Clients often ask how we come up with fresh ideas for blog content on a daily basis, particularly using the same keywords over and over each time. The answer is simple: inspiration is everywhere—in the seasons, the natural world and the universe around you.
When you walk outside on a fall evening and see the leaves changing color, how does that relate to your business? Perhaps the last quarter brings a different type of demand for your services, or maybe the upcoming holiday season affects your customers. It’s just a case of how you look at life.
If you’ve been struggling with this issue, you aren’t alone: Two out of five marketers who have a content strategy say finding new ideas is their biggest challenge. Here are some sources you can tap into to find blog content:
1. Make a list of ideas as they occur to you.
How often have you had a light-bulb moment and thought “that will make a great blog post” and five minutes later it’s disappeared into the mists of your mind? Capture those ideas by keeping a list—on your smart phone, in a notebook, on a whiteboard in your office—wherever it’s handy and easy to reach. Just save them!
2. Identify the questions your customers typically ask.
Sure, you did this for your FAQs. It’s all on your website already. What? Do you seriously think your blog readers are going to read dry, boring FAQs on the off-chance that they contain something of interest? Take every one of those FAQs and turn it into a blog post. Or more than one. Speak with your sales people and your receptionist, too. Ask them “what do customers ask you most often?” and use those to generate blog content.
3. Split up your posts to make the most of the info.
A common mistake novice bloggers make is to try and cover too much in a single post. Yes, lists (like this one) are popular methods of presenting blog content, but to cover a topic thoroughly it’s great to really zero in on a single aspect. I could make this point into a post all on its own, by making a list that covers:
- Reasons to dissect a topic thoroughly
- Ways to break up a topic, e.g. broad strokes, specific aspects
- Benefits of drilling down into a blog topic
In fact, each one of these bullets can make a separate post, too. Get the picture?
4. Look around you, follow mainstream news and current affairs.
What are people doing? What are they talking about on social media? What’s happening in politics? No, I’m not suggesting you make it political, but the current debate about Obamacare is a perfect opportunity for healthcare-related service providers to blog about how the act affects their readers. That opens the door for them to remind them of their services, identify their practice’s insurance policies and add a bit of patient education. Follow sources such as LinkedIn Today to find out what the world of commerce is focused on, and adapt that to your business.
5. Follow competitors’ blogs.
When you’re stuck for ideas, take a look at what others are writing about for inspiration. We all have favorite writers and blogs, whether they are competitors or completely unrelated businesses. When you find blog content that resonates with you, follow it with RSS feeds or on social media. Or look back a year or two at their older posts and see what topics they covered then. It’s likely they haven’t covered them again since, so you’re quite safe doing so now. You don’t have to plagiarize – just use old blog posts to spark new ideas.
6. Curate content from other sites.
There’s a wealth of information being shared on a daily basis, and some of it may well be of value to your readers. So use it. Content curation is big news at the moment, and it’s entirely acceptable to post a heading and brief introduction on your own site with a redirect to the original post to read the rest of it. If you want to add independent commentary, that’s also ok – you can agree, disagree or state the complete opposite if you want to, as long as you link to the original instead of posting it as your own.
It takes trial and error to determine which methods will work best for you, but by following these suggestions you should never have difficulty finding blog content.
Written by Steve Lazuka, founder of Interact Media.