The number one content marketing problem plaguing many of my clients (and I’m sure other SEO professionals can commiserate) is that they say they don’t know what to write. They are constantly struggling to come up with topics for their blog which means content isn’t getting produced on a regular basis. As a result, the blog isn’t nearly as powerful and useful for SEO as it could be. If any of your clients are suffering from content marketing writer’s block, here are four ideas to give them at your next meeting to help them break free:
1. Use Other Industry Blogs as Inspiration.
Since the competition is going after the same type of customer/reader, if their online competition is writing about something then it’s probably a good topic for your clients to write a few blog posts about. Obviously this idea doesn’t work if the competition is talking about their own products, but industry trends, best practice tips and other informational posts can be a great source of inspiration for your clients.
By keeping tabs on what the competition is writing about, your clients will also be able to pinpoint what the competition ISN’T writing about—what information gaps are there that need to be filled so your client can stand out? What keywords are/aren’t being heavily targeted? You want to give you client’s content the best possible chance of being found in the search engines and read by interested visitors. If they can carve out a new niche for some of their blog posts, they become the go-to-authority on that topic.
One way I help my client’s find great topics by using the competition is by telling them to check out the blogs that my team commented on as part of their link building strategy. We do all the upfront research and find great blogs, they just have to click each link and skim the post to get the idea.
2. Have Customer Service and Sales Representatives Keep Track of Questions.
Your client’s customer service and sales representatives are their “front line” employees. They are the ones interacting with the customers day in and day out, so they know what kind of information their audience is looking for. Recommend to your clients that their front line employees jot down every question a customer asks them and then answer those questions in a blog post. If their customer service team is repeatedly hearing the same questions, you know that is pertinent information that their audience is searching for. Since many people look online for answers before calling customer service, by writing up these posts your client is actually making for a better customer experience. Simple questions can be answered online in blogs posts and FAQs, while more in-depth questions can be handled by the customer service team.
3. Break up white papers or webinars into short posts.
Site owners spend countless hours putting together white papers or webinars and they almost never leverage them as well as they could be. There is a ton of valuable information locked in those pieces of content that a large portion of their target audience is never going to see/read. Have your clients break up their white papers into smaller blog posts, each centered on a specific piece of information. They could even drop a link in the post to the full white paper so readers can download it (a great way to get people to fill out their lead form). Have your clients slice and dice their webinars in the same way (a good source of content for a video marketing campaign as well.) Visitors might not want to sit through their hour-long webinar right now, but a 1-3 minute video is a great source of information! Videos are also a nice break from text posts and might attract a few new visitors.
4. Interview Employees and Customers
If your client is really strapped for ideas, have them do a little self promotion! I always recommend that clients do 1 promotional blog post for every 10 informational, but it’s their company blog after all, so why not tell the story of their company?! Have your clients interview their employees—anyone from the CEO to the new sales guy. Ask why they like working for the company, what makes the company and their products great, do they have any customer stories to share? These interviews (either text or video) are a great way for your clients to humanize their company and put a face behind the brand.
Your clients could also interview happy customers and get a few client testimonials out of it. Why did they choose to work with your client’s company? What do they like about their products/services? These client testimonials are a great way to build trust in potential customers as well as good fodder for the company blog.
These are just four ideas that I have used to help my client’s break free of their content marketing writer’s block (I’ve even used them for my own writing!). What advice do you give your clients when they are struggling to come up with topics? Share your thoughts in the comments below!