Whether you’re looking for a great way to communicate with your customers or you’re looking for new ways to energize and stimulate your thinking, starting up your first business blog can have some serious benefits.
It’s your most valuable tool when it comes to giving your small business a voice. It can inspire as you put down ideas and kindle your thoughts. For a new business, it helps you tell the story of who you are, what you do and why you do it. Simply, a business blog lets your business personality shine.
– 58% of Marketers Have Acquired Customers from their Blog
– 82% of Consumers say they like reading content from brands
– 48% of Consumers say content makes them feel more positively towards a brand
Yet nevertheless, if there is one thing for certain, blogging is no easy task. It takes time – something that a small business owner lacks. It takes research – aka more time. And it takes a lot of hard work – something a small business owner is an expert in, but may not necessarily have the time for.
So how do you go about blogging? Where do you find ideas? And how do you avoid becoming part of the 90% of businesses who leave their blog behind within 3 months? There is no one single answer, and the only truth in blogging is that it takes time and ideas for a blog to become truly successful.
Thankfully, there are some ways we can combat inspiration drought or a drop of blogger’s block. In this post we hope to share our thoughts on where to find your blogging inspiration and how to create blog content when the first bumper pack of ideas dries up.
Why are you blogging and where to start?
The first step in developing a blog is figuring out your content strategy. Are you just going to turn the laptop on late one Saturday night and burst out 1000 words on the first topic that comes to mind? Of course not. You need to define your reason for blogging. Answer these important questions.
What are you trying to achieve?
Who exactly is my blog for?
Are you trying to drum up more business or are you trying to building relationships with your customer?
Answering these questions will give you a better idea of the content you want to create, where to find inspiration for it and a content strategy to refer to.
Let’s say you are a new bespoke wedding supplier and your main reason for blogging is that you want to provide interesting content, that your customers can use when planning their wedding.
First you start with: Wedding Planning. It’s such a broad term and can literally cover many aspects of the wedding planning process. By breaking it down into the main categories that cover wedding planning, you can start to gather a list of questions your ideal readers may be asking. Here’s one I made earlier…
Breaking it down into the 5 categories I have now found 20 Questions which I believe my audience may be asking, on the subject of planning a wedding. I will now have, with a little research and tweaking, 20 blog topics to fill out my content strategy and plan.
Planning a Wedding…
What do I need to know?
How to Plan a Spring Wedding?
How to Plan a Summer Wedding?
How to Plan an Autumn Wedding How to Plan a Winter Wedding?
How much does a Wedding Cost?
What are the priority items of a Wedding?
How much should I budget for Wedding Stationery?
Wedding Etiquette Priorities?
Planning a Wedding at Home Tips?
Top Tips for Planning a Wedding at the Beach?
Wedding No-No’s for a Garden Wedding?
Questions to ask an Event Venue?
Questions to ask before buying a Wedding Dress?
Spring Wedding Dress Styles?
How far in advance should I buy my Wedding Dress?
Groom Attire: Rent or Buy?
When should you send out: Save the Date Cards, Wedding Invitations and Thank You Cards?
Floral Ideas for Different Themed Weddings?
Tips for Hiring a Wedding Caterer?
Do I need a Wedding Planner?
As you can see above… it’s quite a generic list of questions with a broad number of answers. To help break this down and make writing the blog post easier, we can pull out the niche questions within these broader questions. For example: How to Plan a Summer Wedding? Can turn into…
My next step is checking the viability of the blog post. You should be thinking…
What competition will the post have?
Is it something I’m sure my audience will be interested in?
Is it something that receives a good number of shares across social media?
To answer these questions I use a tool called Buzzsumo. A revolutionary tool which can analyse the number of shares a piece of content has received across social media.
So going back to my above spider chart, you may be thinking about creating a blog for ‘summer wedding decor’. It’s something you have been working on with a Bride & Groom recently and you believe it may be something your audience might be interested in. Using the tool Buzzsumo you can now type in the phrase and examine the results.
As you can see from the above Buzzsumo search for the phrase ‘Summer Wedding Décor’ – the phrase or articles written around ‘Summer Wedding Décor’ doesn’t seem to be a great topic for receiving shares across social media. Using the results we can assume this subject may not be of the greatest interest to our audience.
Going back to our list of questions we can breakdown another question to find a viable blog topic. This time I’m going to look at How to Plan a Winter Wedding?
Using the data provided for us by Buzzsumo from the search Vintage Wedding Ideas we can see articles covering this topic have received in excess of 40,000 shares in the last 6 months. Thus, this search has shown it is a highly popular topic and one that we may be interested in providing for our audience.
