Do you ever struggle with generating topic ideas for your blog?
I know I did.
When I first launched Encircled, I would stare at my blank blog template for hours, wondering what I should write about next.
Eventually, I would just give up and write something random, and forced. It felt icky.
Here's the thing. Blogging should be fun.
You should wake up enthused to pen a blog.
As a product-based retailer, your blog is the opportunity to truly connect with your audience and share your story. It also helps improve your search engine optimization and draw potential customers to your site repeatedly, thereby increasing your customers' 'stickiness' with your brand.
This brand stickiness starts with understanding the perfect intersection point of where your brand relevance meets your customers' interests.
So, how can you start to get your blogging creativity flowing?
Start with your customer.
Who are they? Where are they hanging out already online? What types of interests do they have? What websites do they go to daily? What content gets them going?
A great place to begin is on your existing social media properties. What posts are your customers LOVING? Pick one and let's break it down.
How and why does this post fit with your brand?
It's great that my customers loved the story about a divorced woman starting over by downsizing to a DIY 196 square foot trailer that cost her $11k. But how does this connect with my brand? (And why do customers love it?)
To understand, I break down the components of this story that I think resonated with my audience:
- It's smart and innovative --> someone has gotten really creative, and used epic design elements to create this trailer. It also makes excellent dinner party conversation and is extremely shareable.
- It's about starting over/inspirational stuff --> the content is empowering. A woman who went through a divorce, and then built herself a trailer. Two words: Bad ass.
- It's got an underlying societal message that fits with our brand --> doing more with less. It's suspiciously eco without hitting people over the head with eco facts, and do not do's.
Knowing this, what 10 blog topics can I generate?
Here's the way I take this data and turn it into 10 blog topics.
I take an old-school piece of paper and put the FOUR characteristics above in the top columns: Smart & Innovative, Inspiring, Hidden Messages and Brand Fit.
Along the left-hand side of the piece of paper, I put the title "Blog topic ideas."
And then I turn things off. I turn off my iphone, my ipad, my laptop..... blah. I commit to 10 minutes of complete silence.
I take a few deep cleansing breaths, and I focus on my target customer. I really commit to putting myself in HIS or HER shoes.
I visualize them coming to my website. Sitting at their computer. Surfing to other pages. What content is making them go WOW?
And then I let it flow....
Any single idea that flips out of my brain is captured. I write write write. For 5 minutes straight.
After 5 minutes, I edit.
I go back through my list of topics and check off the right hand columns if any of the characteristics apply (I.e. Smart & Innovating) across all of my topic ideas.
If nothing clicks. I start the process over, but generally I will have at least a few ideas that resonate with all of my ideal characteristics AND fit with my brand.
If you're like me, and blogging once a week for your product-based business, having a few blog topics will keep you busy for a couple of weeks.
And if you don't want or feel qualified to write the content, you can create summary posts (I.e. a summary of best decorating ideas) or invite other popular bloggers to post on your blog.