One of the most intimidating aspects for businesses that have decided to start a blog is the blank page. It’s one of the major reasons people avoid it – ‘what the heck are we gonna write about?’ Blogging, like all writing, can be difficult, and everyone has days where they’ve got nothing, no ideas flowing through at all - you know you need to stick to your content schedule, you know you need to get something down. But you’re mind is blank. Everyone experiences this, but there are always things you can do to get your content groove back. You might just need a prompt, a splash of inspiration to wake you up and bring you back to blogging life. Here are a couple of ideas that might help re-ignite your thoughts and coax that great content out of the corners of your mind.
1. Your professional experiences are more interesting than you realise. I read an article recently about a former Navy nuclear machinist who discussed what it's like working in a submarine. In the piece, he talks about how the crew are always just a little bit on edge because the oxygen levels on board are kept very low. The piece is really interesting and well worth a read, but it also serves as a reminder that there’s so much we don’t know. Most people’s experiences are limited - we generally know a small percentage of different jobs and have a confined amount of detailed, working knowledge on a few core subjects. Even people who are well read don’t have the practical experience of working in each specific jobs day-to-day - and that everyday reality is often significantly different to what’s noted in text.
At least some of the experiences and knowledge you have gained in your career will be of interest to other people. Think about anytime you've started a new job, you always learn at east a few things that you’re genuinely surprised by - but the person taking you through it will go over it like it’s nothing. Because to them it is nothing, they’ve been doing it for a long time. When trying to think of what stories you could share it might be worth getting someone in who has no knowledge of what you do, taking them through some of your processes, then asking them what stood out the most. There’ll always be a few points that an outsider will find intriguing. Explaining those elements gives you a chance to share interesting brand stories, whilst also giving you opportunity to showcase your business expertise and the work that goes into doing what you do everyday.
For example: Did you know that street charity fund-raisers (those people who hassle you as you walk past) generate millions in donations each year for charity groups? Did you know that on most airlines, each pilot has to eat a different meal to avoid them all getting sick? Sales of supermarket baked goods increase three-fold when the smell of baked bread is in the air. While not every fun fact can form a whole blog post, insight like this can add a unique and shareable element, helping to create more informative, compelling content.
2. What are the most common questions you get asked? Over the years of working with clients, you’ve no doubt established a mental FAQ as you’ve gone through the process. Write those questions down, put together detailed answers for each, see if they can form blog posts. Even better, create videos and images that show how things work in order to answer those common questions – video content can significantly increase shareability, and it, again, offers you a chance to showcase your skills and expertise. If people can get their questions answered online before they come to you (and statistics show the majority of consumers seek information online before making a purchase) it might even make your job easier, as you can avoid going over the same things over and over again.
For example: Colgate’s Oral and Dental Resource Centre is a comprehensive guide to all things dental, covering almost any customer query. It caters to a direct consumer need whilst also positioning Colgate as the industry experts and go-to brand. Not everyone can establish a resource of this scale, but by creating posts for each common question, over time you can build a solid resource library to refer back to.
3. What are the others in your industry saying? Social media provides a wealth of data to search for trending topics within your industry, and all of these can be angled into blog posts from your perspective. Using some of the advanced Twitter search functions, you can target your searches to see how specific issues are being discussed in your nation, your state or your immediate local area, then angle each of those discussions into a blog post that’s in line with your brand message. One thing to keep in mind is that while you’ll no doubt have opinions on industry movements, the aspect you need to communicate is how those movements will impact your clients. That’s the blog post, that’s what your customers want to hear - while some issues might have a significant impact on you or your business, writing a blog post on them is not likely to gain much traction if they don’t affect your audience. Remember who you’re writing for, keep in mind their needs and wants. Translating those larger issues into the potential consumer impacts is a great way to create more engaging brand content.
For example: This piece on the Australian website Car Advice looks at the demise of the local automotive sector and, more importantly, what it means for consumers. Whilst this is not branded content in itself, this is a good example of taking an industry issue and providing the answers the audience are seeking.
Blogging can be difficult. Even writers who write everyday find it tough at times, and getting that perfect angle that will generate the most client interest, the most shares among social networks, there’s no definitive science to it. The key is to try and think of things from the client’s perspective. For every issue, every idea, think about what, based on your experience, your target audience is going to ask about. If you can answer those questions for them it will get people more engaged with your content. You’ll not only get more attention and referral traffic, but you’ll establish yourself as an industry expert and trusted brand, which will keep clients and their extended networks coming back for more.
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