How I think of my subjects
Even if I run out of inspiration these ways are going to help you come up with a good text topic.
Does a text topic always go like this with you guys too? “We need new topics, guys. Who’s offering?” … long pause and cricket sounds….
Coming up with blog topics for your business blog is more than waiting for a manifestation from the universe. You have to do something about it. This long list of tips is guaranteed to help you.
Whether you’re just starting out with a blog, or want to resuscitate your existing ailing corporate blog, these tips will help you come up with surprising and relevant topics for your business blog.
What do you learn in this blog?
1: How to use hard data to get building blocks for your topic.
2: How to use your brainstorming in a smarter way to combine these building blocks into a topic
3: Still can’t figure it out? Then you’ll find a few solutions at the end of this blog.
We’ll get started right away.
1: Tackle current affairs with your business blog
Many famous brands use ‘inhakers’ to advertise. Inhooks are always linked to current events. Often it is an image with a short slogan and a play on words. Most of the catch-alls are wickedly funny. Not every company or brand can get away with that. Fortunately, catch-alls can also be serious. HEMA and STOP AIDS NOW have proven that.
HEMA shows that it is also possible to respond to current events in a serious and modest manner. HEMA has a large Jip and Janneke range and made this appeal after the death of Dick Bruna.
An example of how to catch up with your business blog. We’ve all seen examples of how to hook in with images on social media. But how do you hook in with a story? With your business blog?
Here’s an example:
Suppose the Netherlands ever again participates in the European Football Championship or World Cup. Then ‘soccer’ is the theme you want to address.
Step 1: Write down all the characteristics of soccer and words that you associate with it. For example: beer, scoring, tackling, European Championship, World Cup, excitement, friends, orange, party, hooligans, offside, injuries, etc.
Step 2: Look for similarities between your product/service/business and the trend, and you have a topic for your business blog. For example:
- A good coach is essential to success on the field. If you have a coaching practice/consultancy firm, then you can capitalize on this: “5 lessons top counselors learn from national coach Dick Advocaat”
- Or if you are a business coach: then you help your clients become better than the competition. Your blog could then be: “With this growth strategy, you’ll put your competition out of business”
Step 3: Start your story with an anecdote about soccer (storytelling), make the bridge to your business, and then incorporate a few soccer metaphors into your story. For example:
- “Tackle your competition with these growth strategies.”
- “Prevent injuries in your business by applying our preventative measures now”
- “These tips aren’t a pick-me-up, but they’ll really help you.”
Use a catch-up calendar
Examples of recurring trends can be found on various clip-on calendars: these are annual calendars with all kinds of days, moments, and periods that are bound to happen. Think of Christmas, Mother’s Day, the Nijmegen Four Day Marches, the start of Farmer seeks wife, CAPS LOCK DAY, the Elfstedentocht that will not take place again, etc.
How do you find clipboard calendars? Google is your friend. You’ll find all kinds of websites with a free yearly calendar full of moments and events to catch up on.
The advantage of capitalizing on previously known topics is that you know it’s going to happen. So you can plan your blogs ahead for the whole year. And write your blogs at times that suit you.
When you share your blog on Twitter, of course you use the hashtag that belongs to the topic. For example #elfstedenkoorts, #bzv or #mothersday. That way, your blog will be seen by everyone who follows the relevant hashtag.
2: Ask your target audience directly
You can do this in 1001 ways. A few ideas:
- Directly: For example, after every customer contact, ask: What would you like to know from us? What are your needs? Or: how can we help you further?
Are you a small business owner? Then that could be a question you ask your customers personally.
Do you have a large webshop? Then it could be a form that appears after people place an order in your webshop. “Thank you for your purchase. What would you like more information about?”
- Through your social media channels and webcare. Perhaps the easiest option.
- Via a pop-up on your website. For example, use the Hotjar application for this.
You can use Hotjar for all kinds of feedback questions.
Hotjar appears very discreetly in the bottom right of your screen, and is therefore not as aggressive as a full-screen pop-up that negatively affects your overall user experience.
3: Check a forum
Check out forums on your topic. What are frequently asked questions? That’s obviously where there is a need for your business blogs. Forums are easy to find via Google, by typing in Forum: your topic. You will now come across a list of forums.
Not only do you see the topics that people need information about, you also read it in their own language. This is useful if you want to match the tone of voice of your target group.
This is an example for if you are a tax office, and you want to appeal to an SME target group.
4: Ask Google
Enter your search term into Google’s search bar, and Google will populate your search term with suggestions. Those suggestions occur because Google knows what search terms are popular. You can see below that people who want to lose weight are mainly looking for a way that doesn’t require them to do anything at all.
If you search for a specific search term, you will see related search terms at the bottom of page 1. Useful. If, for example, you are a company that helps people set up a web shop, you will already know more about the questions they are facing.
5: Use your business goals
You are launching a new product. You notice that a certain service is not generating enough turnover. Or you simply need more customers for an existing service. In all these cases, you have issues that your company would like to highlight.
If you are an entrepreneur yourself, this information is often already in your head. If you work in a large company, then use the annual or quarterly plan of your company, the latest turnover figures, your marketing calendar, or go and interview key figures in your organization.
There is 1 big danger in this way of coming up with blog topics. That your blog becomes a kind of broadcast time of political parties: all corporate blabber, where no one is waiting.
Therefore, always put the reader first in your piece: in a blog, people want to be triggered and served with useful or fun information. So write about that. Blogs are not sales pages. Blogs are the first introduction, in which you especially give away value and thus build a relationship with your target audience.
6: Have a keyword research carried out
A keyword research helps you gain insight into the search terms that people search for in Google in relation to your company/product/service. You will learn which terms you can best use as the subject of your blog, in order to score high in Google.
7: Connect random topics into a bizarre idea for your blog topic
1) Find 2 topics that have nothing to do with each other.
2) Find the similarities.
3) Use those similarities as a capstone for your company blog.
This approach works especially well if you want to bring a boring or chewed out topic in a fun way, and if your blog is allowed to have a more column-like feel. Julie Andrews sang it as Mary Poppins: “A spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down.”
8: Schedule your brainstorm to come up with topics
Devote a set time to coming up with topics. No one feels like working on difficult reports on a Friday afternoon after lunch, but a brainstorm might still do the trick.
It also helps not to sit down in your standard meeting room for your brainstorm. Find a different environment. Sit outside on a picnic bench, put on music during the brainstorm, or really find a different location.
9: Expand your brainstorming team
Do you always come up with the topics for your business blogs with a fixed team? Then for once, don’t just invite the usual suspects from the communications team.
Which people in your organization have customer contact? For example, installers, customer service representatives, consultants or account managers. Invite these people to your brainstorm. They have direct contact with customers, and know what issues and questions are on their minds. (Bonus: this approach also connects your organization to each other)
Are you part of a marketing team and have an MT? Invite an MT member for a different perspective. (Bonus: this immediately increases the MT’s involvement in your business blog. It won’t be the first time a blog is stifled by an ignorant MT because they don’t see the added value)
Coming up with blog topics for your company blog is more than waiting for a manifestation from the universe. You have to do something about it.
10: Use a fixed format for your brainstorming
Suppose you have a brainstorming session for your company blog every 2 months. You can build it up as follows:
1: Write down the answers to the following questions:
- What are the current topics? (see point 1)
- What are the questions that our customers have? (see point 2)
- What products/services do we want to highlight ourselves? (see point 5)
The answers to these questions you collect prior to your brainstorming session, of course.
Now you can start brainstorming ideas. If something is not clear or you don’t understand it, send me a message in the comments. I will answer them all. Good luck with writing your text!