Content CreationMarketing Strategy

Common Blogging Roadblocks: Generating Ideas

By May 2, 2012 4 Comments

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.

"Idea" concept in printing blocks for The Content Marketeer.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:

Survey

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. 


Gigi Griffis

About Gigi Griffis

Gigi Griffis is a world-traveling entrepreneur and writer with a special love for inspiring stories, new places, and living in the moment. A former content strategist, she now spends her time writing books, blog posts, and articles about adventure, travel, and entrepreneurship. You can follow her at gigigriffis.com.

4 Comments

  • Paul Boomer says:

    This list is great. What’s even better is your inclusion of talking to your audience. Doing that will help any piece of content shine brighter than others in the market.

    As Co-Founder of Shortcut Blogging, I’ve seen the thought of coming up with ideas for blogging be one of the biggest hurdles with clients.

    Along with your list and an exercise we’ve created, people have far less to fear when it comes to blog topic ideas.

    By the way, the exercise we created is a revised version of what the late author, Keith Miller, used while writing his books. We took his process and created a 37-minute outlining exercise that’ll help anybody create an enormous amount of ideas for their blog. We’ve seen businesses use the exercise in group settings, e.g. staff meetings, to create so many ideas they could post to their blog every day for an entire year. If you want to use the exercise, you’re welcome to it at http://www.shortcutblogging.com/outline/

  • Gigi Griffis says:

    Thanks for sharing that, Paul!

  • You can also use Textbroker as a brainstorming partner. We have a pool of about 100,000 authors, all creative thinkers and all based in the U.S. For about $5.00, you can get 50 ideas from a 3-star author. Just pay by the word…and plan on 5 words per idea. http://www.textbroker.us

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