We’ve already discussed the importance of having a blog for your business website. Now, we understand that not anybody is a skilled wordsmith, or gifted in written communication. But even the best writing teams run into a creative brick wall on occasion.
You want to keep coming up with great articles for your business blog. Google actually loves fresh content, especially genuinely helpful and comprehensive original pieces.
And this is the reason why great content development plays an important role in your business’s online marketing efforts. It keeps your brand not just top-of-mind among your readers, but also more visible online where even more potential new customers can find you.
So where should I find content ideas for my business blog, you ask? Here’s a list of ten sources you can draw inspiration from to develop your own high-quality, market-relevant content aimed at helping your readers:
1. Your own customers and clients
Arguably the best source of ideas you can get for your own content marketing campaigns comes from your own target audience.
You, as a business owner, should know what your clients’ needs and wants are, what their aspirations are, and more importantly, what their pain points are and how your brand comes in as the solution to their challenges.
For starters, you should know what questions they commonly ask you, your sales and/or marketing team, your customer service staff, or other frontliners in your organization. This alone gives you a wealth of content ideas.
Another good source is client feedback, especially from those who have done business with your brand, or those who have actually used your products and services.
Honest reviews also serve as an opportunity to address user challenges and other concerns or as recommendations for other future customers down the road. In any case, all these are sweet low-hanging fruit and make for great content
2. Your own social media accounts
If you’re looking for where the conversations are, look no further than your own social media accounts.
Whether it’s Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, or any other social networks, you know right away which of your content— your published pieces, nuggets of wisdom, or curated online finds– best resonates with your fans and followers.
Sure, you can experiment with little bits of different material within your content mix. But don’t forget to circle back to your analytics or page stats to see which ones get the best audience engagement, especially those that get a lot of likes, shares, or retweets.
3. The competition
Any savvy business owner also knows what the competition is up to. You can even quickly update yourself on the activities of the competing brands in your space simply by following them on social media or checking out their website.
A quick review of their online presence is enough to tell you what they’ve been doing as far as content marketing goes. So now, ask yourself:
- Can you offer something better in terms of products and services?
- Can you fill in the gaps you’ve found in your competitors’ content by providing your clients with even more helpful content?
- Can you give an alternate opinion or observation on a topic they’ve just covered?
- Can you give a fresh take on a popular subject matter within your space or industry?
Whichever the case, going through your competitors’ content can help inspire you to create better (i.e. more helpful, more comprehensive, more relevant) pieces for your target audience.
4. Industry publications
Look for hot topics within your industry or space by going through trade magazines, as well as reports, whitepapers, presentations, and other publications.
Take it a step further and look out for trade shows, conferences, workshops, and seminars within your space. Not only will you gain access to some of the latest research and reports from the industry, but you also get the opportunity to do some networking and relationship-building for your business as well.
5. Books (and ebooks)
Even as a busy business owner, you should be reading on a regular basis. Books are a great source of inspiration for new content for your business blog.
While you can obviously get content ideas from bestsellers from within your space, we’d go as far as suggesting that just about any genre can contribute to your content development efforts. Reading, in general, encourages better creativity, stimulates your imagination, and motivates you to be a better writer.
So go right ahead and head down to your favorite library, or do some shopping online for a few good books, or even ask for some choice reading recommendations from family and friends.
6. Google Search
Turning to online sources, Google Search is possibly the most accessible source for content ideas. Simply typing in a keyword, a phrase, or a question into the search window lets Google come back with a good number of suggestions as it tries to guess what you might want even before you’re done typing.
This auto-complete feature of Google’s suggestions is likely drawn from what other users might have also recently searched for online.
Phrase your keywords differently or use different questions to harvest a new set of results. You can also scroll down and have a look at the “People Also Ask” section (just after the top results) and all the way down to the bottom of the page for the “Searches Related To” section.
One often-overlooked online resource is Quora, a leading question-and-answer website.
Yes, users can get their burning questions answered, but more importantly, other Quora users can chime in, collaborate, and even suggest or make edits to answers already submitted by others.
With Quora, you can follow boards on any given topic. This way, you can keep tabs on all the online exchanges and shared articles in one place. Plus, the best pieces of content are voted up by the Quora community.
Reddit calls itself “the front page of the internet”. While it may not have a user base as large as Facebook’s, Twitter’s, or Instagram’s, it does have a self-policing community that ranks content submitted by users (thereby minimizing spam and abusive content).
You can search Reddit for topics as well as communities within the platform (known as subreddits), and filter your results according to date or popularity, or even have a look at what’s trending and what’s controversial.
In a way, Reddit works as a news source, but also as a way to listen in on some real discussions about particular topics. As all users tend to stay anonymous, the conversation tends to be more open-ended.
This way, you can better gauge what sort of subject matters are important for your target audience, and you can get a lot of content ideas just by scrolling through the feed.
Developed by digital marketing thought leader Neil Patel, UberSuggest is a useful tool to give you a list of ideas given a particular topic or keyword. Results are aggregated from the Google Suggest tool, providing you with a whole bunch of terms you can use for your SEO purposes.
Not only do you get a list of keywords, you also get a snapshot of each entry’s estimated search volume, cost per click(for paid ads), and a difficulty rating for both paid and organic efforts.
There’s a good number of functions worth exploring if you’re really into search engine optimization, but even if you’re just looking for content ideas, the “Keyword Ideas” and “Content Ideas” tabs should be more than enough for you.
Another favorite tool utilized by professional digital marketers to find content ideas is Buzzsumo.
Buzzsumo is an online tool that lets you find the most popular pieces of content online from a given subject matter or topic. It also tells you what the most popular pieces are, given a specific website (like CNN.com, for example).
You can use Buzzsumo for free, but your returns would be fairly limited. Premium accounts have a host of other functions unlocked and access to more entries.
But for a quick look at what’s popular and what people are generally engaging with at any given time, Buzzsumo can give you that quick snapshot of what’s trending, and how it’s faring on top social media networks.
A Final Word
Any professional content writer will tell you that you’ll need a steady stream of inspiration to keep coming up with killer content. Sometimes, the water runs dry, and writer’s block kicks in. You need to know where to turn to so you can have those creative juices flowing once more.
The simple act of taking a walk or having a shower, appreciating some art, or even just doing something (anything) different can grease the wheels in your head so they can get turning again.
And while we’ve given you ten suggestions to consider when you’re in need of a few new awesome ideas for your business blog, you can do a lot of other things to get inspired once more.
The most important thing to remember is to keep the fires of inspiration going. You can do so by going through our list of tips. In the same manner, you can do so by allowing your brain to make new connections while you do something else entirely.