It’s not easy to come up with blog ideas in a vacuum, so readers are welcome to write in for free business blog ideas. Lola is in a crowded field (and she knows it) – selling online marketing e-books and tutorials to making money. But although she can come up with book contents, she’s having trouble with regular ideas for her blog.
Lola Vanslette writes:
“I can write a book on Facebook but I can’t come up with one good idea for my blog.”
Lola wants to use her blog, Lola Recommends, to promote her e-marketing services. She’s got a great point-of-difference: she wants to cut through the BS of all the “make money online” information out there and help people avoid the frustration she went through by showing them what she’s learned over the years.
Lola describes her audience like this:
“The blog is meant for anyone wanting to make more money but don’t know where to look. Also, it is for education for those who are just starting out online. Where to find what, what works and what doesn’t, scams I’ve uncovered. I am looking to reach a broad range of people who, like me, have been struggling to make ends meet, but not so bad off they can’t afford to take action.”
Before we get to blog post ideas, we need to look at targeting for this business, because the blog post ideas will stem from that.
Targeting the target
A few weeks ago, I summarized a post by David Risely about the story of how he targeted his target. He had a security product for WordPress, and thought that anyone who used WordPress should be a customer. But regular WordPress users didn’t care about security. He found that only after people were hacked — they felt the pain — did they seek out his product. And he found a much more viable target.
For Lola to find topics to write about, I think she should narrow her blog’s target. Ideas include:
- People who have been scammed by online marketing schemes (they’ve felt the pain and they’re ready for guidance)
- People who are looking for people who cut through the “BS” and tell them the real deal
- People who seriously want to make some money on the side by having a Web site, but are not ready to give it all up to do a Web site full-time
Recommendations for the blog look/content
I’m not going to go into this deeply, but I think the site look and content needs to change. To a complete outsider (like me) the site is pretty confusing. One of things I see is a list of products, many of which I’ve never heard of. It looks intimidating. The blog content starts way below the offerings, many of which are free (but it doesn’t say that).
The site should scream “credibility!” so it meets its promise of being a no-BS-zone. It’s hard to tell anywhere the recommendations are a cut above anything else, or they’ve been vetted/tried/reviewed, etc. To go along with the brand promise (which is to offer no-BS e-marketing books, advice & services) I would:
- Put more useful content front-and-center: either the “about” information, or the posts. She doesn’t need to get too personal, but people will identify with her past frustration and be inspired now that she’s done the work for them and cut through the clutter to find the best e-marketing materials online.
- People need to know right away what the blog’s point of difference is. Some of that information is on a related Web site (http://www.whatdafaq.com) but I’m not sure how the two are connected. And that “cut through the clutter/no BS” message isn’t on the blog at all.
- Find a better place for the list of e-books, maybe their own page. Definitely a prominent spot on the landing page leading to the list of e-books is appropriate, and if they’re free, let people know that ASAP.
- Any testimonials? Make those prominent on the landing page as well as the product page.
- One she’s identified the target more closely, tailor keywords and content to that target (easily said, hard to do, I know, I know…)
Blog post goals
- Establish expertise . If she wants to target people who have been burned, or people who are overwhelmed by all the “stuff” out there promising to make them money, she needs to demonstrate through her posts that she knows what she’s talking about.
- Talk money to the readers – how to keep from losing it, and how to spend it wisely. Identify with readers’ “pain” mostly having to do with money: how they’ve lost it on bad products or ineffective services, how they could save it by reading the advice on the blog.
- Establish trust. Show them how she’s been in the same boat they are, and how she’s acting in her readers’ best interests.
Blog post ideas for Lola
1. Use customer questions. Lola gets real questions. A lot of them. Here’s a quick sampling: How do you “really” make money online? What’s the best program to make money on line? Where should I advertise? What’s the best start-up hosting service? How do I set up WordPress?
Each one of these could be a blog post! However, the key here is to get Lola’s messages & positioning across in each post and make it specific to the audience she wants to target. For example, to answer: Where should I advertise? The blog post would be: “How to find the right way to advertise for your online business,” and Lola could go into how different vehicles are more appropriate for different types of businesses and budgets. Another idea: “Internet advertising that works for any budget.” Both of these would use real examples that show her expertise.
2. Do product/site reviews and roundups. Lola has the knowledge – so she should say what she likes, what she doesn’t, and why. I recently found a site searching for a specific skincare product. The blog author, a dermatologist-in-training, had some great reviews! One smart thing that she did was mention the product name and link to the product throughout her post – her site it turned up #2 in my Google search, right after the manufacturer’s site.
3. Post about specific, business mistakes you’ve made and what you’ve learned from them. This positioning will (1) make you seem real and (2) show customers why they should trust you, your recommendations, and your products. For those that have been burned, it will show them that you understand your pain and that your products/services are aimed at preventing that pain in the future. Here’s a good example from entrepreneur Erica Douglass.
4. Look up conference titles in your industry. This was a recent suggestion of John Jantsh of Duct Tape Marketing, and I thought it was brilliant. Research conferences in your industry, and see what kinds of things people are presenting in those conferences. Then write on those subjects — why re-invent the wheel? The conference topics have already been identified as something that people want to hear about. A resource that might be useful for Lola is Mashable’s 100 Upcoming Social Media and Technology Events.
5. Show people how you make money. One interesting feature that Problogger’s Darren Rowse does about once a month is a breakdown of how he makes his money. He doesn’t give exact dollar amounts, but it does give aspiring “money makers” a chance to see how it happens in the real world…that it’s a mix of a bunch of techniques and vehicles vs. one get-rich-quick idea.
In summary, here’s 10 blog post ideas Lola can get started on now…
- How to find the right way to advertise for your online business (reader question)
- Internet advertising that works for any budget (reader question)
- Best Web hosting on bootstrap budget (reader question)
- Get started making money part-time on the Web (reader question, geared toward part-time audience)
- Internet marketing term of the day: [XXX], and how it can help your business (shows expertise)
- Top 5 WordPress tutorials (reader question, expertise, reviews)
- My biggest mistake in [hosting, advertising, affiliate marketing, etc.] and what I’d do differently now (specific mistakes, shows expertise, builds trust)
- Worst e-marketing advice (show specific mistake of self or others; end post with what to do right)
- Why some digital campaigns work – and others don’t (idea stolen from inspired by an upcoming tech conference)
- How I made money this month (breakdown of sources, tools, etc. Shows expertise)
What do you think Lola should write about? Do you have questions about what you should write on your business blog?