Many organizations have the best intentions in mind when it comes to the company blog.
They research how often to post, the recruit the right people from various departments to share their expertise and they utilize the marketing tactics available to them to promote the posts when they launch.
Yet those intentions can often be stalled by a very common obstacle: selecting the right topics to drive traffic and illicit dialog from their audience.
Seems simple enough, right? Far too often companies select topics for their blog because they feel the audience they are seeking will have interest in the topic, but quickly realize that they may not have anyone within the organization qualified to speak to it.
Sure, you can do the research and put together a piece that covers the topic...but so can everyone else. Part of the reason people read blog posts from different sources is to get THAT source's take on a subject.
If you have subject matter experts in-house, likely they may offer differing views on a number of topics. Understand that your audience is looking to you not only for the "what" but also for your expert opinion about that "what." So write about what you (or your coworkers) know. Just ensure it's relevant to the audience you're seeking. Which brings us to our next point...
Understanding your audience is a key factor in writing successful posts. If The Refinery team were to author several posts about "Grilling Tips for Summer Cookouts" sure that might be fun, but is that what our audience is turning to us for?
You know us as your digital support team. We can help you with online sales and marketing goals, content for your blog and website or apps that help your business succeed and grow.
Trust that as long as our recruiting calls to Emeril Lagasse continue to go unanswered we're better serving you, our audience, by writing about website design, development, content and support.
A big piece of advice to you is to write posts that solve someone's problem or teach them something related to the industry you're targeting. Note here that you may have several different audiences and you should write for all of them, but don't expect the same piece of content to speak to every audience. Just ensure before you start you've identified which audience you're targeting with any given piece.
Say for example, if you're a digital agency talking to marketers and business owners, write a post about how to pick blog topics because that might be something you know a lot of companies struggle with.
If you're still struggling with what to write, try doing a little industry research. You could start by brainstorming with your team. Often your sales representatives have heard feedback from clients and potential clients about 'hot topics' they are looking to learn more about. Your customer services team may also prove an invaluable resource for this type of intel. Anyone who has direct, front line contact with your current and potential audience (read: customers) is a good resource for information about what might grab their attention.
You can also research via Google. Utilize your Google Adwords tool to view topics that seem to be frequent searches. It's a clear indicator of market trends and by doing a little digging you can see what's being said, or what's not being said, in order to better satisfy the audiences need for information. I can't tell you how many times I've looked at a topic that seems like a hot contender for a blog subject based on search, only to discover no one has written anything about that subject since 2014.
A final note: it's completely respectable to simply ask your audience what they want to read about. You may not always get a response, but if you do you've got yourself a topic straight from the horse's mouth so you're sure to get at least 1 view and a share.
So just to clear up any confusion, we're not hiring Emeril...at least, that I know of.
What we are doing is trying to help you, our audience, to market better. Your website content, social content or blog content is there to aid your customers. They are engaging with you to learn and they are trusting that your team has the knowledge they are seeking.
Stop writing for yourselves or for your peers and write instead for the audience you're trying to connect with.
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