By Brenda Caine, Senior Content Strategist
Do you know how many blogs are written every day worldwide? How about every second? Did you know there is a real-time blog meter? It’s 10 a.m. Eastern Daylight Time as I write this, and the blog meter is about to hit two million blog posts written today already. Blogs are popular.
And blogs should be a priority component of your content marketing strategy. The Demand Gen Report 2018 Content Preferences Survey Report found that 71% of B2B buyers go to blogs for information during the purchase process. And 74% share blog posts with their coworkers. I know I do.
A successful blog is a commitment. If you want to build a strong following, you can’t leave it on the back burner or churn out the same old content week after week. I’ve learned some solid strategies to keep myself inspired—and I’ve distilled them into 10 tips you can use today to keep the ideas flowing.
Tip #1: Look for Themes
Use trending topics to develop themes for your posts. If you’re in the tech world, themes like artificial intelligence (AI), the Internet of Things (IoT), and cloud continue to draw readers. What about retail? You could focus on holiday shopping innovations, the merging of online and in-store experiences or where consumers are spending this season.
One of the best ways to identify trends is to research SEO keywords to learn which are generating the most traffic. Tools like BuzzSumo come in handy to search for topic areas most relevant to your blog.
Tip #2: Write About What You Know
Do you have special expertise or interest in nutrition and healthy eating? Maybe you’re the techie type and love to create websites. Can you share tips with entrepreneurs on setting up a website? Look to the things that get you excited, and explore ways to tie them into your blog.
If you’re interested in a topic that’s appropriate for your blog, your passion will shine through. Take advantage of that whenever you can.
Tip #3: Write About What You Don’t Know
Now let’s flip the coin and look at blogging from the opposite side. Blogging can be an exciting journey of discovery for you as a writer. When I research a new topic, a whole new world opens up for me—like it did recently when I wrote about Kubernetes and containers. (In case you’re not a software developer, Kubernetes is an open-source system for automating deployment, scaling, and management of containerized applications.)
Maybe you’ve been wanting to learn more about how AI is transforming the shopping experience. Let your curiosity lead you through your research. Which brings me to my next tip…
Tip #4: Do Your Research
best way to get up to speed on a topic quickly is to talk to subject matter experts (SMEs). Experts tend to enjoy teaching others about subjects they know well and care about. I always find them to be gracious when I express my ignorance on a topic.
But before you get on the call, do your own research. Make yourself as knowledgeable as possible so that you can ask the SMEs intelligent questions and understand the answers.
Tip #5: Make It a Series
It’s difficult to come up with hundreds of topics to write about in the course of the year. Make it easy on yourself. Dive deep into certain subjects, and then break them down to create a series of posts.
Following our retail example, you could break “holiday shopping” into a series that covers a comparison of this year’s spending versus last year’s, the hottest gifts this year, current spending online versus in stores, and predictions for the retailers likely to do well (or not so well) over the course of the season.
Tip #6: Switch Up the Format
If you interview an SME, consider writing the blog post as a Q&A that includes your questions and the interviewee’s answers. The interview format can add visual interest and better engagement. If you record the interview, you can also use publish it as a podcast to make your interview do double duty. Mixing up format styles can help you break out of a writing rut that can make all your posts start to sound alike.
Tip #7: Feature Guest Authors
Another great way to find content to fill out your blogging editorial calendar is to invite guest authors to write guest posts for you. You might ask your internal subject matter experts—your internal influencers. If they already publish their own blogs, they’ll be happy to earn extra exposure by linking your readers back to their blogs.
External industry influencers are another great source for content. Many influencers look to boost their own credibility and visibility by having their bylined posts on your site. My fellow content strategist Alicia Esposito recently noted that “…it’s clear that buyers’ demand for influencer content isn’t changing anytime soon.” It’s trusted and sought out. Often, influencers are happy to contribute for free if it will lead to that extra visibility.
Tip #8: Make It Personal
If you took a writing class in college, you probably learned tips on how to make your writing interesting and keep writing through writer’s block. The lesson is worth repeating here. Pretend you are sitting across from your reader—maybe it’s a friend or even your child. Now tell that person in plain language what you want to say. How would you explain a new idea? How would you simplify a complex idea to make it easy enough for a child to understand?
Write down what you would say, exactly as you would say it. This is an easy way to develop a conversational tone. After all, there is a real person reading your blog post.
Tip #9: Include Statistics, Quotations and Case Studies
To get attention fast, look for “Wow!” statistics or quotations that grab your reader’s attention. Introduce important data or intriguing quotations right up front to hook readers; then sprinkle them throughout to keep them reading.
Once you have their attention, bring your idea to life with case studies. Nothing brings readers into your story better than a real example of your point. If you don’t have an actual case study, create a hypothetical use case and tell the story that way or include a series of anecdotes that show how your ideas play out in the real world.
If all these tips aren’t enough…
Tip #10: Hire an Agency to Help You
If you have the budget, strongly consider hiring a content marketing agency that can lessen your burden. They can write an occasional blog post for you when you don’t have the capacity, or they can manage the entire project for you with writers who know your industry well. Agencies can help in all kinds of ways, including:
- Develop an editorial calendar with topic recommendations
- Conduct SME interviews and additional research
- Write posts
- Find influencers to write posts
- Provide social media copy to promote your posts
- Help you repurpose your blog content into a rich collection of assets
Follow these strategies, and you’ll never run out of new blog content. If you’re struggling to keep up, contact our own blog editor, Holly Celeste Fisk, at email@example.com. Be sure to check out Alicia Esposito’s piece on “Why Every B2B Brand Should Have a Blog” and Tonya Vinas’ recent post about “5 Ways to Engage Subject Matter Experts in Your Content Marketing.”