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Learning Center

Ten ideas for effective business blog posts

Finding the time is probably the top reason companies don’t engage in blogging, one of the most effective and readily accessible forms of content marketing. But a close second is the challenge of coming up with topics. In fact, this morning in the Prime Design Solutions staff meeting, the discussion of our monthly blog post came up – who’s writing this month’s post, and what it will be about.

Our blog, the Learning Center you’re reading now, has been in existence since January 2013 (first article: “Does your business really need a website?”), with a new post almost every month – and believe me, we are sympathetic to the challenge of finding new topics to write about. So this month, we decided to share ten solid ideas for effective business blog posts.

Lists

Lists are easy to scan and to write, which makes them a popular and useful form of post. You see this type of article literally everywhere, and in fact you’re reading one right now – other examples from this Learning Center include “Ten tips to improve your Facebook Page” and “Eight things to know about email marketing today.”

Here are a few sample titles that might be appropriate for different businesses: “Top 10 fashion trends for fall,” “Five tips for better budgeting,” “Six ways to serve watermelon,” “Four ways e-banking can save you time and money,” and so on.

Employee spotlights

If your customers interact with your employees, you depend on your employees to make a good impression. Why not let your customers get to know them a little better through a series of spotlight posts? Basically, your goal is to allow the employee to explain a little bit about their work history with you, why they think your company provides good products or services, and then a little bit about them personally – their families, hobbies, or interests.

We all like doing business with people we like, and this type of post helps your customers feel a personal connection with your staff. What’s more, such posts have the added benefit of making the spotlighted employees feel valued and appreciated.

Sponsor spotlights

Not all your posts have to be about your business. Do you sponsor or provide in-kind services to a local youth sports league, event such as a festival or charity gala, performing arts organization, youth organization, or other non-profit? Write a blog post about the event or entity you’re sponsoring! The sponsored event/entity will be only too happy to provide you with information and photography. Prime does this in our news section on this website, with posts like Prime provides in-kind support to AmeriServ Flood City Music Festival, and Prime donates new website to Humane Society of Cambria County.

Posts like this make you look good to your customers, while attracting more attention to the entity you’re sponsoring – which is also a good thing. Everybody wins!

Product spotlights

This kind of post will work regardless of whether you’re manufacturing your own products or are a retailer that resells products. They are a great way to introduce new products or brands to your existing audience, and provide valuable SEO – people looking for information about that product are more likely to happen upon your site when there’s more there for Google to find.

This type of post can also be persuasive in getting someone to understand why a certain product or service can benefit them, thus helping them decide to make the investment. Examples in this Learning Center include Email marketing for small businesses, in which we explain why email marketing is effective.

Things to consider when buying (or hiring) a (fill in the blank)

By definition, content marketing educates customers and potential customers, helping them learn about your product or industry. For a financial advisor, this type of post might look like a blog post on the difference between Roth and traditional IRAs, and how consumers can choose which best suits their needs. A fashion retailer or manufacturer might blog about how to choose a scarf. A car dealership might post about how to decide between buying or leasing a vehicle. A bank might post about the difference between a home equity line of credit and a traditional home equity loan.

Examples of this type of post in this Learning Center include posts on What to consider when you’re choosing a web designer, and What you need to know about paid media.

What you write about is, of course, dependent on what your business is. But the secret to this type of post is to avoid selling your own products/services overtly – instead, you’re showing your customers what to look for, building trust and helping them to make good decisions. Most businesses can write many posts about different products and services on this general theme.

Before and after posts/Case studies

The goal of this type of post is to showcase the benefits of your company’s products or services.

Before and after photos work well for businesses whose products/services are visually oriented, allowing customers to visualize the benefit of what you offer. A hair salon, pressure washing service, a paint company, contractor, interior design – the possibilities are endless.

If your business isn’t visually-oriented, you can instead create case studies – essentially a verbalized before-and-after post, suitable for consulting firms of all kinds. Essentially, you explain what your client’s situation was, how your products or services met their challenge, and how your work is making them more successful. This website features an entire section of case studies separate from the Learning Center.

Sometimes clients are only too happy to be featured in this way – other times, you may need to avoid using their names. Check with the client if there’s any question.

How-to guides

Would it be relevant to show your customers or potential customers how to do or use something? You might combine this with a video. A fashion retailer might post about how to create an outfit that looks good with ankle boots. A hardware store might post about how to fix a toilet that won’t flush. Video can be a possibility here, too.

How-to articles in this Learning Center include How to design when you’re not a designer, How to choose a font, How to harness the power of Facebook events, How to ace a media interview and many others.

Checklists

How can you help your customer or client with a checklist that helps them achieve a goal? Well, again, it depends on your business. Financial planners or banks might post a checklist for preparing for retirement. A car dealership might post a checklist for things to ask when you buy a used car.

Behind the scenes posts

Can you give your readers insight into how you provide your product or service? Is there an interesting part of your manufacturing process to show? Can you show how your merchandise specialist decorates your store windows? Consider the use of video!

This type of post can also be used to paint a favorable picture of your company’s culture, with a photo post with a fun, brief blurb about your company’s picnic, or surprise shower for the new parent.

Company news

Prime has an entire section of company news that’s separate from the Learning Center. But many businesses include posts featuring company news in their blogs, along with educational content. Things to consider writing about include:

  • Personnel news, such as hires, promotions, retirements
  • Anything about your company’s expansion or growth: new locations, patents, certifications, major new clients, product offerings, etc.
  • Awards or other forms of recognition
  • Information about your company’s participation in trade shows, conferences, or other industry events
  • Press coverage of your company, either in mainstream or trade press; you can give the first few lines of the article and then link to the rest of it on the media outlet’s website

Conclusion

Ultimately, the key to blogging is consistency, and regularly posting something new. Obviously, not all of these ideas will suit every business – but many of them can be used over and over again. We hope this list will serve as a great jumping off point for brainstorming your editorial calendar – or just that next post.

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