The best company blogs never truly start from scratch.
There’s the blank page; The WordPress page, or the Google Doc, or the fifty millionth TextEdit note layered on top of the other TextEdit notes, filled with half-written articles so good you forgot to publish them. One day you know you’ll be in the running for one of the best company blogs, but not today. Maybe tomorrow.
When a quill or a newspaper press was the only form of publishing, and it was permanent and infinite, writer’s block was a real thing. There were no feed readers to check each morning for inspiration. There was no “edit” button, or sixty million Twitter users telling you how to market yourself, what foods will kill you (or save you!) and what your cup of tea says about your personality (I drink white tea, I’m such a trendsetter.)
Instead, there was a blank page, and if you were lost, you might take a walk, or try and meet somebody new. You might drive to a town you’ve never been to before and strike up a conversation with someone different than you, to gain their perspective. You might knock on a door, or pick up a phone because sources are the only experts.
But it’s 2016. And we have feeds, and we have on-demand editing privileges, and interviews are a few sentences and a “send” button away.
We have keyword research. If I want to know what people are looking for these days, on any topic I want to know, there’s the world’s largest search engine telling me what it is.
It’ll say 1,800 people are trying to figure out how to bake an apple pie every month, but 3,900 want to know how to make a blueberry pie.
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I can find out how many people want to learn more about investing, or architecture, or sales, or installing air conditioners. And then I can see specifically which stocks, which buildings, that cold calling is everyone’s most feared sales tactic to employ, and that there’s one brand of air conditioners in particular that everyone seems to have trouble with.
This data can take you from the blank page to an idea. It’s the equivalent of a friend telling you that they always wanted to know how to arrange a flower bouquet. And later that week, two more friends mention they always wanted to learn. Finally, your mother suggests it, and you decide this is a question that nobody is answering, and it’s your job to find out.
And so you do, and you publish it. And all your friends and your mom see your article. They thank you for listening, and for putting the time in to help them.
Now they call you the “flower expert” and you get emails and phone calls from time to time, requesting your expertise. You begin writing for a national florist chain, who employs you to turn the stories of each bouquet into words. The florist chain becomes the expert, and they begin to sell more and more bouquets online. You’re the hero. You’re the champ.
And it all started with a blank page.
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