Is your business currently blogging?
What kinds of topics are you writing about?
How much success have you had?
I’m willing to wager that if you’re reading this article, you fall into one of two camps:
Either you’ve been blogging for awhile and just aren’t seeing the needle move or You’re just getting started with inbound marketing and want to make sure your first steps are in the right direction.
Whatever the case, I’m going to give you a comprehensive list of business blog topics you will want to start writing today.
Business Blog Topics Cost “Best of” Lists Comparisons Pros & Cons Benefits/Advantages of Problems (Your Problems) Problems (Their Problems) How-to/Tutorials Correlation/Causation Definition & Description Types/Classifications Qualifications Laws/Regulations/Requirements Myths & Misconceptions Reviews Ideas/Trends Timeline
Over the last four years, I’ve helped dozens of companies launch their inbound marketing strategies and one of the most important aspects of successful inbound marketing is choosing topics that not only connect with your audience but, ultimately, turn them into paying customers.
The mistake I’ve seen far too many businesses make is publishing blog content that simply isn’t relevant to their audience’s buyer’s journey.
The content doesn’t help customers make well-informed buying decisions. And because of that, it is either never read or it leaves little to no impact on the reader.
Where My Blog Topic List Comes From
I got my start working as a content manager for The Alaska Sleep Clinic (ASC). They diagnose and treat sleep apnea and other sleep disorders.
They have a service: sleep studies.
And they sell products: CPAP masks and machines.
To their misfortune, however, most of the blog articles on their site didn’t relate to the services they provided nor the equipment they sold.
Instead, they opted for light-hearted, entertaining, and fun articles like:
“What do Dreams Mean?” “Celebrities with Sleep Disorders” “5 Bedtime Beauty Tips”
While those might be amusing to read on a site like Buzzfeed, they don’t often help people make buying decisions.
I mean, do any of them sound like they relate to selling diagnostic tests or equipment?
Even if there are some valuable nuggets of information in there, the titles don’t make that known. They’re entertaining — but not really educational.
When I joined Alaska Sleep, I would have made the same mistakes too because those were the kinds of articles I’d also read and think were interesting.
Fortunately for me, I had an amazing mentor in Marcus Sheridan (whom I would years later go to work for at The Sales Lion and then IMPACT).
Alaska Sleep hired Marcus to teach me the inbound marketing strategies outlined in his book, They Ask, You Answer.
The basis of this strategy is a simple one: Answer the questions your audience is asking.
By applying the strategy of answering the most common questions the staff at ASC was asked on a regular basis from patients, I was able to grow the website traffic from 2,500 visits each month to over 400,000.
I’ve since worked with dozens of businesses helping them answer the questions their prospects are asking.
Through reviewing the top performing content on each site (by view counts, engagement, lead generation, and sales), I’ve found the common topics that bring companies the most results.
I’m going to share them with you below. And note, every link to examples listed in this article are from companies I’ve worked with both at The Sales Lion and here at IMPACT.
1. Cost Articles
Now, this one comes straight from what Marcus calls The Big 5 (as do four others on this list).
Have you ever searched online for how much you might pay for, say…anything?
If you’re like everybody with internet access, you have — but how often do you get frustrated from not finding answers?
Quite often, right?
Cost questions are so important to buyers, but so few companies care to answer these questions. In fact, they’re afraid to.
Be the company that answers these questions. Cost articles are easy wins for traffic as well as conversions because they build trust.
Note: Cost is so important to not only write about, but to get right, that I wrote an extensive article on the topic, How to Write a Cost Article.
Here’s a quick exercise:
Let’s say you’re thinking about picking up mountain biking.
You moved to a new place with lots of amazing bike trails. You’re ready to explore your new surroundings and have fun while doing it. The only problem is…you don’t have a bike, nor do you know anything about mountain biking.
If I asked you to turn to Google to find the perfect mountain bike, what is the very first search you type?
“Mediocre Mountain Bikes,” right?
No. Nobody has probably ever searched that.
Instead, you probably searched, “best mountain bikes.”
