Blogging for business can be intimidating. Regardless of whether you’re a solopreneur building your small business or in charge of content for a large non-profit, it can be a struggle to come up with things to write about. Yet blogging for business remains an essential aspect of building trust and proving expertise to your users and to Google. Here are 5 tips for figuring out what to blog about when you feel like you don’t have anything left to say.
01 Which questions are you always being asked?
This was the big impetus for me starting my 30 Days of Blogging challenge. Over the last four years of running my web design business in Austin and Berlin, I was asked a lot of the same questions. Sometimes I would respond by sending the asker another company’s blog.
On the one hand, sharing other people’s content is fine. I can’t be an expert in everything. But, especially when it came to design issues, I wanted to be sending out Design It Please blogs. I wanted to have content about white space and landing pages at-the-ready.
So make a list of the questions you’re always answering. Ask your colleagues which questions they’re always answering. If you’re a part of work-related groups online, start noting the common questions. This is always the best place to start for content creation.
02 Go outside
Seriously. Go outside. Change your surroundings. Go have a tea at your favorite cafe. Sip a craft brew on a patio. Sit in a park with a notebook, and see what happens. Putting yourself in a new environment can help get you outside of the “work box” and bring freshness to your mind.
My brainstorming for 30 Days of Blogging happened on a Sunday night at my favorite cocktail bar. By taking away the pressure of sitting at my work desk and trying to come up with great work ideas, I gave my brain permission to dream.
Go on a hike and take a little notebook. Jot down the things that come up along the way. I promise it will get your creative juices flowing like nothing else.
03 What’s exciting you?
It’s easy to write about things that excite us. We naturally want to share exciting things. Make a list of what you’re currently interested in, what’s making you curious, what is bringing you joy. Don’t worry about connecting it to business right away. Start with the list.
That’s how two of my favorite blogs came to be. Over the past year, I’ve gotten very into puzzle videos and making sourdough bread. I didn’t immediately see a connection to business when I wrote those two ideas down, but I figured it out.
Everything is connected. The things that interest me during my non-work hours still provide influence during work hours. Usually, though, we don’t think about it. It’s easy to compartmentalize our lives into a work version and a play version, but I think it’s better to take a holistic view. Allow your play to influence your work and see what new connections you discover.
04 Which keywords are trending?
Buzzsumo and Google Trends are your friends. These free services will show you which topics, stories, and keywords are trending. Right now, the final season of Game of Thrones is airing, so predictably, searches for “Game of Thrones” are up.
A quick search on Google Trends for the keyword phrase “web design” shows me that I might want to write posts about web design trends for 2019 (oh wait I already have) and “how to do web design.”
These tools can be immensely helpful for generating fresh content ideas.
05 Brainstorm with someone else
One of the best things you can do when you don’t know what to write about is to brainstorm with someone else. A small group or even just one other person can help you see a new perspective and bring new creativity.
“The fatal misconception behind brainstorming is that there is a particular script we should all follow in group interactions…. [W]hen the composition of the group is right—enough people with different perspectives running into one another in unpredictable ways—the group dynamic will take care of itself. All these errant discussions add up. In fact, they may even be the most essential part of the creative process. Although such conversations will occasionally be unpleasant—not everyone is always in the mood for small talk or criticism—that doesn’t mean that they can be avoided. The most creative spaces are those which hurl us together. It is the human friction that makes the sparks.”
-Jonah Lehrer, controversial author of Imagine: How Creativity Works
Go forth and blog
The next time you’re feeling low on creativity or inspiration and don’t know what to blog about, try one of these tips. As always, kind your audience in mind and understand your goals. One of my favorite business blogs is Wistia’s. The content they create is focused on teaching businesses of all sizes how to best use video, regardless of budget. Of course, the more businesses that are using video, the more potential clients there are for Wistia. But in the end, it’s really great content that anyone can use on any platform.
So what content can you create that will empower your audience to move forward or overcome a hurdle?