First things first. Why blogging?
When it comes to effective, long term success with search engine optimisation, there’s just no denying it:
Content is king.
So if you’re serious about long term SEO results? You can no longer afford to trick search engines, as they’re placing more and more weight on the social interactions with your content receives.
That’s why we suggest a strong focus on content marketing for successful SEO, online engagement with your audience and demonstrating your expertise.
So if this sounds like your blog:
- Don’t know what to write about next?
- Unsure of how often you should post new content?
- Not seeing the results your content deserves?
- Burnt out on the blogging process?
Then today’s your lucky day!
Because today we’re providing your business with the solutions to these problems. Solutions that are guaranteed to re-energise your content marketing efforts and get you excited about your business’s blog again!
So whether you’re stuck for topic ideas, or ways to ensure your content gets shared: our 9 easily-actionable steps will dust out those content marketing cobwebs and breathe new life into your business’s blog.
Ready to get started? Then read on!
1Create A Blogging & Content Schedule
Has your business struggled with blogging consistently in the past?
You’re not alone!
Many businesses underestimate the time involved in producing quality content for their blogs. Which often results in blogs going weeks if not months without a single new piece of content.
This can have a negative impact on your site for a number of reasons:
- Users are turned away as your site appears inactive.
- You miss out on the valuable traffic, leads, sales generation and SEO value that effective content creation and marketing can provide your business.
So how does creating a blogging and content schedule fix this?
We’re glad you asked!
- You’ll brainstorm killer content ideas for your blog!
- You’ll remove the guesswork by mapping out your blog’s content for the next 3, 6 or 12 months.
- Your entire team will know what’s required of them, and when.
- You’ll be able to track how long the blogging process takes, and what your team are capable of.
- You’ll create content regularly that will help to boost your rankings in relevant search engine results.
5 Easy Steps To Creating Your Blogging & Content Schedule
- Invite your team to brainstorm topic ideas that are relevant to your site’s keywords and industry. Write these down.
- Create unique headlines for these article ideas that utilise proven headline-writing techniques.
Tip! Test the effectiveness of your headlines using CoSchedule’s Headline Analyzer.
- Track the time it takes for your team to complete a blog post. From initial idea to final edit.
- Use this information to build your blogging schedule. Weekly? Fortnightly? Monthly? Decide on what suits your business best!
- Create your blogging schedule calendar using a shared Google Sheet or any number of dedicated business blogging calendar platforms like CoSchedule.
2Find New Content Ideas With These Unlikely Sources
But what if you’ve already wrung these dry?
Here are some unlikely sources of ideas for your next post that you may not have thought of.
Primarily used for market and product validation, Google Trends can also be used to quickly find trending topics for your next blog post.
By using Google Trends? You’ll find topics that are trending upwards. And avoid the topics that are on the decline.
TL;DR? You’ll be creating content that users are wanting to read now.
And here’s how!
- Open Google Trends.
- Enter a general phrase or keyword related to your business or industry.
- Scroll down to ‘Related Searches’.
- Check the box to the right titled ‘Queries’.
This will suggest a number of search terms that are both:
- Select one of these and check the ‘Interest Over Time’ graph. If you find a phrase that’s trending upward or holding steady? Chances are it’s worth covering!
As you can see in the results below for ‘Free Accounting Software’.
- Rinse and repeat! Every time you select a phrase, a new set of suggested queries will fill the box at the bottom. Making this a great source of potential topics!
Customer Questions and Comments
If only there was a way to know exactly what your audience are:
Well, what if I told you there is?
In fact, you have all of this information on-hand at this very moment!
That’s right! By utilising customer enquiries, questions and comments, you can create content that’s perfectly catered to your target audience.
To do this effectively? You should look to:
Check Comments Sections
Comments sections aren’t always pleasant. But when it comes to your business? They’re a goldmine for great content ideas!
The trick here? Don’t limit yourself to your own blog. Instead, look for blogs within your industry and see what their users are talking about.
And finding these blogs? It couldn’t be easier!
- Plug a few of the following search phrases into Google:
[keyword] + “Add a comment”
[keyword] + “Post Comment”
[keyword] + “Leave a Comment”
- Look for sites with relevant articles that include comments.
