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9 Tips for Creating More Small Business Blogging Ideas

Posted By Darren Rowse 6th of March 2010 Business Blogging 0 Comments

A Guest Post by Mark Hayward.

small business blogging ideas

What the hell am I supposed to write about, I own a {insert your small business here}?

Really, who cares about your flower shop, bike shop, auto parts store, or coffee house?

Answer: Your customers certainly care.

We all know by now that consistent small business blogging can drastically improve your Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and overall web presence. Additionally, a small business blog can increase your opportunities to interact with (and highlight) your customers and provide an additional occasion for you to share your expert knowledge.

Unfortunately, nothing stops a would be small business blogger faster than a perceived lack of time, and the frustration that comes with a lack of ideas to blog about.

While I can’t help you with your time issue, I can provide you with nine tips for creating more small business blogging ideas:

1. Keyword Tool

One of the best semi-secret sources of the more savvy small business bloggers are the free keyword tools that are available like Google Adwords and Wordtracker. If you are not familiar with searching for keywords, essentially you type in a word or phrase related to your small business and the tool shows you what people (your potential customers) are searching the internet for. You can easily get hundreds of new blog post ideas from a couple of keyword searches.

2. Your Backstory

Potential customers want to know about you and your business, it’s a cornerstone of trust building. One of the best ways to familiarize your customers with your business is to blog about your backstory and personal history. Backstory topics could include any of the following:

  • Who you are?
  • Where did you come from?
  • Why did you choose your business location?
  • What is it that makes you passionate about your small business?
  • What have you done in your life that makes you unique?
  • What struggles have led to the creation of who you are today as a business owner.

3. Customer of the Day

Presumably, if you are running a semi-successful business, you have customers coming in on a daily basis. If you are struggling for post ideas, why not make your customers the focus of your blog one or two days per week?

Not only will you get almost unlimited post material, but since customers like to feel special and appreciated, blogging about them is a great public relations tool. You could even give the participants an additional ten percent off of their purchase for their willingness to participate. Featuring your customers and telling their story gets them excited about your business and can help to establish a customer based community around your blog.

4. Create Resource Posts

Resource posts are great because they are fairly easy for you to put together and people love to read scannable and easily digested information. Ideas for small business resource posts might include:

  • Top ten selling products in your store and why.
  • Five reasons you love your business
  • Twenty best ways to {insert business specific information here}.
  • Eight reasons why customers loveÖ

5. Answer Customer Questions

Your customers have questions and you have expert knowledge. Do not take your knowledge for granted. If there is a specific set of questions that customers seem to ask on a daily basis then turn those queries into individual blog posts.

6. Tutorials

Similar to answering questions, tutorial posts that are specific to your industry (e.g. teaching customers how to change a flat tire, make better coffee, repair their fishing rod, etc.) might be a common task for you, but could really provide value your customers. One simple way to liven up tutorial posts is to add video or photo which can help enhance your instructions.

7. Mind Mapping

If you are not familiar with mind mapping, you can read Darren’s terrific mind mapping articles here, here, and here.

To create small business blog post ideas with mind mapping, draw a square in the center of a piece of paper and write the name of your business in the square. Begin jotting down ideas as you work out from the center. Do not stop to think, over analyze, and critique just get your ideas down on paper and you can refine them later.


8. Comparison Post

Take two similar items in your business and do a side by side comparison of the benefits, cost savings, and overall value of each. Own a bike shop, why would I buy a Cannondale over a Trek? Or, own a flower shop, what are the similarities and differences between roses and sunflowers?

9. Day in the Life

Many small business owners find it difficult to write about themselves. But your daily activities are truly unique and blog post worthy.

  • What is a day, a week, or a even a month in your small business life like?
  • Do you get up at 5:00a.m. and work until 10:00p.m.?
  • What are you doing during the workday at your small business?

