There are two basic schools of thought when it comes to blogging. The first is that blogging is like journaling, in that you simply write whatever comes to you, without regard to people’s feelings on the subject matter. You will eventually attract an audience for your words that is in tune with your point of view. Most personal blogs or pundit platforms ascribe to this school of thought. The second school of thought is that blogging is like a cocktail party conversation, where any one thing that you say to any guest is part of the greater conversation occurring at the party. To this way of thinking, the wisdom of your words will relate not only to how good your blog is on its own, but how it relates to what everyone else in your industry is saying on their blogs. Are you a leader, follower, or voice in the wilderness? Most business blogs ascribe to this school of thought.
Understand the conversation
If you want your blog to be perceived as part of the conversation of your industry, it is important that you understand the topics of conversation being covered. One way to find out what topics of conversation are hot in your industry is to use a service such as Bottlenose which will either show you a list of the latest topics (under the Now tab) or a visual representation of which related topics are close to your chosen area and which are more distant (under the Sonar tab). Another search tool is Topsy, which by default shows Twitter topics, but can also show topics from other social media.
Another way to find out what conversations are happening in your industry is to follow other industry blogs, tweets, Facebook posts, Pinterest boards, etc. The point is not to copy the blog entries verbatim, which will cause your search engine rankings to be penalised, but rather to add your own spin, interpretation, or commentary. This has the bonus of allowing you to comment on the original blog with a link to your blog entry, saying that the blog inspired you, and increasing your backlinks.
Using your blog to answer questions is like focusing on a single interaction during the cocktail party. It’s a good idea, but should not be your exclusive means of generating blog topics. Sources of questions can come from your customers, either in person, via phone, or electronically. You can find other questions at industry-specific web forums or general web forums such as Quora. Finally, you can find lots of questions (and answers) for your industry by attending Tweetchats, which are scheduled chat room type events held via Twitter.
Once you locate questions that are applicable to your business, you can create a blog entry to answer those questions. Odds are good that if one person spoke up to ask the question, there are plenty of other people searching the Internet for an answer to the question as well.
The Internet Marketing Academy