One of the biggest problems small businesses and solo professionals have when they start to blog is figuring out what they should write about.
The second is what they should write about after they run out of ideas from their initial list.
As a writer and a journalist, I was trained to constantly come up with ideas. (My problem is finding time to write for me rather than for clients – but that’s a good problem to have!)
I am currently blogging about small business for Tree.com, a new site launched earlier this month by Lending Tree.
As I looked over the posts I’ve written, I noticed several patterns that you can use to generate new blog post ideas of your own.
You can use these ideas to generate content for your website as well.
1) Write About Lessons Learned From a Book
I recently checked out Tim Ferriss’ book, the Four Hour Work Week. While most of his plan is a bit unrealistic for me, I did learn a few tips about time management, which I turned into a post called How to Work Less By Working Smarter.
Anything you learn from a book is good fodder for a blog post, whether it be nonfiction or fiction, related to your profession or not.
2) Steal an Idea From a Topic Discussed By a Group
Sales is not my forte, so I joined 100 for 100K, a group created by Sales Detective Lori Richardson and her partner in crime Peter Notschke of Score More Sales. My blog post called 5 Ways to Gain Trust and Grow Sales was generated from the group’s discussion of that very topic.
Think about the groups you belong to and examine what’s important and what’s being discussed. Write about what you learned or about shared observations.
3) Interview Experts to Share Their Expertise
As you connect with people, and learn about what they do, I’ll bet you are learning something new that others might be interested in too. Why not honor your new connection with a blog post that can help them establish their expertise while at the same time teaching others? Ask them what they’d like to share and then interview them.
Lori Richardson/Score More Sales
That’s what I did with Lori Richardson and Diane Bridgwater of Visual Communication for blog posts called Three Reasons Your Small Business is Failing and Are Print Marketing Materials Dead?
I have two more blog posts penciled in on my calendar, one on webinars, the other on promotional give away items based upon this idea with two more new 100 for 100k connections.
4) Review a Cool Site, Tool or Resource
A past client of mine created a cool site every retailer should know about, especially small businesses needing financial help during the recession.
ROI is a Cool Financial Resource for Retailers was a no brainer post for me to write.
Think about tools you use or sites you dig – although you may think everyone knows about them, I’ll bet half or more of your audience doesn’t. Write about a site and let people know why you like it and why they should go there.
5) Write about What You Know, Ideas Related to Your Expertise
Every small business that wants to increase their website traffic or increase their exposure to the media needs to create great content.
The following four posts ideas were generated from my own expertise and based upon the case studies and white papers I write, the content I develop for others and based upon my experience as a journalist.
Create informative posts about your industry or services you offer in a generic way.
Don’t talk about the services you offer but why something might be beneficial or how something works.
A good example of this is the post Use Customer Stories to Grow Revenues.
This post doesn’t talk about my love of writing case stories or why you should hire me to write them.
It talks about why case studies are important, it gives you a couple of examples, and I give you the basic four-part formula to write one.
Tell Me: How do you develop new ideas for blog posts? Do you have any tips to share?
Ice Cream Cart Photo: M. Sharon Baker