10. Your Suggestions

We have gotten you to nine tips for creating more small business blog posts and now it’s your turn to help get us to 10, 11, 12…. 100 suggestions. What are your tips for creating small business blogging ideas?

Mark Hayward hates the snow and cold! Luckily, he owns a small business in the Caribbean. Mark is passionate about helping other small business owners avoid the online mistakes he has made. You can follow Mark on Twitter @mark_hayward and you can subscribe to his RSS Feed for weekly small business social media marketing tips.

About Darren Rowse
Darren Rowse is the founder and editor of ProBlogger Blog Tips and Digital Photography School. Learn more about him here and connect with him on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.
  1. This is a great article full of wonderful tips. I would say that, if nothing else, blogging about your industry helps you establish credentials. This can be especially true for new businesses where people are skeptical whether you really know your stuff or not.

    Thanks for sharing.

  2. I use a keyword tool called Market Samurai for my keyword research and it is great for new post ideas.

  3. Most of the people in my country (Croatia), when I say “make money online” or “Internet marketing”, just laugh right into my face, telling me that I am lunatic! Yea, it is 2010., but in my country things still seem to roll somewhere between 1990.-1995.

    However, when I talked to a few people who are actually in a small or medium size business, but offline of course, they weren’t so reluctant of the idea to market themselves over the Internet. In fact, most of them already DO have a website of some kind.

    The problem is that those website are so bad – they are so bad and look uglier even than my own blog :).

    Not to mention a total lack of any kind of online interaction – most of the websites only have a telephone and fax number with a list of addresses where all their local stores can be found.
    A simple contact form of any kind – nowhere to be found. I suggested Twitter and Facebook at least, I mean why not, right, but they just starred at me, confused, and probably thinking:”What the hell is this guy talking about?”.

    I sometimes envy you guys from countries like USA, UK, France, Australia. I mean you really live in the 21st century surroundings, while the rest of the world still functions in a nineties brain scale, including my country of course.

    Anyway, good post.

  4. “Unfortunately, nothing stops a would be small business blogger faster than a perceived lack of time, and the frustration that comes with a lack of ideas to blog about.”

    You are dead on the money with that statement. And like you said, I think it is important to realize that while some things may seem irrelevant to you, they are highly important to your customers. It’s always crucial to keep the customer first. Good resource posts can also establish an air of integrity with your business.

  5. One of my favorite idea generators for blogging is “Looking in my inbox” What questions or problems have I solved for clients lately? Chances are these are subjects that would interest other customers.

  6. This is really kind of related to “Customer of the Day” – I told one restaurant owner to harness the power of video and feature her customers as they taste samples. It gives her an opportunity to promote items from her menu and also make her customers feel super special.

  7. Ed Gaile says: 03/06/2010 at 1:21 am

    Great ideas Mark. I really like the mind mapping suggestion. I tend to be scatterbrained with my post ideas – I think that may help me get a bit more organized. Also really like the Day in the Life idea – I think we have a natural curiosity as to how others go through their business day.

  8. Your post is interesting. Many of the points mentioned will be resourceful if executed right. Most of the Entrepreneurs fail not because they are not capable, but because they don’t plan well.

    Your post will certainly give a good direction to someone that lacks the direction.


  9. Excellent ideas! For a little spin on the tutorial post, you could do a short, simple post (maybe once a week) that is a “tip of the week.” Something simple that customers can actually put into practice that day or that week.
    For example, my blog is about photography. I read a lot of photo blogs and have learned a lot about cameras, light, composition, etc…but the average user probably won’t spend the same time doing all that unless they are really passionate about photography. BUT, the average user probably wants to be able to take better pictures of their friends and family. If I can give them one simple tip each week, I think it will provide value to them.

  10. No offense, but I think this article is way off base. When blogging for a small business the blog has to “bigger” than your business. Potential customers are not going to regularly visit a blog that talks about the customer of the month or the top ten products of this month.

