So now you’ve got your website set up, either fully inside a WordPress install or with a WordPress blog integrated. You’re ready to go, you just need ideas for your first topic… and at least 11 or 50 more. Remember, as I explained, the key to Search Engine Elevation is consistently producing & publishing fresh, valuable and usable content.
So in the words of Jack Nicholson’s Joker – “Where does he get all those wonderful toys?” Where do you find all those ideas – not to mention ones for years to come? Well, that’s why we’re here today.
While we here at Grow the Dream highly recommend WordPress for business sites for a variety of reasons, not the least of which being the incredibly innovative code that consistently helps WP sites to rocket to the top of Google and other search engine results, honestly, the information I’ll provide here can go inside any blogging system.
So whether you’re using WordPress, TypePad, Blogger, Tumblr, Joomla, Medium, or any other platform, these ideas will get you noticed by the Google-bots and generate more traffic for your site.
I’ll Take Strategy for 1000, Alex!
I don’t want to beat a dead horse, but the key to finding your best blog topics, as well as honing the less obvious ones will be your strategic work.
Identifying as much detail as you can about your target customer will yield a harvest of unimaginable proportions. You want ideas for your blog? Start by solving the burning questions that your ideal customer is looking for answers to. Kind of like this very blog post that you’re reading now. See how that works?
If you’re only doing one post a month, make each one the answer to one of the most important questions your prospective customer is desperately searching for. If you do a weekly or bi-weekly post, break up the questions with some of the other ideas you’ve brainstormed that fit your target client. Just remember to always keep your strategy work at the forefront. Every blog post should in some way be helpful to the people who are most likely to need and use your products or services. And even if the majority of your market is B2B, remember people are still the ones making the buying decisions.
As you complete more and more of these answer blogs, be sure to keep updating your FAQ, and double down on your search engine elevation.
Whether you’re doing one post a month or once a week, you’re eventually going to run out of questions to answer. Or at least it will feel like you do. So here are some brainstorming ideas to stretch your posts out for decades. (You can pass them on to your staff once you get large enough).
Talk About Success – Your Clients!
If you’re just getting started, this might be one to hold off on until later. But really, once you do start having potential clients start on their way to becoming brand evangelists, use a post to highlight their success. The best part is, you get a free pass to brag, as long as you’re not obnoxious about it. You can either write something yourself, ask the client to give you their thoughts (which you’ll edit, of course), or even interview them. Make sure to ask for permission to use their name – most will be happy to give it, and will probably do their own publicizing of that post. If they don’t give permission, you can still use it – it’s your success too – just be sure to make it generic enough, and don’t reveal any proprietary information, so when the successful client sees it, they aren’t upset.
In the same vein, you can highlight how your product or service has solved the problems your clients had before coming to you. Instead of one, you pick 2 to 3 of the best performers, with provable metrics (you’re collecting those anyway, right?) Case studies can be very persuasive because they’re objective positive proof that what you do or sell works.
As your business grows, you can also compile these success stories and case studies into pages on your site – summarizing the details, then linking out to the individual posts…another small step to Google search domination.
Start keeping a Swipe File!
Yes, much like the wily orange fox on Dora the Explorer (84% of our GTD target clients are familiar with the show due to the age of their children and how long it’s been on the air), you will be grabbing key items from the world around you, newspaper articles you see (physical or online), graphics, other industry emails, trending topics, etc. You can keep these in a physical file, or a computer doc – or even a virtual file drawer on your GoogleDrive or DropBox that you can poke around in from time to time to brainstorm new ideas.
I started doing this years ago for both my business and my screenwriting. I have two paper ream boxes filled with clippings, notebooks and miscellaneous items, as well as over 200 notes on my phone labelled story ideas, with everything from a 10 page free-writing exercise to a single sentence or even phrase that inspired me. You never know what a seemingly random bit from years ago will turn into.
Keep a Calendar Handy!
You can always write posts connected to popular holidays like Christmas, Thanksgiving, Easter or St. Patrick’s Day. Just find a way to relate them to something your perfect customer would be interested in. And don’t just go for the standard holidays – stand out by finding fun, unusual holidays you can tie your product or service to, like Healthy Breath Day, National Squirrel Awareness Day, and Cure ALS Week. These holidays get less coverage, but you can be more creative and get the attention of your audience.
Every industry has myths and urban legends the general public believes that I’m sure drive you crazy. Dedicate a post – or a series of posts over time – to debunking whatever nonsense is out there. Your clients will enjoy it and be more educated.
Trending Tuesday or Thursday!
You’re already keeping track of the innovations and latest developments in your industry right? Look for ways to repurpose those trade publication stories to make them matter to your ideal customer. This also works well for local news stories and events that you can give your unique insight into – and could even lead to getting attention from local journalists.
