How do you develop great content for your blog? Everyone who blogs struggles with this. Everyone.
It’s one thing to continuously generate ideas for blog posts. It’s something else entirely to develop meaningful, re-tweetable, engaging, compelling, memorable content that expands your brand. But have no fear. These tips will not only help you keep the great ideas flowing. They’ll also help you use your blog as a marketing tool that gets results.
Sound good? Then read on ..
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If you’re blogging about news and trends in your industry and developments in your line of business, you need a steady stream of sources for ideas. Google is a great resource, but instead of Googling the universe every time you need a story idea, try tracking some key relevant sources.
You can quickly vet news and insight that comes right to your inbox, Tweet Deck or Facebook page. Tag these and revisit them when it’s time to blog. They’ll serve as an ongoing source of ideas, especially when it comes to research, studies and breaking news.
Use social media to follow people who are influential in your industry and whose proverbial finger is on the pulse of what’s happening. Following them can help you in your ongoing challenge to generate ideas.
More on Breaking News
If you can align your story, your solution or your brand to breaking developments, this will really help boost your Google juice. I worked with a client who provides a tape-based recovery solution. You better believe that when Gmail lost data earlier this year, and used tape to recover it, my client—and there blog—was all over it. How can you use the headlines to your advantage?
Borrow from Others
Collaboration is the name of the game these days. When you find interesting statistics, editorials and news, re-post the main themes of the articles, while attributing them properly, of course. Be sure to weigh in with your opinion and substantiated ideas, even if you have a much different take on the topic. I do this frequently at www.suntzuforwomen.com.
This gives you an opportunity to take a position while linking back to your articles, products, services, special promotions and more. Tag important keywords of influential media, studies and personalities for added SEO.
Post your Accolades
While it’s true that your blog posts shouldn’t focus on self promotion, you do need to use your blog to at least occasionally post your accolades. If you or members of your team are quoted in the press, win awards, and are otherwise acknowledged, blog about it!
It’s a tough, competitive world out there. You must always remind people why they should buy from you. Doing this keeps the content flowing and establishes you and your business as authorities.
Hopefully you receive lots of testimonials from your clients. If not, then ask them for testimonials and reviews. In addition to having them posted on your website and on review sites (Google Maps and Google Places, for example), testimonials make excellent blog posts. Let’s say your client boasts that you’re the “best interior decorator” they’ve ever used, for example. If your site is coded properly and you’re actively engaging in SEO, then folks looking for the “best interior decorator” in their area will find you near the top. And, even better, they’ll see that these are the honest-to-goodness words of your client. That’s powerful stuff!
Know when to Outsource
There are two big issues that stand in the way of a successful blog:
- having something to say
Through research and freelance writing for the dental industry I learned that dental blogs are rather significantly on the rise. More and more dentists are relying on blogs to drive new patients to their websites. This makes sense given how competitive dentistry is. It’s very interesting that dentists are getting into the blogging game because these folks keep extremely tight schedules.
And the ones who effectively market their practices via the web have even less time (because they spend so much of it seeing patients—it’s kind of a cause and effect of good web marketing). The uptick in dental blogging has created a growing opportunity for web marketing firms and freelancers to supply SEO- and location-infused content to these dentists’ blogs.
Dentists are just one example. Is blogging an important part of your web marketing strategy? If it is, and you lack the time, talent or enthusiasm to develop top quality content for your blog, outsource it. If it’s important, then it’s essential that it be done right.
Contribute to other Sites
If you have something to say, you’ll be able to find other venues to share your content. I contribute to Women on Business, the Sonshi Sun Tzu forum, the gonzoblog.nl and a variety of other places that relate to my business. I cross-post that content back to my blog. This help keep me disciplined in developing articles, expands my audience and helps generate linkbacks.
Of course, I do make minor changes in cross-posting content. This is simply because Google will penalize you if you post the same content verbatim in too many places.
Build Incentives for Bloggers
If you have employees, build in an incentive program to get them to write blog posts. Give an award to those employees whose posts generate the most site traffic, the most retweets, etc. This way, they’ll be incented to develop quality content that readers will care about. Good idea, right?
The Importance of Visual
Great content is important, but so is a visually-appealing site. In fact, whether those of us who write for a living like it or not, the design is much more important than the copy. If your site lacks visual interest, people won’t stick around. They won’t come back and they certainly won’t subscribe to your feed. They’ll be less inclined to “like” and “tweet” your content, too. Forget about building a community.
Your blog has to look sharp.
Be sure to include photos when relevant, and even videos. You can take pictures of key staff, your office or facility, and even clients who offer testimonials. The more you can infuse your personality and your brand into your blog, the better!
Use video, too. Video of clients giving testimonials is great. Experiment with putting some of your content into video form. Record your speaking engagements and any television and radio you do, and post those interviews. Give your clients an opportunity to experience your brand!
Now, if you don’t have a great blog framework to work with, you need to talk with my friends at gonzodesign. They helped me go from a boring, non-inspired, flat WordPress theme to an easy, functional, visually appealing, well branded site exploding with Google juice.
Last Words on your Words
Be honest about blogging. If you’re going to hate it, don’t do it. You have to like to write at least a little, or enjoy the benefits of having a blog as a platform to share your content. Remember, too, that your blog is a sales and marketing tool. The bottom line, whether you’re a graphic designer, interior designer, dentist or copywriter is that it has to drive qualified traffic to your website that ultimately directly or indirectly leads to business for you.
If your blog isn’t doing those things, you’re not utilizing it as effectively as you could or should.
For more effective blogging
Here are a couple of related articles I’ve written for the gonzoblog:
If you’re serious about blogging, but short on time, and looking to hire an outstanding freelance blogger, let’s talk. Contact me at bsheetz[at]beckysheetz.com.