6 Tips for Generating Blog Writing Ideas

Oct 26, 2016

By now you’ve no doubt heard about the benefits of establishing a corporate blog. One of the most important, of course, is for search engine optimization (SEO) purposes. Google (and other search engines) rewards frequent content updates on your website, so if your blog is connected to your website, and it’s active you’ll rise in the organic search rankings. That makes blog writing a pretty important part of your marketing program.

This simple fact creates an ongoing challenge for many, however. Namely, coming up with interesting topics to blog about.

Sometimes the ideas flow easily, especially at first. It seems like you have a cornucopia of information to share with the market. After that initial gold rush, however, you find yourself staring at the blinking, nagging cursor for longer and longer periods of time. You’ve expended the obvious topics and begin to wonder if establishing that blog was such a great idea after all.

The reality is great blog writing ideas are all around you. They crop up in your life every day. Like Jerry Seinfeld and George Costanza’s idea for a show about nothing, you just have to learn to recognize them.

Comment on industry articles

One of the good things about working in healthcare and health IT (HIT) is that there is never a lack of new information, new approaches, new discoveries or new regulations coming out. Most of us get several newsletter and at least scan the headlines every day.

These articles can become a rich source of blog fodder. For example, if an article announces a new rule or a change to a program from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) that will affect your customers/clients, that’s a blog post! Link to the original article, provide a one- or two-sentence synopsis, then add your thoughts about what it means to the industry.

Or perhaps a new research report has come out that could affect your clients. Again, bringing it to your clients’ attention and providing a little analysis with it can provide added value to them while giving you a blog post that practically writes itself.

Share a tip or trick that helped a client with a general issue

This is another rich source of blog writing ideas. Perhaps your team has helped a client solve a particular issue, such as data that needed to be scrubbed in a certain way in order to be used in a specific electronic health records (EHR) system. Whatever the issue, there’s a good chance it isn’t just that one client who is facing it.

Talk about the challenge, and the problems it’s causing, then explain how to solve it. All you really have to do is recap what you’ve already done  no original thinking required. If you’re not directly involved with this aspect of the business, check with the development or customer service team. They can probably keep you supplied with ideas for months. Just be sure not to give away anything the business would consider a competitive advantage.

Blog about discoveries in a related field

Everything you write about doesn’t have to be directly in your company’s space. Sometimes it can just have a loose relationship with a tie-back later.

Take the example of cognitive computing. There are all sorts of advances in this area going on outside of healthcare as well as inside. If you hear about how cognitive computing is being applied to make self-driving cars smarter, there’s a blog post. You can write about what is already happening with cars, the speculate on how it might affect healthcare or HIT in the future.

Mine some key data

Data and analytics are huge in healthcare and HIT these days. It seems just about every organization is generating tons of them. Most, however, are under-utilizing that information, especially when it comes to marketing.

You can take advantage of that by looking through the reports for trends that are interesting without giving away anything that again is proprietary. For example, if you have software that enables payers to create member portals, and there is a sudden uptick in the number of portals your team is creating, you may want to comment about how portals are on the rise and speculate as to why. That will also give you an opportunity to talk about the advantages of portals to encourage more sales.

Or maybe you see that your clients’ customer satisfaction scores are suddenly on the rise. You can find out what changes they’ve made to enable that to happen and share them with your blog audience.

Pay attention to day-to-day conversations

Each day you, your co-workers, your clients and others share information and ideas in passing. It may be through conversations, emails, reports, meetings or some other sources.

Hidden within the ordinary course of business may be a few nuggets that can make worthy blog posts. All you’ll need to do is listen to them with that filter in mind. If a co-worker says something you find interesting write it down. Establish a folder for emails that contain good ideas that you can reference later if you’re stuck.

However you save them, the good news is when you need an idea and none are coming to you immediately you can go back to your files and dig one up. Just be sure you have enough information available to remember what the original topic was. Nothing worse than having a great headline and no idea what it means.

Work with your PR agency on ideas

While most healthcare and health IT companies tend to be very specialized in a particular aspect of the industry, PR agencies such as Amendola Communications cover a much wider swath. That can work in your favor by bringing in ideas that are related to, but not dead center in, your sweet spot.

If you have one, you can brainstorm topics with your PR agency, taking advantage of their experience to in other areas, especially general industry knowledge, to develop blog topics you might not have thought of on your own.

Of course, having a PR agency also means you can turn over some or all of the content creation to them, particularly if writing isn’t your strong suit. But even if you prefer to do your own writing, that sort of collaboration can open you to new ideas and areas that help build your blog as a go-to resource for your target audience.

Yes, blog writing can be challenging. The Internet is always hungry for new content. But the reality is great ideas for posts are all around you. You just have to know how to find them  or let them find you.

Ken Krause

An award-winning writer for his work in advertising, marketing and public relations, Ken Krause has a diverse background that includes more than 30 years of combined agency- and client-side experience. Ken has in-depth experience in technology products and services, healthcare, supply chain, consumer electronics and other vertical markets. He previously served as Vice President of Content Services at Tech Image, where he spent 14 years. Ken also served as Marketing Communications Manager at ASAP Software (now a part of Dell). His earlier career includes stints as an Account Manager at Marketing Support, Inc. and McKee Advertising and as a Senior Copywriter for Meyer/Fredericks.