Content Marketing Tips for Topic Generation3 min read
Writers complain of blank page syndrome, but writing is all they have to think about doing. Small business owners, however, have to think about dozens of other things on a daily (and sometimes hourly) basis to stay in business. You don’t have time to wrack your brain for topic ideas – your brain is already fried, or it’s preoccupied with higher-priority things, like keeping inventory in check.
If you’ve been reading our blog, you know how important it is to have an active blog on your own website (click here if you have no clue what we’re talking about). But some things are much easier said than done. How do you come up with a valuable blog topic when there’s nothing new to talk about and you don’t have hours to brainstorm for them?
In our work for Seattle small business owners, we have found a few tips for topic generation that help to streamline the content marketing side of what we do, and thought we’d share!
- Think bigger. There’s only so much you can say about your own products or services, no matter how many you offer. When considering blog post topics, don’t limit yourself to merely those things you have a direct relation to. If you’re a local Indian restaurant, why not post about an Indian cultural event coming up at the Seattle Center, or explain some of the unique differences in food from various regions of India?
- Get outside your own head. You’re the biz owner. You know everything there is to know about your products/services, brand, voice, personality… you are the expert all of that. But your clients and customers aren’t. Try to think outside of the things you know and want your customers to know, to consider questions they may be asking. Answer those. For instance, if your company manufactures parts for vehicles, help the Average Joe understand that he doesn’t have to drop his car off at the mechanic to change “x” part. He can diagnose the issue using a YouTube video, order your part(s), and install using another YouTube video (wouldn’t it be great if one or both of those videos were yours?).
- Check out what other people are writing. Don’t restrict yourself to your own bubble! Never, ever plagiarize – of course – but you can get inspiration from what other writers are talking about relative to your industry/business and join the commentary to share your own perspective. Always cite your sources (i.e. link to the original place you heard of the stuff), and bring something new to the table. I like to come up with a short list of news sites and blogs relative to the business I’m writing for, and follow them for inspiration. A salon has a limited number of services to talk about, but if you consider writing about hairstyle trends, how to’s on styling, and other things that are going viral on social media, you might have something really powerful for your blog.
- Don’t overthink it. At the end of the day, it’s probably unlikely that you will ever create a significant blog followership of people who are reading every single word of every single post you publish. It’s not just you – basically every other blogger on the Internet has the same likelihood. The real value of a regularly updated blog is for your Search Engine Optimization (SEO), since Google gives you a boost in rankings (therefore, traffic) when your website publishes new content. That’s not to say you should write silly blog posts that have nothing to do with what you do (that would actually hurt your SEO, in all likelihood), but you’ll be shooting yourself in the foot if you stress over every sentence.
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