Ah, the business blog. Everyone knows they need one, but no one knows what to say on it. My clients moan, “It’s easy for you. You’re a writer. I’m a cake decorator/photographer/project manager/bookkeeper – what on earth can I write about?”
It can be hard to think of ideas for business blog posts that might interest your customers. You know they love your products and services, but is there really any benefit in taking them “behind-the-scenes” via your blog?
Blogging for your business helps attract new customers, and it solidifies your brand for current clients as well. It keeps your website fresh, alive and updated, which in turn makes you more attractive to search engines. And of course, writing for your business blog helps brand you, the owner, as an expert in your field.
And that’s just the nutshell version of the benefits of a business blog.
So if you need to write blog posts and you’re stuck for inspiration, here are 28 ½ ideas for business blog posts, and I guarantee readers will love them:
List posts are exceptionally popular. You’re reading one right now, and probably because the title caught your attention. You thought “28 and a ½ ideas? I bet there’s at least one in there I can use!… and what’s that ½ an idea all about?”
So what kind of list posts could you write?
- 10 reasons you need our product/service: Make it informative; make it hilarious. You could write about 10 Reasons You Need a Mortgage Broker or 10 Reasons You Need our New Coaching Service.
- 10 reasons you don’t need our product/service: Weirdly, defining people who aren’t right for your business actually helps you sell more to the ones that are. Readers go down the list and think, “Oh, this isn’t me – I’m exactly the right person for this product!” It’s also a great chance to show some humor. Some ideas would be 10 Reasons You Don’t Need a Smartphone or 10 Reasons You Don’t Need a Dogwalker.
- The best apps for your customers: Posts about technology and apps are very popular, and readers love to know about new apps that might be useful to them. If you’re a travel agent, you could write about the 10 Best Travel Apps, and a beauty therapist could write about the 10 Most Uplifting Health and Beauty Apps.
- Books your clients should read: I like to choose books related to the product/service, or books from a similar social group as your readers might be part of. A wedding planner might write a list of her favorite romance novels, and a motorcycle parts store might round up 10 of the best books featuring motorcycles.
- Your favorite blogs: Lists of the best blogs in a particular niche are great, as they’re a popular search term, and the bloggers you include in the list might help you spread the word about the article, which brings in more readers. Try 10 of the Best Food Blogs for a chef or restaurant, or 10 of the Best Parenting Blogs for a kids’ clothing store.
- Your favorite social media influencers: This one follows the same idea as the above, except instead of listing blogs, mention Instagrammers, Pinteresters, Tumblrs and Tweeters who inspire you. Try 10 of the Best Marketing Tweeters for a marketing company or 5 Top Fashion Instagrammers for a fashion store.
- Little-known facts of your industry: Every industry is full of fascinating snippets and unusual trivia. Why not share a few with your readers in a 10 Interesting Things You Didn’t Know About the Wedding Industry, or 15 Fascinating Facts Your Baker WON’T Tell You (But I Will)?
- A roundup of posts on a particular subject: If you’ve been blogging for a while, it’s easy to create a list of great posts you’ve written on a certain subject. For example, if you’re a florist writing regularly about different types of events, you could do a roundup of your 10 best articles about wedding flowers. This is a great way to direct readers to other articles on your blog and keep them on your site for longer too.
- A guide to your local town: If you have a physical shop, store or restaurant, put yourself on the map and write about your city or town. Try 10 Unique Things to Do in XXX City, or My 5 Favorite Places to Eat. You’ll put yourself on the map a little more with search engines and help bring people to your location.
Feature Articles / Pillar Content
“Pillar content” or feature articles are in-depth, persuasive articles that focus on core customers and what they need. These articles will differ for each business, but they’re typically longer (at least 2000 words to be really attractive to Google) and super-informative. If you can throw in some humor, great images or infographics, even better.
Here are some ideas for pillar content:
- Bust some myths about your industry: Every industry has some commonly held urban myths. Why not be a myth-buster and create a great feature article explaining the truth behind the smoke and mirrors? You could write 5 Common Myths about Cloud Computing – BUSTED, or 3 Common Myths about Buying a House.
- Answer common consumer questions:Your pillar content should address your most commonly asked questions in a straightforward and entertaining way. For example, How Do I Choose the Right Business Suit for My Body Type, or What Kind of Wine Goes Best with Chicken?
- Write a post in response to breaking news: If a particular topic or news story hits the headlines, and it could have an impact on your field of business, weighing in on your blog can be a great way to capitalize on interest from searchers and media outlets alike. Give your opinion and back it up with solid examples and experience. You could try Our Take on the XXX Scandal, or What the XXX Change Means to You.
Most people turn to the internet for information. They want to know how to perform a task, fix a problem or make their lives better in some way. If you can help them on your blog, they’ll definitely remember you when they need your products or services.
Many business owners worry that writing “how-to” posts will drive business away, as their customers will just fix things themselves instead of buying the solution. In fact, the opposite is true. For example, a professional photographer might write a tutorial on how to take the best holiday snaps – readers who find the info useful were hardly going to hire a photographer to take their holiday images in the first place, and many more will remember that photographer when they need their family portrait done.
So what kind of how-to tutorials could you write?
- Be the best: Give away a bit of an industry secret on something simple your readers can do at home. For example, a bar could write a post on How to Make a Killer Bloody Mary or a hairstylist could write about How to Do a Professional Blow Wave at Home.
