Blogging is one of the easiest and one of the hardest tactics of an inbound marketing program. Starting a blog is simple. Writing takes time but usually flows with the right topics.
Ah, the right topics. Coming up with ideas week after week is a challenge no matter what business you’re in. In order to come up with topics consistently, make it a routine even if it’s just once a month.
Here are four ways to come up with an endless stream of blog topics:
Hit the Library
There’s something about a library visit that just can’t be duplicated online - walking the stacks, scanning the latest releases and discovering previously unheard of subjects.
The idea here is to be immersed in a different, unplugged environment where you’re not overloaded with online distractions.
Start by scanning the magazines, looking at article titles.
Here are a few I found while sitting in my local library and some topics I quickly came up with for SPROUT Content:
- Weight: Is More Less? (Field and Stream) Content: Is More Less?
- Relieving Patients’ Pain (NIH Medline Plus) Cost Effective Ways You Can Relieve Your Clients’ Marketing Pains
- The Latest (Shocking) Trend in Recycling: (5280) The Latest Trend in Social Media and Why You Shouldn’t Adopt It
- Learn to Bake Pioneer Bread (Country) Learn to Assess Your Site’s SEO Health in 5 Steps
This exercise took all of 10 minutes.
From the magazines alone, you can usually come up with several months of topics to begin exploring. Then there’s the community bulletin board with talks, classes, upcoming events and the like.
Finally, just walk the stacks. Pick out an armload of random non-fiction books and scan them for ideas.
Numerous studies point to the positive effect of exercise on creativity. But it doesn’t take a study to experience this first hand. You know how easy it is to lose yourself in thought while getting the heart rate up.
Use this time to think of topics.
On my bike ride the other day, I passed my neighborhood golf course. The course was packed. I wondered how golf courses and brands market to golfers. And what about the sport—despite being relatively expensive—continued to attract large numbers of participants.
Are there topics here? Here’s one: “Consistency: What Golfing and Marketing Have in Common.”
People in your company are some of the best sources of content topics. Interview those in sales, procurement, IT, R&D, accounting, logistics, shipping/receiving, customer service, delivery, no matter how small a role they may play.
You’ll find content topics you never would have thought of just by asking questions and listening.
Use Your Surroundings
Wherever you are, be there to capture ideas by just observing.
Sitting in my small local library at 4 PM on a Monday, I’m surrounded by other patrons. It seems more crowded than usual at this time. Is it an anomaly? Or is Monday a normally busy afternoon?
This got me thinking about when was the best time and day to reach people by email for marketing—yet another topic to explore.
And seeing the various ages of library users got me thinking about buyer personas. How many personas is enough for our business? Have our personas changed over the last year? Is it time to update them?
With a little more thought, these are all potential blog topics.
Do you work in a technical, heavily regulated or unglamorous industry and need help coming up with blog topic ideas? Watch our recent webinar No Business is Boring! for inspiration.