I've Got A Blog... Now What?

So you finally decided to put a blog on your website. Congratulations, you've joined millions of other people and businesses who blog!

successful business blogNow you're wondering what the hell you should blog about. Congratulations, you've joined millions of other people and businesses who blog!

But seriously, you know you have to blog, but you just don't know what to blog about. Don't worry, you are not alone. In fact, the majority of blogs that are started are later abandoned. A 2008 survey by Technorati found that only seven million blogs out of the 133 million blogs they track had been updated in the four months of the study. Why is that?

Well, a lot of it can be attributed to the fact that people don't know what to write about. And I am going to help you with that. No, I won't write your blog for you. No, seriously, stop asking, I’m about to share some great tips with you that will help you get started.

A while back I came across this article from Copyblogger in my RSS reader and it got me thinking. How can I help our clients think of ideas to blog about? There are several different areas where I went to find blogspiration (that's blog plus inspiration for you non-math majors out there).

Listen To Your Customers

In my opinion, the best topics for blogs come from our customers. What questions do you get asked on a regular basis? (Where do you think this blog topic came from?) Take a look back through your emails where you helped a customer. Which questions are you asked frequently?

Write down some notes of what you went over and expand on them. While you are writing think of how you can make the text as easy to read and comprehend as possible. One tip that I can't stress enough is to include screen shots. They help the reader visualize what you are doing and helps them make sure they are on the same page as you. There are some great (and free) tools out there for screen shots, like Cropper for Windows and Awesome Screenshot for Safari and Google Chrome (Firefox version coming soon). For Mac users Paparazzi is a great tool. You can even use software like Camtasia to record a how-to video which can be a huge resource for your clients.

Industry Related

What blogs interest you? What blogs and news sites in your industry do you read? What do they blog about? These blogs can be a great source of blogspiration.  Maybe you come across an article that you disagree with, that would make a great post. Take their points and break them down, give your side of the story. Link back to the original post, and even send the author an email or comment in the post saying that you disagree and give a shorter answer, and link back to your article for the full text. This will help create conversation, and drive some traffic to your blog.

Problem Solving

Have you or someone in your company solved a problem or created a workflow to help you get certain monotonous tasks done quicker? Share your tips with your readers. On the flip side, do you have a problem that you just can't crack? Share your problem with your readers, ask for their input, foster the comments to build conversation and help your community grow.

In the News

Is there something going on in the news that effects your industry? Take a cue from Law & Order and do a "ripped from the headlines" blog. Did your business thrive during the recent recession? These topics can go beyond your industry and have a much farther reach pulling in readers who wouldn't normally come across your blog.

Company Culture

What makes your company stand out? Do you have fun corporate events? Share these events with your blog readers to push your brand. Companies like Starbucks often blog about their corporate culture and events they take place in, and the many ways in how they give back to the community. Blogging about your company culture gives a personality to your brand and helps people identify with the company and the people behind the logo.

successful business blogNow that you have some ideas, go and try to write a post. Don't force yourself to write if you aren't feeling it, but when you have the blogspiration, write! Spend 10 or 15 minutes and just dump everything out of your head onto paper. Don't worry about formatting it or cleaning it up, just getting your ideas out there is a huge first step. Take a break and come back to it when your head is clear and polish it up.

Set goals for yourself. Start with baby steps, once a week is a great start, then try to move to twice a week. But don't let yourself get overwhelmed, you shouldn't be having panic attacks over your blog.

Remember what I said about reading great blogs for blogspiration? Well this is a great blog to start with! Subscribe for updates or follow us on Twitter and Facebook to get updates on new posts.

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