There’s something about having to come up with a topic for your business blog that makes your mind go completely blank. You are able to talk for hours about your business and your industry, but the very moment you sit down to write your business blog your brain decides it’s time to take a vacation. There are few things more frustrating than setting aside time to blog, and staring at the cursor blinking at you without a single thing to write about. As the cursor blinks, and you don’t type, there is an awkward silence between you and your computer that feels like you are on a bad blind date with your mac.  Like that one time I had just been hired at a new job – I  talked about nothing but this new position all week. Friends, family and everyone else wanted me to shut up about the job (and possibly in general). However, when I sat down to create the first piece of content for the new job – my mind completely went blank. People who meditate could only dream of having their mind as clear as my mind was at that moment.

I am not proud to admit this, but I was so distraught that I ate an entire sleeve of Oreos in the hopes that the sugar rush would make my mind work and I would be able to come up with a topic. It didn’t.

The experience of sitting down and not knowing what to write for your business blog is known as writers block and it sucks. Writers block is the precise reason why I’m writing this post. I want to teach you what I’ve learned from experience so that you know what to write, and can avoid the empty calories and frustration of eating a whole sleeve of Oreos. This blog gives you step by step directions for 3 effortless ways to come up with topics, seemingly out of thin air, for your business blog. If you follow these directions you will be the person who always has something to write about and more importantly – your content marketing strategy will be tailored to your audience.

Your business blog topics will be like pulling a page out of your customers diary – with their fears, questions, objections and dreams and reading it back to them.  So if you’ve had a rough week of trying to come up with topics or just need to take a few minutes to think ahead, check these three effortless ways to come up with a topic for your business blog.

 1.  Quora

Quora is the question-and-answer website on the Internet. Internet users across the world go to Quora and ask questions about topics that matter to them. Then other users from around the world, both experts and novices, answer the questions. Questions and answers are voted up or down depending on both how interesting the question is and how authoritative the answer is.

quora-logo-300x300

Why is Quora Important?

Remember how I said that the topics would be like reading a page out of your customer’s diary? That is exactly what Quora is. Rather than creating some artificial marketing survey where customers may tell you what they think you want to hear, you know that your customers are actively seeking this information. There is only one reason that users ask a question on Quora- because they want the answer. It is up to you to answer this question in your blog and show that you are the authority.

How to Use Quora to Come Up With a Topic For Your Business Blog:

I will show you how to come up with a topic using Quora with an example of a company that is in the inbound marketing space.

1. Go to http://www.quora.com/
2. Type in the term you think your customers care about, we will continue with the example of “inbound marketing”

5__Search_-_inbound_marketing_-_Quora

3. Look at the results. These are sorted from most to least popular questions. You can safely assume that the most popular questions are good topics to write blog posts about, although all of the questions have at least some level of interest because a user asked. As an example of how this works, as someone who runs an inbound marketing company, many of our leads come from people who are initially trying to perform inbound marketing themselves and have the exact questions listed on Quora.

How I got the idea to write this blog!

Quora Inbound Marketing

We know from experience that a potential customer searches on Google with the types of questions and words that are asked on Quora. We answer the questions in our blog, using the users words. If our blog provides the answer to a potential or current customers question, then that is a good topic.

You can use the Quora questions for topics, or you can use the Quora questions to inspire you for new and related topics for your business blog. I put arrows next to the questions and will show how I use Quora questions to come up with additional new topics:

  1. 1. Actual question: What are the top inbound marketing platforms out there?

    • Possible blog topic: Review of your current inbound marketing platform

    2. Actual Question: What are the highest impact inbound-marketing strategies for SaaS companies?

    • Possible blog topic: 5 inbound marketing strategies to turn your SaaS company into a lead producing machine

    3. Actual Question: Is there a twitter handle for inbound marketing?

    • Possible blog topic: How to effectively use twitter handles to increase leads and sales for inbound marketing

    4. Actual Question: What is inbound marketing?

    • Possible blog topic: How to answer your customers when they ask what inbound marketing actual is

    5. Actual question: What are the best inbound marketing strategies?

    • Possible blog topic: The difference between inbound marketing strategies and tactics

    6. Actual question: What is the meaning of inbound marketing?

    • Possible blog topic: The difference between inbound marketing and SEO

2. Twitter

Twitter is a 140-character microblogging platform. What you need to know about twitter is that people are going to say whatever is on their mind, so you don’t have to deal with a lot of filtered talk.

twitter-logo

Why is Twitter Important?

