Do you manage your own blog roll? Do you struggle to find meaningful topics to cover?
In order to drive effective content forward you need a plan. Coming up with topics one at a time is less effective than brainstorming groups of topics and ideas, generating them all at once. Coming up with those ideas can be a challenge, especially if you’re new to blogging.
At Canopy Media we’ve been managing several content marketing blogs for some time and we feel we’ve learned a thing or two. Here’s what we know and how we keep our blogs fresh. Take a look at our processes and get some inspiration on how to write your own blog.
Content Marketing Campaigns
There are many ways to drive info to your clients and customers but we generally use three key campaigns to get people interested in our industry. Remember that promoting your industry at large and your specific business both drive additional traffic to your site.
1.) Run a themed series
One of the best ways to engage online visitors is with a series or theme. Often story ideas can’t be covered in a single blog post. The topic would be better served by two or three chapters or blog posts on your site. Letting the reader know more info is en route day after day gets them coming back for more.
Writing how-to articles in three parts is a great example. If the information is sound you can be sure the readers will come back for parts two and three. Just make sure all your related articles are properly linked together or you’ll loose out on the added benefits of joined content.
2.) Check the Competition
You aren’t the only business on the market struggling to come up with ideas for their blog. Your competition is in the same boat and borrowing an idea or two is not unheard of. In fact, it’s encouraged behavior at this point.
Keep an eye on blogs that cover the same material as you and use them for inspiration, but inspiration only. Copying content is a major no-no. Just remember what goes around comes around.
It won’t be long before someone takes one of your new ideas and crafts similar info into their blog roll. If others are borrowing from you it means you’re doing something right.
3.) Brainstorming Sessions
When all else fails its time to brainstorm. No matter how many series we create or how many blogs we follow there will always be the need for new ideas and you’ll have to come up with a few on your own. Don’t worry. This is an opportunity to lead the way in your industry on a topic no one has ever covered before.
One of the most effective ways to generate new story ideas is to sit and think individually or as a group. Blast any idea you have, no matter how silly or far-fetched, onto paper until you can’t think of anything else. If the idea isn’t usable on its own it may lead your brain to an idea that is more viable.
If you’re brainstorming in a group toss ideas around out loud or trade your written lists once completed and see if it sparks further imagination from your group members.
And Then… Schedule Your Posts on a Calendar
Once you’ve generated a laundry list of blog post ideas it’s time to sort the bad from the good and the time sensitive items from the due-dateless posts. Some ideas, such as event attendance, obviously comes with a time-slot parameter. A post about an event won’t do you any good after the fact.
Make sure your list of ideas are generated and posted in a timely fashion. Posting too soon or too early can rob your article of its intended impact. Seasonal items, events and static stories are best served by loosely scheduling them right after your brainstorming sessions are complete.
Effective Story Types Every Blog Uses
Regardless of how much thought and preparation you put in to generating blog ideas, over time you’ll come to recognize that almost every blog post falls in to one of the following categories.
Events – Special events are always a great topic for a blog post. Whether you’re attending an industry event or trade show or having an in-house celebration people need to know what you’re up to. Keep them posted in your blog roll.
Industry Announcements and Innovations – Almost every year new developments and products are rolled onto the market. Maybe you’ll be carrying one of those new products on your shelves or adding new services to your list. Either way its a good idea to announce the change. People can’t buy what they don’t know about.
Advice and Helpful Content – Giving away free info and content is a great way to build your audience and your base of leads. Try informing the public with a little insider information. Your customers will not only trust you more but start looking to you as an industry leader.
Testimonials – Every once in a while a customer will send you a thank you letter or a shining endorsement about your products and services. Put that vote of confidence to good use and post it online for everyone to see. Reading good customer feedback tends to build trust for new and perspective customers.
How-to Guides and Explanation Pieces – If nothing else people on the Internet are looking for information. As an industry expert you’ve got the answers to the questions they are asking. This blog post is a prime example.
Write down your know-how and answered questions in a blog post and share it with the world. If the information is spot-on users will share it with their colleagues.
And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Let us know how you get it done. What types of blog posts do you run on your site?
There’s always more to learn. Check out these informative posts and make your website the effective online powerhouse it should be.