I can then repeat this process with various different search terms and gather up 3 or 4 of the most popular blog posts on the subject of vintage weddings.
Your aim is to now make a better post than each of those articles. Even better is when you can consolidate an article that is better than all three of the above articles.
The key is to find topics that you know your customers will want to read. By analysing the number of shares particular topics receive through Buzzsumo, you should be able to gauge the type of articles your audience will want to read. If you can then create better blogs than the top shared articles on Buzzsumo you can be sure you are on the right track. Simply take inspiration from the above and aim for something that comes out on top compared to the rest.
Another great use of Buzzsumo when creating content is, the ability to compare your competitors best content. If you have a similar target market to competitors and you know their blog content is pulling in readers and engaging your audience, you can use Buzzsumo to find their most popular content.
Let’s say you have two or three popular competitors in the Wedding Industry. For our explanation we will choose three of the biggest online wedding magazines: Brides, Bridal Guide and Wedding Ideas Magazine. Using Buzzsumo we can now pop in their domain and gather a list of their most popular blog topics.
A quick analysis of the three magazines above shows that each of the magazines have a real wedding in their top 10 pieces of content. Additionally, they also have tips for members of the Bridal party, like a Maid of Honour or Page boy – interesting.
Another great way to find content ideas for your blog is to use the Keywork research tool featured with Semrush. Semrush is a tool mainly used by SEO and SEM professionals but can offer some serious benefits when planning a content strategy.
Let’s start with the topic of Vintage Weddings. We know it has a popular audience from our research using Buzzsumo, but we also know that Vintage Weddings can cover a large number of topics. Popping in the phrase Vintage Weddings should bring up this…
Pretty intimidating, aye? For the non SEO or SEM professional this may appear to be a pretty complicated report, but for our blogging use we only need the two results under ‘Phrase Match Report’ and ‘Related Keywords Report’.
As you can see above, Vintage Weddings is a hot topic in the UK right now and it seems every Bride wants a Vintage Wedding. Keywords such as ‘Vintage Wedding Dresses’, ‘Vintage Wedding Ideas’ and ‘Vintage Wedding Cakes’ receive thousands of searches per month. From analysing the keywords that surround the term ‘Vintage Weddings’ we should be able to gauge the amount of interest in a particular topic and decide whether blogging on the subject would be worth our time.
Using the above we could look at writing blogs for:
Vintage Wedding Dress – 2400 Searches Per Month
Vintage Wedding Cakes – 1900 Searches Per Month
Vintage Wedding Shoes – 1600 Searches Per Month
Vintage Wedding Rings – 1300 Searches Per Month
Vintage Wedding Ideas – 4400 Searches Per Month
Shabby Chic Weddings – 1000 Searches Per Month
Although these seem to be very popular topics with high search volumes per month, they also appear to be very competitive, since when we look at the average CPC (Cost Per Click) you can see how much marketers are willing to spend on particular each per click.
Vintage Wedding Dress Average CPC 0.59
Vintage Wedding Cakes Average CPC 0.82
Vintage Wedding Shoes Average CPC 0.57
Vintage Wedding Rings Average CPC 2.64
Vintage Wedding Ideas Average CPC 1.14
Shabby Chic Weddings Average CPC 0.55
Using the export function we can now try to find a number of related keywords (and content ideas) which are far more balanced in terms of searches per month and competitive density.
Vintage Wedding Hairstyles – with 1000 searches per month Vintage
Wedding Theme Ideas – with 90 searches per month
Using the same Buzzsumo practice as detailed above, we can start to gather a list of blogs that have covered vintage wedding hairstyles or vintage wedding theme ideas. Your aim is then to create a better blog post that all of the top shared blog posts surrounding those subjects.
Other areas to find content ideas
If your inspiration from the above process seems to dry up, you can also turn to other processes which I have found to be fruitful in the past, for blog content creation. I would always start with the question… ‘If I were starting to plan a wedding today, what would I want to know?’.
Quora is the ultimate question and answer forum on the internet. You can also find some of the biggest authorities answering questions daily on nearly every subject imaginable. For inspiration when creating your blog topics it’s pretty much the place to be.
A quick search for ‘Wedding Ideas’ brings up the below.
Using the above Quora search as your source of inspiration you could write blogs such as…
20 Hot Gifts to Give at a Wedding
12 Creative and Affordable Ceremony Ideas to Put a Twist On Your Wedding
5 Tropical Wedding Destinations You Will Fall In Love With It’s no coincidence that people are demanding answers to these questions over and over. If you’re a wedding blogger it is your responsibility to deliver this information.