Or, if you wanted to get more specific, you might have searched “best mountain bikes for women,” “best mountain bikes for beginners,” or “best mountain bikes for muddy trails” (depending on where you live and ride).
“Best of” lists are successful for two significant reasons:
They announce how digestible they are. We love ranking things and seeing how they stack up against others.
Common keywords to use: Any superlative adjective (best, top, fastest, easiest, strongest, longest-lasting, most popular, etc.)
Examples of Great “Best of Articles” Best Watch Shops in Winchester 7 Best Selling La-Z-Boy Recliners in 2018 Best Team Pages: Check Out These 11 (and Why They’ll Win You Over) 3. Comparison Articles
To put things into neat little ranking orders, we often want to take some of the leading entries and have them duke it out in a head-to-head match up.
You can either structure your article by seeing how the competitors fair against each other in different categories, or you can give each it’s own in-depth discussion detailing the pros and cons of it with a nice little wrap-up at the end.
Buyer’s remorse sucks. Nobody wants to make a purchase only to regret it a short time later. When this happens, you’re often left wishing you had researched your decision just a little bit more.
With this in mind, one of those possible searches you’re likely make is for a list of both the pros and the cons of the thing you want to buy.
We know we love to organize and rank things. In this case, we’re just organizing two columns and determining whether the benefits of the purchase outweigh drawbacks.
Sometimes we just want to block out the bad stuff and only look at the good stuff.
With Benefit articles, you can write persuasive pieces that only highlight the advantages of a product or service.
While these are important, be aware that they are among the most common articles businesses are already writing about.
Readers are often a little more on-guard when reading these types of articles because they know we want to tell them how amazing our stuff is, and their BS flags will be quick to call us out for over inflating our value.
Be careful how far you push your chest out lest they roll their eyes at you and walk away.
Examples of Great Benefit Articles Benefits of Inbound Marketing 7 Benefits of Hiring a Tenant Representation Broker 5 Benefits of Purchasing a Stressless Recliner 6. Problems (with the solution) Articles
If you really want to build trust with your audience, be willing to talk about the problems with your product or service.
You know, and I know, what you’re selling isn’t the perfect fit for everybody.
It might be a tough pill to swallow, but you should be the first to admit when this is so.
It may be hard to turn down potential leads, but if it was never going to work out in the first place, these kinds of articles can vet out bad fits.
On the other hand, some of the problems your readers heard about might actually have easy solutions. In your article, you can address the problems fairly and offer the right solutions, stopping their objection in its tracks.
Examples of Great Problem Articles 8 of the Most Annoying Problems with WordPress The Most Frustrating Problems with Inbound Marketing 7. Problems (that need a solution)
The buyer’s journey begins with a problem or pain your customer is experiencing.
They might not know the names of any of the possible solutions, but they’re very aware of their symptoms. So, they turn to search engines to help identify what their problem is (put a name to it) and see what the various solutions might be.
For example, at Alaska Sleep, the most frequently asked questions by our patients were about the problems they experienced:
Why am I so tired all the time? Is snoring harmful? Is lack of sleep bad for my health? Reasons I can’t sleep at night Symptoms of insomnia
Ask yourself, “what is the root problem my products and services solve? How would my customers phrase their query?”
These articles are often top performers in bringing traffic to a site, but are also very top of the funnel and require lots of lead nurturing to close as sales.
Does your business have a YouTube account? If so, start shooting “How-to” videos. If not, make a page and start shooting How-to videos.
If you sell software-as-a-service, you should have tons of tutorial videos on how to use your product, but let’s look at another example.
Let’s say you sell and install home appliances, you should have articles on all your appliances with titles like:
How to choose a dishwasher How to use a dishwasher How to clean a dishwasher How to troubleshoot a dishwasher How to replace a dishwasher’s Water Pump Side track: How to care for electrical burns How to tell if you need a dishwasher repairman How to choose a dishwasher repairman How to become a dishwasher repairman Examples of Great How-to/Tutorial Articles
9. Correlation/Causation Articles
Getting back to problem articles, many people might ask correlation/causation types of questions around the same time.
Perhaps they’ve got a problem, and they want to know if it’s being caused by X.
