This may seem like the most obvious suggestion, but the inspiration for a company blog should come first and foremost from your company and its products. People who are interested in your brand are there because of your products. It’s safe to assume that those same customers will be interested in reading more about your products in insightful articles on your company blog.
Consider grouping product updates into a series of features for your blog. Perhaps you could turn a single blog post about a new product into multiple articles about product design, development, inspiration, reaction from consumers, and so on.
With each article you could find internal stakeholders from your business whom you can interview about the new product. Suddenly one article about a new product could turn into a series of five or six articles from many different angles.
Writing about company news is another option. Be sure to give some real thought to the type of news your consumers and blog readers are interested in reading. For example, you may think a simple product update isn’t worth the time to write about, but your blog may be just the place to share this type of news.
Even though company news may sound mundane to you, it may be exactly what your consumers and readers want to know about.
2. Get New Ideas From External Sources
To get new ideas for your company blog, get in the habit of reading competitive and complementary blogs. Bookmark external blogs and visit them regularly — or set up news “feeds” to access articles automatically through a feed reader like Google Reader.
A feed reader consolidates content from multiple blogs in one place so you don’t have to spend time surfing around finding content from your favorite blogs. You can also categorize and group your RSS feeds to be even more efficient with your external research.
Google Alerts is a service from Google that automatically informs you when online content matches search terms that you’ve assigned. For example, if you blog about the photo industry, you can set up alerts for search terms like “photo industry trends” or “SLR cameras.”
Google Alerts will send you a message with links to relevant content whenever it finds matches to these search terms. You can customize Google alerts to be delivered via email as-it-happens, or in daily, or weekly, email digests. You can even add Google Alerts as a news feed in your favorite feed reader.
Signing up for your competitors’ newsletters is also a good way to get inspired. Consider what your competitors are promoting and think of ways you can use their content to inspire your own articles.
Social bookmarking sites are communities of their own where people share and rate the best content on the web. Using them is similar to setting up Google Alerts; you can subscribe to keywords or save favourites on social bookmarking sites like Delicious and StumbleUpon. The newest content will be displayed as a feed on your account page on these sites.
3. Use Your Blog’s Statistics
Looking at outside sources seems like an easy thing to do when trying to find content for your business’s blog, but don’t forget about another important internal tool at your disposal: statistics. Keeping a close eye on your analytics will expose reader trends over time and will make some of your writing decisions a little easier. For example, if you find that some types of articles do better than others, revisit or expand upon those features more often.
4. Take Notes
Sometimes, inspiration may come to you at the unlikeliest times; make sure you record those flashes of brilliance when they arise. Get in the habit of listening to conversations and taking note of happenings around your work place. Write down, for future reference, anything that you deem to be “blog-worthy.” Regularly review your notes with your editorial team and refine the best ideas into featured articles.
5. Establish Regular Content Features
Leverage product information, regular company events, and business processes to come up with a suite of regular features for your blog. For example, a network television blog could post a series of articles on the new fall schedule every year, or a sports blog could post a regular feature on spring training camps. These types of events happen on a seasonal basis and are something you can bank on as recurring blog content.
If your business is more product-based, create regular features around product launches or recurring industry trade shows. If you schedule these milestones into your editorial calendar, you won’t have to struggle to find content ideas.
6. Participate in Social Media
Social media goes hand in hand with blogging and just about any other online activity you’re involved with. It’s a great place to interact directly with fans of your product and readers of your blog. Spend time interacting with your followers on a variety of social networks, and you’ll start to see your product from a different perspective. Engage your customers in the conversation about your brand by asking them directly what they’d like to know and read about on your blog.
7. Monitor Your Blog Comments
Reading the comments on your blog can often be a source of inspiration for new content. Readers are generally not shy about sharing their exact thoughts and opinions online. You’ll find that the occasional comment will inspire content ideas for your blog.
You can also learn a lot by interacting with people right on your site. Just as you would get ideas from your followers on social networks, pose questions to the people who comment directly on your blog.
8. Read Magazines and Newspapers
Of course, you can still consider the printed word when looking for content for your blog. Pick up trade magazines related to your industry or leaf through newspapers to generate ideas for your next article.
What are your methods to find content for your company blog? Are there examples and ideas specific to your industry? Please share your tips in the comments below.
Jessica McLaughlin: Jessica is a digital media professional in Toronto, Canada with broad experience in web—particularly social media, online communities, content development and blogging. Jessica has worked for many major Canadian broadcasters, including YTV, Food Network, and HGTV.