Google Plus gets a lot of flak from the mainstream media, but when it comes to finding inspiration for your content marketing… you’ll be hard pushed to find a better source.
Wallah… content that people like to read and want to talk about. It also filters out a lot of the content from news media outlets and gives you content from niche blogs. If people are liking and sharing this content, then surely I should share my ideas?
After hitting Quora and Google Plus it may be worth turning your attention to Reddit. It’s not called the front page of the internet for nothing and when it comes to finding the best articles on the internet, Reddit is THE place to go.
The two subreddits a Wedding blogger may like to lurk in are r/weddingplanning and r/weddings. After years of being spammed with articles these subreddits have been transformed into Question and Answer subreddits . That means there is now a vast number of questions being asked by people planning weddings or sharing their wedding planning stories. Quality inspiration for my next blog posts.
Alternatives to typical wedding presents? 3 Upvotes and 2 Comments
They seem to be popular subjects. I wonder if I could write a blog post on these two topics? Utilising the same formula with Buzzsumo and Semrush, you could now test viability for social sharing and search for these two subjects.
It’s not just weddings either. Reddit can be used for nearly every blog niche imaginable!
It took me a while to fall in love with StumbleUpon. I found it really glitchy at first and the fact that you have to share articles that link back to StumbleUpon is a real bummer. Yet when scanning the internet for blogging inspiration StumbleUpon can be a real gold mine.
The content is often of a Buzzfeed/Listicle Quality and is set up for the consumer over the real business professional. Yet the voting algorithm means that only content that is both quality and entertaining will ever make it into your newsfeed. It may take 10 or 15 stumbles to find inspiration but I can guarantee you will find something that sparks your imagination.
Only the best of the best will ever make it to the top on Hacker News. Articles from high velocity entrepreneurs make it onto the newsfeed and it can be great for finding niche articles to share on social media.Visual.ly
Quite simply the only infographic library you will ever need. Whether you need facts on nearly every subject imaginable or inspiration for your infographics; Visual.ly is the place to go.
Pinterest is the visual search engine of the world. If you work in a visual blogging industry like Weddings, using Pinterest to help gather popular blog ideas is a must.
I’ve been reading Medium more for entertainment at home than for blogging, yet the quality of articles and stories you will find on Medium are of such a high standard.Contently
The authority on creating content. Each of their blog posts is an absolute must read. In terms of inspiration they are overflowing with content ideas and each blog post has its own tangent you can run with.
Set up a load of Google Alerts on every subject your business blog plans cover. Then either create weekly roundup posts or gather inspiration on popular topics. Creating round ups can be great for a blog beginner, as it helps you build contacts when contacting the authors or bloggers of the content you wish to share.
Are you thinking about making an infographic or want to make a powerful point with researched facts? Head over to the ever growing resource that is Factbrowser.
High quality articles on every subject imaginable written by business professionals. Whether you’re looking for extra information for a blog post or simply want to research what subjects are trending, LinkedIn Plus is the place to look.
Buffer Daily Article Lists
A little secret us Social Media Managers like to keep. Buffer, the social media manager tool, list 25 of the most shared articles on their roster. It’s amazing.
Google Adwords Keyword Tool
Semrush is a little more proficient at helping build an idea of topics you could blog about, but if you can’t afford the tool or it just comes across a little too complicated, Google Adwords Keyword Tool offers a suitable alternative.
Article submission site that has a vast amount of statistics and information you can use as a resource for blog posts. It’s still very hard to navigate and the platform does get spammed with rubbish.
Case studies on nearly every topic imaginable. Search and use as a resource for interesting blog content.
A Google Docs spreadsheet that will pull in the top Google News, Youtube Videos, Bing News, Reddit Posts and popular articles from around the web. A great resource for gathering inspiration around your blog topic. See how it works here… ContentGenerator
Tips from Small Business Bloggers
Don’t just take our word from the above. We asked our followers on Twitter what their tips for small businesses would be…
@123PrintUK Regular content, relevant to your users, inform don’t sell and you won’t go far wrong. Leverage impact with social and video 🙂
— SGP Consulting (@SGPConsultingUK) July 14, 2014
— Carrie Eddins (@blondepreneur) July 15, 2014
Even David Cameron thinks you should start blogging…
Ok, maybe not. But you can make fake funny tweets to add into blog content at Simitator.
So what are you waiting for? Let us know what you think and how you create blog content in the comments below!