Or, they’ve heard of a solution, but want to make sure that solution doesn’t lead to Y.
These are especially important questions to answer for medical clinics, but many industries can find value in answering these types of questions.
Sometimes people just want a clear explanation of what that thing you sell is or what exactly that service you offer entails.
These articles can sometimes have high competition volume because they’re so easy to answer. You might even find sites like wikipedia, dictionary.com, and the most authoritative entities in your industry ranking on the first page, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t also answer these questions.
You might just have to write a more thorough piece of content than the other guys.
These article types can often serve as cornerstone pieces of content on a topic you regularly discuss. When you answer more granular questions on a topic, you can always link back to this article as the main hub.
Examples of Great Description & Definition Articles What is a Cooling Tower Water Treatment System? What is a Metal Roof? What is a Phase 2 Environmental Site Assessment? 11. Type/Classification Articles
Type and classification articles are the offspring of comparison and definition articles.
They further categorize products and services into neat rows and columns to undergo review and you can write them just about anything.
For instance, in the last three years, I’ve really gotten into playing disc golf. One of the things I enjoy most about it is it’s an easy sport to learn, but a hard sport to master.
There are so many subtle nuances to playing, I often find myself geeking out on articles addressing topics like:
Types of Disc golf discs Types of plastics for discs Types of throws Types of courses Classifications of tournaments Examples of Great Type/Classification Articles 8 Types of Content Marketing Lead Magnets 3 Types of Cornhole Bags Types of Overhead Cranes 12. Qualification Articles
How can you tell that the person or business you’re thinking of buying from is the most qualified (or at least minimally) to do the job?
Is the general contractor you hired to remodel your home legally able to perform the job or gone through additional certifications to prove his value? Is he licensed, bonded, and insured? What does any of that mean to you?
These articles are your opportunity to educate your audience on what they should be looking for in a high quality product/service — and maybe even position yourself as such in the process.
Also, if you’re hiring and training employees to fill specialist roles, you could write articles to better recruit or educate your own candidates.
Examples of Qualification Articles Qualifications of a Phase 1 ESA Provider What Credentials are Required to Become a Sleep Technologist? 13. Law/Regulation/Requirement Articles
You’d probably agree that it’s best practice to keep yourself and your customers out of any kind of trouble, right?
Are there any laws pertaining to your products and services they should know about? Anything that could come back to haunt them?
Educate them on those with these types of articles. They’ll be thankful you did.
Examples of Law/Regulation/Requirement Articles A Marketer’s Guide to The New GDPR Regulations Swimming Pool Zoning and Permit Laws Does OSHA Require a Hook With a Safety Latch for an Overhead Crane? 14. Myth/Misconception Articles
Do some of your prospects have your products and services all wrong? Have they heard or been fed misinformation? Rumors can hurt any brand’s reputation.
Whether you have persistent misconceptions about the product you sell or your competitors are intentionally misleading prospects about your services, you can use your blog to clear the air once and for all.
Examples of Great Myth/Misconception Articles 5 Video Content Marketing Myths That Need to Go Away 6 Melamine Dinnerware Myths 15. Review Articles
Getting back to comparison and “best of” articles, people search for reviews on products and providers of services as part of their vetting process.
If you sell products, consider reviewing every single product manufacturer, product line, and individual product you sell.
Just remember to be as objective as possible, or let people know why you’re being subjective.
You may also want to include links to other reviews around the web in the process.
Video reviews are also very influential pieces of content. Just search any electronic on YouTube with “review” and you’re bound to find one.
Is your audience often looking for a little inspiration? A little guidance on how they can create something of their own (hopefully while using your product)?
These can be great articles if your product or service is very visual.
Maybe you sell furniture and also have interior designers on staff. In these articles, you can give show off different design ideas that would appeal to them.
If you sell cooking appliances, gadgets, trinkets, or gimmicks, you could showcase food trends or new dishes to try.
Then, as you’re giving your readers the creative nudge, link back to the pages where they can purchase the products and services that can bring their ideas to fruition.
How often do you answer questions that deal with the fourth dimension? Other than, like, right now?