    No, instead your blog needs to reach out to new customers and engage them on a topic that is interesting to them. If you run a lawn mowing business, start a blog on lawn care and gardening (even better, make it region specific to where you are located.)

  11. I like the mind mapping post idea. My mind is scatter brained so it definitely helps to put a defined plan to my ideas if I ever want them to come to fruition. This exercise would definitely make for a killer blog post as well. You would really engage your readers and take them through your thought process.

  12. From where I stand, “Create Resource Posts” is a useful step if one wants to gain big success by blogging for their small business.
    In fact, I am trying my best to update and promote my personal blog about business online.

  13. Mark,

    Thanks for sharing this. I was just wondering what kind of ideas to take to my boss today for writing on our corporate blog. You’ve given me a whole new set :)

  14. One thing I wish more small businesses would do is resource posts. Specifically posts on how to maximize usage of the product. Evernote bloggers ought to write more about systems for using Evernote most effectively. I’m sure most people using it aren’t harnessing its potential.

    Another thing I’d love to hear more about is thoughts on where the business might be headed next.

    The more I think about it, the more I realize that there really are a lot of topics small business owners can write about….

  15. Great ideas. I have at least two new blog topics I plan to act on immediately. It’s definitely time to tell our backstory. Thanks for the inspiration.

  16. Good ides. I like idea of creating resource posts. They really help customers to make most out of their business as you will be pointing out or listing important tools.

  17. Hey Mark…nice article with some great brainstorming ideas. I particularly like the idea of Customer of the Day. I disagree with Doug…people will come back to read articles focusing on the customer. One of the best techniques for making a sale is to involve the customer in third party stories.

    If you can use a customer story to relate how your product benefited a them, you may have other potential customers that can identify as well. They can see themselves in that story and that’s powerful. It’s also a way to show your customers that you are listening and care about whether they are finding your products helpful.

    Let’s not forget that blogging is social media too, and engagement, conversation and feedback is what makes it work. You are building an engaged community and fostering a loyal following. Excellent tips!

  18. Great tips here! What I love to do in terms of KW research is test a simple ppc campaign and see if it converts. Also, if you run Google Analytics, you can see some of the phrases that people are using to find your site

  19. Hey Mark, a quick question for you. I checked out word tracker and entered “Blogging”, and I noticed for searched over a 365 day period it stated 2,307 for the results. To me this seems low and I must be analyzing this wrong.

  20. In writing for my clients’ blogs, I’ve found that posts about how to get the most out of a purchase are among the most popular with customers.

    And it’s a good deal for the business, as well. Depending on how you write it, you can upsell customers, convince them to buy more, get sales staff involved and even give employees a reason to direct customers to the website.

  21. I am still not sure about keywords (seo), And how to use the keywords while writing post’s. Using wordtracker tool search for any keyword you will not find more than max thousand search..

  22. I find the best way to get ideas for a new post is to follow my blog-roll. I follow quite a few industry big wigs’ blogs and see what they are talking about and then give my own take on what they are writing about. I know it is kind of a cheater way to get ideas, but it works.

  23. I use Rank Tracker to track how my keywords are ranking compared to other sites in my genre. It’s a nice tool, and it’s free to use forever if you don’t mind a couple of the options being disabled(namely being able to save your progress from week to week). But, hey you can just write down your rankings each time and be all the better for it.

  24. I must admit, I suffer with TIME to Blog Post on a regular basis – even though the benefits are screaming in my face. This article has given me inspiration to drive forward and get going.

    As for a suggestion for new material. What about Suppliers. Most businesses buy from them. Maybe badgering them to supply editorial and pictures on their products?

    Anyway, got to go and start writing down some ideas for blog posts ;-)


  25. Hi Mark,

    I like the backstory, I already have an about page,
    but to incorporate your story in posts is a new notion for me, I will certainly try this.

    I do a lot of resources, like for example a post about free images for bloggers that I published today.

    Also How-Tos that are very useful.


