Content inspiration for your blog
It’s all very well understanding that writing great content for your blog is super important, but finding those ideas to write about brings a whole new set of brain frustrations. My initial reaction to starting my blog was pretty much “but what on earth am I going to write about?!” – I get it, I know your pain, but we’re not alone. Anyone and everyone that wants to write is constantly yearning after ideas too. Content writing can be a tad bothersome to begin with, especially when you feel like you have nothing worthwhile to talk about, let alone committing to writing it on a weekly basis. Whilst you may feel like you have nothing to say, you do in fact have far more to say than you realise. It’s just a matter of pulling those magical ideas out of the dusty corners of your brain.
Where shall I start, where can I get ideas and how do I keep them coming?
The biggest problem with content marketing is creating enough interesting material to keep readers engaged. There is no point posting subpar quality content just for the sake of posting something, it’ll do more harm than good and you won’t see the results you want. You need to publish content that your target audience will want to engage with, and it should be compelling enough for readers to want to come back and see what new things you have posted. Instead of seeing content marketing as a hindrance (or your most insufferable task), use it as a tool to learn more about your market and your passions, and feed that back into your business. Writing a blog is as beneficial to you as it is for the reader, and you stand to learn just as much in the process of writing. Talking about what people want to hear, not just about what you want to tell them, means you will learn something in the process. For us small business owners who are aspiring to dominate our industries, the sooner you fully embrace that great content truly is king, the sooner you’ll be able to appreciate why.
The best way to get into the flow and routine of writing content for your blog is to create and commit to a regular posting schedule. For me, I have decided that I typically would like to post twice a week on Wednesdays and Fridays, as it fits in with the rest of my business and I am able to create content for these days. For newbie bloggers, posting once a week is sufficient enough to get your blog going, as long as you make sure you are consistent and focus on producing quality content. Posting any day between Tuesday and Friday, or even a Sunday, are ideal to post and outreach with your blog.
I mix between writing different amounts of words for different kinds of posts – a short post would have 500-1000 words, a medium post would require 1000+ words, and for killer posts I invest a solid 2000-5000+ words. The reason for all this wordiness is because Google doesn’t like sites with “thin content", meaning they wont rank your articles if they are below a certain word count. You need to publish content that helps build authority in the eyes of search engines, and one of the things Google looks for in their quality content checks is a post’s length. Google also looks for appropriate inbond and outbound links to and from authority websites, and relevant keywords so consider all these factors. You don’t have to solely focus on your word count though, as audio and visual posts can be super effective as well. You just need to figure out what balance works best for you and your readers, as your main goal of your content strategy is to get your target audience interested in your website and excited to return again.
On the Qtique blog, I write about a range of topics that I am knowledgeable in, from business advise to reviewing cake (my forte). I make sure all my content is in someway connected to my business, but not in a way that it becomes boring to read about. The best way to find out what is related to your business is to think about what compliments your products/service, your inspirations, your competitors and understating what your customers are interested in discovering.
So to be more specific, below I’ve put together 10 starting points of ideas for how to create great content when you’ve got nothing to write about. Hopefully you’ll be able to take away some inspiration to help you with your next blog posts.
Look at different useful services, products and tools you have used for your business or personally and write a review on it. Review things that could help your customers, whether it is an easy bookkeeping software, an amazing camera you can’t live without or something you love using with your product. You could easily become a go-to place for readers to find out what’s new and interesting. These kinds of reviews could also be genuinely beneficial for you too, as you can create discussions with your readers and discover something better that helps you.
Curate a resource list of anything. They are a super popular type of post with readers as they essentially take out the need for a reader to research about a topic themselves. You could create a checklist, how-to’s (see next point), ‘Top 10…’, ‘Top 100…’, ‘7 reasons why…’, ‘the 12 best…’, ‘5 tools to help…’, ‘8 inspiring…’ – the list (ha!) is endless. They’re great for linking to quality sites, and when you outreach you might get a retweet or even a sacred link back. Winner!
3. How-to posts
Posts that help people out are another standby for many bloggers as they effortlessly answer reader’s queries and confusions on something the blogger expertly know how to do. If people ask you how you edit your pictures, or perhaps the techniques you use to make something, create a how-to so they can easily do it themselves. Sharing is caring, and it drives traffic to your site. You can also think about what you search for and learn how to do it yourself to write a guide - other people are probably looking for the same help too.
4. Get personal
If you want something easier to write about, consider occasionally getting personal with your blog posts. Readers like businesses to be more human, and it’s nice to open up your brand’s personality. Tell a real story about yourself, do a guide on your hometown, go behind the scenes of your business or talk about an experience/event you’ve recently had. People enjoy reading about inspiring success stories, and also opening up about mistakes you’ve made too can help people going through similar situations. It’s interesting for customers to see how your company works and get a peek behind the curtain.
5. Answer customer questions
You will undoubtedly have had many customers ask questions about your products, and it’s likely that new potential customers will have the same questions too. These are great starting points for blog posts as they are an excellent way to discover what people want to know. You could even put out an “ask me anything” post on social media to get more people involved, or see what questions your competitors are being asked and provide the answers yourself in your own content. In your blog, you can talk about queries in more detail than what you would have done in your FAQ page, and establish yourself as an expert in your field. This will increase the likelihood that others will find your website who are also searching for these topics.
Use Google’s search box suggestions (what appears when you start typing into the search bar) to give you ideas on what other people are searching for. Also, on the bottom of search results pages, Google lists related searches that can help you see what other content you could be covering.
7. Industry topics
You can create compelling content by answering questions in your industry that no one else is willing to answer. By being transparent about the secrets that no one wants to openly talk about, you can be the person who finally does and your audience will appreciate the honesty. For example, I’ve posted about the confusion of products being truly Made in England after being left frustrated with makers and retailers who abuse the claim. It was my own small way of standing up for one of my main company values.
You could interview your suppliers, manufacturers, fellow small business owners or people who have inspired you. Everyone has something unique to talk about and it can widen your own perspective. Talk to interesting people and ask them questions about what they do and their experiences.
9. Break up your posts
You can use your content more efficiently by splitting informative posts up into smaller, more niche titles. By splitting one big topic you are knowledgeable in, you have more opportunities to post without having to simplify your content. So for example, if I wanted to post about the selling points of my product, I could write about each USP in its own dedicated post and really go to town in explaining its benefit and worth.
You could even take your ideas and write about them in different scenarios, spreading an idea further and giving you more to post about. So for example, if I wanted to talk about the best places to get coffee, I could review my favourite coffee shops in London, and then create further posts on my favourite coffee shops in The Cotswolds, Boston, and any other place I know well.
10. Title generators
When all else fails, and you really are completely stuck for ideas, have a play with content title generators. Sometimes the suggestions are a little too random and not initially useful, but they do help spark ideas that have led me to write more suitable posts. Portent’s Content Idea Generator is quite entertaining, and Hubspot’s Blog Topic Generator can give you a genuine title to work on in seconds.
Writing blog content just takes a little creative thinking and in no time you’ll have 30 articles lined up with no time to write about! Go forth and blog!