I try to knock out at least one blog every week and sometimes it’s hard work thinking of a subject relating to Digital Marketing that we have not already covered.
Blogging is vital to your SEO efforts, as this is the easiest way of getting fresh, indexible content onto your site and draw in regular visitors if you can write effectively. The greatest issue most people have is WHAT to blog about and we see many companies and individuals getting this wrong.
A Blog is Not a Sales Pitch
The biggest single mistake we see is companies who treat their blog as a direct sales tool. Who is going to subscribe to that? Is that going to look interesting in a newsletter? – Probably not. Of course you should include sales & service information in some blogs… But not every ruddy thing you write. Interestingly, we often see the same people and businesses treating their Social Media in the same way and getting zero engagement. You’re writing for people not search engines and it’s a tool to help establish your brand. If you expect direct sales then you may be bitterly disappointed!
[Tweet “A blog is not a sales pitch so design it to inform and entertain!”]
So without further ado, here are some tips to getting your creativity rolling:
Talk to your Colleagues
You deserve a break, so do they and multiple heads are better than one. So if you want some new perspective, ask for it and get a few ideas. In our office we have regular meetings designed purely to come up with ideas for our own blog and those of our clients. We all have individual angles that we write from and when we unite our different creative styles we often come up with blogs that are more fit for purpose than if we’d wasted time wracking our brains on our own. So ask your co-workers and listen to their suggestions.
Check the News
You may read the paper, watch the tv, listen to the radio or browse the internet but current events are a great way of generating new and very relevant content when you know that search volume will be high. The key here is to get a blog up ASAP if it relates to current news stories. Leaving things too late before posting means it is yesterday’s news and might not see the same readership as it could have just a few days before.
Ensure that you put your own twist or perspective on these stories to ensure it is relevant to what you do. Simply re-writing a list of facts and not making a point is not enough: What does a particular story have to do with you? How does it affect your industry? Why is any of this relevant?
What Have you Been up to Lately?
Introduce new staff members and your expanding team. Have you acquired new technology that helps improve your productivity?
Feel free to include pictures or videos. Keep your audience up to date on the who, what, when, why where of your company. Be wary that this is no place for rants or inappropriate imagery: You are showcasing your company so bear in mind that you are being perceived as you choose to put yourself across! (Beware of things like pictures of a recent stag party!) This kind of material is great for sharing on social media.
Revisit Your Old Blogs
Take a look at what you’ve written before and feel free to update and amend them. A blog that was written a year ago may not be entirely relevant today and it’s good to keep that content fresh. Alternatively you may wish to write a follow up on what you previously wrote: Treat this as a whole new blog and link the two to each other. Not only does this encourage readers to check out other parts of your blog but it shows that you know what you are talking about and keeping abreast of current events.
What are Competitors Blogging About?
Ideally, you should be the expert in your field, writing new and original content based on latest breakthroughs in your industry and maybe even producing guides or explanations for people to show that you are brilliant at what you do… But sometimes you may have missed a potential blog or comment on something that is bang on to your cause. So feel free to see what the competition are up to. We urge that you do not simply re-write their blogs… Be the forerunner, and trail blaze your way to blogging success with original content…
At DPOM we have tracking software that logs visitors to our website and we can see when our competition is on our website “researching’ – Sure enough, a day or two later they will post a blog that is covering a subject we’ve already covered. Try not to be ’that guy’ – keep your blogs original and establish yourself at the forefront of your industry. Not a pace maker. Use competitor blogs to see what you’ve missed out on but not as a source of original material. Aside from that… If they get something wrong and you copy that, you both look like idiots!
Product or Service Updates
Whilst your blog should not be a sales pitch, it should certainly contain regular updates on new product ranges or new service packages. Even existing products or categories that you’d like to push forward. Ideally you can ’sex up’ these kinds of blogs by making it relevant to current events, seasonality, the weather or subjects that are of interest to the audience. Which of your product categories is relevant to that particular time of year? How can your service benefit your readers in a certain situation? Has a current news story made something you provide instantly more saleable?
You’ve got your website to list your products and services so keep that there but use your blog to help direct visitors to those relevant pages by writing compelling updates that showcase the benefits of those products and services.
Spend a Few Minutes Browsing Relevant Parts of the Internet
You’ve got access to a tool that has access to information on every subject ever conceived. The internet. Check Forums, Sub Reddits, Social Media and News sites for relevant stories. You can set up alerts via tools like Google to keep you up to date without even searching for the information. The internet is a powerful research tool when used properly and your gateway to a wealth of knowledge that is relevant to you, ensure that you use it.
Make a Strange Connection
Almost anything you see or hear about can inspire a jolly good blog. How you make it relevant is entirely up to you! Often you can turn a subject that you simply like and enjoy into a quality article on your blog. Draw comparisons between something that may not be immediately relevant to what you do and show you get to write about something you enjoy as well as something you know a lot about. This can make for some very interesting blogs, especially if the connection is not immediately apparent but you direct the reader to your way of thinking and show how two unrelated things actually have a lot in common.
Don’t Pressure Yourself to Write
There is nothing worse than being forced to do something that you really dislike doing. Writing may be an example of this for you, personally. You’ll probably find that if you just give it a go then you’ll surprise yourself or that you find every excuse going to procrastinate and avoid creating new written content for your blog. But if you create too much pressure to write then you won’t enjoy doing it… and this may be reflected in the quality of your work.
Try to make sure you are in an environment conducive to writing, that you have everything you need to get going and that you are mentally prepared to cover the subject. If you wouldn’t read that blog yourself then you have to consider that others may not be interested either.
When All Else Fails: Outsource
Yes… You may be the best in the world at what you do but that does not mean you are the best person to write about it. There is no shame in having an agency or a copywriter do what you don’t feel comfortable doing. They create content and write for a living, they are experts at what they do. Give them good direction and ensure they have the right research tools to create content on your behalf that you’ll be proud to include in your blog. You’re helping to sustain their industry and potentially saving yourself a lot of time agonising over writing the content yourself.
Just ensure that you check the work of your copywriters or creative agency as their musings are a reflection of you… You need to be ‘on the same page’ when it comes to how you wish to be represented, the tone of your writing and the ultimate purpose of the blog.
Blogging is necessary and it does not have to be hard. It may not be something that comes naturally to you at first and you may need to have a bit of discipline to get the ball rolling but it must be done: If not by you, then by a member of staff, a copywriter or the agency in charge of creating your content… But when you are confused about what to write and where to go for information, use the above guide to help you along.