So you have a blog, now what? One of the most common questions I get from clients is what to talk about. It’s easy to start a Facebook page, blog, or any of the many little content consuming monsters we like to create on a whim. But if you’re brand isn’t a fit for baby and kitten memes you will find out quickly that you are missing a content strategy. Coming up with business blog ideas becomes even more daunting for B2B brands that must tackle unsexy topics.
Here’s the good news. We all have something to give that people will value. That’s why you’re in business to begin with. It might not always be the most interesting, cute, or dare we say “viral” piece of content on the Web. If what you’re putting out there useful to your target audience, no matter how niche they may be, you’ll have met a universal goal. To be loved.
Here’s a list of ideas to help narrow in on what your brand has to offer. I dare you to read this through to the end and tell me you didn’t come up with at least one thing to blog about today. Ready sexy?
#1. Company Culture
Sure, sometimes what a company does is so secret that it can hardly be talked about. Take the financial and healthcare industry. Strategy – pivot to people. Believe it or not, we want to know that you bike to work every day. Or, what’s on the menu for the catered company lunch. We love to see photos from the company holiday party. (Although you might want to keep that last one in a locked drawer.) People love to hear stories about other people. It builds an emotional connection with an otherwise faceless brand.
#2. Company Training
Do you often do employee training that others might learn from? Turn it into a video, webinar, blog or slideshow to share it online. Even if it’s a topic outside of what you offer as a product or service, people will be grateful. I am currently repurposing a “how to SEO blog posts” training I did with my team after hearing their feedback on how others could really use it, too.
This is a great topic for B2B brands because events and conferences are our life. People are interested in what events your company plans to attend. It might be the first they’ve heard of it and they’ll be grateful you put it on their radar. It is also a great way to establish who from the team will be on the scene for networking. If you are the event organizer, get with 2013. Blogging and social media are a must for event promotion.
#4. Conference Blogging
Whether you’re live blogging from the conference or posting a recap afterward, you will be doing a service for those people who weren’t able to attend. Focus on key takeaways and mix in your own expertise to provide the ultimate value to readers.
#5. Photo Blogging
Photo content is the big thing since Instagram and Pinterest hit the scene. There’s not much writing involved when you’re storytelling with photos. Maybe it’s artistic shots of a product or adventures with a company ambassador. WordPress is still the ultimate blogging platform, but a photo friendly blogging service like Tumblr can connect you to new audiences.
#6. Water Cooler Chat
Before you cringe hear me out. There’s more to water cooler chat than politics and gossip. I’m not sure if people actually sit around a water cooler anymore either. Do you? What happens at the office can be an interesting topic. Take Facebook fox as my case in point. The Facebook campus is graced with the presence of adorable little foxes native to the property. They can be found lying around on visitor’s cars, photo bombing, or getting into trouble right outside Zuck’s window. No one but company insiders would have enjoyed this phenomena were it not for people tagging their sightings on Facebook. In just three months over 85,000 people have liked the FB Fox page, Facebook has received Wildlife Habitat Certification to protect them, and stuffies are coming to a store near you.
#7. Inside the Factory
You might think that making widgets is boring but the public will kindly disagree. Have you ever watched How It’s Made on the Science Channel or Discovery’s How It Works? One thing that sets humans apart from apes is curiosity. Feed the beast and keep their curiosity peaked with an inside look at sourcing ingredients to the day-to-day workings of the factory floor.
There are entire media channels dedicated to this and there can never be enough. Yes, it’s been done before but not by you, from your perspective, using today’s updated information. YouTube is the second largest search engine online. Yes because of puppies, kittens, and Justin Bieber. The hidden truth is that it’s also an important self-learning vehicle for the how-to.
#9. Customer Stories
Does your business help people? I mean really help people? This is a no brainer. Share their stories, with their permission of course. At the end of the day your product or service serves a higher purpose to make people’s lives better through “fill in the blank” by doing XYZ. Tell it from the horses mouth and the good word will impact people on a deeper level and hold more credibility than a million dollar ad buy.
#10. Good Deeds
Some companies are good at talking about their charity work while some of us prefer to keep our good deeds to ourselves. It’s not awesome to support a non-profit for the sole purpose of using it as a PR story. It happens. On the flip side, the organization in turn gets some much-needed press. Use your good deeds for the good. Tell their story and show your company’s true colors by letting everyone know why you chose to support this cause. Give readers action items to make a difference and keep people updated on the evolving progress through a blog series.
#11. Advice from Company Experts
If you’re a services company I bet you have a lot of advice to share. You might think, “that’s what we get paid for so why give it away for free?” It’s an obvious question. Companies like IBM, Salesforce.com and Hubspot are dishing it out for free and getting big returns on brand love, reputation and credibility. It seems like a good trade-off to me. By elevating your experts people get a taste of your capabilities. This leads to warm referrals and sales. With your team behind you, can you think of one piece of advice you can offer per week?
Good things coming out of a company do not appear out of nowhere. There is a journey to every great project or product. Give people some insight into the magic that goes into making things happen with a project blog. Get stories from the project manager and people involved and turn it into an as-it-happens series of articles. Keep it real, include the details and make it timely. Take everyone along for the ride and they will not only be entertained, they will experience a new appreciation for what your company does.
#13. Questions People Ask Before They Buy
I’m not talking about a company FAQ. There’s a deeper level of discussion to get to that has less to do with your product and more to do with the customer who wants to buy it. What questions do people ask in the early stages of buying? What are their fears? What comparisons do they need to make? Be their unbiased resource to compile this information for them in an expert manner. You will position your company to be the first place they go when they’re ready to pull the trigger.
#14. Search Keyword Mining
Site search and SEO keyword research can bring about tons of ideas for blog articles. Compile a list of non-brand keywords, long tail terms, and out of the ordinary searches. Not only will you be answering to demand, you will have yourself an SEO friendly article that can capture traffic.
So, did you take the challenge? Can you think of at least one interesting business blog idea? B2B brands have plenty to talk about if you are willing to crack open the door to let people inside the company. What seems boring or mundane to you could turn out to be a great learning experience to others. Creating great content is an art. With a little creativity and perseverance you’ll be on your way.
If you’re looking for more inspiration read How-To Brew Fresh Content Ideas.