Use these topic ideas to connect with your audience and bring in traffic and leads.
Cost and price
“Best of” lists
The drawbacks of your product or service
The problems your buyers are facing
"Making your choice" articles
Pros and cons
Definition and description
Confronting myths and misconceptions
I’m willing to wager that if you’re reading this article, you fall into one of two camps:
Either you’ve been blogging for a while and just aren’t seeing the needle move.
Or you’re just getting started with inbound marketing and want to make sure your first steps are in the right direction.
Whatever the case, it can feel like pulling teeth when you try to figure out what topics to address — and you don’t want to write about just anything. There are topics that will be more helpful to your audience and actually grow your bottom line. There are others that won't.
Over the last four years, I’ve helped dozens of companies launch their inbound marketing strategies. One of the most important aspects of successful inbound marketing is choosing topics that not only connect with your audience and turn them into paying customers.
The mistake I’ve seen far too many businesses make is publishing blog content that simply isn’t relevant to their audience’s buyer’s journey. It doesn’t help customers make well-informed buying decisions. And because of that, this content leaves little to no impact on the reader — if it ever gets read at all.
For this reason, I’m going to give you a comprehensive list of business blog topics that takes the guesswork out of where you need to start, including:
How I developed this list.
What each blog topic is and how to write them.
Examples you can reference for inspiration.
Ready to learn which business blog topics drive more organic traffic and revenue?
Here’s what to write about.
How I developed this list
I got my start working as a content manager for The Alaska Sleep Clinic (ASC). They diagnose and treat sleep apnea and other sleep disorders.
They sell a service (sleep studies), and they sell products (CPAP masks and machines).
But before I got there, most of the blog articles on their site didn’t relate to the services they provided or the products they sold.
Instead, they opted for light-hearted, entertaining, and fun articles like:
“What Do Dreams Mean?”
“Celebrities with Sleep Disorders”
“5 Bedtime Beauty Tips”
While those might be amusing to read on a site like BuzzFeed, they don’t often help people make buying decisions.
I mean, do any of those topics sound like they relate to selling diagnostic tests or equipment? Even if there are some valuable nuggets of information in there, the titles don’t make that known. They’re entertaining, but not really educational.
When I joined ASC, I would have made the same mistakes too, because those were the kinds of articles I would also read and think were interesting.
Fortunately for me, I had an amazing mentor in Marcus Sheridan (whom I would work for years later at The Sales Lion, and then IMPACT).
ASC hired Marcus to teach me the inbound marketing strategies outlined in his book, They Ask, You Answer.
The basis of this strategy is a simple one: Answer the questions your audience is asking. This helps more people find you, builds trust, and helps your business generate more revenue.
By applying the strategy of answering the most common questions the staff at ASC were asked on a regular basis from patients, I was able to grow the website traffic from 2,500 visits each month to over 400,000.
I’ve since worked with dozens of businesses, helping them answer the questions their prospects are asking.
Through reviewing the top-performing content on each site (by view counts, engagement, lead generation, and sales), I’ve found the common topics that bring companies the most results.
I’m going to share them with you below. And note, these are all real articles. Every single one is linked to examples from companies I’ve worked with both at The Sales Lion and here at IMPACT.
The Big 5 blog articles
This first handful comes straight from what Marcus calls The Big 5. They are the questions most of your customers ask but not many businesses address well.
1. Articles that address cost and price
Have you ever searched online for how much you might pay for, say ... anything?
If you’re like everybody with internet access, you have — but how often do you get frustrated from not finding answers?
Quite often, right?
Cost questions are extremely important to buyers, but so few companies care to answer these questions. In fact, they’re afraid to.
Be the company that answers these questions. Cost articles are easy wins for traffic as well as conversions because they build trust by addressing a topic most businesses shy away from.
Note: Cost is so important to not only write about — but also to get right — that I wrote an extensive article on the topic, How To Write a Cost Article.
To put things into neat little ranking orders, we often want to take some of the leading entries and have them duke it out in a head-to-head match-up.
You can either structure your comparison article by seeing how the competitors fare against each other in different categories, or you can give each its own in-depth discussion detailing the pros and cons of it with a nice little wrap-up at the end.
Let’s say you’re thinking about picking up mountain biking.
You moved to a new place with lots of amazing bike trails. You’re ready to explore your new surroundings and have fun while doing it. The only problem is you don’t have a bike, and you don’t know anything about mountain biking.
If I asked you to turn to Google to find the perfect mountain bike, what is the very first search you type?
“Mediocre mountain bikes,” right?
Of course not. Nobody has probably ever searched that.
