A well-written and regularly updated blog is a great marketing tool for a variety of reasons. A blog drives people to your website, helps you build your personal or company brand, and allows you to develop a relationship with customers or readers. But let’s face it, the blog that you vowed to update every two or three weeks can seem like another mind-numbing chore as time passes and your enthusiasm wanes. What’s worse is that, pretty soon, you start running out of material. After all, you already covered everything obvious and worthwhile, right? What’s left to write about?
Plenty, as it turns out. You just need to put yourself in a position to attract great ideas and snag them as they whiz by. Let me nudge you in a few directions that should help feed the blog beast that haunts your doorstep every couple of weeks or so.
- Follow the daily news to see what’s creating a stir nationally, internationally or within your industry. For example, the recent debate over whether the mountain in Alaska should be called Denali or Mt. McKinley could be fodder for someone who blogs about mountain climbing, the outdoors or, perhaps, presidential history.
- Check social media to see what topics have people the most excited. Twitter and Facebook track trending topics that generate a lot of buzz, and those could provide jumping off points for your next blog entry.
- Steal from yourself. Revisit ideas from blogs past, but give them a fresh approach. Even newspapers and magazines will resurrect topics they previously wrote about, wagering that few readers will care or recall that the same subject was explored two or three years ago. You can do the same.
And remember, there’s no need to wait until the last minute to start formulating ideas. Keep an ongoing list, adding to it whenever a topic pops into your head. Once you decide on a topic, here are a few tips for fleshing it out into a quality blog entry and for attracting the greatest number of readers:
- Online searches are your friends. Background information about your topic is just a search phrase away using Google or another search engine. Look for real-life examples or recent news on your subject to add depth and reinforce your point of view. Just make sure your sources are legitimate. You will want to cite those sources, too, because that will add to the credibility of your post.
- Statistics, studies and surveys. Specific numbers and recent studies also bolster the points you want to make. You could, for instance, write that “there are a lot of libraries in the U.S.” But it’s less vague and more impressive to write: “The American Library Association estimates there are 119,729 libraries in the U.S.” While you can often track down surveys, studies and data with a general Google search, you also can zero in on specific websites. For example, if you are writing about a medical topic, the Centers for Disease Control provides numerous statistics about how many people suffer from various maladies.
- Integrate SEO keywords. People search the Internet using keywords or phrases they hope will uncover articles or websites with the information they want. The more you understand which keywords could bring the highest amount of traffic to you, the better, so research what might work best. You can integrate those keywords into a headline or the body of the blog entry. Keywords shouldn’t be too generic, though, or else your blog will be lost in a blizzard of other blogs, websites and news articles that use the same words.
Coming up with and carrying out great blog ideas on a regular basis certainly presents a challenge, but not an insurmountable one. And, with any luck, your worries soon could change from “What’s left to write about?” to “How will I ever find time to write about all these great ideas?”