- Demonstrate your product/service: Pretty simple, really, but these articles are extremely effective and often become your most popular. An optometrist might write about How to Clean Your New Glasses without a Scratch, or a financial planner might write How a Money Coach Can Help You Get Out of Debt.
- Demonstrate an unusual use for your product: Showing what else your product can do beyond what’s obvious gets people interested, and it also shows that you know your product inside and out. For example, an artisan vinegar and oil company might have a post on How to Use Vinegar for Cleaning Your Entire Home.
- Create a video: Videos are an extremely powerful marketing tool, and online how-to videos are even better than articles to attract eyeballs to your website. A seamstress could create a step-by-step video on making a simple summer dress, or if you own a paint store, show clients how to set up for painting their rooms. Post your video on YouTube, your blog and your website, and check out the page views that roll in.
Interviews and Case Studies
I read a fantastic book recently: Ca$hvertising by Drew Whitman. In it, Whitman explains that every consumer seeks to fulfill primal human wants –things like the desire for food, drink, shelter, love, and to protect loved ones.
Whitman also said that reading about OTHER people using a product/service to fulfill these wants is equally satisfying – like a kind of wish fulfillment through osmosis. That’s why interviews and case studies are so effective – they give readers tangible, real-world evidence that such results are possible, that a product or service really can change their life.
How can you use interviews, profiles and case studies on your blog?
- Interview industry expects: Discuss the advantages of your product/service, as well as new research, studies or news in your industry. This gives you that all-important social proof, and some examples include: Top Sports Coach XXX Recommends Flax, or New Research into Health Benefits of Honey.
- Interview or profile celebrities who’ve used your products/service: Go on, get a little starry-eyed! If you don’t know any celebrities who’ve tried your products or services, why not offer them free samples? Then you could write a post like Top Model XXX Visits Our Salon or Look Who’s Training at the Gym? (Make sure to get permission before posting about a celebrity, of course.)
- Profile customers: Talk to your customers about how they’ve used your business to satisfy their innate human desires, and write a blog post about it. Maybe Busy Mum Loves Her KitchenWhizz Mixer or Here’s What Our Customers Love Most About Our Store.
- Interview or profile people in your industry or in your life who inspire you: Your enthusiasm comes across in this type of article, and that’s catchy for readers – they’ll get excited too! Plus, whenever people are searching Google for info on that person, your blog post might likely appear in search results.
Quick and Simple
Not every post on your business blog has to take hours to research, write and edit. Readers love variety, and a good, well-rounded blog includes different types of content, including short, sharp n’ sweet posts that might only take you a few minutes to write and post.
Here are some ideas for quick and simple posts you can knock out in a matter of minutes:
- Photo montage: Been to an event recently? Redecorated your store? Post 10 images to capture what you’ve done (do a before and after if you can) and add a paragraph of explanation at the end. Let the photographs speak for themselves.
- Link dump / roundup: Find 10 or so interesting articles, images, videos or infographics you’ve enjoyed this week, and link them up in a list-format post for your readers to peruse.
- Playlists: I love making playlists, but that’s probably because I started blogging by writing about music. Can you think up a playlist for a new product or service that might appeal to your customers? For example, a fashion store might create a playlist of Songs for a Summer’s Day and link to their new collection of summer dresses.
- Videos: Often, simply finding a funny video online and posting it along with a few sentences that say what you enjoyed about it makes for a very popular post.
- Share a quote: Has someone famous said something profound, inspiring or funny about your industry? Why not share the quote on your blog?
- Publish comments: Have some of your readers made particularly insightful or humorous comments this week? Highlight them in an end-of-week comment round-up blog post.
Reviews are often easier to write than how-to articles or lists, and they’re always popular with readers.
Why? When readers are interested enough in your business or industry to read your articles, chances are that they might like to know about different books, movies, shows, events, and music, and what you as an expert think of these.
Writing reviews gives you legitimacy. It demonstrates you know your industry well enough to be an expert worthy of giving reviews.
You can learn more by reading this article I wrote here on Men with Pens on Writing a Great Review. Then try some of these ideas for your own blog:
- Review a recent book: Reviewing books is great for bloggers for 3 reasons: 1) it’s useful content for your readers, who often love being introduced to new books, 2) it gives you an excuse to contact the author and ask if he/she can share your post or wants to do an interview (more blog post fodder!), and 3) it makes you appear all smart and clever, talking about books
- Review complementary products: I don’t think it’s a great idea to review competitors’ products – that’s not going to come across well. But what about reviewing products or services that complement your own? For example, if you’re a wedding planner, maybe you could review different cake bakeries in town, or if you’re a chef, perhaps you could write about different wines you’ve tried with your meals.
You now have 28 great ideas to inspire your next business blog post – so what’s that ½ an idea I told you about?
Don’t be afraid to let your personality, your humanness, and your vulnerability show. Put a human face in front of your business – your readers and customers will respond to that more than you realize.
Whether you’re a lawyer or a florist, a real estate expert or a business coach, you can share a little bit of yourself with your customers by answering 1 of the 5 questions below.
Doing so makes you a better blogger, and a better business owner as well. Try these:
- My Greatest Wish For My Business is _____
- The Most Important Thing I’ve Learned From Business Is ____
- The Best Thing About Being In Business is ____
- The Scariest Decision I Ever Made Was ____, and Here’s How It Turned Out
- The One Thing College Didn’t Teach Me About Business Was ___
Okay, time to turn it all over to you. This list could be a LOT longer than 28 ½ great ideas – what are some of your favorite blog post ideas that you’ve found best for your business?