- Once you’ve found some prospects, check out their comments. Look for users who are:
- Asking for more information on a given subject.
- Suggesting a new topic they want the site to cover.
- Find any of the above? Then these ideas could be worth writing about!
Use Questions & Enquiries
As a business, you’re bound to receive an inquiry or two from your customers.
- ‘How much will X cost to run over its lifetime?’
- ‘What’s the best X service for my budget?’
These questions? They offer a wealth of content ideas for your blog. Especially if they’re asked often!
Tip! To achieve the best success when answering user questions, research the exact phrases other people are using to ask these questions online. By using an exact match for the title of your new content, you’ll boost your content’s SEO value and achieve maximum visibility online.
3Create Informative, Practical Content
There’s just no denying it: practical, informative content is shared more. Some 34% more!
In fact, practicality is one of the major content contagions every article should include if it hopes to achieve viral success and provide your site with the maximum SEO value.
But it’s how you do this that’s just as important.
Simply telling users what to do? It isn’t enough.
Because no one likes being lectured to!
Instead? You should be looking to include practical examples, real-world results and the odd downloadable extra. All perfect ways to add a practical touch that ensures your content is shared!
Looking for ways to add practicality to your content? Try these:
Add Step-By-Step Instructions
Did you know that recipes are some of the most popular, highly shared content on the social sharing site Pinterest?
But why, exactly, is this the case?
Because recipes are highly practical content.
Sure, they provide users with a meaningful end result: a delicious meal. But they do so by taking users by the hand and guiding them through the process one step at a time.
And your content should do the same!
So when writing How To articles, look to break the process into easily-digestible steps. By doing so you’ll make your content approachable, easy to read, and much more likely to be shared!
Include Instructional Images & Videos
The dreaded ‘Wall Of Text’ is feared for a reason: it makes your content that much harder to parse.
And given users only read – on average – 20% of the content on your page? The last thing you need is another reason for them to read less.
To remedy this? It’s easy: get visual!
Not only will you increase your content’s practical value, you’ll make it more accessible to a wider range of users.
Because some 65% of people are visual learners. Making the addition of images and videos the perfect way to ensure your content reaches the maximum number of users possible.
So when adding visual elements, look to include images and video that both:
- Support the content.
- Provide a visual representation of the steps involved.
Include Downloadable Extras
Downloadable extras don’t just provide your content with extra practical value. They’re also a valuable source of lead generation for your business.
So whether it’s an Excel spreadsheet that helps users track their progress, a Quick Start SEO eBook, or something else entirely: offer users a downloadable incentive.
You’ll be boosting your content’s practicality and generating new leads in the process!
4Humanise Your Content
Online users are wary of what they read online.
In fact, some 98% of users don’t trust it at all!
Interestingly? It’s been shown that users are far more likely to trust the opinions of individuals and other users over brands and brand messaging.
What does this mean for your content?
Break through those digital barriers and show the world you aren’t just a word-writing robot!
By adding a human touch to your content, you’ll break down those ‘big business’ barriers. In turn? Humanising your content and making it easier for users to connect with.
And here’s how to do just that!
- Include a photo of yourself in the Author Bio across all of your content.
- Include consistent photos across social media profiles including LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter.
- Write a killer author bio that tells people a little something about you, breaks the ice, and highlights your personal side.
5Make Content Creation A Team Activity
Let’s face facts: six, twelve or twenty four months of consistent blogging?
It can take its toll!
But just because your business may have a dedicated content creator, doesn’t mean it should be their sole responsibility!
In fact, involving the entire team in the content creation process offers a number of benefits for your business. Including:
- Your audience will hear from a new voice, providing a breath of fresh air for your blog.
- Your blog will receive great content backed by experience and knowledge.
- You could discover the next great writer among your team!
5 Ways To Get Your Team Involved In The Content Creation Process
1. Make It Easy
There are numerous barriers that stand between your team and their ability to easily create content for your blog.
And we all know barriers mean just one thing: excuses!
