When you’re a business owner, you don’t have time to come up with new blog post ideas, let alone blog post ideas that your audience will actually care about.
Most blogs quickly write anything that comes to mind in order to get a new blog post live that week.
Your audience doesn’t read your blog posts for more than 15 seconds before clicking away.
People just don’t care about the topic you’re writing about. The only person who found your blog post topic interesting was you.
The key is to source blog post ideas your audience is begging you to write about. Your content should be directly serving a need or answering a question your audience is desperate to find a solution for.
You’re probably thinking: “Sure, Dave, I get that. But how do I find what my audience is begging me to write about? I don’t have time to run surveys or call up all my customers and ask them!”
This is true. Those sound like time-consuming ways of doing it. And we are all about content marketing automation at Zenpost.
So what if I told you, your audience is already telling you their needs and questions and all you had to do was cherry-pick your next blog post idea from one of them?
These are the 5 quick and effective ways to automate blog post ideas for your editorial calendar…
1. Sales and Client Calls
What better time to find out what your audience wants then when you’re speaking directly to them on the phone?
Whether you’re a services or software business, you’re on the phone with your client or customer at different stages of your relationship together. Times like…
- On a sales call trying to close a new customer.
- On an onboarding or kickoff call.
- On a weekly/monthly/quarterly check-in call.
These moments are key. Your audience is telling you what they want to learn more about during these calls. Their questions, compliments, and aspirations are all important topics for blog content.
“What if they’re complaining about our service or product?”
In the words of Bill Gates;
Your most unhappy customers are your greatest source of learning.
This couldn’t be truer.
Pro Tip: Get in the habit of noting consumer queries, and save them in blog post idea organization tool.
When it comes to writing future blog posts, you’ll have a list of problems your audience wants more information about.
But… how do you pull these customer and sales points in the first place?
Commit to a monthly meeting with your sales team. Ask them for examples of any frustrations customers had. This could be related to either your product/service or, more generally, your industry.
If you pull 4 pain points from that meeting, you now have 4 blog post ideas for the month. It’s that easy.
2. Support Tickets
What better way to understand what your customers are struggling with or want to learn more about then to go directly to the source of where they funnel their questions and frustrations?
If you see the same issue arise more than once, you know it’s an excellent topic for a blog post.
For example, if you sell T-shirts online, you might see constant inquiries from customers asking “what’s the difference between cotton, polyester, and poly/cotton blends?”
Solution: Craft a blog post breaking down the key differences between all three t-shirt blends. Explain how they’ll feel, how to wash them, how color stays after wash, and the expectations of the shirt shrinking after drying.
The next time you receive that question, you can provide them a quick answer followed by your blog post link for even more detail.
This has a twofold benefit:
- You’re harvesting incredibly valuable blog post ideas.
- You’re gradually creating a bank of resources your customers can refer to which drastically improves the quality of your customer service.
As many as 51% of customers won’t do business with a company once they’ve experienced poor service.
Use your blog as a tool to ensure your audience always have a pleasant encounter with your brand.
Provide them with valuable information, and be happy to assist them in finding it.
3. Online Reviews
When was the last time you checked out your online reviews?
Not only are these amazing for promoting your business, but they’re also incredibly useful for highlighting what people find valuable, frustrating, or confusing about your business.
WARNING: be prepared to hear the good, the bad, and the ugly. But that’s okay, and I’ll explain why in a second.
Some of the more popular review platforms include:
Pro Tip: If you haven’t already registered with the above platforms, make sure you do. It’s best to own your online identity before somebody else owns it for you.
Try your best to review these comments with an open mind.
Usually, customers leave reviews because your service or product was either so amazing or so frustrating that it inspired them to tell the world. Either way, they’re signs of what people care about.
Start with any significant complaints.
As many as 97% of consumers read an online review before deciding whether to make a purchase. If you have negative reviews, it’s best to use your blog as a way to address them.
Typically, a complaint is submitted because the customer was expecting a benefit and the product or service did not live up to that expectation.
Some of that could be that you need to improve your product or service. But it could also mean you need to improve the way you explain your product or service.
That’s where you want to focus your next few blog posts.
