Unless you’ve been living in a hole for the last five years, you know that content creation is one of the most important marketing tools you have to getting found online and engaging customers with your brand or store. As a manufacturer sales rep now and previously as the owner of an ecommerce website with an award-winning blog, I know first-hand the important role content plays in a business’s success.
It’s no secret then that brands that blog find more success. According to HubSpot, 57% of business owners say they have acquired a new customer from their blog. Further, companies that blog get 55% more web traffic than those that don’t. Blogging works and has been a proven and effective marketing tool for companies of all sizes.
My challenge to you is to make 2014 the year you give your blog the love and attention it deserves. After all, blogging is a marketing tool that only costs a little bit of your time yet it can reap rewards for as long as you’re in business (after all, your content can be found via search engines long after you’ve first published it).
The first step – and often most important step – to maintaining a successful, content-rich blog is figuring out what to write about. The content of your blog should be of utmost importance to you as you find the right mix between good keywords that attract the right customers to your page, along with providing useful content that keeps readers engaged on your page for a long time.
I suggest you create a detailed blog editorial calendar for the entire year ahead. Here are some tips to planning your blog content for 2014:
1. Brainstorm Topics Your Customers and Prospects Would Ask You.
Think about various ways you can talk about your business. What might people Google to find you? What questions do they ask you before they work with you? Use those keywords and questions as fodder for great blog post topics.
For me, I like to write about topics both manufacturers in need of a distributor might search for, as well as searches retailers who carry eco-friendly children’s products might Google. Here are some topics I came up with that I’m planning to write about in 2014:
- How Do You Select a Manufacturer Sales Rep
- How a Manufacturer Sale Rep Can Boost Your Sales
- How Retailers Can Better Work with Manufacturers
- 10 Ways Eco-Friendly Manufacturers Can Get their Products On Store Shelves
- 5 Questions to Ask Your Manufacturer Sales Rep Agency
- How to Get the Most Out of Your Manufacturer Sales Rep Relationship
Incorporate these topics into your blog posting schedule over the year and make them your top priority to write and publish.
2. Think Timely.
Consider writing about topics that your customers and fans would be interested in during a specific time of year. This is known as writing for the news cycle – newsrooms across America do this day in and day out. For example, timely topics in December might include cooking and recipe posts, dealing with holiday stress, gift inspiration, etc.
To help you get your brainstorming started, we came up with news cycle topics to consider writing about throughout the year – enjoy! Just remember to tailor these topics to the interests of your blog’s readership.
- New Year’s Resolutions
- Bath Safety Month
- Super Bowl Preparation
- Wintertime Blues
- Valentine’s Day
- Black History Month
- American Heart Month
- Academy Awards
- St. Patrick’s Day / Irish American Heritage Month
- National Craft Month
- National Nutrition Month
- Earth Day
- Spring Cleaning
- Stress Awareness Month
- National Autism Awareness Month
- Memorial Day
- Memorial Day
- Mother’s Day
- National BBQ Month/National Hamburger Month
- Children’s Book Week (May 7-13, 2012)
- Celiac Awareness Month
- Teacher Appreciation Month
- School’s Out
- Summer Travel
- National Safety Month
- Potty Training Awareness Month
- Summer activities and reminders: sunscreen, playing outside, summer camps, picnics, reading clubs, etc.
- Father’s Day
- Pregnancy Awareness Month
- 4th of July
- National Grilling Month
- National Ice Cream Month
- Summer vacations, summer safety
- Breastfeeding Awareness Month
- Family Fun Month
- Preparing kids to go back to school
- Labor Day
- Grandparent’s Day (first Sunday after Labor Day)
- Baby Safety Month
- Better Breakfast Month
- Jewish New Year
- Childhood Obesity Month
- Fall Harvest
- Breast Cancer Awareness Month
- SIDs Awareness Month
- National Bullying Prevention Month
- Black Friday
- Election Day
- National Adoption Awareness Month
- Daylight Savings
- Child Safety Protection Month
- Movember (mustache)
- New Year’s Eve
- Winter Vacation
- Holiday Gift Ideas
- Holiday Stress
3. Plan Regular Features.
Another great way to inspire content for 2014 is to plan regular features that you’ll publish each month. For example, perhaps you could spotlight a product you carry each month. Or you could do a Monthly Gift Guide that features gift ideas that fit into a specific theme. You might also want to spotlight a retailer or customer each month.
Overall, remember to make 2014 your year to make your blog shine. A blog can be your number one marketing tool and one that requires only your time, attention and effort – nothing more and nothing less. Good luck!