To break down these barriers and make it easy for your team to contribute? Try these ideas:
- Provide standout examples of the kind of content your blog hosts.
- Create basic blog post templates that team members can base their posts on.
- Create a guest account so they can post their drafts directly to your site’s dashboard.
With these barriers removed? There’ll be no reason not to get involved!
2. Ask For Their Opinions
Are you writing content on a topic a member of your team has extensive knowledge in?
Then reach out and ask for their opinions!
Not only will you flesh out your content with some trust-building comments, you’ll be making the most of their expertise too.
3. Share Ideas
Here’s a fact that won’t surprise you:
Everyone has their own ideas.
And while they might not all be ‘The Next Big Thing‘? By encouraging your team to share their ideas, you’re bound to find more than a few diamonds in the rough.
4. Incentivise Involvement
Everyone loves a pat on the back, so incentivise the blog writing process with a little lighthearted competition.
For example, you could base this around the # of interactions their content receives, including:
Add a meaningful reward to the process? And you’ll motivate your team and get some great content in return!
5. Ask What They Read
Best Of and List posts are a great way for your blog to fill time between lengthier, original content. And what better way to compile these than to ask your team what they’ve been reading online?
It’ll make these that much quicker to write, and you’ll ensure you cover a broad range of sites and content.
Tip! Make your life that much easier by setting up a shared document so that members of your team can quickly and easily compile links to the content they’ve read recently.
6Utilise These Alternative Content Marketing Platforms!
Tired of tried and true content marketing methods?
So are we!
Sure, there’s no replacing the lengthy blog post. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t numerous new digital channels and content types just begging to be used by your business. Channels that can provide the perfect opportunity to market your content, build backlinks, and boost your website’s visibility.
Deciding on which of these marketing platforms to use? It can prove stressful. What with the breakneck speed of the internet and technology, who’s to say what’s popular today won’t be gone tomorrow?
Anyone remember MySpace?…anyone?
Thankfully, there are numerous emerging platforms that are growing at an exponential rate. So fast, in fact, that you’d be crazy not to jump aboard.
So when it comes to creating your next piece of content, think outside the text box and give these platforms a look!
A Powerpoint sharing site? You’d have to be crazy, right?
In fact, you’d be crazy not to be getting aboard the Slideshare hype train right now.
And here’s why!
Slideshare doesn’t just provide a fantastic link building opportunity. It also gives you the ability to quickly repurpose existing content in a new format that could reach a greater audience.
And if Slideshare’s numbers are anything to go by? It could be a lucrative source of traffic for your business and views for your website.
More a tool than a platform, Venngage makes it easy to create killer infographics.
Best of all? It’s completely free!
Quick to create and easy to operate, Venngage’s price of free is that much cheaper than the cost of contracting an artist or designer to do the same job for you.
And by following some tried and tested infographic creation tips? You’ll be creating professional looking infographics in next to no time. Infographics that are an invaluable source of backlinks for your site which play a vital role in effective SEO and boosting your site’s search engine visibility.
7Collaborate With Like-Minded Sites & Individuals
It can be easy to feel as though your business is alone in its blogging struggles.
It’s easier, still, to view other sites within your industry or niche as the enemy.
When in reality? You should see them as your blog’s best friend!
That’s right! By collaborating with like-minded blogs, sites and individuals, you’ll be able to hasten the growth of your online presence, and increase your reputation as a thought leader within your industry.
Struggling for ways to collaborate? Here’s some ideas to do just that:
Article Exchanges & Guest Blogging
Article exchanges or Guest Blogging is a great way to build your personal brand. Through this process, both sites will get some killer content, build quality backlinks, and engage with a potentially large new user base.
The exact user base your business needs to grow!
Reach out For Comments, Thoughts And Insight From Industry Experts
The leaders within your given industry have reached the top for one reason:
They know what they’re talking about!
And on this journey to the top? They’ve amassed quite the following.
Great for them!
But there’s an easy way you can use this to your business’s advantage.
By reaching out for their thoughts and comments!
In doing so you’ll be adding trustworthy, practical value to your content. As well as providing the perfect opportunity to tap into these experts’ established audience.
