[Estimated reading time 7.5 minutes]
Do you struggle to find blog topics? Do you go through times when you are full of ideas and others when you can’t think of a single thing to write?
At least once a year I get brain freeze, I’ll have been happily writing away and all of a sudden my fingers can’t type anymore. Bloggers block has hit.
I keep a list of blog topics for such occasions but it needs topping up from time to time.
Today I’m going to share a list of blog topics. It should help inspire some ideas. Take these topics and brainstorm around them, find the topics that will work for you and add them to your content calendar.
Listen below and start building your blog topics list:
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I discussed the process of creating reader/customer personas in detail in episode 14.
Knowing your customer well, knowing the sorts of things they are interested in, the challenges they face and what they value is a great way to generate content ideas.
It doesn’t take long to create a persona, you can download my worksheet here. I always come up with a mountain of blog topics when I work on these.
Putting your own commentary or adding an insight to news or events can make for good reading
This has worked well for me in the past. I wrote about social media policy in the wake of Margaret Thatchers death and gained press attention as a result.
My post was sparked by a specific social media incident, not the death. If you are paying tribute to a death or commenting on a disaster tread very carefully, you don’t want it to look like you are cashing in on grief.
Google News is a good place to start looking for news stories related to your business. Select ‘News’ from the search results page to find the latest stories relating to your industry, keyword or local area.
You can subscribe to specific Google news results using Google Alerts. When you do this Google will send you an email every day with new stories as it finds them. You’ll find the option at the bottom of your Google News search results.
Twitter trending topics
Check Twitter daily to see what is trending. Even if you can’t tap into the trend straight away it will inspire blog posts.
As I write this the name of an Irish soccer fan, presumed missing in Paris is trending, luckily because he was found safe and well.
If I was a tourism related business I could tap into this topic by writing about:
- How to keep in touch with friends when travelling if you don’t have a phone
- How to extend the battery life of your phone when travelling
- Where to get free wifi, internet access and phone charging points in Paris
The news topics that make it into the pages of our newspapers, segments on the TV or radio are the biggest trending news stories in our local area, country or even the world.
In Ireland both traditional and online media are saturated with two big stories:
#1 Brexit (the UK referendum on whether to leave the EU) – If the result of that referendum will have an impact on your readers and customers you should be writing about that.
#2 The UEAFA Euro’s (that’s a soccer championship for those of you outside Europe) – Is there anything soccer related you can weave into your content? For example, a HR consultancy could use the opportunity to talk about how to referee employee disputes.
Looking into the future the Olympics are on the way. What blog topics can you tap into that relate to that?
Days of the year
Every day of the year has at least one celebration day, some of them are quite bizarre. Days Of The Year is a website that keeps track of them all.
According to the site today is:
- Fresh Veggies Day
- Dump The Pump Day
- Fudge Day
A great day for a food blogger!
Pick out some significant days and start thinking about content that will work. I’m going to give Selfie Day (June 21st) a shot.
Look ahead to regular seasonal content. It’s Father’s day on Saturday, is there something you can write for that. What about Christmas, Valentines Day?
The nice thing about seasonal content is that one it’s written you can share it every year.
Don’t forget your seasonal content either, what can you write for Father’s Day, Christmas, Ramadan? The great thing about this content is you can share it every year.
Throwback Thursday is a weekly trend where people share nostalgic content. It could be an old photo of your town, something from your own archives or a reminder of objects and toys from our youth.
The American Craft Council have a regular Throw Back Thursday feature on their blog.
Throwback Thursday isn’t the only dailly theme. Here are just a few for other days of the week:
- Caturday (my personal favourite)
You’ll find a more comprehensive list here.
What tasks do your customers have to do on a regular basis? Find out and create checklists to help them.
Here’s an example of a ‘What to pack’ checklist on the Eagle Creek blog. It doesn’t just tell you what to pack, it includes lots of packing tips too.
There is so much content available on the internet for free that it can be hard to create something unique. Instead why not take some of that content and add your own commentary or analysis.
