Last week I was speaking with a client about bringing their blog back to life. He hadn’t published to the company blog in months because he just couldn’t figure out how to come up with blog topics or article ideas for his newsletter each week.
Of course, the first mistake he made was not knowing what direction he wanted to follow when he started his blog. It’s hard to create an exciting blog without a strategy or a plan.
We discussed the goal for why he felt he needed to put some life into his blog that was failing from day one. No blog strategy or plan dooms your blog to failure. We see this all the time. Want to lose weight, but you don’t take the time to look at what you eat and why, when you snack and why or when you can get to the gym and how to work out your diet is doomed for failure.
The same holds true for a company blog.
You can’t just start a blog because you feel it’s a good idea. Then publish an article on it when you have another good idea a month later.
A blog needed to be consistent and nurtured from day 1 if you want it to work for you.
The client and I decided on the best route to his blog to take. Then we moved on to our next step.
The next step was building a list of article ideas to add to the calendar for at least 3 months.
I use 3-month blocks for 3 reasons
- I find when creating content it takes less time to create 12 post ideas. I get overwhelmed if the calendar gets too big.
2. Renewing contracts every 3 months allows me to review the fees I’m charging and decide whether I should increase my price if I feel I’m not charging enough for my work
3. I find clients will opt for 3-month contract offers when instead of the initial one-month contract they feel will fix their blog up. Honestly, what can you do with 4 blog posts?
Alright so what about those
3 ways to create article ideas for your content calendar
1. Discovery call or ask the client.
I had the client on the phone, so I felt I should talk to him more about his audience and what causes their pain. In this case, it causes their pain because the blog was a physical therapist.
In many cases, though you might not be dealing with actual physical pain. The pain instead refers to what keeps them up at night
What causes them anxiety or stress
Why do they feel like their about to explode with worry?
How can they find the answers to questions about their business
What does your product do to make their life easier?
What do your clients repeatedly ask you
What do they tell you about your products
What mistakes or assumptions about how your product works keep you up at night.
Answers to all of these questions gave me many ideas to write blog posts about.
Have phone calls like this often to keep you aligned with the target audience. I suggest every 6 weeks depending entirely on the client’s availability to speak with you about the blog.
2. Go to associations where your target market is a member
After I finished the phone call, I went to Google to get a feel for what’s trending in the news for B2B SaaS associations.
Once at the site I followed links to link News and Events. This pages usually contain all the information you need to see what your target audience finds essential at the present moment in time.
Look for events, workshops, seminars, conferences, or training online have great topics of discussion.
The topics associations are presenting to an audience are valuable and vital. Look at the headlines of events or articles for words like a new challenge, trend, crisis, because these keywords will give you the hot trending topics your target audience will want to know more about.
For example with this client, I went to Google and searched SaaS organizations and found several reputable associations where my target market audience should be a member.
Google search results for SaaS associations result in 433k results. Of course, the first page will be enough for me to understand what is trending in the in software and information news today.
Clicking the link for the Association for Software Professionals provided me with news and publications when clicking the link MiSV Resources. Check out the screenshot of the drop down, books, marketing, business, and technical articles. Reading through this page for several minutes should yield a host of killer article ideas that are relevant to your target market. Associations offer news, upcoming events, and information regarding consumer questions and concerns. This simple search provided me with a boatload of trending topics, challenges, and concerns the organization finds newsworthy to satisfy their target audience.
I found a multitude of relevant information I could use for article ideas to aid my client’s blog.
In less than 5 minutes I was able to scan headlines of articles, webinars, workshops, newsletters and find trending keywords for article ideas for my client.
3. Journals, Trade Pubs, Professional and Trending Magizines
What are the topics are publications publishing? A publications way to survival is by finding out what their audience wants to read. Reviewing the issues covered in the last several publications will give you a horde of article ideas.
This Google search brought in 51 publications listed in one place for me to scan through to gain the knowledge I need to keep my clients blog interesting and relevant finding article ideas from these valuable industry sources.
Subscribe to publication even if you have to pay. The cost of a subscription outweighs the juicy content ideas the trade pub will provide. When trade pub is writing about a topic, it must be a worth discussing on your client’s blog.
Key Takeaways then over to you
It’s vital to keep your blog consistent, so your readers stay informed and keep coming back. Being able to publish the content that’s important to your target audience is crucial to connecting with your readers.
Here’s a recap of 3 ways to fill a content calendar with article topics quickly
- Have a discussion with your client about their reader’s problems and challenges. Be able to offer solutions to the questions or worries which keep them awake at night.
2. Visit industry organization websites. Going to professional organization websites and scanning the news and events section will give you a vast array of topic ideas. Look at webinars, workshops, speaking events, newsletters, white paper and case study headlines for keywords that point to new trends or new solutions to old problems.
3. Subscribe to Industry professional publications. You might have to spend some money to gain access to trade pubs, but it is well worth to get the news you need. Trade pubs have to report newsworthy trending topics to stay afloat. Writing trending industry news keeps their target market informed and educated about the field. Therefore if trade pubs are writing about it, it must be hot. Let the publications do part of your job for you.
Following these 3 steps will give you enough information to be able to create 3-month long content calendars easily. Taking the time to develop a system will provide the facelift your client’s blog was begging for to make it connect with a target audience.
Is your blog in a bind or maybe you have other ways to come up with the content idea you’d like to share. If so, reach out so we can have a talk about ways to fill your content calendar with compelling ideas.