Instead, you probably searched something along the lines of “Best mountain bikes.”
Or, if you wanted to get more specific, you might have searched “Best mountain bikes for women,” “Best mountain bikes for beginners,” or “Best mountain bikes for muddy trails” (depending on where you live and ride).
“Best of” lists are successful for two significant reasons:
They are digestible and easy to skim.
We love ranking things and seeing how they stack up against others.
Common keywords to use: Any superlative adjective (best, top, fastest, easiest, strongest, longest-lasting, most popular, etc.).
5. Articles about the problems or drawbacks of what you sell
If you really want to build trust with your audience, be willing to talk about the problems with your product or service.
You know, and I know, what you’re selling isn’t the perfect fit for everybody.
It might be a tough pill to swallow, but you should be the first to admit when this is so.
It may be hard to turn down potential leads, but if it was never going to work out in the first place, these kinds of articles can weed out bad fits.
On the other hand, some of the problems your readers heard about might actually have easy solutions. In your article, you can address the problems fairly and offer the right solutions, stopping their objection in its tracks.
Now, you might be thinking, hey wait a minute … why is there a number six listed here? I thought this was The Big 5!
There is a good reason: There is an alternative approach to creating problems content. Not only should you focus on the problems with your products or services, but you should also address the problems or pains your customers are experiencing.
They might not even know the solutions to what they're dealing with, but they’re very aware of their symptoms. So, they turn to search engines to help identify what their problem is (put a name to it) and see what the various solutions might be.
For example, at Alaska Sleep the most frequently asked questions by our patients were about the problems they experienced:
Why am I so tired all the time?
Is snoring harmful?
Is lack of sleep bad for my health?
Reasons I can’t sleep at night.
Symptoms of insomnia.
Ask yourself, “What is the root problem that my products and services solve? How would my customers phrase their query?”
These articles are often top performers in bringing traffic to a site, but are also very top of the funnel and require lots of lead nurturing to close as sales.
Buyer’s remorse is the worst. Nobody wants to make a purchase only to regret it a short time later. When this happens, you’re often left wishing you had researched your decision just a little bit more.
With this in mind, one of those possible searches you’re likely to make is for a list of both the pros and the cons of the thing you want to buy.
We know we love to organize and rank things. In this case, we’re just organizing two columns and determining whether the benefits of the purchase outweigh the drawbacks.
When you hear "benefits articles," don't think we just mean bragging about how great your product or service is.
Readers are very much on-guard when reading those types of articles. They know we want to tell them how great what we sell is, and their BS flags will be quick to go up and cause them to call us out for overinflating our value.
Plus, if you're only focusing on the positives of your offerings, you're clearly only telling half the story. As we said above, you need to talk openly about the drawbacks of what you sell, too.
Instead, benefits articles should focus on the positive outcomes your customers can experience when they buy from you. This type of content depends on your understanding of what your buyers are struggling with — and how what you sell can help them.
Remember, it's all about your customer, not about you.
Sometimes people just want a clear explanation of what that thing you sell is or what exactly that service you offer entails.
These articles can sometimes have high competition volume because they’re so easy to answer. You might even find sites like Wikipedia, Dictionary.com, and the most authoritative entities in your industry ranking on the first page — but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t also answer these questions.
These article types can often serve as cornerstone pieces of content on a topic you regularly discuss. When you answer more granular questions on a topic, you can always link back to this article as the main hub.
While we would love to think our solution is always the best, we need to acknowledge there are other options out there our buyers should consider too. These could be solutions from other vendors or even other solutions we offer.
An example from when I worked at Alaska Sleep Clinic: The No. 1 solution to sleep apnea is a CPAP machine. But that by no means is the only solution. There are also APAP, BiPAP, nasal strips, and even surgery.
Explaining these alternatives is just another way to build that all-important sense of trust between your business and your buyers.
How can you tell whether the person or business you’re thinking of buying from is the most qualified to do the job?
Is the general contractor you hired to remodel your home legally able to perform the job? Have they acquired additional certifications to prove their value? Are they licensed, bonded, and insured? What does any of that mean to you?
These articles are your opportunity to educate your audience on what they should be looking for in a high-quality product or service — and maybe even position yourself as such in the process.
Also, if you’re hiring and training employees to fill specialist roles, you could write articles to better recruit or educate your own candidates.
Do some of your prospects have your products and services all wrong? Have they heard or been fed misinformation? Rumors can hurt any brand’s reputation.
Whether you have persistent misconceptions about the product you sell, or your competitors are intentionally misleading prospects about your services, you can use your blog to clear the air once and for all.