5 tips to help you develop great blog post topics

18th, Jan 2019

One of the toughest aspects of blogging is coming up with topics. It’s even worse when you feel under pressure to produce something. The better way to go is to sit down periodically (alone or with staff members) and brainstorm ideas. Ideally, you can develop a bunch of topics at once, so you don’t have to go through this exercise very often. Here are a few tips to help get your brainstorming session started:

1. Put yourself in your reader’s shoes. A good blog post discusses what your reader cares about, not what you want to talk about. So first identify who you want to read your blog post (your ideal client or referral source), then start making a list of the following:

  • What are their top 10 questions? What do they ask you when you have a conversation? Each question could be its own blog post or group them as appropriate.
  • What are the significant challenges in their personal or business lives or in their industry? If you don’t know the answer, ask them or do research. Even if you cannot help them with all their issues, writing about their concerns shows you understand their needs.
  • When and why do they call you? You want to write about those trigger points. For example, let’s say the trigger is that they are being sued or threatened with suit. You can write about how to avoid liability, common liability traps, mitigating and aggravating factors in liability, when they need to seek outside help and how to handle issues that may come up in litigation.

You want to go through this exercise with each audience you want to attract. The answers to these questions will vary depending on whether you are targeting existing clients, different categories of prospects or referral sources. For each audience, you have a whole new set of potential blog topics. Even if some of the information is repetitive across groups, you can still write individual posts for each group.

2. Consider multiple ways to present the information. The same basic information can be delivered many ways by changing the angle, style or format of the piece. For example, you can provide advice on how to handle an issue, but one time write it as “Essential Tips to Help …,” and another time focus on “How to Avoid These Top Traps” or “What Not to Do.”

When it comes to the format, there are many options. Lists, how-tos, case studies, charts/infographics, audio and video all represent different ways you can cover your topic and they can all qualify as “blog posts.” One of the benefits of blogging is that it is in your control and you can discuss any topic you want in any way you want.

3. Repurpose other content. Maybe you did a presentation for a client or an organization. Your notes, outlines, handouts and slides can be fodder for blog posts. The same is true of articles, client memos/letters, recordings and other content created for a different purpose. Out-of-date content can be brought up-to-date. Material written for one audience, can be rewritten for new audiences.

In addition, you can repurpose other people’s content. For example, write a post analyzing or commenting on an article you read or a presentation you attended. You can also curate content – that is, compile a list of useful articles, books, and other resources on a topic and share it with others in the form of a blog post. For example, write a post on the top 5 articles on the new tax law. You want to add your own commentary and explain why you think these resources are useful. Don’t copy the articles; just provide the pertinent information (title, author, publication) and links to the pieces you mentioned along with your analysis.

4. Look at current events and trends. It’s great to discuss new developments and how those events or trends may impact your target audience. Sometimes there is an added bonus because you can take advantage of media and public interest in a news story to get extra exposure for your business (aka “newsjacking”). However, that may only give you a short-term boost in visibility. When possible, provide deeper and ongoing analysis of events so you can really showcase your expertise and have a longer shelf-life for your content.

You can set up automatic Google alerts, monitor hashtags and trends on social media, or sign up for a news aggregator service to stay on top of what people are writing and talking about. Remember you should pay attention to the events and trends that your audience cares about, which may be very niche content.

5. Keep a running list or folder for ideas. When an idea for a blog post comes to me, I will add it to a list that I keep for that purpose. If the inspiration was an article I read, I will add the link to my list as well, so I can go back to the piece when it’s time for me to start writing.

The key to successful blogging is planning. Don’t add stress to your life by struggling to come up with a topic on the fly. Regularly brainstorm topics and consider these tips to help you develop ideas for months at a time.

For more tips to improve your blogging, read Is Anyone Reading Your Content? How to Make Sure They Do.

If you need help with your blogging, contact us for a consultation.

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