As any experienced business blogger will tell you, one of the toughest parts of the job is thinking of a steady stream of interesting topics. Whether you’re on your fifth or 55th post, it’s equally important to offer value (and to some degree, entertainment) to your readers.
“Whenever you can write about current events or trends, do so—connecting to what’s going on in the world will help you establish your business’s relevancy and credentials,” says Mark Satterfield, author of the book The One Week Marketing Plan: The Set It & Forget It Approach for Quickly Growing Your Business (BenBella Books, August 2014). “But for those times when you’re fresh out of newsy ideas yet you still need to publish something that piques readers’ interest, you need a good list of evergreen topics.”
In his book Satterfield explains how to deploy your energy and finances in order to bring high-quality prospects to your doorstep, including a thorough look at how to create an engagement business blog from the ground up. He lays out a step-by-step, “set it and forget it” system entrepreneurs and small business owners can put in place in just five business days. Here, Satterfield shares five blog post ideas that will help you to attract new clients (and strengthen your relationship with existing ones) by establishing yourself as a thought leader in your field.
- X Things You Should Be Doing Now: This post showcases three to five items everyone should be doing on a regular basis. Ideally, you want this to be something that isn’t commonly known. If you’re a spa director, you can write, “You already know how to get new clients, but here are some things that you might not know about client retention.” Then tell readers something like, “Offer a referral discount that benefits both the client who gave the referral and the one who uses it.” Let readers know what benefits this strategy will give them and briefly mention the fuller benefits they would get if they came to see you.
- My Mistake! Where I Went Wrong and What I Learned: Let your readers know how you got through it and how it’s influenced you today. Demonstrating that you have personally experienced the pain your prospective clients are facing shows that your knowledge is more than theoretical. “My wife has said to me, ‘It would be great if you got it right the first time, just once,’ but the fact that I’m willing to share mistakes makes my recommended solution all the more credible,” Satterfield says.
- Making a List (and Checking It Twice): Can you put together a convenient list that people in your niche will find relevant or useful? It could be books and articles to read, things to do, or things to avoid. And don’t forget social media. Maybe you could make a list of groups on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Google+ that your audience should be members of (like American Spa did with this regional spa associations story). Or perhaps you can make a list of people they should follow.
- How I Became a [Insert Whatever You Do]: This is a great way to showcase your credentials and experience. You’ll get SEO benefit when people search for the job title that the post references, and there is usually a high degree of curiosity about these types of articles. Plus, you’re the ultimate expert on the path you took to get where you are today. “Just make sure your post doesn’t read like a résumé in sentence form—be sure to infuse your story with interesting personal details, like the mentor who changed your focus in school or obstacles you had to overcome,” Satterfield says.
- Frequently Asked Questions: Most of us who have some type of expertise get asked certain questions about our jobs, our products, our companies, and ourselves repeatedly. It’s old hat to us, but for those who don’t have our level of expertise, having answers to FAQ in one place is very helpful. “Think about the typical questions you get asked a lot once people find out what you do, or the questions someone asks you when they’re sitting next to you on a plane,” Satterfield says.
“This list should give you the jump-start you need on days when you don’t know what to blog about,” Satterfield concludes. “Anytime you think of a good evergreen topic, add it to this list so that your blog never hits the doldrums—and so that your clients and prospects stay connected.”