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In episode #11 of Marketing Academy Secrets, we show you how simple it is to come up with compelling topics for your blog.
The first place to start (and I'm making the assumption that you're in business) is to compile a list of all of the questions that your customers ask. And not just the questions that your customers ask YOU, but if you have an administrator or a receptionist, what types of questions are they getting on a regular basis? So, how I go about that is — I sit down with the team and we use a whiteboard or sticky notes and we start raising our hands and talking about the questions that our customers ask. And they could be about things that you're not always comfortable discussing online. It could be something about pricing or commission. Regardless of the subject matter, you really want to make a very thorough list because if your customers are asking you those questions in person, they're certainly asking those questions online. And you'd rather it be you answering those questions online than your competitors.
Once you have your list of customer questions, I recommend writing a post about each one of them. While it may seem daunting at first, remember that you don't have to do this all at once. What I would do is force order the list with the questions that get asked the most and I'd make sure that you write those posts first. Now, if it's a delicate subject matter, don't avoid it: You can write it in a way that provides information without being too detailed. For example, if one of the questions that gets asked a lot is "How much commission do you charge?", you may not want to put that in your post. (And I'm not saying that you shouldn't, but lets say you don't.) What you might do instead is talk about the varying degrees of commission and why higher commissions are good for the market. Whatever your take on it is, you want to paint the entire market so people can understand that you understand your business and that you're someone who can be trusted because you're going to tell them the entire story.
Another great way to come up with topics to write about is through "newsjacking." Newsjacking requires that you are a little more agile, and all it means is writing about things that are going on in the news and in popular culture. One of the things that I wrote about when Lady Gaga did this tour was marketing tactics that you can learn from Lady Gaga. It was a massive hit for us in the sense that it got picked up by a lot of other publications and shared a lot. Now, if you think about it, I really don't know much about Lady Gaga, but I observed how she interacts with her audience and found ways that we can transfer that to our business and to others' businesses. So that's an example of leveraging popular culture and writing about something that lots of people were already searching for.
For a more instructional approach to your blog content, use the "how to" format. So, you've got your list of customer questions: Can you answer some of the questions in an instructional, step-by-step way? When writing how-tos, we like to think about the things that we have to do on a regular basis and that we have some expertise around. Then we think, "Are our customers doing these same things?" Our goal is to apply our expertise and make it as instructional as humanly possible (also slightly entertaining if possible) and make it accessible. This type of content is great because it shows you in a non-selling light and it shows you as an expert in a certain field.
Another way to come up with blog topics is by sharing your expertise around existing posts that are out there. So, if you're reading about a topic (let's say it has to do with the area you serve or your neighborhood or your city), writing a post in response to that is a really fantastic way to start to articulate who you are as a company and as a business. It's also a way to engage an audience that's already participating in a conversation. You can come up with lots of topics like that. So let's say in the space of real estate, we might respond to an article about MLS issues, data issues, improvement in the market place, etc. It borders newsjacking, but if done correctly, you can really do a "call and response," wherein there's an article that has a certain opinion and you may have an opposing opinion. It's a really great way to start a dialogue.