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Written by Lisa Shepherd
on February 12, 2015

Improving the Idea-Generation Process

Every corporate blogger has experienced it. Fingers hovering over the keyboard. Blank screen. Blinking cursor. Mind full of uncertainty. “Is this topic even worth writing about?” “Will anyone even read it?”

Brainstorming process

It’s in that dreadful moment when bloggers need to get inside the mind of their prospects, and develop a blog post that will fulfill the “3 E” criterion: be engaging, educational and entertaining.

But choosing a good idea can be as difficult as finding a needle in a haystack. Why? Because by their very nature, ideas are subjective; beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

Without any structure to your blog idea-generation process, topics are at risk of being chosen entirely on a whim. For example, you might hold a blog brainstorming session which ends up being dominated by the colleagues of yours who shout the loudest. As a result, the best topic doesn't always make the blog.

However, in today’s digital age, you can take the randomness out of idea-generation. You can root your blog topics in simple, data-driven insights. After reading this post, you’ll be able to tap into such insights, by harnessing the power of Google’s Keyword Planner.

The best part? This tool is entirely free, easy to use, and offers analysis which is completely unique to your business.

Build Trust by Answering Your Prospects’ Questions

Let’s take a step back. Why should you bother answering your prospects’ online questions in the first place?

For starters, the content marketing institute found that you’ll “achieve the best content marketing ROI by answering questions on your own site.”

But perhaps the point is best made by looking at a real-life example. In an interview with the New York Times, Marcus Sheridan talks about how he transformed a struggling fibreglass pool company into a regional powerhouse, simply by addressing his prospects’ questions on his corporate blog.

Marcus led this corporate turnaround in the most difficult of circumstances; it was the height of the financial crisis, customers were demanding their deposits back, and his company was teetering on the edge of bankruptcy.

Blogging using an outsourced marketing firm Marcus Sheridan, Founder of www.saleslion.com
 

And yet, with just one article entitled, “how much does a fibreglass pool cost?” River Pool and Spas were able to generate $1.7 million in new business, tracked using Google Analytics. Many other question-answering posts followed, and together, these articles helped the company revive and ultimately, thrive.

This seems too good to be true, right?

The reason it worked so well was because every time someone Googled a cost-related question in reference to fibre-glass pools, Marcus’ article was the number one result in the United States.

The right audience began coming to Marcus’ blog in droves. When they came, they were so delighted with the quality of information they received, they were immediately inclined to trust River Pool and Spas.

And when a prospect trusts you, they become infinitely more willing to reach out to your sales team, and ultimately sign on the dotted line.

How Can I Find Out What Questions My Prospects Have?

Using an Outsourced Marketing Firm to Address Your Prospects' questions

Your sales team will have a good anecdotal knowledge of the questions your prospects are asking in-person and over the
phone. However, they won’t necessarily know which questions are being asked in a much larger online context.

Here’s where using the Google Keyword Planner will allow you to gain insight into prospects’ online-related questions.

This tool is like a crystal ball, allowing you to read your target market’s mind. It does so by telling you what question-oriented, long-tail keywords your prospects’ are searching for.

Have I lost you? Allow me to explain.

Long-tail keywords are the string of three or more words that people type into a search box when looking for information regarding your products or services. Such long-winded searches often imply that someone is far down the sales funnel, looking for a crucial piece of information before making a purchase.

In closing, when done right, answering questions on your blog will lead to more prospects finding your website, trusting your business, and enquiring about your services. And as Marcus’ example shows us, this can have a very meaningful impact on the bottom line.

 Market Smart, B2B Marketing for Non-Marketers  

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