September 1, 2014

Finding Blog Inspiration in Unlikely Places

You’ve read all the posts about why your business should blog (like this one from Techipedia) and you’ve decided you’re on board. You get it. You want to take advantage of the SEO benefits, the added authority and the community that you’ll be able to build on your own site. You have the motivation–but you’re just lacking one small thing: the actual blog topics. That killer post idea always just seems to be just out of reach.

If you’re running low on blogging ideas, below are a few unconventional ways to create some new ones. Why not give them a try and get those blogging juices fired up?

1. Overhear Your Customers’ Conversations

For small business owners who find themselves face-to-face with their customers every day, congratulations! You have the opportunity to eavesdrop on your customers and hear first-hand their daily struggles, what they wish they knew, and what gets them really excited.

You’re there to hear Mary tell Jane that she wishes your café served a Peppermint Mocha during the holidays or that she hates that Pumpkin White Chocolate Mocha you tried this year.

You’re there when Joe tells Martha that he’d like to buy that treadmill, but he doesn’t think he’d be able to install it himself so he’ll wait.

And when you do overhear these conversations, you can address them both in your business and on your blog. Because if there’s one person who’s vocal about his fear of installing your product, you can bet there are more who aren’t being vocal. So why not write a tutorial series walking people through the process? Or create a video that shows people how to do it?

If you know people have questions, your blog is the perfect place to answer them.

(You can also “overhear” customer questions in your email or in your site logs, it’s just not quite so gossipy.)

2. Questions From Family, Friends and Outsiders

The holidays are approaching. And if you’re like me, that may mean having to go home and explain your SEO job (or whatever it is you do) to your family because they still don’t understand what it is. Instead of just tuning this conversation out, really listen to the questions they’re asking–because I bet they’re questions your audience and your customers have about you and your company, as well.

For example, maybe you’re a financial planner, and your brother-in-law wants to know how to set up an IRA. He’s asking what an IRA really is, what kinds of stocks he should invest in and how much you need to put away today to retire at 65. He’d also like to know what the risks are, if that money is tax deductible and all the different investing options available to him.

You can be sure these are all questions potential customers may have when doing research about a company to invest with. So why not create a resource section on your website and/or blog to address them? Not only are you helping answer someone else’s questions, but you’re creating a stockpile of evergreen content that you can build links to and rank for in the search engines.

3. Post a Question on Facebook and Blog the Results

Many of us feel we have nothing to blog about because we don’t have anything to say on a particular day. The well just seems dry. And that’s fine, but maybe you have a question, or a theory you want to ask people their thoughts on. Why not post that question on Facebook and then blog about the results? There’s nothing wrong with crowdsourcing content, especially if it’s good content.

4. Interview Someone

Interview series are a great way to build content for your blog because it takes the focus off your company and introduces your audience to someone you think they should know. It could be an email interview, a video interview, a podcast, whatever. Sit down with someone from your industry and ask them about their take on things, what they’re passionate about, where they see the industry moving. Then share that conversation with your audience.

Or why not interview someone from inside your community? Pick someone who you’ve noticed is a frequent commenter or who is always retweeting your content. Ask them if they’d like to be featured on your blog and find out what they do, what they’re passionate about, how they found your community and why they like engaging there. You’ll learn a lot about them and what they get from your site, and you’ll also give others incentive to get involved.

5. Publish Presentations You’ve Given

As small business owners we’re often asked to give presentations at local schools, the Chamber of Commerce or neighborhood events as a way of sharing our expertise or getting people excited about our industry. Why not share that presentation with your blog audience? Whether that means posting the actual PowerPoint presentation that you gave or simply writing about your experiences at the lecture, this gives you an opportunity to “re-use” the material you shared there, while also demonstrating your expertise to your blog readers.

As busy businesspeople, we’re always on the hunt for informative (but not terribly time-consuming) blog ideas. Getting inspiration from the life events and people around you is a great way to find out what people most want to know so you can serve it right up.

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Lisa Barone


Lisa Barone Lisa Barone is Vice President of Strategy at Overit, an Albany Web design and development firm where she serves on the senior staff overseeing the company’s marketing consulting, social media, and content divisions.

8 Reactions

  1. 6. Read a book.

    So many times I have great ideas when reading a book. And I’m not talking about books from your industry. I’m talking any book. Even fiction. Once you get your mind off your work a bit, it’s amazing what it can do.

  2. Thanks for this list, I tend to find inspiration for my blog in the most random situations, usually from conversations with my family and customers.

  3. I always plan to do #5, but then get busy and somehow the presentation never gets published. But now you’ve inspired me, Lisa. I have at least a dozen presentations I could load online…

    - Anita

  4. Thanks for the ideas. I guess we overlook the obvious places for getting ideas to blog about.

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