A blog is a great way to attract and deepen your relationships with clients. But starting a blog doesn’t guarantee success, especially if you can’t generate a steady flow of posts with topics that entice readers. Your blog post topics should be tailored to the kind of clients whom you seek. They should also tap your passions.
The six techniques that I discuss will help you identify topics that draw ideal prospects to your blog.
Technique 1. Identify Your Ideal Clients and Their Concerns
A blog post that tries to appeal to everybody will appeal to nobody. Today’s busy readers don’t want generic answers to their questions; they seek solutions tailored to their needs.
As a first step, identify the clients whom you’d like to attract as specifically as possible. This may involve identifying a niche or a life stage for your clients. Then list all of their areas of concern. For example, their concerns may involve children, housing, career, parents, retirement, and estate planning. Next, list the questions that your clients have about these topics. These are great blog post topics because your future clients may look online for solutions to their questions.
Having trouble thinking of questions? In my financial blogging class, I suggest that students draw a mind map of their clients’ main concerns. A mind map is a visual, non-linear form of brainstorming (see 30-something parent image below). The visual nature of a mind map unlocks ideas for many people.
Technique 2. Capture Questions Your Clients Ask
Your clients, prospects, and referral sources know best what they care most about. Capture their questions as they arise in a paper or electronic notebook. If two or three clients ask a specific question, there are more that care about the same topic.
Another option: poll your clients about their interests using a tool like SurveyMonkey. In addition to measuring their interest in a proposed menu of topics, you can collect information to use in your blog posts. I’ve created some lengthy blog posts, such as “Who are the fixed-income commentary winners–and why?” and “White paper marketing: Walk a fine line,” based on anonymous reader responses to multi-question surveys.
Focus on the questions that are most compelling to your clients because they address WIIFM—What’s In It For Me. You should solve a pressing problem. “How do I change the address on my statements?” might be important, but it belongs on a “Frequently asked questions” page, not a blog.
Technique 3. Exploit Analytics
What searches already bring people to your website (and blog, if you have one already)? If you have Google Analytics on your website, you can get a sense of what those people care about. Are there specific questions that drive them to your website?
If you send an e-newsletter using email software, such as MailChimp or Constant Contact, you have data from your readers. Look at which subject lines prompt recipients to open the newsletter and which topics attract the most clicks.
Use these analytics results as starting points for brainstorming more blog post topics.
Technique 4. Use topic suggestion tools
Have you run out of angles on your favorite topic? Whether it’s 401(k) plans, budgeting, portfolio construction, or some other topic, there are online tools that can shake loose new ideas. Sure, you may reject most of their suggestions, but if you garner a handful of powerful topics, that’s a win.