This is the third and final post in our three-part series on overcoming common challenges to blogging for your content marketing program. Read the first installment here and the second installment here.
Analytics and social networks are treasure troves of ideas, but for those who haven’t yet launched a blogging or social media operation, developing enough ideas can be a serious barrier. Probably more than time and legal constraints, generating ideas is a roadblock blogging operations of all sizes risk facing.
Here are a few ways to start stocking your editorial calendar and keep that risk at bay:
Ask your target audience(s), or real people who fit the user personas you’ve identified, about their interests and needs, what kind of dilemmas they face on a daily basis, and what questions they have about your industry or your service.
Surveys can be informal or structured. Going to an industry conference? Start talking to your audience in person. Have a newsletter list? Send out a survey to your subscribers. Offer a gift card or a prize drawing for those who participate.
The important thing is to get a feel for the pain points and pleasure centers of the audience you’re seeking to develop. What do they need help with? And what kind of content would they read simply for the joy of it?
Brainstorm With Coworkers and Peers
Hold a brainstorming session with your team. Include everyone—from the marketing director to your interns. Capture everything, even if it doesn’t seem relevant to you now, and make a workable list from the results.
If your team is fresh out of ideas or you are a one-person marketing department, you can still have a successful brainstorming session. Build your own community of marketers (friends and colleagues at other companies, people you’ve met at content or marketing events) and ask for help.
Hire a Consultant
The outside perspective of a consultant, if you’ve got the budget, will help you mine your routine for worthy ideas you may be overlooking or taking for granted.
Review Your Schedule
Be sure your blogging schedule is manageable for the size of your team. It’s easier to come up with ideas for two blog posts per week than five. Ask your team, and your target audience, if posting less frequently, especially when you’re just starting out, can still keep you on target to reach your goals.
Question Your Tactics
While an ad agency or a homebuilder may be able to gain SEO value, build trust, and demonstrate thought leadership through a blog, a car dealership might find white papers more effective. Different types of businesses will need different content marketing strategies and channels. If you’re having trouble coming up with ideas, it might be because you’re trying to fit a car dealership model into a homebuilder strategy or vice versa.
How do you generate ideas for your blog? We’d love to share your thoughts with our community. Add them to the comments below.