    Bee a Blogger | REAL-TIME Blogging Report

  26. Hi Mark

    The idea about writing about the back story is great. People love to hear about other people’s backgrounds, how they got to where they are now, obstacles overcome etc.

    Great article, thanks.

  27. Nice post, thank you.

    My partner is a small-time handyman. He normally operates by word of mouth only, but business had been a bit quiet so he agreed I could make him a web-site and some business cards.

    He’s not marketing or IT savvy, and struggles with writing posts (or me writing them for him) with lots of keywords and personal stories. But we found that a small notebook was good for jotting down potential tip-of-the-week ideas: somehow being away from the computer freed him up to think about possibilities.

  28. Superb! Generally I never read whole articles but the way you wrote this information is simply amazing and this kept my interest in reading and I enjoyed it. You have got good writing skills.

  29. I think that every time a blogger picks up a newspaper, watches the news, reads a magazine or even walks down the street they should be looking for topics. I use voice notes and Evernote on my Blackberry to capture ideas when I see them. Then once a day or week or whatever, I move them over to a master “Idea” list. Your post is going on my list!

  30. One thing that I like to do Mark is look at my day or what’s happened this week. There’s usually something in there that I can write about or that has a good point and takeaway. I usually have plenty to write about outside of this but it’s always there if I’m in a slump.

  31. excellent post, will be using this and thanks for the intro links into mind mapping.

  32. Tutorials always seem to be very popular and a great conversation piece in my eyes. Over time as well you tend to create quite a library of these tutorials as well which can create quite a nice area on your site.

  33. You know, once you start writing about your day-to-day goings on, ideas start flowing and you find more to write about. Even mundane things are interesting to other people. Write, and keep writing, and you will attract an audience who will become your best customers.

    I like writing, and blogging. I’ve been writing daily for about three months and I keep finding new things to write about. When I get to the end, I start over again from new angles. It’s great but very much busy work. Maybe someday it’ll pay the bills…

  34. Wordtracker is a Paid tool ?,

  35. Thanks Darren,

    You actually gave me some positive ideas that I can put to use to bring more customers in.

    Customers that have bought from me know how good my products and service are BUT why would a potential customer want to buy from me is the key here. I need to let them know what is unique about buying from me and why they should trust me.

    Sometimes we forget that a customer has no idea who or what we are and why they should trust to buy from us so we need to show them why.

  36. Actually the potential employees also are interested in the business. After all, when we search for jobs, the first thing we hunt for in the Internet is the company’s profile.

  37. I choose to read a lot of related books and blog to get some ideas for my blog post. I’m quite enjoying the reading especially something that is valuable. Sometimes, i will ask myself whether my blog can be considered as a small business? After reading this article, i think the answer is yes! Thanks for sharing!

  38. Darren,

    Great tips and helpful posts. One of the biggest complaints my clients voice is that they do not feel like they have anything to write about. These tips are for sure timely!

    One tip I would suggest is to use Google’s wonder-wheel. It kind of does the mind mapping for you after you type a keyword in.

    Thanks for the tips!


  39. Great article! I would add a few. First, the basis of my blog, http://www.anonymous8.com, is from a friendship and the information we share is so good that we’d be unfair not to share. So, taking this concept one step further, have a brainstorming session with your “advisory team” whether that be your spouse, parents, mentors, friends, and any other supporters you’ve had over the years. They are bound to have a different perspective that could help.

    Second, stories, stories, stories. Funny, sad, interesting. People like reading stories.

    Those are my suggestions. Great, succinct, and helpful article.

  40. Mark,

    These are some great ideas. I use most of them already. One way I get ideas that you didn’t mention was from reading news articles or blogs. I will put my own spin on the idea with my thoughts and opinions, sort of like expanding the conversation.

  41. Laurie says: 03/07/2010 at 3:01 am

    Really liked your article. Good information. To the point. Real ideas that are very useful. I especially liked getting your customers involved with their stories.

