Guest blog writer Franco Sammarco shares more blog knowledge in his latest installment:
What to Blog About
In my previous guest blogs for The Last Hurdle™, I’ve given my views on how to get your blog started, what it can do for you, and how to construct individual articles for best effect. In this blog article I want to return to the matter of individual articles for a very crucial point; what to blog about.
Hopefully, having established the basics of your business blog, you’ll be brimming with ideas on what to blog about. However, as with many aspects of blogging, a structured approach is often the best one to take.
This blog: What to Blog About is split into two main parts. The first discusses a few of the more general concepts you can use as the foundation for generating blog posts. These should be relevant to any business, no matter what area or market it serves.
Following on from this, the second part of the article details a simple and effective way of helping you decide what to blog about – the practice of categorising your blogs under overarching themes.
General Concepts for Business Blog Posts
We now turn our attention to a number of concepts for what to blog about as a business. No matter what your line of work, these article hooks should provide a solid core of ideas that you can mine for best effect, shaping them to best fit the needs of your specific business activities.
What to Blog About – Individual Product and Service Showcases
One of the most straightforward concepts for business blogging is to create blog articles focusing on a single product or service that your business provides. A ‘Product/Service of the Week’ slot can provide a good basis for when you are deciding what to blog about.
They should be relatively simple to create and can also form a tool in themselves to help keep your blog topped up with regular new content. This allows you to focus more of your creative efforts on other pieces, confident that your blog won’t grind to a halt while you’re thinking of new ideas.
You can treat such articles as an effective marketing exercise. They will allow you to go into more detail about a given product or service than might be possible in its ‘About’ section on your website, which often by definition has to be more ‘generalist’ in scope.
Rather than employing a ‘hard sell’ approach, you can use a blog article to focus on the relevance or applications of a particular product or service to real-world situations. If you make or supply cookware, for instance, you can write an article on how these products are useful when creating particular recipes – perhaps including the relevant recipe as an example of giving useful information to your audience for free, as I discussed in one of my previous blogs.
What to Blog About – Customer Testimonials
When deciding what to blog about, another dependable theme for articles is user and customer testimonials. These are of particular relevance if your business provides a service that may be quite physically intangible, but obviously this is an effective tool for physical products as well.
Inviting satisfied customers to provide testimonial pieces for your business’ products or services is a great way to interact with your audience. It helps establish a sense that you are having a conversation with, rather than simply talking ‘at’, them.
In a practical sense, testimonials are also a good thing as they effectively ‘write themselves’. Your customers are effectively creating blog posts for you. As with product and service focus blogs, these can provide a good source of positive new material for regular postings while you focus your energies on what else to blog about, especially pieces that may require more effort and time.
What to Blog About – Business-Specific ‘Outside’ Topics
Another good concept for articles is a focus on outside issues that may be relevant to your business or customers. For example, regulatory changes, such as may happen to gas and electricity installation safety standards, may impact on how you provide products and services.
Choosing to blog about such issues is a good way of drawing attention to them. Furthermore, blog posts will allow you to go into detail on exactly how such matters may or may not be relevant to either your service provision, or the way in which customers interact with your business and/or the products or services it supplies.
What to Blog About – Associated Services or Activities
Lastly, when deciding what to blog about, you should also consider the oblique approach. By this I mean blogging about activities or other matters that the products or services you offer are relevant to. For example, if you run a private hire taxi company, you might create a blog about places of interest or highlights of the nightlife in the area or areas that your business serves.
As well as being another way to foster goodwill with your audience by providing something of value for free, this is also another good means of promoting your business through focusing on how it is useful to customers in everyday situations. In the case of the example detailed, you would want to say in your blog how much better a night out will be if the reader uses one of your taxis to get to and from a venue, saving the trouble of parking up and the inconvenience of having to nominate a designated driver.
We now turn our attention to the usefulness of categories for your blog. When you start producing articles, I find that it is best to establish a number of categories that are relevant to your business, under which you can then group your articles. For example, on my own blog, the two major categories I employ are ‘writing’ – my profession – and ‘wargames’ – also a large part of my profession, and a subject which I’m passionate about.
Creating categories provides a great help in establishing what to blog about for your business in two ways. First, category tags allow visitors to your blog to find pieces relevant to them much more quickly, without having to trawl through articles in which they have no interest.
However, categories are also a useful tool for when you are deciding what to blog about in the first place. Using them provides a way to focus your creative energy when you may be a little stuck for ideas. Rather than going for the spatter-gun approach, which may result in a lot of interesting but incomplete bits of inspiration crowding your mind, you can pick a single relevant category and develop one or two concepts into better and fully-formed articles.
Of course, a blog post doesn’t have to fall into just one category. A single piece may be relevant to several different areas. Often you may discover this after you’ve completed an article, so make sure you review all of your pieces to see if this is the case.
To conclude, when deciding what to blog about, make sure you consider concepts and categories to give some order and focus to your blog articles. It is very tempting to simply dive straight in when you’re bursting with ideas. But in the long run, having these guidelines to rely on will help you continue to produce relevant material regularly for your blog even at those times when you think you might run out of steam.
Why not try some of these methods and see if they help you improve the regularity and content of your blog?