Even with all the changes in social media and search engine algorithms, a business website’s blog remains one of its best marketing tools. Blogs can inform and educate potential customers about your company and help you build a strong rapport with your audience, not to mention the boon they can be in SEO.
The problem is that blogging takes both time and effort. If you’re a business owner that’s decided to blog for yourself, you’ve likely discovered how overwhelming creating content can be, and you may have even abandoned your blog to waste away with other, similarly-forgotten blogs in a virtual boneyard of neglected pages.
But there’s hope for you to climb out of the blogging boneyard and deal with some of the problems that make effective, consistent blogging so difficult. In part 1 of this article, I discussed dealing with the time pressures of blogging. However, beyond the time crunch of crafting quality content, it can sometimes seem nearly impossible to come up with good subjects to write about in the first place. Even experts in their fields can find article topics hard to come by on occasion, especially when they’re focused on more central, pressing business responsibilities. When an idea drought hits and a quick Google search doesn’t turn up a suitable topic, it’s easy to push the blog to the back of your to-do list, where it might languish indefinitely. That’s why today, I’ll discuss a strong way to break free from those idea droughts, help revive your blog, and keep it from returning to the boneyard.
There’s a Reason It’s Called Social: Social Media Research
One of the major errors business owners make online is that they view blogging and assorted social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn as a one-way street to push out their messages. However, there is valuable information to be mined from those sites for your business. While your blog might be struggling, there are innumerable blogs in every conceivable industry that are well-managed, consistently updated, and, importantly for you, provide ideas for articles. Created by a range of sources, from industry-specific advocacy groups to fans of a given product-niche or service, the blogosphere is a veritable thunderhead of topics to quench your idea drought. Regardless of your field of work, you can find an assortment of articles, ranging from mainstream news stories to speculation, questions, and concerns voiced by your target audience. These all serve as powerful launching points for posts on your own blog. The directories of blogging sites such as WordPress are good places to look, especially for smaller, well-written blogs and articles that may not be search engine optimized and are therefore lost within a Googlian thicket of search results.
Beyond searching directly for blog articles, sites such as LinkedIn, Twitter, and even Pinterest can also provide new, fresh topic ideas on everything from trademark law to knitting with alpaca yarn. Indeed, you might be surprised at what you will find on these sites. For example, I once wrote a blog for a law firm specializing in a relatively narrow area of European law. Sometimes law journals, which catered to other attorneys, weren’t much help in providing a fresh idea for an article that would resonate with the law firm’s potential clients, who had little interest in dry, byzantine regulatory rulings. However, a simple Twitter search often gave me a winning idea for an article that would address a concern and grab the interest of the blog’s readership.
The additional benefit to this sort of research is that, once you’ve completed your article, you can (responsibly) promote it in these same social media forums, confident in the knowledge you’ve addressed a topic your target audience is interested in discussing.
Keeping Your Blog Working for You
Blogging requires a steady flow of topic ideas that is difficult to come by, especially when your energy is focused on day-to-day business responsibilities. However, by using the strengths of social media research, or by allowing an experienced marketing team to develop and produce quality content, you can pull your blog out of the boneyard and perhaps turn it into a location that influences opinions and drives traffic (and profit) to your business.