You could respond to an existing blog post or try and replicate a process someone else has demonstrated. I’m a big fan of the Pinterest Fail website that shows people’s failed attempts to follow Pinterest instructions. Is there something similar you can do relating to your business?
Infographics are a good place to start with analytical content. Find one you like (Visual.ly has a directory), embed it in your post and analyse the stats, compare them to your own experience and how they relate to your readers.
Find the latest surveys and studies related to your business (Google News is good for this) and analyse the content in the same way you did for Infographics.
Events and conferences
If you are attending an event or conference keep notes of the key learnings and insights that will appeal to your target market. Take lots of photos and audio and combine them into a blog post.
Your personal story will attract and engage far more readers than other content. people want to know about you.
Once you start thinking about it, you’ll find stories everywhere, in overheard conversations, in daily experiences. Discussions with customers and clients. What memories do you have that could spark a good blog post?
I used the story of a money box and a conversation with a childhood friend as the basis of a post I wrote for CongRegation.
Stories about your business
What stories do you have from your years in business? Could you tell your readers about the day you started your business? What you’ve learned on your business journey?
Tell the stories of your staff, contractors, customers, suppliers.
Case studies & Testimonials
Use blog posts to share case studies of work you have done or testimonials from customers.
If you are gathering testimonials be careful to not make them too cold. Interviewing a customer in person and transcribing it will always seem more natural and credible than an email interview. Shooting video or recording podcasts is even better.
If your business is in the early stages consider sharing a diary of your progress. It will help bring your audience on the journey with you.
This is a technique we used the first year we ran Blog Awards Ireland. Our weekly blog posts told the story of planning and launching the awards. Those posts were surprisingly popular with our audience.
If you’ve been blogging a while you’ve got a tonne of content on your site already. Look back at some of those posts, could you write a follow up post?
What are your most popular posts? Can you elaborate on those and create new posts around the same topic?
The top posts in my Google analytics are always How-to posts. These are step by step guides on how to complete specific processes.
There is a never ending list of tutorials you can share. Think about different ways you can do this, they don’t all have to be text based, video, instructographics and photographs can make your tutorials stand out.
Instead of a straight how-to post look at how you can answer the question differently. Is there a super fast way of doing it? is there a way of doing it on a budget? Can you do it without a key ingredient?
The Happy Pear are great at creating dairy free, gluten free versions of recipes. Look at this gluten free jaffa cake recipe.
What products and services interest your customers? It doesn’t have to be something you sell but something that compliments what you do.
For example an interior design shop owner could review:
- Interior design books
- The art direction in Downtown Abbey
- Cleaning products
- Art exhibitions
If you are a regular listener I don’t have to elaborate on this much. roundup link posts are a collection of links, with a brief description usually relating t a specific topic. Check out episode 26 for more.
Interviews not only give you insights that you may not find by yourself but they are also highly shareable.
Write a list of people you’d like to interview. You can aim high with some (but these aren’t necessarily the first people you should approach), then look at local hero’s, local business people, people who are influential to your customers and people you know you can learn from.
It’s not a business blog but I‘m a big fan of Minne Melange’s blog, she’s pulled off some great interviews. In fact, Sinead is on my list of interviewees for future episodes of the podcast.
Best of lists
I love doing these posts, there are so many great people doing great stuff online (and off) why not tell the world. Take a look through your blog feed, who are your favourite bloggers? Can you write about them? Your favourite Instagrammers, Tweeters, Snapchatters, local businesses?
I hope you’ve managed to collect some blog topic ideas whilst reading this. The next stage is to edit that list down and focus on the ones that will really work for your business.
This week I want you to pick just 5 from the list, put them in your content schedule and start to elaborate on them.
Do you believe in Karma? If so I highly recommend that you go over to iTunes or Stitcher and leave a review on this podcast, you never know what wonderful things might happen in return.
If you’ve been following my challenges or if you have done something on your blog that has worked well I’d love to hear about it. You can leave me a comment below, tweet me @spiderworking or snap me @spiderworking.
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