Tip! As we know, search engines are placing an increasing importance on the social interactions your content receives, so mention sites or individuals included in an article when you share this content via social networks
By doing this you’ll open up the possibility of them sharing it with their audience. In turn boosting your article’s visibility and kickstarting its viral journey.
8Show Old Content Some Love
Have you ever looked back at your blog’s old content?
Don’t be surprised if you find it sticks out like a sore thumb!
But before you toss it in the Recycle Bin, consider the following ways to show your old content some love. By doing so you’ll be increasing the relevancy signals your site sends search engines and increasing your visibility online.
Add Internal Links
At the outset, linking to other content on your site can be next to impossible.
Because that other content doesn’t exist yet!
Now? You should have enough resources on your site to start adding internal links to your posts!
A staple technique in On Page Optimisation, doing so will help to boost your site’s overall search engine visibility, and ensure that no matter what page a user lands on – whether old or new – their curiosity is rewarded with killer content and helpful internal links.
Give Old Blog Posts A Modern Makeover
It can be all too easy to get caught up wielding the red pen on old content like the new and improved writer that you are.
Yes, while these revised posts may read better, they won’t provide any meaningful return on your time investment.
Instead? Look to write a new version that fits your blog’s new voice and style!
For example, did you:
- List the best Accounting software in 05?
- Cover Local SEO Strategies in 08?
- Discuss the state of the economy in 09?
Then give these posts a modern makeover in the form of a new post on your blog!
Not only will this provide your site with new content. But you’ll also be able to hand-pick the articles that you know performed well!
9Promote & Market Your Content!
Calendar in place? Team involved? Killer content created?
But this isn’t the end of the process.
In fact, hitting ‘publish’ is when your content’s journey really begins.
Using your content to direct traffic to your website, build long-lasting links and generate new leads, revenue and sales for your business is what it’s all about.
So how do you do this?
With content promotion and marketing!
Effective content promotion and marketing is the perfect way to get your content in front of users, get it shared, and gain the kind of traffic that makes all that hard work worthwhile.
Looking for ways to promote your content? Try these:
Submit To Best-Of & Roundup Posts
The number of sites favoring content curation over creation? They’re only growing.
Collecting the Best of the Best from around the web, these sites then serve this content to their time-poor audience with Best Of and Roundup list posts.
And what do we know about list posts?
People can’t get enough of them!
So if you’ve written a particularly useful post, covered a pressing topic or created a killer resource, use this to your advantage!
How so? By submitting your content to sites that run Best Of or Roundup articles.
By doing so you’ll build quality backlinks, increase your online visibility and place your content in front of a large, established audience.
Better still? It isn’t difficult!
4 Steps To Submitting Your Content To ‘Best Of’ & ‘Roundup’ Posts
- Plug any of the following search phrases into Google:
Keyword + “Roundup”
Keyword + “Best Of”
Keyword + “Weekly Recap”
Keyword + “Weekly Roundup”
- Pick out high-quality, relevant sites that run ‘Best Of’ or ‘Roundup’ posts.
- Check their posts to ensure they link out to external sites.
- Reach out to them using a proven outreach template and let them know about your new content!
What is Scoop.it, exactly?
We’re glad you asked!
Scoop.it is a platform that provides users with a place to curate what they deem to be the best content on a given topic, and send this out to their subscribers.
The exciting news for your business?
Many Scoop.it users have thousands of subscribers.
By submitting your content to popular Scoop.it curators within your industry or niche, your content could be included in their Scoop.it feeds. Placing it in front of potentially thousands of new users!
Now Bid The Blogging Blues Goodbye!
There you have it! Our 9 simple, actionable steps to brushing out the content marketing cobwebs and blowing away the blogging blues.
As you now know, content creation and marketing is one of the leading sources of backlinks, traffic, leads and sales generation available to your business. Which is why regular, effective blogging is a vital component of any business’s website.
By putting a blogging calendar and schedule in place you’ll be able to create the kind of lengthy, practical content your site needs on a regular basis. And by throwing in those visual highlights, collaborating with your team and promoting it effectively? In next to no time your blog will go from content wasteland to content wonderland.
So what are you waiting for?