Often when I talk to companies about blogging they tell me while other companies might have a wealth of things to write about, their company would probably struggle to write more than a few posts before seizing up. It normally takes me coming up with ten or so topic ideas for me to convince them otherwise. How do I perform this seemingly magical feat?
The technique I use, amongst others, is one I call “Reverse Process Discovery”. That’s a fancy name for something that is actually quite simple and one that almost any company can do.
It’s an idea based on the fact that if you are in business there is stuff you do that you are good at. Other people might like to get good at that too, or know why you are good at a particular thing. Sometimes it is your quality procedures and high standards that set you apart and give you a premium placing, why not brag about how you do things?
What I do is take the processes and reverse them. For Amazon for example they are really good at getting a choice of thousands of products to your door. How does it get to your door? We work back from the end point or deliverable and work out what has to happen at each step. In the Amazon example it would work all the way back to warehousing, computer systems, etc.
Discovery comes into play when you think about the sorts of things you do and discover lots of things you can talk about along the way. Just listing your processes is not enough, you have to turn them into blog post topics. At each stage you have to be aware of what makes this particular point or task different/better/remarkable/newsworthy. In Amazons case it is the sheer scale, the quantity of data and product, their massive popularity. For you it could be the other end of the scale, your personal approach and individual service, etc.
I use this technique on this blog. For example I can think of a particular client project. How did we make their site popular? If we go back in time at each step we can see the progression from success through to the initial consulting. Stating facts generates questions if you put yourself into a curious state of mind. At each stage we can look at ideas for what to write about:
- Thousands of happy subscribers – How did they get the subscribers? What makes them happy? How do we know they are happy? Is thousands important? Would it have been a success had this not happened? What does success mean in this case? How do you work out what success means for you?
- Front page Digg stories – How did we get to the front page of Digg? How do we think of ideas that would work? Does Digg create success? What happens when you get to the front page of Digg?
- Regular posting schedule – Is a regular posting schedule important? How do we maintain that schedule? Does the client post or outsource? What are the factors required to decide?
- Spread of blog categories – How do we choose categories? How many categories is too many? What do you call your categories? Do categories help in SEO?
- Concept for the blog – How do you decide a blog concept? Should you decide a concept or allow it to evolve? How do you communicate this concept? How do companies decide when they disagree internally?
- Convincing client to blog – When I think a blog is a good idea, how do I convince a client to blog? When would I recommend not blogging?
- Client approaches me – What makes a client approach me? How do I find clients? Do blogs help me in marketing?
As you can see, from a relatively short list of events in one project I can come up with enough topics to keep this blog going for quite a while!
Have a good think about the activities and events in your own routine, what can you find that gets results, sets you apart, or might be interesting then drill right down. Think from the point of view of a curious prospect and you might be surprised how many topic ideas you can think of!