Blogging for business: how to choose the right topics

blogging for business,topics,what to write aboutFinding topics to write about in your business blog isn’t always easy. However it is is very easy to fall back on the tried, tested and often boring approaches still advised by some so-called blogging experts. Here’s how to approach your choice of topics in more interesting and less hackneyed ways.

(For a list of the top 10 most helpful articles on blogging for business as chosen by our readers, click here)

Although you may well want to make sure you have covered all the initial bases in your business – the most obvious topics that are of direct concern to you and your customers – it helps to enrich your content with more probing, deeper topics. How to think those up? Do a bit of role play.

Imagine you have a commercial transport company

You have a fleet of vans and trucks which transport your customers’ goods over medium to long distances around the country.

To begin with you’re likely to blog about the quality of your service, what to watch out for if customers consider using your competitors, how your service compares with those of others, what alternatives there are for transportation of goods and why they are inferior (of course!) etc.

Those are all fine and dandy but they are very strong on inward focus. Yes, your customers will be interested to read those posts because they have a need to use such transport services.

But what about your customers’ other needs?

For example, how should they prepare their goods for transportation so they are as well protected as possible? Do they know how important it is for them to give you a detailed inventory of the goods being transported, so that your people will know how best to handle them en route?  Do you know someone who is an expert packer whom you can interview for a blog post, sharing his/her expertise to help your customers pack properly?

blogging for business,topics,what to write about

Could you help your customers improve their own services?

Moving on, what advice do your customers give to their  customers who receive the goods transported by you? Could you help your customers improve their own service by issuing better instructions for unpacking, goods inward handling, etc.?

And then what about stock control, plus even JIT and other production strategies that relate to goods outward and transportation? What tips could you get from external experts to advise your customers on how to improve these elements of their business?

Make your blog your customers’ favorite point of reference

The whole point about this example above is to give you an idea of how to dig deeper into what you can blog about that will really resonate with your customers. You could apply this approach to almost any type of business, big or small.

If you have a hairdressing business, don’t just blog about topics relating to your actual customer herself. She has a family. What advice can you give her about her children’s hair? Head lice? Baby’s first haircut? Hair care for the elderly? Nutrition for healthy hair? Choosing the right style to suit people’s faces and shapes, whatever age they are? Why a hairstyle can look great on a friend but won’t work for you?

If you have a software company, don’t – ever – get carried away with all the features of your product: focus on what it does for your customers. But don’t merely write about how it helps them. Think about what products or services they are offering to their own customers, and emphasize how your product helps them deliver a better service. If your product is used by a range of different industry types, write posts about each different type – customers in other types of business will still learn from this.

Creating really valuable business blog posts requires some creative thought and a bit of clever digging.  It’s not rocket science! There are numerous articles here on HTWB which can help give you some good ideas – go to the right sidebar, scroll down to “Categories,” and select “blogging.”

photo credit: rodtuk via photopin cc

Comments

comments

Thoughts

  1. I have a different approach to helping my clients choose their blog topics. I get them to think about what their ideal client will be thinking, feeling or interested in at each stage of the buying process. Right from ‘status quo is normal’ (i.e. I don’t know I need your services and probably don’t in the short or medium term) through to I’ve bcome a loyal client.

    If the business typically wins its business through intermediaries then a large proportion of the blog posts needs to be focused on the needs of intermediaries, rather than your direct client.

  2. Hi Suzan,
    Thanks for posting. It’s a shame that so many business often choose only the ‘lowest hanging fruit’ as it were to include in their blogs.

    It’s very much the creativity and originality of a businesses posts which will set them apart. Although this can often take more time and money to produce, it seems to lead to much better results in the long term.

    • Hi Daniel – good to see you here! You’re so right … there’s nothing more damning for a business than producing boring, pedestrian, “me-too” blog posts. It says all the wrong things about that business, but for all the right reasons. It really doesn’t take a lot of skill or imagination to come up with fresh, interesting topics and it’s a shame so many businesses don’t do it. What would you say are the main reasons why they don’t? Would be interested to know your thoughts.

      • Hi Suzan,

        I think it comes down to two things. Firstly, I think it’s time. Businesses see their competitors posting new content every week, or even daily and they feel they need to keep up. Few companies have the resources to deliver great content at such speed, so you sacrifice quality for quantity.

        Secondly, I think it comes down to costs and resources. Producing great content does cost money – whether it’s hiring specialists in graphic design/video etc, or whether it’s doing large amounts of research the costs racks up. Although it increases the chances of having a positive effect which can be widely shared, it doesn’t guarantee it – so ultimately businesses play it safe with content they feel comfortable with.

        I think it is changing though as businesses are getting more accepting of prioritising quality over quantity, although it’s a slow change!

        • Yes, I agree – it’s finally beginning to dawn on businesses that churning out thinly disguised sales spiel as blog posts, and other garbage, is not winning them any brownie points in their markets. Interestingly, too, more people are beginning to realize that you do NOT need to post umpty-dump times a week because if anything that’s likely to give your readers a case of brain-dazzle, and your messages will not be absorbed properly.

          I don’t necessarily agree that throwing money at business blogs makes much difference in terms of design, professional video, etc., and the time you spend blogging can be managed by a sensible strategy that puts quite a lot of time into coming up with good, fresh, original ideas upfront – which then don’t take any longer to write up once you have decided what they should be about.

          What is coming into businesses’ minds more and more now is the importance of “owned content,” considering the way in which some of the social media platforms are tightening the screws on how often you can post, how you should be moderated, and other limitations you can only avoid by paying money. I’m seeing this a lot right now and there is even a renaissance of email marketing and newsletters due to this trend, as well as a strengthening of how people value their blogs and web text. Have you noticed this within your client base?

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