Even if you have the best intentions in the world, coming up with a constant stream of new ideas for blog posts can be pretty intimidating. All too soon, the corporate blog lies empty because the company has run out of ideas. Don’t let that happen to you! From company brainstorms to new ways of planning copy, we are going to provide you with some great tips on how to generate ideas for blog content.
WARNING: This is a long post, but we think it’s worth the read (and hopefully you’ll agree). If you really don’t have time then there’s a list of our top tips at the end!
Use your colleagues
Brainstorms can be a brilliant way to come up with interesting blog ideas. Don’t limit yourself to asking only the PR or SEO teams though, invite people from across your business to contribute to a brainstorming session. They might not have the skills needed to write good content, but they may have insights and opinions that will help you generate great ideas.
Speak to your partners, colleagues, and employees, and listen to them to decide what would best suit the needs of your company. Then, come up with something you can write about which takes this on board.
You might even want to talk to some of your regular and trusted customers, to find out what they’re interested in, as there’s a good chance other potential customers will share those same interests.
Remember why you’re blogging. In the case of a corporate blog it’s usually to generate business – so put your audience first and write for them, not for your own interests. You might be delighted to finally have a platform to rave about your travels, but your corporate clients won’t care.
One key consideration is to make sure everything you write is both useful and interesting. That’s the best way to maintain a high standard for your blog.
Become a Serial Killer
Serialising your blog posts can be a great way of producing killer copy over the medium term, rather than putting all of your eggs in one basket. By producing a series of posts on the same topic, you increase the apparent relevance of your site for that subject – and give your readers some other pages to click onto.
Serial articles can help keep people interested in your blog and encourage them to return for more useful content on a relevant subject. You could consider writing a series of how-to articles, or reviews of products, industry publications, or even Twitter accounts from within your sector.
At its best, this approach can encourage readers to come back for the next instalment, creating a steady flow of visits. So, if you’re relying on serial posts to get people back to your site, you might want to stick to a regular schedule for maximum effect.
One caveat – don’t flog a subject to death. There is nothing worse than reading a series of posts which do nothing but re-iterate the same ideas over and over again. If you have nothing new to say on a topic then it’s time to find something new to write about.
Simple enough to be summed up in a single word, ‘read’ is one of the best pieces of advice that can be given to any writer. The more you read other people’s blogs – even if they’re not relevant to your industry – the more you’ll understand what makes for engaging content.
You also need to read people’s blog comments and take on board what they’re saying, both on your blog and other people’s. This will help you to understand which sort of posts are good and which aren’t.
Once you’ve gained this understanding, as well as gathering some new ideas, the trick is to turn them into something that is not only engaging and entertaining, but which also meets your marketing or lead-generation needs.
Remember, it’s not just new ideas that you can pick up by reading other blogs – you might also improve your grammar and style along the way.
Invite guest bloggers
Consider asking an industry influencer if they’d like to contribute to your corporate blog. They are likely to be flattered, so it could be good for networking, and they will publicise it to all their Twitter followers and online circle, which can lead to some new traffic for your blog.
Just one word of warning: agree how you’ll edit their copy in advance. People can be very protective of their work and may not be happy if you’ve gone through it with a red pen. Edit their work lightly and send it back to them for approval before publishing.
Break the Rules
Finally, a fallback option is to go out and break all the known rules about corporate blogging. But, if you take this option, on your own head be it! Every so often you will find a corporate blog that has almost nothing to do with the company that publishes it, but focuses on something like environmental sustainability or charity work instead.
You might also see ‘corporate’ blogs that are purely for entertainment purposes, filled with jokes, or comic strips, or pictures of cats. When you’re this far outside of the box, there are very few hard and fast rules left to break, but get it right and you could give your brand a huge boost in positive perception as a result.
The only caveat to this is that it’s always wise to have plenty of plain text along with any images, infographics, videos, and so on. If you can get some relevant language into it then so much the better, even if it’s just ‘After a hard day working on our new landlords’ insurance document, we’ve been relaxing with some lolcats. Enjoy!’
That way, even if you’re giving your visitors something fun to look at, you’re still delivering the search-visible text content that will help to get you into the search engine results.
However, I wouldn’t recommend this as a good way to write a corporate blog. Nine times out of 10 it’s not a clever quirky marketing strategy, it’s down to ego, and it brings little benefit to the business.
Five golden rules
Ultimately, there are just five things you need to consider when writing corporate blogs.
Your posts need to be:
These are the golden rules for great blog content so never publish anything without considering those first.
Top 20 Tips
If you’re still struggling for blog ideas, try some of these top tips:
- Look at current trends, extrapolate them, and make a prediction for the future of your industry.
- Do an introduction to 10 of the best up-and-coming bloggers in your field.
- Find a current topic of debate and express your own, new, different view on the issue.
- Make a list of common myths and misconceptions about your industry and then debunk them.
- Satirise a well-known personality – it can be someone inside or outside your industry.
- Look at a big brand, and analyse both their good and bad points – show where they’re using best practise techniques and where they’re making mistakes.
- Find a recent piece from a high-level personality in your industry, disagree with it, and prove them and their opinions wrong.
- Do a case study of something that went wrong in your business. Analyse the mistakes and explain how you fixed them.
- Break some news about your company, e.g. revealing a new product.
- Write a list of the vital web tools and software people in your industry can’t do without.
- Compare the old and new ways of conducting your business.
- Write an allegory about your idol doing your business e.g. “How Steve Jobs Would’ve Done SEO” or “The Bruce Lee Approach to Marketing”.
- Go to a trade fair or industry event and report on it.
- Do a comparison of your national market to markets abroad.
- Review a book which deals with your industry – particularly if it contains some interesting outside the box thinking.
- Find out about something new for your industry – a tool, a website, a method etc. – and write about it.
- Identify industry leaders in your area and ask them to do a guest post.
- Write a code of business ethics for your industry.
- Conduct an interview with a prominent or rising industry figure and write it up.
- Check Digg, StumbleUpon, Technorati, and Quora to find out what’s most popular right now, and what questions people are seeking answers to. Then provide the information they want on your blog.
(These tips come from a previous blog post of ours written by Tad. He had 50 ideas, but here we’ve just picked our favourite 20).
Image credit: owenwbrown