blog-topic-sourcesWant to be recognized as an expert and trusted authority online? Want your prospects to trust you even more? Start blogging.  

Sharing industry insight and tips on my company's blog and my personal website are a few ways I establish myself professionally. As a bonus, blogging helps me in every step of the sales process.   

So, you know you should spend time writing, but what blog topics should sales reps tackle? How do you come up with captivating posts? What do your prospects really want to read about?  

It's time to fill that blank screen with helpful advice for your prospects, colleagues, and readers.  

Here's five of my favorite ways to generate blog ideas.  

When you open your email, and scan the subject lines, it's easy to wonder how bloggers come up with such targeted content. I think they simply look to their day-to-day workflow for inspiration. I know I do!  

1) Glean topics from calls and emails.

When you're on a demo, an exploratory call, or in a meeting you'll notice certain topics come up again and again. Take cues, think, and listen. Then jot down those ideas for possible blog topics.

Here's a few questions I hear often:

  • How does your competition do this?
  • How does this specific part of the software work?
  • How does this online tool work?
  • Why would someone what to use this software specifically?  

Any questions you're consistently answering on the phone or as a follow-up in emails translates into a blog topic. You can be brief in your calls and then say, "I'm going to send this blog post to you to read so this topic makes more sense." Then they can read it at their leisure. Or perhaps you want to make your call more constructive. In this case, send your prospects a blog post ahead of time to review and have context for your pending conversation.  

With prospecting, you're trying to educate someone through various means of communication before you actually talk to them. Having these online pieces of education will hopefully help you get that appointment or convert a lead.  

2) Look closely at analytics.

Most sales professionals analyze the reach and success of their communication efforts. Why not look to that data for inspiration?  

Since HubSpot offers Sidekick, a free tool that provides email open and click tracking, I look at the Activity Stream to get insight on what pieces of collateral are getting clicks and generating interest. Whether or not they open those messages reveals if the content was relevant and useful.  

You can also see if they're looking at other things on your company's website that you didn't send them. Watch for trends and use those topics for blog posts.  

3) Chat with marketers.

When in doubt, go to the blogging professionals in your office: the marketing department. Ask what topics they're currently working on, then put your own spin on them.  

This is a great way to develop your voice, personality, and credibility online. You're not always going to have the marketing materials at your fingertips that you'd like, so make them yourself via blogging.  

4) Take notes during presentations.

Is there a training meeting or guest speaker on your calendar this week? Take the time to write down the key points and information from the talk. Their professional insight, paired with your commentary, can become a discussion worthy topic on a blog post and your social media channels.

Here's a few unsuspecting blog topic sources to take advantage of:  

  • Business professional breakfasts
  • Keynote addresses at conferences
  • Seminars presented at virtual networking events
  • Internal sales meetings
  • Company training sessions
  • Management seminars
  • Professional coaching classes  

I like to take the content that's presented to me on a daily basis and think about it a little differently. I work with the concepts and ideas until it targets someone in my market that I'm trying to reach.  

Customize the content and make it your own -- but always give a nod to the original source as a professional courtesy. For example, start your blog post with something like this:  

"Last week I attended the Young Professionals Business Breakfast where Mary Smith, VP of Sales at Big Company, spoke about blogging techniques to increase response rates from prospects. Her ideas were inspiring and insightful. I've put a few of her techniques to work in my own blogging efforts. Did they work? Take a look at this data and decide for yourself."  

5) Use buyer persona profiles.

As a sales rep, you may be asked to create content to help your company grow and generate sales leads. You should take a stance on what you're seeing in the market.

Take your buyer personas and create content that's specific to what those people would care about. Assert yourself. Speaking to a specific audience when blogging yields a greater response rate.  

Taking the time to craft informative helpful blog posts allows you to do something you can be proud of outside of the daily grind of your job. The writing process forces you to delve into topics you talk about daily in greater detail. In the end, people will notice you and over time see you as an expert. Blogging can even generate inbound leads to fill your funnel. But, that's a whole new topic for another day.  

Where do you find blogging inspiration? I'd love to hear your blogging tips and tricks in the comments below.

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Originally published Apr 22, 2014 8:00:00 AM, updated February 01 2017

Topics:

Social Selling