    Laurie at http://www.bizstartupservices.com

  42. Really great article. Very usable ideas. I liked all the ideas espcecially using customer stories and involving them in the blog.


  43. Nice article, Mark.

    in RE to Doug…

    Doug, I think you are missing something very important.
    I don’t disagree with you that a business should talk about worldly topics. However, look at huge companies like Papa John’s who use backstory and make themselves seem smaller to relate. Look at how Domino’s went along with that trend to try to play catch-up on lost business. With the age of new media, you must realize that customers want to feel like they can discover, and really know, the company.

    A personal example, I go to a wine shop that I like a lot. Recently I discovered their website and read all about the people who work there, and their love of wines. I now feel personally connected to the shop.

  44. Thank you for sharing this post. I’m not really good in blogging, even if I’ve tried it over and over again, but then created Facebook and Twitter accounts, formed groups and pages on Facebook and the topics are send over to the Twitter account to promote the groups and pages. This works for me very well. The fan and follower count is growing constantly and with the Facebook features it is totally easy to update the statuses on a daily basis. I’m spending one hour each day to share links of each kind (btw your post just became a part of my “Useful links” page) to give fans a little extra kick to stay tuned and to help them fight their ways thru the Internet jungle. On another page I’m sharing info and links about real estate and architecture (which is my job). Within less then half a year the follower count on Twitter is at 7,000 and the groups and pages on Facebook have together 1,000 active fans and members. It was never easier to find potential customers and business partners on an international level. I’m from Germany and Facebook is step by step becoming more popular over here. Twitter is still something people don’t like much, because of the 140 characters limitation, but it’s very helpful while seeking for latest information and for people from around the world.

  45. Hey Mark, as usual enjoyed your post. Insightful and well written.

    The thing I notice in many small business websites is that they lack sufficient information/content. Typically what you find are about 6-8 pages covering the usual stuff like ‘who we are’ and ‘what we do’, and that’s well and good but almost any small business can share a hell of a lot more about their business, products, customers and market.

    The other thing I notice, is that many small businesses hardly ever update their sites. They build the site and then practically ignore it. (Set and forget)

    For a small business owner, what it comes down is lack of time and probably lack of skill. If this is the case, a solution would be to use a copywriter to help out. For a small investment, the rewards can be long lasting.

    Good keyword-rich content with regularly updated webpages is vital for attracting new business and improving search engine ranking.

  46. omg a number of the feedback most people make are such stoner remarks, now and again i question whether they honestly read the content pieces and reports before posting or if perhaps they basically skim the titles and publish the first thing that comes to mind. anyway, it’s pleasant to read through clever commentary now and then compared to the exact same, outdated post vomit which i usually notice on the internet

  47. i am not sure, but i will try these steps

    in my neighborhood, the best one is not how to promote, but how to sell…

  48. Very good article, appreciate the detailed information. The e-book “Romancing The Sale” has a great approach to marketing – approach your prospect (or blog visitor) like you were dating them. Like on a date, you get to know each other, build a relationship (or decide that this isn’t working and move on), only then do you ask the big question (or ask for the sale). Think of your blog post as a series of dates with your readers.

  49. Hi Mark,
    Really enjoyed your post!

    I just checked out your website and was cool to see you’re a returned Peace Corps Volunteer from PNG–looks like you had a really cool assignment. I’m an RPCV from the Philippines, based in Bali now. I’m trying to take a similar independent route to launching a small business abroad, it was nice to read about your success–very inspirational.

    Thanks for the post.

  50. Hi Mark,
    I agree with the post from Doug, when he talks about reaching out to new customers. What I would add is to try and think about how you can add ‘value’ to both existing and new customers this will allow you to create a reputation for being a business of worth in your niche and not just someone who is pushing products/services.

    Also, before a business embarks on a social media journey they need to ask themselves how their customers (new and potential) are using social media and for what end. Contrary to many beliefs, the internet is not the only place that new/existing customers use to find/research things that they need/want.


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