Blogging for Small Business: How to Generate Ideas for Your Blog

Last week we published a post with some tips for starting a blog on a small business website.

We’re following up this week with 5 more tips that should help you generate ideas for your blog and ultimately make your small business website more successful.

1. Bring Yourself & Your Business to Life

How to generate good ideas for your small business blog

Especially in the early days of your website’s blog, establishing your personal presence can bring you and your business significant benefits. On your blog, you have the opportunity to personify your brand. Open up about yourself and create a bond between yourself and your readers/customers that can translate into Liking (on Facebook and other social media), blog engagement and return traffic, and increased likelihood to purchase from you.  You are one of your business’s most unique competitive advantages…but only if you take advantage of your uniqueness.

Blog ideas in this category to write about:

  • Your personal background/story
  • How you developed your passion for your business
  • How you started your business
  • How did you choose your business name, location or domain
  • Biggest challenges you’ve had in business
  • Your most important influence and why
  • Other businesses or business leaders you admire and why
  • What a typical business day is like for you
  • Any stories of unique days or time periods (if your business is seasonal, cyclical, or has built-in days of interest, like Mother’s Day for a florist)

2. Pull the Thorn Out of Your Customers’ Paw

Remember the Aesop’s Fable about Androcles and the Lion. Androcles pulls a thorn out of an injured lion’s paw and the lion is eternally grateful to him, eventually saving his life.  It’s the same in business. At a company I previously worked for, it was well documented that customers who had had a problem that was successfully fixed by our support staff had higher satisfaction and loyalty rates than even customers who never had a single problem. Look for those metaphoric thorns that your customers and potential customers are experiencing around your product area. Use your blog to write tutorials that can remove customer pain points and make them eternally grateful to you.

Blog tutorial ideas to write about:

  • Most common customer problems and how to avoid them (before they happen)
  • Most common customer problems and how to solve them (after they happen)
  • How to save money in your product area
  • How to choose between different purchase options
  • How to fix product x, y, or z
  • How to use product better
  • How to make product last longer
  • Do-it-yourself tips to help avoid repair or support charges

3. Turn the Spotlight on Your Customers

 One good turn deserves another, right? So build up some good will (and wait for your good turn back) by using your blog to show some love to your customers (partners too). The social psychology (and marketing) principle of reciprocity means they will be more inclined to do something positive for you, such as purchase your product, Like your business, or make a recommendation to a friend. All good things. Plus, your customers can provide you with a pretty easy source of ongoing blog posts.

Blog ideas in this category to write about:

  • A case study of how a customer uses your product
  • A testimonial post praising how easy a partner/customer is to work with
  • A testimonial post about why you are a customer of one of  your customers
  • A customer-of-the-week (or month) spotlight on a customer (may want to start with the most loyal/high-value customers)
  • A customer-of-the-week (or month) contest where customers are randomly selected to win something or get an extra discount

4. Turn the Spotlight on Your Products

 You need to approach this category with caution or you’ll turn off your readers. You’ve got the rest of your website for sales copy; your blog needs to be different, with goals of education, engagement, branding, etc. Done well, you will also encourage sales, but make that your secondary goal. Work to find ways to focus on your products with a primary customer focus. How can you help them and provide value to them while examining your products or services.

Blog ideas in this category to write about:

  • Chose two products and provide a comprehensive product comparison, educating customers on the features, benefits, and reasons some may choose one or the other
  • Highlight your top selling products and offer insights into why they sell most
  • Discuss a product or product category offering tips to save customer frustration: common complaints or issues with product and how to avoid them
  • How certain products are best for certain specific uses, niches, or customer types
  • How to take care of a certain product to make it last longer or perform better
  • Create a post highlighting customer feedback about a product

5. Write About the Top Ranking Keywords

One of the benefits to having a blog on your website is SEO, or search engine optimization. If you want your site to come up when people type keywords into search engines like Google and Bing, you need to have good content that’s relevant to those keywords. And that’s where your blog comes in. Don’t know what keywords to focus on? The Google Keyword Tool can help. Enter some words or phrases related to your business (as many as you can think of), or enter the URL of your business website (you can also choose a Category if you see one that works for you) and click the Search button to get a list of the top keywords people are searching for. You can then use this keyword list as your guide to writing blog content that people are actually searching for. You can pick and choose keyword topics as they appeal to you, but you’ll get the most return for your effort if you focus on the keywords with the highest search volume, as long as they are relevant to your business. Keep in mind, the Keyword Tool doesn’t know your business as well as you so not all suggestions will be on the mark.

If you’re an EarthLink Web Hosting customer, you may also want to look back at our earlier posts about how to publish a blog on your website and how to publish your first blog post using WordPress. All EarthLink Web Hosting plans — both our build your own website plan and professional web design hosting plans — come with a WordPress installer to make getting started with a WordPress blog simple.

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