Posted on Mar 22, 2018

How to Choose Smart Topics for Your Business Blog

Starting and maintaining a blog for your business is still a great way to generate traffic and land more conversions. Yes, even in 2018. In fact, 84% of business bloggers in 2017 claimed that their blog delivered strong or some results for their business (HubSpot).

Creating a blog for the business website you build is only the beginning. You’ll still need to consistently come up with smart topics for your blog posts if you want to continue to drive real business results from your blog. Below are a few things you’ll want to consider doing.

Follow Industry Newsletters, Blogs, and Social Media Profiles

If you want your business blog posts to create real value for your readers time and time again, you’ll want to ensure you’re repeatedly providing them with industry information that’s timely and relevant. Following well-known and well-respected industry newsletters, blogs, and social media profiles is a great way to stay up-to-date on all the newest trends and happenings within your own industry as soon as it happens.

For instance, if you’re a project manager in the software industry, you’ll likely want to follow information shared by the Project Management Institute, IBM, and SAP. Each entity publishes their own industry research and drives changes and trends in their industries. When you receive updates from industry leaders and associations, you can write blog posts on what that industry news means for your own business, as well as its own unique perspective on newer industry trends and information. Use these resources to create posts that focus on cutting-edge topics inside your industry.

See What Your Competitors are Doing

Your direct competitors most likely share the same audience you do. Follow their blogs and social media profiles to see what pieces of content they publish get the most likes and shares. You can also use a tool like BuzzSumo that automatically analyzes what content performs best for any topic or any competitor of yours. You’ll receive reports and insights about what content your competitors are sharing, and what topics are gaining the most traction across the Internet.

Ask yourself how you can improve or expand on the popular content that your competitors are sharing. Just be sure to always offer your own unique perspective and add additional insights and information into your own posts. Over time, you’ll also start to see gaps in the topics they create blog content for and how you can offer posts to fill this gap. For instance, if you work for a marketing consulting company and notice a lot of your competitors share posts about email marketing but not social media marketing, then you may want to think about filling in this void and creating more blog posts about social media marketing.

When investigating competitors’ blog posts, keep an eye out for things that are working for your competitors, such as:

  • The length of each written post that gets a lot of likes and shares.
  • What type of content is in the more popular posts (e.g., infographics, video clips, text posts).
  • The structure of each post’s headline (i.e., how many words or characters are in it, and do they have repeated words like, “how to,” or “10 Ways…”).
  • Readers’ comments—what are readers saying they like and don’t like about the more popular posts?
  • Where and how are the more popular posts shared—via email, Facebook, LinkedIn, their website, or somewhere else?

Rely on Google

You can use Google Alerts and Google’s “People also ask” box to generate some relevant and interesting topics for your business blog—topics your audience is already searching for online.

With Google Alerts, you simply tell Google what keywords, topics, websites, and industries you want to be up-to-date on and indicate how often you want to receive alerts. Then, Google will email you your results. For example, if you want to know when something new is happening in the manufacturing industry, set up alerts with Google, and they’ll email you information about new posts, research, and web pages that contain information related to the terms you specified for the manufacturing industry.

Whenever you enter a question into the Google search console, the “People also ask” box appears underneath your search query results with questions that others are already asking online. For instance, when you ask, “Why do I need to know about blogging for my business?” in the “People also ask” box, you’ll see questions like, “How do you make money from blogging?” and “What are the benefits of having a blog?” Read this Moz blog post to learn more about why and how to use this Google feature.

Use Data and Analytics

Once you build your business website and start a blog, you’ll want to continually consult data and analytics to come up with timely and interesting topics that will engage your readers and keep them coming back. You’ll want to constantly monitor what posts get the most likes and shares, what posts visitors engage with and view longer, and what posts lead to conversions on your business website.   

You can use one or more of these analytics tools to track valuable information about your blog posts:

Also keep an eye on your business blog visitors’ comments. They’ll leave valuable information about what they want to read about, like additional resources or research you should consider, additional subtopics you should write about, etc.  

Follow Your Audience’s Conversations Online

To gain real insight into what topics you should write about for your business blog, follow some of your best customers and audience members who already have large followings online. For instance, if you own a yoga studio, you’ll want to read yoga and fitness blogs and follow yogis on social media who have thousands if not millions of followers already, and who consistently post videos of different poses and techniques. Review the questions their viewers and readers are leaving for them in the comments fields and make note of what interests them about each post. See what questions and comments spur additional conversation. Then, use this information to develop blog post topics on your own business blog that will answer common questions and concerns that your audience has.

Understand Your Target Audience

Choosing smart topics for your business blog is a lot easier when you truly understand your target audience (your prospects and customers) and what they care about. Build customer personas to better understand your customers and what kind of blog content they want to consume.

Customer personas will include:

  • Demographic information about your target audience such as their age, gender, education level, job title, and income
  • What professional goals your customers are trying to achieve
  • The attitudes, thoughts, beliefs, and personal goals of your target audience
  • Challenges and pain points your target audience experiences
  • What type of content your customers prefer (videos, infographics, etc.)
  • What influences your target audience’s purchasing decisions (price, quality, availability, etc.)

You can use all the information in your customer personas to generate blog topics that will be valuable to them and speak to them on a more personal level.  

After you build a business website with a blog, you must continually choose smart topics to write about if you want it to be successful. Be sure to keep the tips and resources listed above in mind as you choose topics for your business blog, to grow the credibility of your brand online while simultaneously growing your revenue.