There is so much to keep track of when blogging for your small business (or for your clients if you’re an agency) that it’s easy to lose sight of the big picture. While you’re setting up an editorial calendar, performing keyword research, and posting engaging and useful content, don’t overlook perhaps the most important task of business blog topics: accomplishing your marketing goals.
An effective content strategy should provide value to your customers, but it should also provide value to your business by serving as a continuous stream of kick-ass marketing. Once you create your content marketing strategy with this goal in mind, it becomes easier to come up with sustainable blog topics—not just topics for this week or month, but effective content month after month, year after year.
To delve into just how the right blog topics can help you to actually accomplish your marketing goals, we were inspired by this recent blog post and Whiteboard Friday video over on the Moz blog.
In this post we’ll be making direct connections between many of the points in that post and the needs and goals of our BlogMutt customers, as well as other small business owners.
What is the value of a single blog post?
When you feel overwhelmed by the task of creating an overall business blogging strategy, it sometimes helps to narrow your focus a bit on each individual blog post. An individual blog post is unlikely to accomplish all of your marketing goals, but if it can tackle one or two, that’s great. Cumulatively, your individual posts begin to chip away at your marketing goals in a powerful way.
Over on the Moz post, they suggest that each individual post should do at least one of these things:
1. Help your blog readers accomplish a goal.
For example, if a reader searches for ways to win a real estate bidding war and finds a post on your real estate company’s blog giving them actionable tips for doing just that, they will leave the post feeling empowered and ready to place a winning bid.
2. Provide your reader with something interesting or entertaining to think about.
They may not even know they were interested in the topic (except in a peripheral way) and this individual post probably won’t help them achieve a goal. What it will do is be super engaging and likely to be shared on Facebook or another social media outlet, while making your brand more memorable and sticky.
This list of the most shareable blog posts of 2016 is full of great examples.
3. Improve your thought leadership authority on a topic and lead to an increased linkage.
By discovering problems your readers are searching about and providing solutions in the form of helpful, approachable, shareable content, you improve your traffic and your reputation through future linking potential at the same time.
4. Create a positive brand association.
Personal stories about why you started your business, the passion, drive, and mission behind your brand, or even more vulnerable tales of times you or your business missed the mark—when well-crafted—can make your brand feel more unique, personable, and likeable.
While some of these are focused on how your blog posts help your reader, hitting these markers also helps your business reach its marketing goals. When your blog readers are engaged, entertained, and given interesting or actionable things to think about, they are more likely to come back for more, grow attached to your brand, and share your posts on social media.
Homing In On Your Marketing Goals
In order to create an effective content marketing strategy, you must first home in on just what your marketing goals are for your blog. It will be much easier to choose the right blog topics and measure your blog’s success if you start out with clearly defined goals.
Using the Moz post as a starting point, here are a few possible marketing goals for your blog:
- Attract a specific audience. Maybe you want to attract homeowners in their 30s with plenty of disposable income, or urban moms with young toddlers. Spend some time thinking about, defining your ideal audience(s), and then that will assist in how to best attract them.
- Grab the attention of influencers. This often means a combination of high-quality, attention-grabbing content, and reaching out to influencers directly in a memorable way.
- Improve your SEO so the right customers and readers can find you easily.
- Build brand recognition and likeability. Your blog is the voice of your brand, and how it makes your readers feel will have a huge impact on its marketing success.
- Inspire readers to take action. These actions may include signing up for an email newsletter, buying a product or service, subscribing to your blog, sharing a post, or leaving a comment in order to encourage an engaged community.
When you come up with blog topics, keep these marketing goals in mind. One approach is to break your goals down into bite-size portions by only focusing on a couple of goals at a time for a set period of time, like a quarter, or designating one day per week for a particular goal-oriented blog post. Whichever approach you choose, be sure to regularly measure your blog’s success to stay on track.
6 Ways To Make Your Business Blog Topics Work For You
Now that you have a clearer idea of your marketing goals, it’s time to make your business blog topics work for you and start generating topics that help your business reach those goals.
Here are six topic generating approaches that—as master Rand points out on the Moz Whiteboard Friday video—lead to a near-infinite number of blog topics:
1. What else do my readers care about?
One very freeing approach to business blogging is to look for overlap between the topics directly related to your business and other interesting topics that relate indirectly.
If you own a roofing business, you can certainly post plenty of roofing-related content, but chances are your readers will also be interested in other aspects of home ownership, from ways to save energy around the house to tips for throwing a killer summer barbecue that maybe are only peripherally related.
2. What are some hot topics in my field?
Piggybacking off of trending blogs and news commentary is a great way to gain traction for your business blog.
Let’s say you’re a mortgage broker and everyone on your Twitter feed seems to be worked up because mortgage rates are going up. What a great opportunity to write a post explaining why buyers shouldn’t worry, despite conventional wisdom.
3. What are the major questions your prospective customers have?
Listing out every question you get asked on a regular basis, or notice people asking your colleagues online, should generate tons of blog topics.
If you are a marketing manager for a law firm, what do that firm’s potential clients need to know? You could write individual posts about how to prepare for their initial consultation with their lawyer, how to keep legal costs under control, how to maximize their chances of winning a civil suit…and that’s barely scratching the surface.
4. What information do you have that no one else has?
This may be in the form of specific experiences, niche expertise, or data that you’ve gathered. The idea is to position yourself as an expert in possession of rare and useful information.
5. What personal stories can you tell?
Did you start a pet food company because you loved your dog and were wary of the ingredients in commercial pet food? Did you become a grief counselor after experiencing your own loss and realizing you wanted to help others navigate their grief in healthy ways?
Telling stories that are real, personal, and vulnerable enhances your brand and makes it easier for prospective customers to feel a real connection.
6. What keywords are people searching for related to your business?
When you approach business blogging in these six ways, the ideas should start flowing and never stop. And if you need more inspiration for one-off topics, we have you covered here and here, oh and here, too.
Once you begin treating your business blog as a tool to achieve your marketing goals, you will hopefully find that it’s much easier to sustain an ongoing and effective content marketing strategy.
If you’re ever stuck, you can always tap into the creativity of our 10,000+ BlogMutt writers by trying out our cool Topic Ideas feature. Once you have your never-ending list of business blog topics, get organized with our 12-Month Checklist and How To Start A Blog Challenge Series.