Need ideas for what to blog about? Listen to your clients.

Blogging is valuable for small businesses for many reasons, among them increase your website's search rankings, and showcasing your industry expertise.

But it's really hard to come up with content for a business blog, especially for people with no writing or editorial background.

How do you come up with ideas for enough topics to fill a year's worth of content? What do your clients and customers want to hear from you?

I want to share a tip I've given to almost all of the clients I've worked with since starting this business. This piece of advice didn't just work for me when I was a marketing manager at other companies, it fundamentally changed the way I think about blogging for small business, and I hope it will do the same for you.

Before I get into what it is, I'm going to tell you a story.

A couple of years ago I was the digital marketing manager for web design firm. I was in charge of blog content, which worked well when we were covering topics like SEO and content strategy — topics I knew a lot about — but when we wanted to cover design and UX topics, and I had a hard time brainstorming ideas because I wasn't an expert on web design and UX.

Then one day I was in a meeting with a client when one of our designers explained, for the hundredth time in his career, that using a carousel to display content on a homepage is a bad idea so our client shouldn't use one on their website.

The client interrupted him to say, "Yes, we get that we shouldn't use a carousel on our website. We just can't really picture how else the home page would be designed if we don't use a carousel. All we ever see on home pages are carousels. What else is there?"

What else is there besides a carousel? I thought, that would make a great blog post

So I asked our designer if he would write up a quick answer to the client's question as a blog post with examples of 5 design alternatives to using a carousel on a website home page. That post ended up being one of our most popular blog posts of all time (thanks, in part, to the organic search traffic it generated) AND was the catalyst for my a-ha moment: the best place to dream up ideas for the blog is to answer clients'  frequently answered questions.




Client FAQs make great blog posts because they do double duty, They:

  1. Showcase your expertise on topics that are important to your target audience
  2. Provide an opportunity to rank in Google for search terms your target audience uses

But don't FAQs belong on an FAQ page?

Just as testimonials should be interspersed with the rest of your content on your website versus languishing on a Testimonials page no one ever visits, FAQs deserve a spotlight. You can still have a basic FAQ page that answers questions about how you work, but you can also turn what industry topic you're an expert on into posts of their own.

So a traditional FAQ might be something like: when do you require payment?

Whereas an FAQ that makes a great blog post would be: how long before the ceremony should my wedding photographer arrive at the wedding?

A web page can only be optimized for a single term or phrase. If a wedding photographer were to answer that question on an FAQ page that contained a lot of other content, she couldn't optimize for that query alone. Which means she won't generate any traffic from someone Googling, "How long before ceremony should wedding photographer arrive?"

As a standalone blog post, this topic works to both rank in Google for that search term AND answer a current or potential client question with a well-thought-out response.

Clients and customers probably ask you questions all the time. Once you start paying attention to what those queries are you can write them down and turn them into blog posts — it's an almost never ending supply of content!

So what client FAQs do you get all the time that could be turned into great blog posts?