Constantly coming up with new and engaging blog topics is no easy task, especially when you’re running a full-time business. Blogging is a form of marketing and like any good marketing initiative, it be must created to reach an objective.
In today’s article I’ll suggest themes you can blog about and which objectives these themes help reach.
Educational or how-to articles
I love writing educational pieces because they offer readers the most value and don’t ask for anything back in return.
This blog post you’re reading now is educational (well I hope learn something by the end).
An educational blog post is typically discussing a topic relevant to your industry that your customers may not necessarily know too much about. It can be a how-to articles, 5 things you didn’t know about [topic] or anything else that digs deeper into a subject.
To give you an example, here’s a Whole Foods blog titled 4 Lesser-known summer veggies you should be cooking right now:
The blog focuses on vegetables that are healthy but their readers are unaware of.
Whole Foods target market is health conscious individuals and their blog post does a great job at educating them with information they want.
- Best suited for: generating authority and branding.
Personally I think trending news is not used nearly as much as it should be by small and local businesses, this is typically because most don’t have the time to stop what they are doing that moment and create a thought provoking post.
At the moment of writing this blog post, the United Kingdom decided to leave the EU. There’s been mass panic in media and the markets have been a mess, but that didn’t stop Andrew Craig from Plain English Finance to update us with his thoughts and knowledge:
At a point in time where many have no idea what to do with their finances, Andrew provides his expert advice to people who are in desperate need of it.
Trending topics in your industry work similar to educational content in that it aids to brand your business more successfully.
- Best suited for: generating authority, branding and driving short-term traffic.
Sales generated content
The primary objective for any business is to generate sales, and you can to this though blogging too.
Bodybuilding.com wrote an article titled The Power of Glutamine!, they start by listing all the benefits one can get from taking the supplement (pre-selling the reader) and then pepper in links to their glutamine products they sell within their store:
These blogs are a hybrid between blog posts and a sales page, I like them because they are less pitchy and don’t aggressively force the user to pull out their credit card details.
- Best suited for: generating sales.
Every local business should have blog posts about customer success stories. As a small business one thing you’ll lack is social proof. When readers see people just like themselves having success with your product or service, they will naturally want the same success.
Mark Sisson does this well on his blog Mark’s Daily Apple where he has a whole section dedicated to success stories:
Don’t underestimate the power of social proof for your business, it’s one of the biggest factors consumers rely on when deciding who to use.
- Best suited for: social proof.
Two-step content funnels
A two-step content funnel is a blog post and another piece of content (lead magnet) which the user can only receive by opting-in. The lead magnet can be a report, eBook, video, online course, image or anything you’d want.
The goal is for the user to read the blog post and opt-in to the lead magnet which they can only get by giving you some personal information (usually an email address). For this to work successfully the blog post must match the lead magnet on offer.
Here’s a Shopify blog titled 22 Awesome T-Shirt Templates and Mockups for Your Clothing Line:
Within their blog they are giving readers a free bonus guide on how to make their first sale from selling t-shirts.
The blog posts focuses on how to generate t-shirt ideas to sell and the bonus guide shows the reader how to sell their t-shirts once they are designed. This is a perfect two-step funnel to generate quality leads.
Shopify offer a e-commerce platform and the next step after obtaining their email address is to sell the reader on their service. To generate leads, it’s ideal to have a lead magnet in place.
- Best suited for: lead generation.
Before your fingers touch the keyboard, ask yourself what you want to achieve with your blog post. Writing for the sake of writing usually produces mediocre content that doesn’t help you or your customer. If you’re struggling for ideas, BuzzSumo is a great resource to find out what others in your industry are talking about.
Search a website URL or keyword and BuzzSumo will return the most popular articles based on social shares:
Start by segmenting your blog posts into the follow categories:
- Branding and awareness
- Social proof
Then think of 4-5 topics to write for each category to get started. It’s much easier to get the results you want when you have a goal you want to achieve as the focus.