  • Twitter is great, because your customers are going to be saying exactly what is on their mind in real time.

  • These are real honest thoughts and feelings.

  • You will see responses.

  • You can rip through research quickly because it takes no time at all to read 140 characters.

How to use Twitter to Find a Topic for Your Business Blog:

1. Go to the URL https://twitter.com/search-advanced and you will see the following display:

Twitter advanced search

2. I am going to continue with our example for inbound marketing. When I search for a topic I use the “All of these words” option because it allows me to be precise enough that all of the words have to be in the tweet, but with enough wiggle room so they can be in any order. Next, I change the location setting because I’m often location specific when I  write business blog for clients. To be location specific enter your terms in the city or region in the “Places” field. To continue with our example of inbound marketing services in Philadelphia look at the following steps:

Twitter___Advanced_Search-2

What I’ve discovered from the results (see below) are three really good business blogging topics that also make me think of new additional topics.

  • 1. Actual Question: What is inbound marketing?

    • Topics that could be valuable blog posts  The History of Inbound Marketing. Why is Inbound Marketing Important? How is Inbound Marketing Different than Other Forms of Marketing?

  • 2. How to improve your inbound?

    • Topics that could be valuable blog posts –5 steps to Improve Your twitter Presence. How to Improve Your facebook ROI. How to Improve Your Efficiency in Social Media.

  • 3. What does 2014 hold for inbound marketing professions?

    • Topics that could be valuable blog posts – a year-end recap of 2013 tactics. How Will 2014 be Similar to 2013? How Will 2014 Be Different then 2013. Biggest Inbound Marketing Failures. Biggest Inbound Marketing Success Stories. What I learned in 2013 about Inbound Marketing.

_21__Twitter___Search_-_inbound_marketing_near___Philadelphia__within_15mi-4

3. Leverage the outside world

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The outside world?

Do I really need to answer this what the outside world is? If you have a boring or uninteresting blog, then it is useless to your visitors. There is so much content on the Internet, and so much of it is remarkable, that customers will not stay and read a substandard blog. You need to be able to capture what your customers are talking and thinking about. How do you find it? By remembering that your customers are people first. So think, what are people talking about in the outside world, outside of your business? What are the popular shows? What are the popular songs? Did you overhear customers talking about a new car or new workout? Your customers have interests outside of your company including TV shows, music, news, yoga, technology, and probably about a million other things. 

Don’t forget that just because they’re your target market that they are also people. Why not leverage these outside interests by combining them with something that is relevant to your blog or company? Combining the outside world with your blog is a good way to show the human side to company, and to put out relevant blogs that your customers will take the time to read.

How to Use the Outside World to Find a Topics for Your Business Blog:

To find out what people are talking about the best way I have found is Google trends. To use Google trends:

1. Go to http://www.google.com/trends/ you will see a screen like the following:

 Google_Trends

2. Scroll to the bottom of the screen and you’ll see Hot Searches. Click on the More Hot Searches button:

Google_Trends-2

3. Selecting More Hot Searches will take you to the following screen, and on the screen is where you will find the top charts. The top charts is a good place to further segment and drill down to see exactly the type of business blog will plan on making. For example you can focus on lifestyle, business, entertainment – really any segment you want. For this example we will look at entertainment.

Google_Trends_-_Hot_Searches-2

Looking at this screenshot from the entertainment page of the More Hot Searches we see Man of Steel and Under the Dome are two highly talked about as search topics. They may be good blog topics, but we need a way to combine them with our blog topics. The best way I have found is to make a learning statement such as What Man of Steel Taught Me About Digital Marketing or 5 Ways to Get Your Business Out From Under the Dome

Google_Trends_-_All_Top_Charts-2

Here are a couple examples to guide you that I think use this method particularly well.

  1.  3 Modern Marketing Lessons from Don Draper –  This blog post features Don Draper from the show Mad Men.

  2. 12 things yoga has taught me about SEO –  Maybe some of your customers are into yoga or other fitness crazes such as CrossFit, TRX, Tae Bo, or maybe even step (if they are old-school).

  3. What my favorite TV characters taught me about sales – This author just went for it with gusto about the variety of different TV characters and what they taught him about sales.

I hope that this article has given you some ideas about what to write for your next business blog. Have you used any of these ideas? How do you come up with topics for you business blog? Leave a comment below and let us know!

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