This is a guest post from my frenemy, Mack Collier. Everyone knows I adore Mack so when I say frenemy it’s more to do with his subject matter than his personality. (And yes, he’s from Alabama so his personality could definitely count against him.) Mack is one of the only members of the 4K (Kool-Aid, Kumbaya and Kampfire Klub) I listen to. And no, it’s not because of his cute little Southern drawl, it’s because his stuff actually works. Yeah, yeah, I know. I rarely blog so I can’t profess to use it but our clients do and that’s way more important.
If you start a blog, it’s inevitable that you are going to stare at a blank screen and have absolutely no idea what the hell to write about. I’ve been blogging almost daily for over four years, and I still struggle with what to write about. But here are five post ideas that can help you break the writer’s block and get over the hump:
1 – Don’t write about your products, write about how your products fit into your customer’s lives. This is the biggie. If you can master this one step, your blog will be more effective than 99.9% of the company blogs out there. I call this finding the ‘Bigger Idea’ for your blog.
For example, Kodak has a blog called A Thousand Words. Now if you’ve never visited their blog, you would probably assume that Kodak would be using the blog to promote their cameras and other products. It only makes sense, right?
Well it might make sense to you, but it doesn’t make sense to Kodak’s readers. Because if someone is interested in getting information about Kodak’s cameras, they don’t go to Kodak’s blog to get that information. They go to sites that review Kodak’s cameras, like Amazon. Or they search photography message boards to see what other customers have to say about Kodak’s cameras.
And Kodak understands this, so they instead focus A Thousand Words on discussing PHOTOGRAPHY. By shifting the focus away from directly promoting their cameras, and instead teaching readers how to be better photographers, they have made the content on the blog MUCH more valuable for their readers. Think about it, if you are in the market for a new digital camera, which post would you rather read; ‘Ten Reasons Why Your Next Camera Should Be a Kodak’, or ‘Ten Steps to Taking the Perfect Picture Every Time’?
The first one is self-promotional, the second one teaches you how to be a better photographer. Obviously, the second one is more valuable to readers.
2 – Write about the latest news and trends in your industry. Think about it, this is information that you are keeping up with anyway, so why not share it with your readers? In fact, pick a day of the week, say every Wednesday, and write up a ‘Here’s What’s Happening in the Retail Industry’. Or change it for whatever industry you are in.
This not only forces you to stay up to date on what’s happening in your industry, but by sharing that information with your readers, you are creating value for them AND helping to establish your expertise and knowledge of your space. AND by doing this once a week, you’ve already guaranteed your blog will have at least one new post up a week. Which means you’ve probably cut your blogging workload by 50-100%.
3 – Write about your employees. This one can work out well, but you have to be careful in how you do it. Believe it or not, most readers WANT to know more about the people that write the blogs they read, and by extension, you can also share some of the things that make your employees tick.
For example, on Graco’s blog, usually every Wednesday, they post a photo of one of their employees with their families, and normally with their children. You might think ‘Who cares?’, but Graco’s blog is aimed at parents, especially young parents. So if Graco can show and tell you a bit about the lives of their employees, who are also young parents, it helps re-inforce the idea that Graco’s employees can relate to their customers. That they too, are young parents that are going through the same issues in their lives that many of their customers are. It helps the readers connect with the bloggers and the company.
4 – Write about your customers. Find your evangelists, and put the spotlight on them. Do you have one guy that’s been a weekly customer for the past 30 years? Why not snap a quick picture of him when he comes in next week, and write up a post about him? Then show him the post the next time he comes in.
This shows your readers that you actually care about your customers. That you appreciate them and their business. Sure, it isn’t directly promotional, but it directly promotes the fact that your company values and appreciates the people that are keeping you in business. It also makes your readers more likely to trust what you write, and want to do business with you.
5 – Write about your readers. Does Cara always comment on your posts? Does Jim link to your blog and encourage his readers to read your blog? Why not write a post thanking them? And when you do, link to THEIR blogs and encourage your readers to check them out.
This shows your readers that you appreciate them, and guess what? It gives both Cara and Jim the added incentive to keep commenting on and linking to your blog. And it also encourages the rest of your readers to do the same thing.
Whether it’s your customers or your blog’s readers, when they are engaging in the type of behavior that benefits you, find ways to encourage that behavior in the future.
If you’d like to learn more about how to improve your blogging efforts, check out Mack’s site, http://www.mackcollier.com. If you want to talk to him directly about how he can help your company get started with its blogging or social media efforts, you can either email him at firstname.lastname@example.org or call him at 1-256-668-8207. Do it now. Right this very minute.