Some industries appear to lend themselves better to blogging than others. In our field I'll always have far more blog post ideas than I do time to write. But what about more challenging industries?

How do you come up with 30 to 50 compelling blog post ideas for Plastic Products/ Rugs / or the Petroleum Industry <insert challenging client industry>?

This is the third in a 5 part series looking at Blog Strategy with a focus on Clients. In this post, Im going to discuss How to Come up with Blog Post Ideas for Challenging Industries.

Chris Winfield put it nicely in Dave Harry's interview a few weeks ago when he said "…there are people interested in your products/services (or else you wouldn't have a business) so there is a way to reach them through social media marketing"

(thanks Jordan)

Your client's blog will be about them. The end customer who is interested in your client's product / services. Think about blog post ideas that would appeal to them.

1) Start with your client. They know their end customer best. Get them to help you come up with 7 to 10 potential categories for posts. To do so you should ask them a series of questions designed to get to know their customer better. Ultimately it's their customer who's going to become the audience for their blog.

Who is your customer? Why do they buy from you? What problem does your product or service solve?

For example, if we were going to use the Rug Industry, people buy rugs for a number of reasons: because they can add to a home's decor; because they want to make a decorating statement; or maybe it's a simple as they warm up cold floors.

Based on these needs, one could come up with many categories for Rugs: Home Decor, Design, Healthy Living, Environment, Art and Culture, Weird & Wonderful facts about rugs, Rate my Room – Designers answer questions from readers photos, Video tutorials on how to select carpet, install, dispose of etc, there are many different categories that one could come up with.

Based on your discussion with your client you now at least 7 to 10 potential categories for the posts.

2) The next step is to come up with 3 to 5 ideas for each category.

One approach you can take is to brainstorm ideas that will solve the end customers' problems. How do I…

…match my rug to the rest of my home decor? Do I start with the rug or end with it? (home decor – how to idea)

…pick a contemporary colour theme? What colors are in this year? (Design – how to idea)

…Select a rug that is home healthy? (Environment – how to idea)

Use Keyword Selection Tools A second approach is to think about what keywords people might use to find your blog posts and plug these into a keyword selection tool. I really like Wordze for this because it gives a lot of 3, 4 and 5 word phrase results back. These results often make great blog post ideas.

By doing various queries around "rugs" I found these additional Keyword Phrases which would also make great blog post ideas:

  • "organic rug allergies chemical sensitivity" or as a blog post "the best organic rugs for allergies and chemical sensitivity"
  • "custom size area rug" or as a blog post "How to measure your room for a custom area rug solution"

By using keyword selection software to brainstorm blog post ideas, you'll end up writing posts about topics people are actually looking for.

Take Concepts and Turn them into more Specific Ideas A third way to come up with additional blog post ideas is to take existing ideas and flesh them out a little more. Broad, high level ideas are often good ideas that if thought through a little further would become great ideas.

For example if your client is a vet then you might use "dogs" as a topic. Compare this with "how to reduce dog smells" or even better "home remedies to cure your dogs bad breath".

After easily coming up with 5 ideas X 7 categories, your client will realize that there are hundreds of potential post ideas.

Coming up with a bunch of blog post ideas is only the beginning.

Ideally you will take these ideas and create an editorial schedule. This schedule should detail who is going to write which posts and when they'll be required.

Sometimes the easiest and least expensive approach for the client is one that includes mixed accountabilities. Perhaps your client wants a daily blog post but doesn't have the time to write 5 posts a week (neither do you).

The best way to deal with this scenario is to have many people contributing to the blog (as per a schedule of course)

Monday – ghost writer

Tuesday – the client

Wednesday – a delegate within the clients company (this could be a rotation of 4 people so each delegate only has to write one post per month)

Thursday – a guest blogger from within your industry. Think suppliers, resellers, customers, or even competitors from a market you don't serve. Again, this could be a rotation of 4 people so that each delegate only has to write one post per month.

Friday – ghost writer

By brainstorming many post ideas in advance and setting accountabilities and deadlines you'll have a much better chance of the Blog being a success.

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This is the Third in a 5 part series on Blog Strategy with a focus on clients. This series will explore:

  1. How to Sell your Client on a Blog Strategy
  2. How to develop a Blog Strategy? What makes it a Strategy versus just implementing a Blog?
  3. How to Come up with Blog Post Ideas for Challenging Industries
  4. What are realistic measures of success for your Clients Blog?
  5. How to get your Blog Traffic to Convert
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11 Responses to “How to Come up with Blog Post Ideas for Challenging Industries”

  1. Hey, I've commented here a couple of times and wanted to invite you to join this panel I'm putting together to discuss Universal Search and its implications on SEO.

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  2. One tactic for coming up with ideas is to keep track of customer support type emails. Customer questions can show what needs to be written about, and response emails can provide the bones of new posts.

    Another is to think of ten things they'd like to tell a prospective customer about, in five words or less, using specific language. They might need some help to get started — for example, phrases like "our cheese is better" aren't as useful as "local [county name] organic cheese."

  3. [...] How to Come up with Blog Post Ideas for Challenging Industries [...]

  4. [...] Some industries appear to lend themselves better to blogging than others. In our field I’ll always have far more blog post ideas than I do time to write. But what about more challenging industries? – SearchEnginePeople [...]

  5. Elizabeth – I couldn't agree with you more.

    When clients ask me really astute questions I'll often think to myself "wow what a great question, I'd love to flesh out that idea further" and then it becomes a blog post.

  6. Jenn – Today someone who is totally and completely not into the computer thing was trying to tell me what he thought his site needed. He was missing a few big chunks, but telling him won't get through because he zones out so quickly about anything remotely "tech." He hits information overload about our niche very quickly.

    *However*, a short list of things he wants customers to know is right down his alley. That's where this kind of exercise is priceless.

    If he's not thinking about the unintelligible Internet and is instead focused on his customers, I get what I need in order to help him. One mention of the word "keyword" and I've lost him – the opposite of his natural response to the question "What do your customers ask about?"

  7. Brad Shorr says:

    This is a superb post that I'm going to show to a few of my B2B clients who are debating whether to launch a blog.

  8. Things that always work are lists and making fun of something.

  9. [...] topic ideas for your ecommerce blog? Jennifer Osborne from Search Engine People has the cure with How to Come Up With Blog Post Ideas for Challenging Industries, using rugs as an [...]

  10. [...] How to Come up with Blog Post Ideas for Challenging Industries [...]

  11. [...] off, though this post was inspired by Jenn Osborne's thoughts on blog post ideas for challenging industries, the truth is that I don't think that there are any truly challenging industries. There are [...]