All the time, right?
Let’s pretend you own a landscaping company. You probably get timeline questions daily. Customers want to know things like:
How long will the job take? How long till my flowers bloom? When is the best time to hire a landscaper? How often should I have my trees trimmed and lawn mowed? Is it too late to put in a garden?
This is another opportunity for you to educate your audience on what it’ll be like working with you and set realistic expectations.
Examples of Great Timeline Articles How Long Should I Run an A/B Test for? When Should I Treat The Winter Damage to My Plants? How Long Does it Take to Install Foam Insulation? Wrap Up
So there you have it, a list of blog article topics you can start writing today for your business that actually bring in traffic, convert leads, and close sales.
Because they’re the questions people want answered before they make a purchase.
If you’re the one providing those answers, what do you think their impression of you is going to be?
That you’re honest, trustworthy, and you care about educating your customers.
The kind of business they want to buy from.
And if you have some topics that have really pushed the needle for your business, I’d love it if you shared some of those topics in the comments.
The Steve Jobs guide to manipulating people and getting what you want (AAPL)
Steve Jobs launched two of the most valuable and creative companies in modern times with Apple and Pixar — but he didn’t reach those heights by following the rules all the time.
Jobs faced many obstacles to get Apple and Pixar off the ground. But he had a unique way of crafting his own reality, a “distortion field” he’d use to persuade people that his personal beliefs were actually facts, which is how he pushed his companies forward.
He also used a blend of manipulative tactics to ensure his victories, particularly in boardroom meetings with some of the most powerful company executives in the world.
Many consider Jobs a genius, and everyone can learn a thing or two from his tactics.
Here, we teach you how to get what you want — whether that’s in your career, or in your life in general — using examples from Jobs’ life, many of which were detailed in Walter Isaacson’s biography of the Apple cofounder.
Pitch with passion. People can be influenced by strong displays of emotion. Justin Sullivan/Getty Images
Pitching was a key part of Jobs’ repertoire, and it should be part of yours, too. The process of selling — yourself, or a product — is the key to getting others to buy into your ideas.
Before Apple launched iTunes in 2001, Jobs met with dozens of musicians in the hopes of corralling record labels into going along with the iTunes plan. One of the people Jobs pitched to was prominent trumpet player Wynton Marsalis.
Marsalis said Jobs talked for two hours straight.
“He was a man possessed,” he said. “After awhile, I started looking at him and not the computer, because I was so fascinated with his passion.”
He also pitched ideas to his ad team with a similar passion to “ensure that almost every ad they produced was infused with his emotion.” The resulting commercials, like the “1984” ad and the iPod silhouette ads, helped Apple become much more than just a computer company.
Being brutally honest will help you build a strong following. Justin Sullivan / Getty
When Steve Jobs returned to Apple for his second stint in 1997, he immediately got to work trying to invigorate the company he started, which was suffering from too many products and too little direction. Jobs summoned Apple’s top employees to the auditorium, and, wearing shorts and sneakers, got up on stage and asked everyone to tell him “what’s wrong with this place.”
After some murmurings and bland responses, Jobs cut everyone off. “It’s the products! So what’s wrong with the products?” Again, more murmurs. Jobs shouted, “The products suck! There’s no sex in them anymore!”
People would buy into Jobs’ ideas because he was always earnest about what he said. As he later told his biographer (emphasis ours): “I don’t think I run roughshod over people, but if something sucks, I tell people to their face. It’s my job to be honest. I know what I’m talking about, and I usually turn out to be right. That’s the culture I tried to create. We are brutally honest with each other, and anyone can tell me they think I am full of s–t and I can tell them the same… That’s the ante for being in the room: You’ve got to be able to be super honest.”
Work hard, and others will respect you. Respect is a crucial first step to getting what you want. AP Images
Steve Jobs had an incredible work ethic. Jobs told his biographer that when he returned to Apple in 1996, he worked from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. every day, since he was still also leading Pixar’s operations. He worked tirelessly, and suffered from kidney stones. But he insisted on motivating both companies by consistently showing up and pushing people to make the best products possible, and they respected him for it.
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