Whether you’ve been blogging for years or you just got going, there comes a point when the ideas dry up and writer’s block takes over.
As we mentioned in last week’s post, one of the biggest mistakes a small business can make is letting their online presence collapse. Sadly, the main culprit is often a lack of inspiration. When it comes to sourcing ideas for your blog, it’s important to not only think outside the box, but to think like your target customers. What do they want to know? What do they need to know? What kind of information would add value to their lives?
Because we know how difficult blogging can be – and how important it is – we’ve created a roundup of 10 sure-fire content ideas to attract, inform and engage your audience.
Expert Interviews. Nothing says professionalism or builds trust quite like an interview with an industry expert. Since the paint and decorating industry branches off into many different sectors, you can engage your readers by writing a Q & A blog post with an expert in a relatable area like painting, lighting, wall coverings, home improvement, real estate, or design. Connecting with a credible and well-known industry source is also a fantastic way to build your network, take advantage of influencer marketing and grow your audience.
Search Quora or Yahoo Answers. When it comes to ideas, sites like Quora and Yahoo can be a blogger’s best friend. After all, if one person poses a question in an online forum, chances are it’s a common topic. Simply type in “painting,” “decorating,” “home improvement” or another related topic, and see what kinds of things people want to know about the subject. It might take a bit of browsing, but you’ll definitely find some fantastic blog ideas from the pages and pages of real questions from people who are likely in your target market.
Product Reviews. Who knows more about your products than you? If you get a new shipment or take on a new supplier, be sure to test the products and share what you find. The best review posts are often accompanied by high-quality photos and/or videos, along with specific, detailed information. While it’s also important to be honest, a little bit of bias is OK; simply focus on the positive and provide tips to maximize the value. Not only will product reviews help you establish yourself as an expert in the industry, it will give you great social media content and help your customers make the best choice with their paint and decorating needs.
How-to Tutorials. Another great way to engage your audience is with how-to tutorials. Whether they’re written or posted in video format, instructions for DIY projects are extremely sought-after on search engines and Youtube alike. The key to a successful how-to blog post is to be as concise, detailed and visual as possible.
Browse Blog Comments. An easy way to see what people are talking and/or asking about is to frequently browse the comment sections of your favorite paint and decorating blogs (or your own!). This will give you a good sense of which subjects are trending and what people want to know. Comments sections are also a great way to keep tabs on both your competition and your customer base.
Guest Posts. Collaborating with other experts in your industry is undoubtedly great for business, but it can also be great for your blog. By having an influencer create content about products, services or advice, you will provide valuable information in a fresh, new voice. In order to get the most from your guest posts, try to choose people with good reputations and strong social media followings; the more cross-promotion they are willing to do, the better.
Surveys or Polls. If you want to know whether your customers prefer neutral tones or loud, look-at-me shades for the living room, surveys and polls can offer a fun and interactive blog topic. The added beauty of surveys and polls is that they show readers you value their opinions. And after gathering your results, you will have content for yet another blog.
Contests. Much like surveys and polls, contests allow you to go beyond “talking at” your readers and actually engage with them. Whether you’re announcing a giveaway or providing updates throughout the duration of a contest, blog posts are an effective way to regularly reach your audience without pushing ads in their face and seeming too “spammy.”
Read Industry Publications. Magazines like HGTV, House Beautiful, and, yes, Paint & Decorating Retailer are filled with much more than just excellent lighting and perfectly-staged pictures – they’re a great source for blog content ideas. Since they’re monthly publications, you’re sure to find timely and relevant ideas for every season and every holiday.
Ask Your Audience. Besides improving your SEO ranking and providing content for your social media channels, the purpose of your blog is to give readers valuable, high-quality information that’ll help improve their paint and decorating projects. Since clients and customers are your main audience, why not ask them what kind of content they’d like to see? By putting out feelers, you’ll be able to pinpoint their wants and needs – and blog accordingly.