How to come up with fresh content ideas for your HR tech blog
Updated: Aug 1, 2019
You run a blog in the HR tech space. Some people even read it - well done you.
But now the pressure’s on to keep them reading.
And there, my friend, is the catch.
To get to the point anyone’s reading your stuff, you’ve already exhausted a lot of ideas. This content marketing malarkey is hard.
Here are some ways to come up with fresh content ideas for your HR tech blog. Skip to the key takeaways after each section if you prefer. There's no judgement here.
1 - Start from your audience
You don’t write into a vacuum. Hopefully. Which means you write to someone.
You need to know who that someone is.
That’s about personas. Which you hopefully have but might not, given that 56% of B2B marketers don’t use buyer personas.
Buyer personas are important because they mean you know your audience. You know what they care about. What keeps them awake at night. What they want from their career. What they don’t want. What they panic about. What their big questions are.
And then you can create blog content that speaks to that.
So you don’t just write shitty bland content. You write blog content that tells HR Director Dennis how to improve retention in his mid-to-large F&B enterprise. Or that explores CHRO Rosie’s fear of plummeting morale during a recent merger.
How much better does that sound?
Look for the overlap between your areas of expertise and your personas’ questions, hopes, dreams and fears. There should be a tonne of HR tech content ideas right there.
Takeaway: If you don’t have buyer personas, build them. Then once you have them, write content that speaks directly to them.
2 - Look at what’s worked
Much of the pressure to come up with content ideas for your HR tech blog is self-imposed. It comes from wanting NEW ideas.
But you don’t need new ideas. You need FRESH ideas. And fresh ideas can come from old content. Just add a fresh perspective, by repurposing or refreshing content you’ve already written.
You have loads of data about your content so far. Go back through and look for pieces that
Overperformed. Your audience liked this content and they’ll hungrily devour more. Brainstorm around this topic – which points can you expand? Where can you delve deeper? Are there updates? Are there complexities you glossed? Have opinions changed since you wrote it? Can you write about the same thing in a different medium?
Underperformed. Your audience either didn’t like or didn’t see this content. Work out what went wrong by comparing to those overperforming pieces. Reformat so it’s easier to read and scan. Repromote. Refresh.
Takeaway: HR technology is a big field but you’ll still exhaust content topics eventually. Unless you create a cycle where you revisit and refresh older content.
3 - Keep your eyes peeled
To come up with fantastic, interesting, engaging HR tech content ideas, you have to be awake to inspiration.
If you only think about content when you sit down to populate your content calendar, or when one of your writers reminds you they’re due a brief, you’ll always struggle.
You can’t switch inspiration on like a tap. It’s more like a leaking roof. If you block the holes, the inspiration can’t come in.
Which in practical terms means you have to read constantly. Listen constantly. Ask questions constantly. ‘Awake’ really is the best word. Once you cultivate that state of mental awakeness, you’ll be surprised how many content ideas crop up.
Like, maybe you overhear Ravi from Accounts wondering why payroll takes much longer some months than others. Or Gill from Sales moaning to a colleague that she wasted all morning on Slack. Or your friend complaining she hates her boss and doesn’t know what’s expected of her.
Dig a little and those could all be content ideas. Stories where your solution charges in and solves the conflict, and everyone lives happily ever after.
Like perhaps automated payroll analysis could help Ravi understand what’s eating his hours. And some smarter HR support helps Gill better cope with the opportunity/challenge workplace tech paradox. And your friend just needs a new job. Joking. Her boss needs better performance management tools and better training, that’s what.
Stories make the best, most engaging, most memorable content so keep your eyes peeled for naturally occurring ones.
Takeaway: Everyday moments can be rich with content ideas for your HR tech blog. Keep your eyes and ears open.
4 - Read and react
You probably spend ages browsing the likes of People Management Insight and HR Magazine, but might never think to use that content as a springboard for your own.
That’s not to say steal, copy, or even rephrase.
It’s about engaging critically with what you read, then writing about that. Your feedback, thoughts, comments and critique. Where do your own experiences concur? Where don’t they?
Maybe even a link back to your product, if that’s relevant.
You’ll find an endless supply of content ideas this way. Engage authentically and honestly and hey presto. New content – fresh, topical, relevant new content – for your own blog.
And as a bonus, you can email the original writer and tell them you’ve linked to them and shared your reaction or own take. They might share to their own audience, or become part of the conversation - there’s nothing like a good debate to stir up readership.
Takeaway: You read HR tech stuff anyway. Take what you read and add your own perspective.
5 - Talk to your customers
Your customers are your single biggest resource for content ideas. If you use them.
The stats suggest you probably don’t.
The Red Cap Content Marketing Survey found that a quarter of marketers come up with their own content ideas. And once you’ve exhausted your own ideas, you go to
internal subject matter experts. Then senior executives. Then freelance writers. Then
external subject matter experts. Then, finally, outsourced marketing agencies.
Phew. Not a customer in sight.
So go talk to your customers. Right now, Or talk to your customers by-proxy - talk to sales. Or your customer success team. Or anyone who regularly interacts with customers and would-be customers.
Process is probably the main factor holding you back. You need a structured way to get insights from people in customer-facing roles.
Like… you could set a weekly 15-minute check-in with sales so you can grill them on the objections, questions and challenges they’re hearing that week.
Or you could ask customer success to email when they hear something good. Even create an internal competition, rewarding whoever comes up with the most good content ideas.
The principle is to build an agile content team that transcends siloes. Siloes are poison to content ideas. Multiple perspectives feeding into your content is how you surface new ideas that genuinely resonate with your audience.
Takeaway: Don’t navel gaze. Look outside marketing, particularly to teams with direct customer contact, to generate content ideas that resonate.
6 - Uncover your passion – or go home
“Now more than ever”, David McGuire (Radix Comms) writes, “successful B2B marketing depends upon outstanding, extraordinary, jaw-dropping content. The kind of content that takes heroes to deliver”.
He’s right. If you don’t have that fire in your belly for the content you create, go home. If you don’t love it with a fiery, raging kind of passion, go home.
There are, I’m sure, some disciplines where you can get away with lacklustre. Where off-days don’t matter. That discipline isn’t content marketing.
Or at least, it’s not good content marketing. And that’s what you aspire to, right? Otherwise you might as well, you guessed it, go home.
B2B is exciting. HR tech is exciting. It’s hyper fast-paced. And the problems you solve are crazy-significant, crazy-expensive problems. All the ingredients are there for passionate, excited, authentic content.
So tap into that.
Write about what you love about HR tech. Write about what you hate about HR tech. Write about the problems you solve, and why they matter so damn much. Write about why you, why now, and why not what’s come before.
And always, always, argue back with whoever tells you to stifle your passion behind lifeless corporate voice.
Takeaway: Have passion or go home. Dispassionate writing is dull writing that wastes time and money.
Write for your customer. Not for you, not for stakeholders. Discover what your customer needs to read and write that.
Don’t be dull. Write passionate, engaging content that comes from unexpected sources. Have opinions; bring them to life in your content.
If you get those two points right, you have a fighting chance at building an HR tech blog that reaches out of the screen, grabs your reader, and shakes her all the way to the end.
HR Tech Copy are a communications consultancy just for HR tech businesses. If you need more help running your HR tech blog, drop us a line and let's put our heads together.