What to Write? - How to Find Topics to Write About

You already know that you’re supposed to write content for your blogs, but knowing what to write is the tricky part.

Before you feel like banging your head against the wall, take a look at some of these nifty ideas to help you collect some great content ideas.

Look Into Your Customers

Guess what your greatest content generator is? That’s right, your customers!

Get inside the heads of your customers. If you have a large number of a certain demographic in your customer base, ask yourself what their particular age, lifestyle, relationship status, career choice or religious beliefs might make them curious about.

For instance, if your business is a pet care facility and your main demographic is seniors who regularly attend church, you immediately have two large categories of topics you can pull from. (Pets and faith.) Among these two topics, you can easily hone down multiple content choices.

The Added Benefits of Hypoallergenic Dogs, How to Incorporate Your Pet into Your Family Life, Taking Your Pet to Church, How Long Should You Leave Your Pet at Pet Hotel?, Ways to Support Animal Love in Your City, Dog Breeds that Love Kids, Bringing the Family Together for Annual Dog Day, Why Does My Cat Hate My Grandchild?

These were the topics that came to the top of my mind, but there are many, many more. (If you can’t tell, I’m partial to dogs.)

Follow this process for collecting content topics for your business:

   • Dive into your demographic and get to know your customer base like the back of your hand.

   • Take the main interests or lifestyle elements that they have in common and create large topic categories to draw from. (Such as I did in the above scenario with pets and faith.)

   • Ask yourself what your customer is interested in within those common topics and what they are (subconsciously perhaps) wanting to know.

Use Trends

Bottlenose provides live social intelligence for you by analyzing activity across all of the major social networks. It allows you to “surf the stream” and discover what’s trending in social media.

Using a service like Bottlenose allows you to create content that engages with what’s trending in social media in real time.

In addition, sift through national newspapers and magazine stories. How does national news such as the recession affect your readers? If you talk about national news, your audience will come to rely on you to dice up the news to address their concerns and how it will affect them.

Tip: If you feel up for taking this one step further, you can ask yourself, “What will happen next?” or “What’s the next domino that will likely fall as a result of this piece of this news?” Point it out, and your readers will feel you (and they) are ahead of the curve.

Use the Calendar

Is it New Years? Can you write something about incorporating New Years’ Resolutions? Is Memorial Day coming up? Write a post about honoring the fallen.

Chances are that if you sync your content calendar up with that of your audience, your posts will be more hit than miss.

Topic-Fish on Popular Blogs

The popular blogs in your specific industry probably get hundreds of comments per post, which means the authors don’t have time to respond to all of these comments and questions.

Enter you…the eager opportunist!

First, reply directly in the comment thread and provide a helpful response to the commenter’s question. Secondly, take the question from the comment and your answer and create a blog post with that content.

Go for the Controversy

Weigh in on your industry’s hot topic, whatever that might be. Direct mail or email sales? Airbnb versus standard hotel chains? Samsung or Apple?

Capitalize on the buzz already circulating these topics and add your own opinion to the mix. A tip for standing out though: voice a controversial opinion. If you try to have the same opinion most other writers have, your post will get less attention.

Interestingly enough, people want to know why you prefer Samsung to Apple, and not the other way around.

Tip: Invite an industry expert you strongly disagree with to guest blog with you for a fun, debate-style post. What do Americans love? Conflict! They also like to decide what they believe from opinions/choices/views set before them.

Mind Map

Mind mapping is one of my all-time favorite power tools for coming up with content.

If you’re not familiar with the concept, mind mapping is a technique for visualizing how topics are related to each other. Draw a chart with branches for all the main topics you cover, to get a picture of where they might sprout new stems.

This is especially fun to do in a creative strategy session with a team. Get out the whiteboard markers and follow the instructions in this video of basic mind-mapping steps to some brilliant topics.

Contact 10twelve for a brief consultation if your company needs advice or help with what to write for your business.