A while ago I posted about how to make a long-term business blogging plan. Now I’d like to discuss in a little more detail about how you put meat on the bones of your plan.
Let’s say you’ve mapped out a six-month plan, with a fresh new blog post every Tuesday. Do you have that many interesting topics to write about? You bet you do—you just don’t know it yet.
Sorry, but B2B blog posts aren’t about you.
At the heart of making a blogging plan is what I’ll call an inside-out view of the writing process. That means instead of writing what you want to say from inside the walls of your business, you get out and learn what your audience wants to read.
By the way, this switch in perspective supports a core tenet of inbound marketing: Providing the right content to your potential customers at just the right moment in their journey to purchase (a.k.a., their “buy-cycle”).
Effective blogging is about your audience, no exceptions.
Great content starts with knowing your customer personas. Who they are, their lives, interests, challenges, needs — and how your business relates to them and helps them. (We’ll dig deeper into personas in a future post.)
For example, If you operate tours in Europe, your primary customer persona is probably retired (among other traits). A likely secondary persona is a retired, single female traveler. A blog entitled “7 days, 4 countries, 1 carry-on—How experienced travelers go light” promises your personas great ideas about how to lug a little less luggage. And it definitely piques curiosity!
But do you know what it doesn’t do? It doesn’t try to sell. Blog posts are about sharing valuable, actionable information (that ideally, only YOUR business can provide).
To grow leads, think "Px4."
Every blog post should work hard to help your organization generate leads. As a content manager or creator, your mission is to know and connect with the "Px4": your Prospect Persona Pain Points. You'll better engage your prospects when you can speak knowledgeably about their barriers to growth and success, and offer ideas and solutions. If prospects see that you're uniquely qualified to help them, they'll take greater interest in your site and offerings.
So where can you find great content ideas?
- Talk to your sales/service teams. What are common questions from customers/prospects? Can your blog posts answer them?
- Do you have ebooks, white papers, webinars or other major content assets? Preview them in blog posts (and</i generate leads!).
- Blog posts are great for “blowing out”—expanding upon—topics that those major content assets touch on.
- Dig into your analytics. If certain pages are attracting and retaining more visitors, then use your blog to expand on those topics.
- Look at your online reviews. What’s trending? Are your customers using your product or service in new/interesting/innovative ways?
- Take those customer reviews deeper with case studies (written or video).
- What are your personas talking about on social media? Are they raising questions that you can answer? How can your company weigh in, without being sales-y?
- Any news about your products/services? Launches? Upgrades? Added features? (Don’t leave out the customer benefits!)
- What’s going on in your industry that affects your customers? Has anyone from your company recently attended a conference and returned with exciting, relevant info to share?
- Anything in the news of the world that might link to your business and your personas?
See what you did?
Instead of racking your brain to come up with blog ideas from scratch, you went out and learned what your customers want to read about. Now you’ll be cranking out high-quality, highly engaging and unique content—and having fun doing it!
One more thought about inspiration...
Speaking personally, it almost never fails that as I’m writing a post, ideas for one or more NEW posts will hit me. They may be follow-on topics, or something completely new.
Stay open to this kind of inspiration—and not only around topics, but also around formats and media. When you do, you keep your content calendar full, AND you keep yourself energized as a writer.
What are your best sources for blog ideas? Share in the comments, and remember to download our ebook to learn how your posts can play a powerful role in accelerating your company’s growth.