BloggingI work with many of my clients on their blogging strategy and the one thing I hear most often is: “But I don’t have anything to write about!” I appreciate that it can appear to be a daunting task, but every business really does have something to write about – just not that you moved office, have a new member of staff, you all went out for a team jolly, or the office cat is missing! 🙂

Feeding your blog and, most importantly, creating engaging content that will help grow your business does take time, for sure. But there’s no reason why it should have to become a huge marketing hurdle. I use a process for my clients (and for myself!) that works, and becomes easier the more you do it:

1. Do your research

This is probably the most time consuming part of maintaining a blog, but it’s also the part that will potentially pay dividends. Successful blogging – in a business context – is not about telling people whatever you want to tell them, it’s about understanding your customers and engaging with them. That means knowing what are their problems and how you can resolve them by introducing them to your services or products. So how do you identify those problems?

Keywords – Think about keywords and phrases that are relevant to your business. Sign up to Google’s free AdWords Keyword Planner tool and search against each phrase or keyword and review using the Keyword Ideas tab. This process will throw up related phrases and show you how many people have searched for each phrase in the last 30 days. Pick phrases that have high search volumes and create blog content around them.

Google – Google has lots of fantastic gizmos. Google Alerts will send daily email updates on the latest Google results based on the keywords or phrases you want to use. It’s a great way of monitoring news stories, industry developments and so on, and means you can then comment in your own blog.

FAQs – Do customers send emails asking the same questions about your products or services? Take those answers and make them public – if one person is asking, you can bet that there will be others wondering the same thing as well.

Yahoo Answers and LinkedIn Answers – Use these – or indeed any other popular Q&A or industry or consumer forum sites – to draw inspiration from the questions people are asking relevant to your business. Turn them into your own blog articles.

Social Media – Twitter can throw up lots of questions or discussion points. Use Twilert to get Twitter alerts similar to Google Alerts.

Check out your competitors – It’s always well worth looking at the FAQ pages on your competitors’ websites. Some may have been up there for years without being updated – this is a great chance to give new life to old questions and answer them more appropriately.

Blog comments – Always read any comments that are posted on your blog. They can often spark ideas for new blog content. Similarly, you can get inspiration from industry blogs, where comments and queries posted after reading a blog article may go unanswered – seize the moment and grab those questions for yourself!

2. Make a plan

Once you have a stockpile of blogs create a three-month rolling blogging content calendar. Don’t forget to brainstorm larger topics – that will become your blog categories – that can spawn multiple blog articles. Bigger topics cna be split into a series.

3. Integrate and utilise

Use every communication tool you have access to – from email marketing to social media – and spread the word. You don’t have to reinvent the wheel; pick the most relevant content and repurpose it according to the communication channel you’re using. Infographics can be a great way to create engaging content.

4. Review and repeat

Found a popular topic that really resonates with your audience? Then make the most of it. Rewrite the content for different purposes – guest blogs, email articles, customer interview/FAQs, videos, infographics, Vine videos – the list is endless!

5. Measure the impact

This is a really important stage. Spend some time using Google Analytics to see what content works best. This is what will inform the ‘review and repeat’ stage and get your business greater exposure. It will also help you plan future blog content and refine your 3-month rolling calendar.

Do you have any other ideas on how to create great blog content? It would also be great to hear how you get on using this process.