Here are 50 great ideas from Carol Tice on how you can use your blog to boost business.
Blogging can be a great way to draw new customers to your business website. But if your blog hasn’t been updated in months or all your posts are thinly disguised sales pitches, your blog marketing plan could backfire.
A great business blog doesn’t sell. Instead, it shows customers why they should do business with you and not your competitors.
Here are 50 types of blog posts that can draw new visitors and help build customer relationships.
1. Customer success story. When you receive a great testimonial from a customer, ask for permission to turn it into a post. Use the post to solicit more customer stories.
2. Mention a popular post. If you notice a post by a popular blogger in your niche getting a lot of attention, add your viewpoint and link to the original post. Be sure to let that A-list blogger know about your comment and link.
3. Disagree with a popular opinion. Get traffic by stirring up controversy and taking a contrary position.
4. Riff on the news. How are current events affecting your customers? Run a Google Alert on certain keywords related to your business or industry to find relevant news items to discuss.
5. Compile a link roundup. If you notice several interesting opinions on a topic, you can pull them together into a single post of the best ideas.
6. Play off the familiar. Mention a celebrity or a pop culture touchstone and your readers will instantly relate.
7. Answer the questions everyone is asking. An FAQ post shows you’re responsive and saves customers time.
8. Pose your own question. What would you like to know about your customers? Just ask, and let your readers create the content.
9. Talk about trends. You convey authority when you tell how things are evolving in your industry.
10. Discuss future plans. Give readers a sneak peek at what you’ll do in the coming year to start generating interest.
11. Review a book. If you’ve read a book you think customers might like, give it a write-up.
12. Review a product or service. This shouldn’t be one of your own products or services or a direct competitor’s offering, but rather a related item your customers might want to learn about.
13. Comparison test. Provide even more value by comparing two or more related products or services.
14. Post a video. Create variety with a video post. You can give a sneak preview of a new product or show a promotional event.
15. Make a podcast. Record a quick interview with an expert, or just give a few of your own useful tips.
16. Create an infographic. Fact-filled, graphic posts get shared a lot on social networks. This infographic got more than 10,000 retweets.
17. Report on a conference. Quote inspiring speakers or tell readers about the latest trends and ideas from the conference that you’ll be implementing.
18. Go behind the scenes. Give readers a photo or video tour of your plant, customer service desk or the backroom of your store.
19. Explain how you do it. Do you have a special way you make your product, handle returns or welcome new customers? Describe your process.
20. Staff profiles. Give a human face to your company by introducing new or seasoned employees.
21. Show your charity work. If your business gives back to the community, post a video or photo essay of that park your staff cleaned up.
22. Gush about your idols. Talk about the blogs you read regularly or the thought leaders who inspire you. Be sure to alert those bloggers and business gurus so they’ll spread the word.
23. Have a debate. Invite someone who disagrees with your views to do a “Point/Counterpoint” post.
24. Talk about your blunders. Everyone loves to read about business failures. End your post by telling how you’re fixing the problem.
25. Create a regular feature. Do a “customer of the week” spotlight or create a monthly collection of the best online articles that match your customers’ interests.
26. Write a series. If you’d like to teach customers something complicated, break the topic into several parts. Series are an effective way to turn casual readers into subscribers.
27. Make a prediction. Everybody wants to know what may happen in the future, so share your opinion.
28. Conduct market research. Are you wondering which product name would attract more customers? Hold a virtual focus group on a blog post.
29. Create a contest. Offer a prize for the most interesting customer suggestion or use of your product.
30. Take a reader poll. SurveyMonkey makes this easy. Or you can simply set up a poll on your business Facebook page and draw readers to “like” your page.
31. Share poll or contest results. Don’t leave readers hanging; do a follow-up post to announce the results.
32. Create an award. Giving a “best of” honor is guaranteed to get attention. Readers will want to check out who won, and all the finalists will likely share the news in social media.
33. Share your customer feedback. If you use customer comment cards or do customer surveys, turn some highlights into a post.
34. Reveal industry secrets or expose lies. When you promise to tell people what others won’t, it’s sure to be a hit.
35. Tell the story of your origins. Everybody loves to read about other people’s dreams and challenges, so write about why and how you started your business.
36. Share a highlight. What were the big milestones in your company’s history? Tell about an important moment and how it changed your business.
37. Keyword posts. Check your Google Analytics to see which keyword searches bring customers to your site. Then do posts on those topics.
38. Read your competitors. If you’re out of ideas, see what topics are drawing a crowd on your competitors’ blogs and give your own take on those subjects. You can even link to your competitor’s post. Readers will think that’s cool.
39. Display a sense of humor. Everyone loves business owners who can laugh at themselves when something goes wrong at the office. Consider giving a “how-to” post a funny spin.
40. Show your passion. What aspect of your business gets you excited? What customer experience was especially gratifying? Tell those personal stories.
41. Share your vision. If you’re different from competitors because of your philosophy, talk about it.
42. Informational, how-to. Is there more than one way to use your product or service? Describe one of the less common uses in a how-to post.
43. Tips and tricks. Don’t have time for a step-by-step how-to post? Give readers a few random suggestions for how to get more out of your product.
44. Celebrity Q&A. An interview post can be quick and easy if you simply email questions to an expert of interest to your customers. If you have some dream interview subjects, go ahead and ask if they’ll participate. You’ll probably be surprised how many say yes.
45. Be inspiring. Sometimes, customers would just like to feel good. Write about something you found inspiring in the course of your day or how you keep a positive work culture.
46. Resource list. You could spotlight your vendors, companies you partner with, or a list of good books related to your business.
47. How you got the idea for your product. This is an opportunity to credit team members and tell an interesting story about product development.
48. A day in the life. Give customers an hour-by-hour account of a typical day at your company.
49. Offer something special. Announce a party that gives your best customers a first look at a new product or create a giveaway just for blog subscribers.
50. Round up the best of your blog. If you think some of your best stuff is buried in the archive, repost your 10 favorite posts from the past year.
The key to a successful business blog is variety — so mix it up with different types of posts. If every post is “Seven Ways to Use Our Product,” it’s going to get old fast.