How to Generate Business Blog Topics When There’s Nothing To Blog About (3 Examples)

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Let me get this straight.

You know…

  • Google will send you more love if you blog
  • you will get “retweeted” and “liked” on social media channels if you blog
  • your prospects and customers will be convinced of your expertise if you blog
  • you will likely get covered by mainstream media if you blog

But you don’t blog.

You have nothing to blog about

So you’re in one of those non-sexy industries, eh?  An industry where it makes no sense to blog?

What do you sell?  Office Supplies?  Real Estate?  Karate Lessons?

No matter what you are selling, you can get all the benefits of blogging.  You just need to put on your thinking cap.

Let’s get busy…

Who is your target?

It may be that you can write blog posts aimed at your entire market.

But be warned.  For many businesses, this is a mistake.

It is difficult to create engaging content for the masses.  You should consider picking a niche of your market as the target audience of your business blog.  This is particularly true if your business serves a market that crosses over many demographics.

Take, for example, an owner of a small pharmacy.  We all use medicine.  But it would be difficult to create an engaging business blogging strategy for men and women between the ages of 18 and … well… dead.

Better to find a lucrative market and build hyper-relevant content on the blog for that target audience.  Here are a few thoughts for a pharmacy employing a blogging strategy:

  • Target new mothers – I can tell you from experience that having a newborn means many trips to the pharmacy.  And there is no end to the amount of blog topics you can build around health and newborn children.
  • Target diabetics – Diabetics need information.  A blog on a pharmacy website can provide it.
  • Target allergy sufferers – My wife has allergies year around.  Content built on a blog that provides information, help or community to other allergy sufferers would do well.

What do you really sell?

Don’t worry, I’m not going to go all “features” and “benefits” on you again.  That was last week.

However, understand that if you think you have nothing to blog about, you aren’t selling what you think you are selling.

To determine the angle you will take on your blog, you have to get to the core benefit you are providing when someone buys your buckets.

Let’s look at three examples…

Fiskars (yep… the scissor company)

The Fiskars blog is one of the most successful business blogs on the Internet.

Target audience:  We all use scissors.  But the Fiskars blog, called Fisk-A-Teers, targets women that like to make crafts.

What they are really selling:  Fun

Topics:  They build content around crafts but also provide the ability for members to write posts, upload images of their crafts and generally “hang out” with other Fisk-A-Teers.

Extra cool:  Fiskars named their community members Fisk-A-Teers, a brilliant marketing tactic.  Learn more about the power of  giving your community members a name.

Check out the Fiskars blog

Arch City Homes

Arch City Homes is a small real estate firm in St. Louis, Missouri. Karen Goodman of Arch City Homes is a brilliant marketer, using her blog and social media to grow her own Tiny & Mighty business.

Target audience:  Karen’s blog content doesn’t just target people that are in the market to buy homes.  She targets anyone in the St. Louis area.  She knows that most of us will be in the market to buy a home sooner or later.  And when we are, we will think of Karen.

What they are really selling:  A better lifestyle in St. Louis

Topics:  The Arch City Homes blog contains pictures and video of St. Louis communities and events, all uniquely created.  Karen writes homeowners tips, reviews of school districts and fun things to do in St. Louis, MO.

Extra cool:  The Arch City Homes blog makes excellent use of images and video in addition to text.

Check out the Arch City Homes blog

Urban Martial Arts

Urban Martial Arts is a martial arts school in New York City.  The owners of this school are making excellent use of business blogging to grow their business.

Target audience:  Parents in the Brooklyn area

What they are really selling:  Mentally, spiritually and physically fit children.

Topics:  The Urban Martial Arts blog provides advice about parenting, nutrition and news regarding the world of martial arts and their own dojo.

Extra cool:  The Urban Martial Arts blog covers current events that are relevant to their overall theme.

Check out the Urban Martial Arts

Get all the benefits of business blogging

Ok.  Your turn.

Flesh out a vision for your own business blog.

Target Audience:  Remember you may not be able to aim this blog at your entire market
What you are really selling:  If your answer is red buckets or blue buckets,  keep digging.
Topics:  Come up with topics that blend well with the audience and what you are selling.
Extra cool:  This is that little twist that makes your blog different than others like it.

Now, get to work making that vision a reality.   The topic of your business blog doesn’t have to be a barrier if you plan ahead and get creative.

Comments

  1. Thanks for highlighting my blog. I work hard to keep the blog interesting for people who aren’t in the market to buy or sell a home today, but may be someday…or may have a friend who is ready to move.

    With every blog post, I think about my target audience. Will they enjoy this? Does it give them information that they want or need? I spend a lot of time using technology and social media, and could easily write about my latest experiences, but my blog readers aren’t coming to my site for tech tips. I’ll never write enough about tech to attract those readers, and I would lose my St. Louis focused readers. Lose-lose.

