is a small business structure, chances are you have a lot on your plate-or it has already started to overflow. Taking on a blog and maintaining it can be a lot of work for one person to handle, especially if they are new to the concept.
Looking at the last three statistics above, as a business owner and potential blog writer, you have to decide if this is something that you can commit to. Do you have 3.5 to 4 hours a week to dedicate to writing a blog? That’s also if you only plan on posting one per week. If you decide to post more than that you could be looking at spending 15 or more hours a week just writing blog content.
That figure doesn’t even factor in the interactions and conversations with your followers.
If you do not have the available staff to help maintain the blog, something that you may consider is outsourcing your blog content. Hiring a professional to write the material you post will greatly reduce the maintenance to the blog itself and you can focus on interacting with your customers and audience.
These firms would work for you, not against you. They take your idea and turn it into reality. The topics you want and the tone you want, written by someone with the skills to do it in a way that engages your readers. This would be no different than hiring someone in-house to do the content on your blog and is essentially cheaper in most cases than adding to the payroll.
Professionals understand that you want to have a say in what is being written, which is why you are the final say on something that has been written. These content writers spend a lot of time researching keywords and know how to utilize them for the best SEO practices. It is worth the consideration to bring in an outside writer who can create content that can achieve the goals you dream about for your business.