Take a screenshot of a specific customer review and insert the rest of the blog post directly underneath it.
This is a great way of providing context to your content and shows readers you’ve spent time researching the problem.
In the above Google Review of our sister company, Presto Media, we see a writer leave a positive review of their experience.
We singled out one specific thing this writer mentioned in their review (highlighted) where they expressed one of their favorite things about working for Presto Media – the support they receive with the client’s needs.
This is obviously something this writer feels very strongly about and even mentioned it’s something they don’t see at other companies they’ve worked for.
There’s your blog post topic.
Highlight that important aspect of the company and how it differentiates you from the competition. Easy.
What If I Don’t Have Any Reviews?
If you’re too new of a business or you just haven’t had customers review your product yet, then pulling from your own business reviews won’t work.
But, here’s a workaround.
Google your competitors and check out the reviews they’re receiving. See what their customers are complaining about or giving your competition praise for.
Pro Tip: Start with the reviews that are either 5 stars or 1 star. These are usually people who had the best or worst experience with the business and will provide the most emotional review. Pulling from emotion is what you want when coming up with blog post ideas.
Just use the same steps above to inspire your next article.
You can still produce advice, suggestions, solutions, etc. to whatever your target audience are struggling with.
4. At The End Of Blog Posts And Newsletters
One of the best places to pull blog post ideas from is where your audience is consuming or discovering your blog content.
You want to pull from your audience what they would like to learn and engage with while they’re in the process of learning and engaging with your content already.
By simply asking them at the end of your blog posts or newsletter.
There are 2 ways you can go about this…
The first way is by adding a field at the end of all of your blog posts asking readers to submit what they’d like to learn more about. This gives them a channel to participate in your editorial calendar.
You don’t have to be know how to code either to add this field.
Chances are you use WordPress to manage your blog. If so, install one of the below plugins:
Any of these WordPress form plugins provide you the ability to insert a field at the bottom of your blog posts within a few clicks.
At the end of your post, include a sentence, like this:
“Interested in something specific? Submit your question or idea below, and we’ll try and cover it soon.”
Not only does it fuel you with inspiration but it also works wonders for building trust and rapport with potential customers.
Pro Tip: If you use a topic suggested by one of your readers, reach out to them and let them know.
Including your audience in the process makes them feel valued, and who knows, maybe they’ll become a customer as a result.
Also, when they know you’ve listened to their advice, they’re more likely to share the post with their network.
Free traffic, and a boost in brand awareness… check!
What About Newsletters?
The second way to pull topic ideas from your existing audience is through your newsletter.
If you’ve built an email list,
you’re probably you should be sending newsletters to market your blog.
When done correctly, email marketing makes money. The average email marketer will earn a return of $38 for every $1 spent.
So, I repeat… you should be sending out a newsletter to your audience.
In your newsletter, you want to list out your most recent and relevant blog posts. Underneath this section, prompt your subscribers to reach out with questions, suggestions, or clarifications on past or future blog posts.
Here’s how you do it.
Invite your audience to participate in your editorial calendar by reaching out to this email address with their thoughts, questions, and suggestions around blog post ideas.
Not only do you create automated blog post ideas, but you also open up a personal dialogue between you and your potential customers. This becomes a channel that connects them more to your brand and increases your likelihood of making a sale.
5. Blog Post Comments
Just like scouring reviews, look at previous comments you’ve received on blog posts.
Again, if you don’t have any blog post comments yet, your competitor’s blogs will do.
Be on the lookout for any specific questions or areas of confusion people want to be clarified.
Then, use them as a foundation for upcoming blog posts.
Pro Tip 1: Look for comments that exude emotion, especially, ones radiating anger and frustration. This is a surefire indicator people have a deep relationship with the topic.
Pro Tip 2: Reach out to the user who commented after you’ve published the article. Let them know there’s additional content for them to explore, and that you hope it helps solve their query.
These 5 ways to automate blog post ideas should help you get over the “I don’t know what to write about” excuse and allow you to keep your blog flush with blog posts your audience is dying to read.
Once you tried a few, come back and let us know in the comments how they worked out for you!