“What do I write about?”
It’s a question that haunts professional writers, let alone entrepreneurs and business owners seeking to attract readers to their websites. Fortunately, with a little imagination, it’s possible to generate content for days and weeks to come. Here are guidelines and suggestions to consider before banging out your next blog post:
Be interesting. Some people with over-active egos might take this to mean, Write about yourself—but that’s not a winning strategy. Instead, commit to producing content that both informs and entertains your potential audience.
Be honest and authentic. You won’t draw readers to your blog by adapting a formal, “corporate” tone. Nor are they generally interested in hearing about how wonderful your products or services are. That may emerge indirectly. People mostly want to read “behind the scenes” stuff—including stories about things that went wrong in your business and how you fixed them. People want to hear your voice in the words you write.
Focus on your customers. Actually, prospective customers are most interested in the problems they face (either in life or in their own businesses) and the solutions you can offer as a result of your expertise. When you sit down to write, pretend you’re speaking to a couple of favorite customers. What issues do they contend with on a daily basis? What knowledge can you share that will make their lives easier?
Explain your product or service without hype. On occasion, it’s okay to write a blog that focuses on your business offerings. But do so in the context of customer concerns, not as an opportunity to go on about a product’s “unmatched excellence,” etc. Do you provide a type of service that’s hard for people to grasp right away? Offer a detailed “how to” explanation. Do customers find using your product difficult at first? Help them understand how to make it useful for them.
Comment on breaking news. Breaking local, national or international news may seem to have nothing to do with what you sell. Think again. For example, if you run a sports medicine center and there’s a story on head injuries in high school football, offer “5 Tips to Avoid Concussions During Workout.” The same principle applies to news in your particular industry. Report on this industry-related news and then offer your own practical take on the subject.
Interview an expert. There are experts in virtually every field and many would gladly respond to a request for an interview. Think about the kinds of questions your customers would like answered. Ask those questions in the course of an email interview with the expert. Write up the post in a Q&A forum, run it past your interview subject for approval, and then you’re good to go.
Feature people who work for you. Remember, one key reason for producing blog posts is to humanize your business for prospective customers. By writing a brief feature on one or more of your best employees, you give your business a human face (remember to include their photos in the post). Let these employees’ passion for the business shine through. In many cases, these men and women will have a keener perspective than you on issues important to customers.
Invite others to contribute. Many business blogs feature “guest bloggers” from time to time. Think about an employee who has demonstrated proficiency with the written word and see if he or she might like to contribute a business-related post. Or look to others in your professional network who don’t mind trading a little effort for publicity on your blog.
Get inspired by others. Curating content from third party sources can establish your brand as a hub for industry expertise. Be sure to pull content that is appropriate for your audience and always source the original author.
Be prepared to give away your expertise. Whatever you choose to write about, don’t stint on what you share with your audience. In the digital age, readers quickly pick up on attempts to safeguard intellectual property. The more genuine value you offer in your blog posts, the more readers will come to trust you and regard you as a thought leader in your industry.