Is your organization challenged in identifying robust social media topics to share, especially via blogging? If you are struggling with this, I’ll bet you aren’t taking advantage of an outside-in blogging strategy.

The Challenge of Creating Robust Social Media Topics

That was the challenge for someone I talked with recently who is blogging for an Alzheimer’s care facility. Because of patient privacy restrictions and the fact that people would probably rather not have to think about life in a long-term, senior care facility, the organization was struggling with what they could write about regarding the center. She asked what ideas I had for alternative blog topics.

As with so many organizations, I pointed out the primary problem was with the organization’s writing perspective.

We generally find organizations of all types just moving into social media approach it as they would other corporate communications efforts, i.e. starting with a list of topics the organization wants its audiences to know about on an ongoing basis.

While that might work (maybe) in traditional communication channels, this type of inside-out blogging approach is tremendously limiting.

Unless you have rabid brand fanatics who are consumed by your brand, you probably occupy a pretty small share of even a great customer’s interest. They have lives outside of what you do for them. They think about and are really interested in what’s going on with their lives, not what’s going on with your organization. So when you try and wedge what you care about into the relatively tiny mind share they have for you, there just aren’t that many compelling topics you can successfully cover.

Creating An Outside-In Blogging Strategy

When your organization moves into social media, you need to adopt an outside-in blogging strategy.

An outside-in blogging strategy implies you start identifying topics based on what your audience is interested in and then identifying how you can credibly address those topics. With an outside-in blogging strategy, you need to begin with a strong audience persona (or perhaps multiple ones) that describe a typical reader, their lifestyle, and their interests. As a generalized portrayal of a blog reader, the persona can be formed from market research, audience profile information, and insights from internal staff. We often create personas for our clients through a 10 question interactive exercise to create an initial persona for use in social media.

Once you have an audience persona developed, you’re in a fantastic position to start thinking about what your audience cares about and seeing which of their concerns you can address.

Getting back to the Alzheimer’s care center blogger, in our brief conversation, we described her target audience member as Joan, a married woman in her late forties with a mother exhibiting early stage Alzheimer’s. She is caring for her mother in her home, along with a couple of older kids. From that background, we generated five new topic ideas within a minute:

  • Managing financial issue for older parents
  • Meals that are fast to prepare
  • Providing full-time care without losing yourself
  • What to do when you can’t do any more than you are doing right now
  • How to make sure your parents are getting the best care

You can easily imagine all of these topics being of very high interest for Joan. While none are specifically related to the Alzheimer’s care center, it has a basis to address them, either with its own experts or through reaching out to others as guest contributors.

And most importantly, this list was generated in a minute using an outside-in blogging strategy. If we’d have kept going, this list of ideas would have grown to 100 within 15 minutes.

Getting Started

If you haven’t adopted an outside-in blogging strategy for your organization, now is the time to start. And if you need assistance getting an outside-in blogging strategy started, call The Brainzooming Group. We’ll get you going on it very quickly! – Mike Brown


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Mike Brown

Founder of The Brainzooming Group, and an expert on strategy, creativity, and innovation. Mike is a frequent speaker on innovation, strategic thinking, and social media.

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5 Responses to “Outside-In Blogging Strategy – Creating Robust Social Media Topics”

  1. Great post Mike…I realize there are some semantic differences between industries, but in the content marketing world, your “outside-in blogging strategy” is what we would simply call good content strategy. And when organizations have a chance to go through a thorough content strategy process (hire a content strategist), they’ll quickly understand exactly what they need to be blogging about, and probably never run out of content ideas again.

    Your story reminds me of a keynote from Rod Brooks, CMO of Pemco Insurance. I blogged about his talk here: http://bit.ly/IgUovt. Long story short, when Pemco realized that insurance was the last thing people wanted to think about, their shift to just telling good customer stories created a major turnaround in their marketing effectiveness.

    Thanks again for the the post Mike!

    • Mike Brown says:

      Great example, Brody, and a spot on recommendation to get help in working through a content strategy if it’s an issue. We provide clients with a variety of tools (some of them detailed in other blog posts) to “teach them how to fish” for future content ideas.


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