It’s a new year, and chances are you’re already stressing about showing some results from your company blog.
I feel your pain. If your company’s blog has been around for a long time (this blog is on year 6!), it might be time to rethink your blogging strategy. Instead of chugging along with the same kinds of blog posts, the same editorial process and the same sagging results, try injecting some new ideas into your blog.
In 2016, the Rep Cap team decided to rethink the way we run our company blog. We’d been blogging three to five times a week for years, and we realized that blogging at that pace wasn’t fulfilling for our team, nor was it helping us meet our marketing goals. We started blogging less and getting more intentional about every post we wrote. (Read more about how we realized our blog had hit its “teenage” years and how we found a new blog strategy that worked for us.)
If you’re looking for content marketing inspiration, try one of these blog tweaks.
Rethink Who You’re Writing For
Quick: Who’s your target reader?
Most marketers have some kind of answer to that question. But if you identified your reader personas more than a year ago, it’s probably time to take another look. Your business may have shifted, or your target customer may have changed.
Ask yourself these questions:
- How would I describe our best customer? How would I write to that person?
- What new customers are we going after? Is our sales team interested in gaining customers in a specific industry or function? How would I write to people in that specific group?
- What prospects or audiences are underserved by our competitors? How could we create content that helps those people?
When you tweak and expand the groups of people you’re writing to, you instantly open new doors for possible blog topics. Asking new questions about your audience is one of the fastest ways to re-energize your blog.
Rethink Who’s Writing
Look at the list of people who currently take turns writing for your blog. Maybe it’s just you, or maybe you have a long list of contributors. How could you add more people to that author list? Are there new hires whose voices are missing from the blog?
Consider reaching out to new possible writers, including:
- Senior leaders who have deep experience in the industry.
- New hires who can share their fresh perspective as relative outsiders to the organization.
- Customer-facing employees who hear about customers’ concerns, questions and ideas every day.
Even if your new contributors don’t actually write blog posts, they can share their experience and ideas with a writer and infuse your blog with new voices.
Rethink Your Inspiration List
How do you come up with new blog post ideas? If you’re staring at a blank editorial calendar, try one of the quick ideas on this list:
- Set up Google alerts for your industry, competitors and customers. When someone makes the news, use your blog as a platform to respond, congratulate or add commentary on the events affecting your audience.
- Develop a customer question engine. The best blog content answers customer questions. If you don’t know what questions customers are asking, try this: Ask every customer-facing person in the company — salespeople, customer support staff, etc. — to keep a daily log of customer questions. (A lot of people probably don’t realize they’re sitting on a goldmine of customer interactions. A good place to find customer questions and answers is in follow-up emails sent after customer phone calls. You’re likely to find that salespeople answer a ton of questions in those emails.) At the end of every week, ask everyone for their log. Compile the questions, and refer to your list whenever you’re looking for blog inspiration.
- Make a list of blog post categories. Look back at your blog posts from the past year. What general categories or buckets cover what you wrote about? What are the general topic areas you can use as a starting place? You might realize that you covered several industry events last year that you should write about again this year, or that you started a customer profile series that you should pick back up.
Rethink Your Old Blog Posts
The biggest opportunity for content marketers is repurposing and updating old content. You’ve already put the work into creating blog posts, so make sure you maximize every post on your blog.
We started refreshing our six-year archive of blog posts last year, and it’s a process that we’re always working on. I recommend starting with a content audit — look at all of your historical content and figure out what you’re working with. What’s getting tons of traffic? What’s sitting as dead weight? Which posts could be a lot better with a few tweaks, updated links or new images?
Rethink the Way Your Blog Looks
Sometimes a blog’s design is just as important as the actual content. When you’re writing the posts inside your CMS, it can be easy to lose sight of how your posts actually show up for site visitors. How do your blog posts look on mobile? Would it be easier to read your posts if you removed a distracting sidebar, pop-up or form? What blogs do you love reading, and how could you borrow the best design elements from those sites?
If you’re looking for more blog inspiration, download our calendar, A Better Blog in 30 Days. We’ll send you new tips and ideas every week for four weeks. We’re cheering you on!
Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in October 2013 and has been completely revamped and updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness.