Maintaining a blog is one of the best ways to keep customers engaged and help inform them about news and trends relating to your industry. Not only will a high quality, regularly updated blog be useful to customers you already have, it will also attract new leads who are searching for the topics you post about, particularly if you write well-written and relevant posts that are picked up by search engines.
Here are 10 ways to come up with interesting content that will help make your blog stand out.
1. Read Other Related Blogs
One sure way to come up with interesting topics is to keep up with other blogs, including competitors', to see what's popular in your industry. You can find popular blogs in your industry by looking at sites like Alltop or Blogrank. You shouldn't steal ideas directly, nor should you ever plagiarize, but follow others and see what they are writing about. Look for topics that you can expand on. Additionally, if you read an article that compels you to leave a comment, instead of commenting, turn that comment into a blog post and post it on your blog instead.
2. Use Google Alerts
You can easily find pertinent topics by using Google Alerts to monitor industry trends and news. This is also a good way to stay on top of competing blogs. You can type in the URLs of the blogs you want to follow, the names of influencers in your industry, or specific terms you want more information about. Be careful about going too general though. Very generic phrases can result in a flood of useless info. Instead, try getting a little more granular, for example instead of “health,” use “losing weight” and instead of “finance” use “personal finance.”
You should also set up alerts to track questions people are asking in your industry, for example [“how to” golf] or [“why * personal injury”]. You'll need to remove the brackets, but leave the quotes. The quotes tell Google to search for that exact phrase in the order you've typed it. Experiment with other common question phrases to get different results (who, what, where, when, why, how, can, which, is, if, should, does it, did you, etc.).
There are various ways to receive alerts – as-it-happens, daily, or weekly for emails or you can set up an RSS feed instead of getting emails.
3. Read Industry Magazines
When looking for ideas for blog posts, you shouldn't simply limit yourself to other blogs. You can also take initiative and read the latest online or offline magazines to come up with content other bloggers may not have yet considered. Use Amazon.com's magazine search to find industry related magazines or head to your local bookstore to flip through magazines on the rack. After you've found some magazines that you like, see if they have an online version. Many do.
4. Connect with Bloggers, Friends and Coworkers
It's not enough to read other bloggers' work to generate ideas. You should reach out to other bloggers and speak with friends and coworkers about industry topics. You might end up with some great new blog post ideas. Ask them what they would like to read about and if you can meet in person (or phone, Skype, etc.) sit down and start a brainstorming session where you help each other come up with content ideas based on each others experience.
5. Use Call Tracking and Analytics Data
Professionals aren't the only ones who can give you ideas for enticing blog post content. You can get plenty of inspiration from your customers as well. Call tracking services such as CallRail allow you to record phone calls conducted with customers. Some of the conversations you have with customers might lead to a unique post, particularly if they ask questions that you feel could be thoroughly answered in an explanatory blog post. Who else would know more about what your customers want than themselves? Listen to calls from your sales team and see what your customers are asking.
6. Share Your Experiences With Others
When in doubt about coming up with an exciting and fresh topic, you can share your own experience with other bloggers on other well-known blogs in your industry. For example if you're a writer, share your experience on a site like Copyblogger. If you work in sales, get in touch with the Salesforce blog and ask if you can contribute an article. There are communities like these in every industry who welcome guests to share their stories. By sharing your own knowledge and personal experience with others, you'll help educate and simultaneously establish yourself as an authority blogger.
7. Expand on Previous Blog Posts
One blog post won't cover every aspect of the topic you choose to write about. If you want to target more specific concepts or go into another aspect of a topic you haven't yet explored, take a look at your past blog posts and see if anything – even a subsection – deserves its own fleshed-out post. This can be a good way to further inform readers and draw even more traffic through specific keywords and additional backlinks your post might earn. You can also review your Google Analytics data to see which posts are most popular and then build off of those.
8. Perform Keyword Research
Tools like the reputable Google Keyword Planner have made it easier to discover effective keywords for blogs and general web content. If you dig into concepts related to your core idea, you may find more specific topics to write about. The additional benefit of using Google's Keyword Planner is that you can target keywords based on metrics, such as monthly traffic volume and competition. If the traffic is minimal people might not be searching for that topic and you probably shouldn't waste time writing about it. And if the competition is high, unless your blog is an authority in your industry, your post isn't likely to show up above all of the other pages in the search results.
9. Keep Up with Social Media
If your business has a Facebook or Twitter page, you should engage with your followers. Ask questions for more insight into your customers' minds. What do they want to know? What would they like in your product or from your industry? The feedback these people provide may be useful in inspiring useful blog posts, which you can then link to in social media outlets.
10. Publish Case Studies
One of the best ways to inform readers about your business while further improving your reputation in the process is publishing case studies and testimonial stories. People want to know what others think of you as a company, and by dedicating blog posts to these, you'll let people know what you've accomplished. This also reveals that you truly do care about your customers' satisfaction with your products or services. Think about the ways you've helped your customers. Share the original problem they came to you with, the steps you took to solve it, and the successful outcome. Be as detailed as possible and your content will perform better and earn more customers.
These are just a few of the many ways you can go about coming up with exciting blog post topics. You should continue to do what fuels your inspiration most and helps you continue to post regularly interesting and informative blog posts. The last thing you want is a stagnant, misused blog that impedes success rather than propelling it.
Alex Juel has been doing internet marketing professionally since 2005. He has a passion for learning, writing, reading and blogging.