To blog or not to blog?

William Shakespeare on a computer

Is that really the question any more? I think not.

How many more times do we need to hear it?

Today, everything we read, everything we see and hear about online marketing that delivers results all revolves around one topic. And that topic is content and the marketing of that content.

If you want to bring traffic to your website, engage with your customers, attract new opportunities then you must be creating and sharing valuable, helpful, and relevant content. And, although you can do this using numerous methods the easiest, and arguably the most popular, is blogging, which explains the incredible growth of blogs around the world. Currently estimated at well over 150 Million. (Source: WPVirtuoso )

SOME INTERESTING STATISTICS ABOUT BLOGS

  • Blogs are 63% more likely to influence purchase decisions than magazines (Source: ContentPlus )
  • Companies that blog 15 or more times per month get 5x more traffic than companies that don’t blog (Source: HubSpot )
  • Companies that increase blogging from 3-5 times per month to 6-8 times per month almost double their leads (Source: HubSpot )
  • If a post is greater than 1500 words on average it receives 68.1% more tweets and 22.6% more Facebook likes than a post that is under 1500 words (Source: QuickSprout )
  • List posts get 200% more links than normal posts (Source: Moz )
  • List posts with images and videos get 567% more links than normal posts (Source: Moz)

Now, don’t get me wrong, blogging still takes some time and effort.

Whenever, I am teaching my blogging workshops the two most common questions I get asked are:

  1. What can I write about and where do I find ideas for content?
  2. Where do I find the time to write?

OK, so let’s assume you want to blog but you need help with ideas and time.

So, let’s get to some of the tools and tips that I have used to write my own blogs.

 CONTENT TYPES

Finding ideas for content is the key. Content can come in many formats; text, audio, video, images and combinations of each. And your blog does not have to be always just text, in fact Google recommends that diversifying your content type can be a very good thing.

Content types in general terms come in two varieties.

First, is what we call “Evergreen” content. This simply means content that will be relevant, valuable and interesting for a longer period of time (like evergreen trees 🙂 ). It will not be out of date next week or next month, maybe not even next year.

Second, is timely or trending content. This refers to something that is of interest right now and is something that is usually being talked about in many different places.

I believe you should try to create at least one piece of evergreen for every 3 or 4 trending or timely pieces.

Another way to create great content is by using the “Oreo” content method. This simply means that you take some interesting content and you add to it. Perhaps, you write an introduction about why you are using this content, what you want your readers to look for in the content, and then you finish with a conclusion and your opinion about the content.

Your introduction and your conclusion are the dark chocolate biscuits of the Oreo cookie and the content in between is the delicious white crème. And yes, I do like Oreo cookies.

However, there is one very important caveat here, you must make sure you give full credit to the person that created the original content with a link back to the original piece.

Here again, I believe the 80/20 rule applies. You should create one piece of original content for every 3 or 4 pieces of Oreo content.

So, now let’s take a look at some places where you can find content…

FINDING CONTENT

Alltop is a website that collects headlines of the latest stories from the best websites and blogs from across the internet. This aggregated news site provides insight and inspiration on literally thousands of topics and when you are first starting out it might be the only place you need to look for your content ideas.

Quora is a website where you can find out the topics that people are thinking and asking about. It is a question-and-answer website where real people ask questions, and receive answers to topics of interest. Search for the keywords relevant to your product or service and scan the results. You can also follow topics related to your blog’s focus. This is a great resource.

Storify’s , Digg and Scoop.it are both great websites to find and collect news that is trending across the web, including the social platforms. Looking here can save you lots of time.

There are a number of news aggregators with Feedly probably being the best known. A news aggregator is a tool that is used to collect web content such as online blogs, podcasts, newspapers, etc. and put in one location for easy viewing and filtering. Convenient, easy to use and great time savers.

You can also monitor social news streams like LinkedIn Pulse, Twitter’s trending topics, Google+’s What’s Hot page and Facebook’s trending section. These will all give you great ideas for content.

If you have a Google account then the Content Idea Generator (v2) is an amazing content tool. It is a Google Doc that will automatically find news and related stories for your blog from a variety of sources… everything from Google News to Reddit, from tweets to public Facebook updates and more. This is a great resource for finding fresh approaches to content you may have already covered, or coming up with a seasonal twist on things.

Here are a few more ideas to help develop your content…

  • Do interviews with clients/industry insiders/thought leaders
  • Solve Your Reader’s problems
  • Do a Case Study
  • Create a Tips and Tricks for your industry – People love lists
  • Tutorials/How To’s
  • Podcasts/Videos
  • Invite Guest bloggers

CONCLUSION

Remember, finding the right content and putting together the ideas are just the beginning. If you want people to read your content then you must “find your own voice”. You must be authentic and real. Do not try to be someone else.

Be unique. Be interesting. Be helpful. Be inspirational. Be yourself.

Well, I hope that helps. As always I would love to hear your feedback and comments. I am sure there are lots of other great content creation ideas out there so please share them.

Until next time. Be well.

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2 Comments

  • Jan Brady says:

    Thanks Steve! I am very intimitaded by modern technology, Computer anything, as in the past I did not need it! I found your information excellent and now I must take advice as to “who my client base is”. For the past 30+ years my business 1FIT1 – 1 on 1 In-Home Personal Training and Customized Fitness Programs restricted me to 4-6 (top)clients per day (to include travel time)and those were seen 2-3times a week! And it worked well in the 80’s and 90’s as I was first in doing it and client base were celebrities etc.(quality not quantity$$$!). Now at 60 I need to be a ‘first’ again and thinking of a way to get new clients and connecting with other services ie Hair Stylist; Skin Care; Clothing for a “Total Image Package” – with me still doing the Healthy Body! So yes, you explained everything so well whether Linkedin; Facebook; Twitter; Pintest; Blog!!! My target market? Those my age in the 80’s and 90’s who are my age and care about themselves! Great Read, lots to think about! Jan

  • Steve Loates says:

    Hi Jan,
    Thank you very much for your kind words. Anyone that can stay in business for that length of time and adapt to constant change will certainly continue to be successful and will find a way to be “first again”. Bravo!
    All the best.
    Steve

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