    My tip to bloggers is to write what your readers want to read, not what you feel like talking about today.

  2. Though you featured us as an example of someone doing it right (thanks Russ!), I have to admit that we don’t have it all figured out.

    As a local business especially, I sometimes wonder what’s the best way to go about blogging.

    Obviously, the main purpose of all our marketing efforts (including blogging) is to get prospective students to contact us.

    I have ideas for lots of cool content (on martial arts, nutrition, fitness, personal development) but it seems like if we get a whole bunch of readers who don’t live in Brooklyn, NY, it’s a bit pointless since they could never become students of ours.

    On the other hand, if we create quality content that will be linked to all over the place, that’ll naturally boost our rankings, making it easier for local folks to find us when they search. So there’s an indirect effect.

    I’d love to hear from Karen and other local businesses: what do you think is the best editorial strategy if you’re a local business without an online sales component, who relies on people walking through your doors to provide them with your product or service?

    • While the out of town traffic won’t generate direct sales for you, you never know where business opportunities might come from. Someone from out of town could present a new venture opportunity, or could share things that are working for them that will help you improve your business. As the world becomes more global, you could get featured on a national website that is the leader in your business, and gain more exposure than you could ever do on your own.

      I wouldn’t worry about if you are getting out of town traffic. Just make sure you are using the right keywords so that the local traffic finds you too.

      • Hi Karen, thanks so much for your thoughts! You’re right that there are a lot business benefits other than direct sales that come from social media efforts.

        Like with our Twitter account – that has become the best tool for us to connect to and learn from other school owners and thought leaders in the martial arts profession. And that’s something I wasn’t expecting at all when we first started out.

    • @Carmen — This is an excellent point and question Carmen.

      Getting links (like the one in this post) will definitely increase your search engine rankings on local keywords. But creating content is about more than SEO. You can use the outstanding content you are creating to get the attention of traditional media sources like television, newspaper and radio in Brooklyn. Also, consider using social media in a very local way. Find and follow people on Twitter that use a Brooklyn hashtag (in St. Louis, our hashtag is #STL). Find fitness, nutrition, health and perhaps even martial arts bloggers in the Brooklyn area and guest post for them. Start a “Meet Up” on http://www.meetup.com concerning martial arts, nutrition, parenting, etc and host it at your dojo.

      Those are just a few ideas.

      • Hi Russ, thanks for the ideas! It’s a good reminder that quality content is quality content – and that even if we attract non-local traffic, it can bring us ancillary benefits like those you mentioned (media coverage, positioning as a leader in our profession).

    • The content and rich media on the Urban Martial Arts blog seems to cover many of the online bases. As you continue to add relevant information, your website will likely get more hits and rise up higher in the rankings (which is good no matter who is looking at the website). Regular use of hashtags and keywords that apply to your local community will help gain more attention from your target market if you spread your message around the social media platforms.

      Face-to-face networking, interviews and making presentations can make a big difference in getting known locally. Meetup groups (like http://www.meetup.com/Tiny-Business-Mighty-Profits) can provide a lot of value and opportunity to build relationships.

      You are definitely on the right track!

  3. Besides the obvious ‘listen to your customers for blog ideas’, I also tell people to check out Yahoo Answers. (http://answers.yahoo.com) Type in your industry, a keyword or product and see what other people are asking about – and trust me, there are people asking about everything! Then write a blog around answering those questions.

    • Will, this is definitely a great source for blog post ideas. You can also subscribe to an RSS feed of whatever keyword you search on and keep up that way through Google Reader.

      On a side note: aren’t you amazed by the kinds of intensely personal questions people will type into Yahoo Answers?

      If I was worried that my spouse was cheating on me, or concerned about rashes in my nether regions, I don’t think posting on Yahoo Answers would be the first thing that came to mind for me. But apparently, for a lot of other people it is. LOL!

  4. Russ, Karen, Carmen, Will, what an exemplary textbook example of the power of a blog, the information that can be gained and shared by all by means of Russ’ blog which has provided quality content. Our responses (comments) are at the very heart of what blogging is all about. It has generated valuable, useful and helpful information for anyone looking to generate good business blog ideas. Did you see that sprinkling of key words Russ?
    The excuses there is nothing to write about, I don’t have time, I’m not a writer are poor excuses.
    Examples of ways to generate content that have worked well for my business STL Beds: Yahoo Answers, RSS Feed, Competitors FAQ and their Blogs. Possibly the single most important method to generate business blog topics for me is responding to the customers that call, email, and visit my business. After all isn’t the first thing every customer does is ask you a question. Even if they don’t buy from me they can still put food on my table by feeding me soon-to-be content “their questions”. Jot them down and let them work for you.
    Great Post Russ!
    Doug Belleville

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