All of us have major industry events, leadership conferences or networking get-togethers. Not all of them, but many may be of interest to your target audience – even if it’s just a peek behind your business’ curtain. If you have a Facebook presence – and you should, you can do short Facebook Live video updates during the activity also to build interest – just remember to mention that more details are available on your site, and give the URL (or a shortened one).
You can also post recaps of events or activities. Videos often work well for these types of posts, if you’re capable. And with today’s phones, most of us should be.
Talk to Your Customers!
I know this may seem obvious, but some people stop communicating once they’ve finished the initial strategic work. There may be questions they have or more detail they’d like to learn that you didn’t discover during the strategic work. Staying in contact with the people who have become clients can clue you in to what needs to be asked or expanded upon.
Look Back to Get Ahead!
Along the same lines, take a look at the comments on your past posts and see if there’s a disconnect that needs to be clarified, a question that is still being asked, or just for inspiration. A comment may trigger a thought in your brain that gives you yet another idea for a useful post. You can also peruse the comments on your competitors’ blogs. Just ignore the comments from the spam sites.
I don’t recommend just copying someone else’s blog post, although, to be honest, I see that WAY too often. Having identical info as another business’ site may reduce its footprint, but it won’t do much to make you stand out, either. Instead, research your competitors to get ideas for new topics that you will address in your unique way.
I especially recommend looking at competitors that are just on the outskirts of your ideal client, such as businesses that would handle jobs a little too big or too small for your business. The questions their clients are asking are probably similar to yours but your answers will be unique and aimed at your specific targeted customer.
Ask Reddit Anything!
Okay, fair warning: if you’re an information junkie, as so many of us entrepreneurial types are, you might want to be careful or set a timer for yourself before you descend down this rabbit hole. Reddit calls itself The Front Page of the Internet. Whether that’s true or not, Reddit has scads of information that links to more and more and wider and wider ranging topics. Remember that you’re there to see what people are talking about that you may be able to use for your blog, and when your time’s up, close your browser.
Check out Quora!
A slightly less time-consuming place to explore is Quora – the popular question-and-answer website. Supposedly some 11-million questions have been asked and attempted to be answered on Quora. One way to use Quora effectively is to search for the questions you’ve already answered and see what similar questions are being asked.
Resist the temptation to answer the questions or correct someone. This site should be used for research purposes, not to improve another company’s website. Since you actually know what you’re talking about, especially for your perfect target customer, answer it on your blog. You deserve to get those eyeballs, not Quora.
This approach also works for Topsy, Ubersuggest, Alltop and Scoop.it
See What Autocomplete sa____
Unless you’ve made a point of shutting it off, you’ve probably noticed that Google tries to finish your sentences, like an overly-friendly potential love interest who wants to prove your minds are in sync. What you may not know, is that the autocomplete answers come from Google’s store of the most asked questions on the planet.
Take advantage of that by beginning a search string and keeping track of what questions it tries to pop out. If they’re ones you can answer for your clients, well, there you go! And you know that the post will be timely too, since it’s based on current search trends.
Go Back to Basics!
You can always blog about a question or answer you’ve already addressed, especially if you’ve learned more about it now than you did back then. We have dozens of blogs on our site that talk about approaching strategic work, and we’re always finding new and interesting ways to talk about it and help people understand it better. You can also reverse an old post – if you talked about the best way to do something, you can flip it around and do a post on the worst way to do the same thing.
This also works great if you do any annual posts – like the best way to start 2018 off right! Sure, some of the content may be similar, but again, keep it updated and fresh to bring people in.
You can also expand on a previous topic, going into more detail, or looking at a different aspect in depth than you did in the original post. This very post was birthed from the need to expand on blog content discussed in an earlier post that dealt with getting links to your site.
Talk about what you’re doing that’s working and what’s not working. Tell people what risks you took, whether you succeeded or fell on your face and what you learned from both experiences. Again, position everything in light of how your readers can learn from your experience or see what you’re doing for the benefit of your clients.
You can also share personal experiences or behind the scenes information that relates back to your clients’ interests. If you’ve made a bold prediction or announced something new in the past, you can always do a “checking in” post to follow up on how well – or badly – things went.
Being honest is one of the strongest connectors for clients to you and your business, especially in the age of forced positivity on social media.
So There You Go…
Even if each of these ideas only generates one new blog post topic, you’ve added another 15 to the mix. And I’m betting that each one will give you many more topics to work on. If you’re a planner-type, Hubspot has a great free download you can print out to schedule and plot out your blog topics. Spread them out, so it feels like a more organic mix. Before too long, you’ll have plenty of fresh, viable content on your site, drawing in the search engines and your potential customers!