We've all been there. You're grooving along, writing well-crafted business blog posts every day. Then suddenly the proverbial ink runs dry. You've got to meet that deadline, but nothing's coming out.
What do you do?
If you were at an old-school publishing house, you'd ask your editor or co-workers. Why not do the same - with your readers?
Collaborating with your customers and readers is an increasingly popular method of solving problems, and engaging with your market. Hey, even the Guardian crowdsources part of their content these days.
So, the next time you're tearing out your hair, searching for what to write next (um, kind of like I was doing to come up with this article!), try out these five ways to crowdsource your blog topic.
1. Ask your Social Connections
A really simple way to get ideas for a blog is, well, to ask.
Post a question on Facebook, Twitter, or Google+.
Here's a Tweet I posted. You can see, I got an instant response, and a great topic idea. (Yes, I love Twitter. And, thank you Lori @InspiredSocial )
Target questions to your industry.
On Facebook: Keep your text short. Posts with 100 words or less get the most interaction. If you're posting on a brand Page, make sure your question has your customer in mind. Ask for common interests, topical concerns, or product uses.
On Twitter: Use relevant hashtags to extend the reach of your updates, and make it conversational. Tweet from your own Twitter handle (not your company's) to engage on a more personal level.
On Google+: Post your topic question to your niche customer Communities to engage your market, and get authentic ideas about what your readers want to know. Use your own Google+ account to post on Blogging Communities, like Blogging or Content Marketing.
2. Host a Topic Contest on Facebook
If your questions alone aren't getting the response you need, try a "Topic Contest". Set up a contest on Facebook to engage your Fans by asking for ideas. A major benefit of hosting a contest is that you can incentivise people to take part with prizes.
Get creative when you're asking for ideas:
- Ask for customer quotes, and compile them in your post
- Create a theme around common interests
- Ask for problem-solving tips
You could even add a vote element to your contest to crowdsource the best responses. This gives you even more insights into the interests of your Facebook Fans.
3. Make a survey or poll
Take a readership survey to generate tons of topics for future posts. Use a theme that's related to your blog. Post the survey or poll on your blog, then email it and share on all of your social sites.
I'd also recommend making a question box to get more specific ideas, based on problems customers want solved.
You can use your results to compile the wants of your customers, and create blog topics based on the most popular responses. Make it into a series of articles. And remember to thank your respondents for taking part, and even mention specific suggestions.
4. Read customer comments
Take a look at your social media sites, and read the comments your customers make. You'll get great insight into the topics your customers have the most interest in, and their dialogues could give you a whole slew of content ideas.
Write content that addresses common product problems, appeals to lifestyles, or incorporates specific details in the comments.
Use your analysis of comments to write content with fresh angles to better connect with your audience.
5. Reach out to Influencers
Use your social savvy to connect with industry Influencers. Ask them for quotes on a topic you've written about in the past. Compile the 10-15 best answers, and write your next blog post around it.
How do you come up with your great blog topics? Do you crowdsource? Share your tips and comments below!