Choosing the Right Topics for Your Business Blog
You may have heard someone say that your business should have a blog. You’re already trying to please your customers, manage your employees, pay the bills, and see your family every once in a while. Why would you want to start a blog as well?
According to communications consultant Francine Hardaway at Fast Company, there are many reasons a business should blog, but one is cost-effectiveness: “Blogging is the most bang for the marketing buck on a limited budget,” she says.
Here’s how a regularly updated business blog can help your marketing, according to marketing company Hubspot:
- Blogging may help people find you. On average, business websites with blogs get 55 percent more visitors, and 97 percent more links to their website, Hubspot has found.
- Become an authority. Blogging about your business can be a great way to prove you’re an expert in your field. For example, an interior decorator might write about homes they’ve decorated, showing their skills to potential customers.
- Blogging may help search engines find you. Updating your website regularly creates more pages on your website. That may make it easier for potential customers to find your website through search engines.
For small businesses, blogging also can help potential customers learn more about the person (or people) behind your business. If readers get to know you through your blog, working with you may feel more personal.
Once you understand the value of a blog, you have to decide what to write about. There are all kinds of strategies you can use to brainstorm blog topics, but when you’re running a small business, you need to come up with good ideas that are easy to execute.
Here are three simple approaches that can generate a lot of topics for practically any business, without hours of research.
1. Answer Your Customers’ Questions
One of the best sources of ideas may be right in front of you every day.
“My favorite way to generate blog topic ideas is to listen to the questions customers ask,” says Henneke Duistermaat, a freelance copywriter and author of “How to Write Seductive Web Copy and Blogging to Win Business.” “What do they want to know? How can you help? Check with your sales and customer service teams if you’re unsure. You may also want to do a brainstorming session together.”
The kinds of questions customers ask will depend on your business—and if you’re not sure what your customers want to know, ask them. However, there are some common topics that tend to elicit questions from customers:
- Questions about choosing a product or service. What should people be looking for when they make a purchasing decision about your products? What are some common mistakes?
- Questions about getting the most out of (or how to maintain) a product or service. Once you’ve purchased a product, how can you make it perform better or last longer?
- Questions about price and value. Customers may want to know why something is priced a certain way or why they should pay your business to do something instead of doing it themselves.
One of the benefits of answering customer questions is that it may help to increase customer satisfaction. Good advice may help customers make more informed purchases—which may make them happier. “The ultimate goal is,of course, that a blog should contribute to the bottom line,” says Duistermaat. “A blog can do this in several ways, but it’s never a quick fix.”
2. Show People What You Do
People love to go behind the scenes. Whether it’s a movie or an amazing product, it can be exciting to see how something is made, and to meet the people who make it possible.
There are many ways to give people a look inside your business (without giving away any secrets). You can tell a story about your work — if you make or repair products, for example, you can show each step along the way using photos or even video. Employee and customer profiles are a great way of adding a personal touch to your business and showing what it’s like to work with you.
3. Keep Your Customers Informed
If exciting things are happening in your business, you shouldn’t be afraid to share the good news. You might tell your readers about:
- New products you’re proud of
- New services or promotions you offer
- Store openings or new business areas
- Community work you do, if you sponsor a local sports team or support a charity
However, making news posts too boastful or self-promoting risks putting off your customers, according to Lou Dubois at Inc. It’s better to think of your blog as part of a conversation with your customers.
“Your articles should be so helpful that your readers want to share them with their colleagues and friends,” says Duistermaat. “When you share useful advice on your blog, you build trust and authority. Readers get to know you, like you, and trust you. A blog is not a direct sales tool.”
Finally, don’t forget about the power of images! Blog posts with images get 94 percent more views than posts that have none, according to research conducted by MDG Advertising. If you have a phone or digital camera, you may be able to get quality images for your posts in and around your workplace.
Above all, choose topics you can be passionate about, are relevant to potential customers, and help your readers build a stronger relationship with your business.