Over the past couple of weeks we’ve looked at why blogging and content creation are good for business, as well as ways to spread the word about your content to drive traffic to your website and generate social shares.
One of the common concerns we hear from our clients is, ‘That’s all very well but how do we keep coming up with fresh blog content?’ or ‘What if we run out of things to say?’ Never fear, in this week’s blog we’re looking at some of our favourite tools, techniques and strategies for coming up with fresh content week in and week out.
- Write about what you know
As we’ve discussed in the past, your business blog is an opportunity to talk about what you know in more detail. If you sell products, you could feature blogs that talk about:
- Sourcing the products
- Your suppliers
- Key ingredients – their benefits and why you use them in your products
- Number lists for key events in the calendar, e.g. Five products that should be on your Christmas list, or Ten Mother’s Day gifts that show you care
If you sell services, many of the above approaches would still work. You could also blog about:
- Your business story – why the businesses started and what you’ve learned
- How the services you offer help clients
- Client spotlights
- Listen to your customers
When it comes to creating blog content that will be read, your customers may well be telling you what they want to read without you even realising. When you receive new enquiries, are there questions that people often ask? If so, you could write a series of blogs answering common questions.
When you post on social media, what are the topics that seem to strike a chord and get people talking?
A business coach who works with self-employed mothers with young families might notice that her customers want to know how to be more productive, how to make the most of their limited work time, how to price their products and services, how to manage their workload if one of their children is suddenly ill, and so on. All of these topics would make great blogs for that coach.
When you notice a topic that creates a buzz with your target audience, it’s a good idea to make a note of it. How do your products or services fit into this topic? What knowledge do you have that your customers would find useful?
If there’s something about your business that customers often praise in reviews, you could put a spotlight on this element of your service in a blog article. Why did it come about? How does it help customers?
- Target specific keywords
Google Analytics and Google Search Console (formerly Google Webmaster Tools) can both be great sources of blog topic inspiration. Is there a keyword or phrase that you would like to rank well for but that sits slightly outside of your main website keywords? Is there a keyword or phrase that customers often use to find your business?
By understanding what your potential customers are searching for, you can brainstorm some potential blog topics that fit with these keyword searches. A property management company, for example, might find people are searching for how to secure a rental property with a guarantor, what insurance a private landlord needs, rental property maintenance or how private landlords are regulated. These would all make great blog topics that the property management company already knows people are searching for.
- Track what’s happening in your industry
One way to position your blog as an authority within your industry is to blog about the topics, big and small, that are currently affecting your industry and your customers. Has new legislation been passed that will impact on businesses or clients? What do you think about it? Can you help customers understand the legislation?
Perhaps there’s been a celebrity news story that connects with your industry, or new technology has been launched that could change how products or services are made or sold?
What are people talking about in industry groups in LinkedIn? Are there articles from people you view as influencers in your sector? This can give you a steer on the issues shaping your industry right now.
Again, these questions can all lead you to potential blog topics.
- Use Google Trends
This brings us to Google Trends, which can be a powerful decision-making and content ideas generating tool. You can track the big topics that are trending worldwide as well as more locally; you can also explore within categories such as Business, Entertainment or Sports. In addition, you can ask Google to notify you about how specific keywords or phrases are performing. For example, you might want to know if people are talking about your business, your suppliers, your industry or your competitors.
- Keep a swipe file
Copywriters, journalists and other writers often keep a swipe file. This can be a physical or virtual folder in which they store articles they’ve read and enjoyed, headlines that have inspired them to click through, inspirational content, how-to guides and much more.
A swipe file can be a powerful source of ideas but it’s important to never just copy and paste from your swipe file as you should always be striving for unique content to avoid a duplicate content penalty from Google and because plagiarism is never OK.
- Try a topic generator
- Follow-up on successful posts
If you have had a blog that really took off in the past, attracting more social shares and website visits than most of your other articles (you can find this information in Google Analytics), then you might want to think about how you could follow up on the blog. Could you explore the topic from another angle or add more detail? Has your knowledge changed since you wrote the post? Are there any facts that need updating?
Your past successes can be a good steer on what your customers would like to read about on your blog.
- Feature guest blogs
Back at the beginning of 2014, there was a lot of panic around the concept of guest blogging when Matt Cutts published an article on his blog entitled, The decay and fall of guest blogging for SEO. When Google took action against the MyBlogGuest website two months later, many people worried that featuring a guest blog on their website could impact negatively on their SEO.
In our opinion, your website can do without poorly targeted, low quality guest blogs written and featured strictly for SEO purposes. However, if you know someone in a field that relates to your business and who has information and knowledge to share with your customers that they would find of value, a guest blog could be a perfect way to reach a new audience or increase the scope of the content that you are able to offer. It’s also a good way of shaking up your content and keeping it fresh.
If someone blogs for your site, you might also want to talk to them about writing a reciprocal blog to be featured on their website.
Of course, generating new blog ideas takes time. Try to store all of your ideas in a central place and create an editorial calendar, so you know what topic or topics you plan to cover on your blog each week. If you’re short on time or ideas, why not speak to us about Optimised Content Package for high quality, SEO-friendly articles that are unique to your business and carefully researched to appeal to your customers?
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