How to Come up with Content Ideas for your Blog

Content Marketing Article
20 mins

If you’ve ever managed a blog, you’ll almost certainly know the feeling of gazing at a blank CMS page, wondering what on Earth you’re going to write about next.

Devising content ideas for blogs can be tricky, no matter how ripe with inspiration your subject area may be. Thankfully, it often just takes a slightly different approach to get the ball rolling again.

Every one of the ideas discussed in this article has helped us to devise blog topics at some point over the years. Taken together they form a fairly thorough strategy for keeping plenty of options on your content shortlist.

Don’t start at home

Does news about your own organisation falls under your blog’s remit? Generally most people don’t care about what’s happening internally in terms of new hires and product launches, unless that content really adds some value for the target audience. Launching a new product isn’t blog worthy, but giving insights into the process and techniques you have used along the way certainly is.

A company’s blog should showcase all the qualities its brand seeks to convey. Regularly review your content schedule to ensure it does exactly that, but don’t fall into the trap of thinking a blog posts is a press release.

Topical posts

Luckily for us, this ever-changing world represents an infinite wellspring of stories to write about. By picking up on relevant news stories or trends and applying your own business’ angle or expert critique, you can deliver useful content to the reader as regularly as you like.

To put across the right news for your blog’s audience, you’ll need to be tracking the right sources. Setting up Feedly covering relevant subjects would make a good first step – as would following some carefully chosen news sites on Twitter.

These tactics will deliver you the topics you need – but they clearly won’t get you there ahead of other news outlets. If you want to be one of the first to report on a story, you have to a) discover it, or b) be the quickest to react to the event. The latter is far easier to accomplish.

Whilst you need to keep an eye out for interesting stories concerning every type of organisation from the tiniest start-ups to global corporations, it’s the big players in your field that will likely occupy the majority of your reporting time. For instance, our digital marketing blog regularly covers news from the likes of Twitter, Google and Facebook – not because we’re biased in their favour, but because their updates impact the greatest number of people. Identify the equivalent organisations in your field and start watching their company blogs like a hawk.

When writing news articles on external events, you should always carefully consider whether or not the subject is suitable for your blog. Use tentative language as needed to avoid making potentially libellous claims, and strive always to make your content as original as possible, without muddying the message of the story.

Work with PR reps

You can significantly increase the amount of ideas and information funnelled in your direction by contacting PR representatives from relevant organisations and asking them to add you to their mailing list. We would urge you not to receive press releases at your normal email address – if you do so you may soon find your inbox swamped.

Press releases and related opportunities are a handy recourse for plugging the gaps in your content schedule. We suggest skimming your inbox for real pearls at the start of the day, before making a second pass later on, if you’re struggling. Earning Brownie points from PRs can help get you first dibs on big news stories as and when they occur, so try to be willing to do the odd favour.

All that being said, we must emphasise that you should not rely on PRs as your sole source of inspiration for stories – doing so could limit the scope of your blog to overwhelmingly positive stories about a selection of companies and subjects.

Broaden the discussion

No blog manager is an island. You can get so far through the power of your own invention alone, but you’ll only see the best results when you start adding other brains into the process.

Make it known amongst your colleagues, that you’re on the lookout for new topics to write about on the company blog. Some won’t respond, but you may be surprised at the amount of people who jump at the chance to apply their minds to the novel creative task of dreaming up articles.

Then there’s that whole vociferous cohort of social connections you have online too. Contacts and strangers alike on social media and forums can be a tremendous asset in both the planning and the creation of content for your blog.

Don’t plainly post a request for article ideas. Instead, explain the type of blog you represent and ask what type of content people would like to see more of. Let their feedback spark your own creativity.

Gather opinion

A very quick and easy way to create new content for your site is to source a range of ideas from different people and organisations on a topical theme.

Take the topic, “What do SME owners think about the EU referendum?” for example. Just post a question like that on Twitter and we can all but guarantee you will receive a healthy (and probably colourful) batch of responses – some from businesses who can benefit from getting their name mentioned on your blog, and others from individuals who simply want to express their opinions.

When you have received enough responses to your question, you can tidily compose the quotes gathered into an article – and what’s more, your respondents will probably share the finished thing with their contacts.

Influencer opinion

A variation on the above technique is not identify a number of influencers on a topic, using tools like Klout of Klear, and then asking them for a one or two paragraph answer/opinion on a topic or questions. This can then easily be crafted into a great blog post. Also, as you notify the users you have published the content, they are likely to share to their social audiences.

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