What’s the one question novelists hate more than any other?
Well, I can’t speak for all novelists (especially since I’m not finished writing my own novel—yet), but one question certainly high up on that list would be, “Where do your ideas come from?”
Fortunately, business bloggers should have an easier time answering this question. [Hint: There’s only one right answer if you’re blogging for your business.]
Don’t have the answer? Let me help: Your best blog ideas come from your prospects and customers.
[crickets chirping in the background…]
Back to business blogging basics
First, why are you blogging for your business?
In one sentence, that reason should be, “To attract new customers and encourage your existing ones to continue doing business with you.”
Forget talk about branding, thought leadership, active online presence, building community and similar marketing jargon. It all boils down to this one sentence:
“Blog to attract new customers and encourage your existing ones to continue doing business with you.”
And how can you do this? By giving them what they want.
People who seek out your business do so because they have a problem to solve or need to fill. Your existing customers may have questions about or problems with your products or services—or they might want to learn more about how to better use what they’ve purchased from you. Maybe, they wish to buy more from you and want the opportunity to do so.
Your blog is a prime opportunity to give them exactly what they want.
But how do you discover what they want to see on your blog? If you don’t know what they want to read, how can you possibly write it?
This is part you’ve probably been waiting for, the secret to a never-ending wellspring of killer blog post ideas:
Let your prospects and customers tell you what they want!
Go to your sales team (if you have one) and ask them what questions and objections they hear most frequently from prospects. Most of that feedback can be turned into blog posts and even expanded into whitepapers and ebooks.
Similarly, go to customer service and ask about the common questions, complaints, problems and issues they receive regularly. Again, instant blog topics.
This is the same information your potential customers are seeking to find on the web. Plus, your existing customers will appreciate how you anticipate their needs by blogging about issues important to them.
No sales team or customer service department to ask? Not talking with enough prospects and customers yourself?
Then go where your customer base is. Good customer-centric questions and discussions can be found on industry forums and LinkedIn discussion groups. Spend time searching relevant keywords and hashtags on Twitter to discover questions and issues raised by people seeking solutions.
Look for recurring questions, issues and concerns, then address them in your blog posts.
Spy on your competition
Take a look at your competitors’ LinkedIn company pages to see what comments appear under their content postings. Likewise, look at competitors’ FaceBook and Google+ pages for prospect/customer interaction.
If you competitors blog regularly, check out the comments on their blog posts. Keep searching more competitor blogs until you find active ones with plenty of comments. Subscribe to those blogs and keep tabs on new comments.
Of course, there are more sources for prospect/customer feedback, but what I’ve mentioned above is a good starting point. Feel free to share your favorite sources in the comments below.