Content is king: Almost everyone in marketing has read that headline or heard that phrase. But if you’re responsible for developing your company’s blog calendar, you know how heavy that crown can become. The seemingly bottomless well of great blog topics you had when you first got the blog running can quickly dry up, particularly if you have an active blogging program. Before you know it, coming up with just three more story angles can seem like an impossible task – forget about filling out a content calendar for the next three months.
So what can you do to find fresh ideas and develop new blog topics your readers will find interesting and valuable? Of course, a great place to start is to review your stats to find what topics in the past were most popular. It’s likely you can build new topics from those. But that will only take you so far.
If you’re in a rut, here are seven tips for coming up with fresh blog topics that can work at seemingly any time of the year:
- Critique a Trade Magazine Article. It doesn’t even have to be a full article. Perhaps your company’s experience differs from a main point you read, or there was a point made that warrants further analysis or explanation. Using the article as a starting point for a new story provides timely and relevant content for your audience while showing your company is engaged with what is happening in your industry.
- Invite Guest Authors. You likely have business partners, analysts, or perhaps even key customers who have an interesting perspective to share with your readers. The keys to success when engaging a guest author are to clearly agree on the focus of their article, and to give them plenty of advanced warning on your deadlines.
- Summarize a Key Tradeshow or Event. Your company is almost certainly exhibiting at important tradeshows or sending key personnel to network at conferences. Summary blogs are a great way to have them write about important trends impacting your customers’ businesses. In these instances, you will want to be sure they highlight what trends were uncovered at the show that your readers should have on their radar.
- Review Key Dates, Holidays and Observances. Did you know May is National Dental Care Month and National Water Safety Month? Or that today is National Walnut Day? Don’t worry, I didn’t either, and it’s likely neither did most of your readers. While you don’t want to get too playful, there are likely observances throughout the year that can be used as a way to introduce how your product or service solves specific challenges. Here is a good source for uncovering some of these lesser known dates and observances.
- Hit Up Your Sales Team. These are the people who have their finger on the pulse of your customers’ needs more than anyone, so be sure to use their knowledge to your advantage when creating new blog topics. Ask them what the most frequent question they get is; what the most interesting question they’ve received in the past month is; or what is the oddest question they’ve received. It’s likely your current readers (and people doing online research) have the same questions or would find the answer useful. In these situations, you will want to go into detail in answering those questions.
- Invite Other Departments to Weigh In. Hopefully you have a large stable of authors from a cross-section of your company writing for your blog. But if not, ask some questions and get creative in finding ways to explain what new projects they are working on that will make things better, easier or more secure for your customers. The bonus is the more involved you can make them, the more likely it is they will start bringing blog topics to you.
- Break Out Topics into a Series. If you have certain programs that will be taking place over a longer period of time, consider running a series of updates throughout the process, rather than just one article after it’s complete. In the same vein, if there is a topic you know requires more than approximately 500 words to clearly explain, break it into Part 1 and Part 2 (or more) on your content calendar. While it may seem a bit like cheating as you fill in multiple dates with one topic, your readers will appreciate getting bite-sized pieces of information rather than one incredibly long story.
- Contact SCG. If you’re too busy running your business to think about creating a comprehensive blogging and content marketing program, the experts at SCG are happy to help. We run award-winning blogs for many of our clients – content programs that help drive site traffic and create customers.
Hopefully these tips will help fill you develop fresh blog topics for your next content calendar. If you’d like more ideas on creating content or how to get a bigger return on your blogging efforts, please let me know.