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  1. 101 Title Ideas for Your Next Blog Post

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    101 blog content ideas
    Content marketing is one of the best strategies for building a promoting a brand, but planning and strategizing is hard work.

    After all the initial work of establishing a blog and choosing a broad strategic direction, you’ll need to start coming up with topics and titles to fill your editorial queue—and fast. Most content marketers (especially newbies, but seasoned vets as well) struggle coming up with new topics as their campaigns roll on. Fortunately, there’s a practically endless supply of title “frameworks” that, with a little modification, can serve as ideal slot-fillers in your campaign.

    In this guide, I’m bringing you 101 of them.

    What’s in a Title?

    You might be thinking to yourself, why just the titles? That doesn’t give you much meat to work with. However, titles are especially important to the content creation process for a number of reasons:

    • Direction. Seeing a new title can spark a new direction for your content, giving you a brief groundwork to use in your new article.
    • SEO benefits. The title is one of the most important parts of an article for SEO, and many of these will help you rank for your industry-specific terms.
    • Clickability. Unless your headlines are catchy and intriguing, you won’t get any click-throughs. This makes headlines one of the most important elements of your articles.
    • Shareability. Sometimes, a powerful headline is enough to spark social sharing—even if people don’t click through and read the full article—so it pays to have strong titles attached.

    101 Ideas

    Many of these titles have blanks in them, generally referring to your industry, your products, a specific action or task within your industry, or some other niche-specific item. I’ll guide you where appropriate on each individual blank, but there’s a lot of flexibility here. Additionally, wherever you see “X,” you can replace X with any number.

    Without further ado, here are 101 title ideas you can use on your blog:

    1. How to ____.

    First, we have a simple entry. The blank here can be any process you can think of related to your industry. It could be how to solve a technical issue with one of your main products. It could be how to learn a new skill if you have no experience. It could even be how to start and manage a business like yours. Because of the broadness of this topic, you’ll be tempted to choose high-level concepts here, like “how to drive a car,” but the more specific you are, the better, like with “how to drive a two-wheel drive car in snow.” You’ll face less competition and have higher relevance this way.

    2. How to ____ in X Steps.

    This is a variant on the previous title, but offers the distinct advantage of including a number in the headline. Numbers automatically make headlines more appealing and clickable, which gives it an immediate edge. Part of the motivation behind this is that it illustrates that your concept is simpler than it may appear; breaking down a task like “how to draw a dog” into six steps makes it more approachable, and makes it seem faster to learn. Plus, you’ll give yourself a framework when it comes time to write the actual article, helping you break down the process.

    learn to draw a dog

    (Image Source: Activity Village)

    3. X Secrets You Didn’t Know About ____.

    Here, we have another number-based headline that should get users’ immediate attentions. As you’ll see in the titles throughout this guide, a common thread is heavily implying that your readers are about to learn something new. Here, that effect is made bluntly; you’re directly stating that you’re about to tell your readers something they didn’t know before about the subject of your choice. The word “secrets” also adds a layer of mystique here, making your readers feel like they’re about to get some privileged information. Just make sure you have something juicy to back up this headline’s power.

    4. What ____ Doesn’t Want You to Know.

    This is a powerfully attractive headline for click-throughs; it tells users you have some piece of information they don’t have, but doesn’t give that information away, and also offers a kind of dare—that they aren’t supposed to know this. As for the blank, that’s usually some kind of authority figure, or someone that your readers are paying money to—for example, “what your accountant doesn’t want you to know,” or “what big-box retailers don’t want you to know.” The only problem with a headline like this is that it borders on clickbait, which can damage your reputation if you traditionally offer straightforward content.

    5. X Lies You’ve Been Told About ____.

    The thread continues with this title, which again offers privileged information that readers previously haven’t gotten. There’s a teasing element, which will lure more clicks, but this title is interesting because it uses the word “lies.” Lies are deliberate actions taken to deceive someone, leading your readers to believe that not only do they believe untrue information, but someone actively wants them to believe it. For most readers, this is reason enough to click through—again, just make sure you have something good waiting for them on the other side.

    6. X Myths About ____ You Probably Still Believe.

    This title forces users to confront the fact that they might believe something that isn’t true, but instead of putting the blame on some authority figure that’s “lied” to them, you resort to something more innocent—a myth or misconception. This title also automatically implies that you’re an authority on the subject; you’ve somehow risen far enough about the common myths to not only recognize them, but work actively to correct them when you see them. And of course, there’s a number at the beginning, so it’s automatically more clickable.

    7. X Things We Learned From _____.

    Though not always a rule, in many industries, it’s advantageous for your business to attend conferences, tradeshows, workshops, and seminars. These are valuable opportunities to promote your business, network with others in your space, learn new things, and walk away with some new direction for your business. Unfortunately, not all businesses or workers get to attend these events, so you have a critical opportunity to share your knowledge with them—and lead with a powerful title at the same time. Reduce the hours you spent at the event to a handful of key takeaways, and start capitalizing on the keywords associated with the event.

    what we learned from

    (Image Source: Media Planet)

    8. X Predictions About the Future of ____.

    This is another title that shows off your expertise—and I’d be lying if I said I hadn’t taken advantage of it. Human beings are naturally curious, so we’re always speculating about the future, wondering what’s about to come next. Seeing this headline, projecting what’s coming next in quantifiable, segmented bullet points, users won’t be able to help but click through. Even if they don’t agree with your predictions, you’ll satisfy their curiosities and show off your knowledge of the industry’s past and present.

    9. X Quotes About the Future of ____.

    Remember everything I said about human curiosity naturally wondering about the future and apply it to this title. It’s a slight variant on the original model, but note a couple of key differences. Rather than making concrete predictions, you’re talking about the future in much more vague terms—so you can chart paths of development rather than quantifiable milestones. Plus, you’ll be drawing on quotes from influencers in your industry rather than coming up with them yourself (either through interviews or by finding this information online already).

    10. X Inspirational Quotes to Help You ____.

    People love a good quote—especially when those quotes are conveniently assembled into one nice, neat package. Pick a topic related to your industry (or maybe just choose your industry in general) and hunt down some inspirational quotes on the subject—you can use an archive like BrainyQuote to get the job done. Make sure you acknowledge where the quotes came from, and try to dress them up, if you can, with images or meta-commentary.

    11. The One Thing You’ve Been Missing to ____.

    Have you ever wanted to achieve a goal, like losing ten pounds or hitting a certain sales figure, but found yourself consistently unable to meet it? Most of us have at some point, and it’s an unbelievably frustrating experience. In that moment of frustration, if someone offered you a simple solution to bypass your failures and finally achieve your dream, how excited would you be? This is the emotion you’re playing with here. The biggest obstacle in using this title effectively is finding a problem your target audience faces that’s significant and common enough that most of your readers have experienced it—then finding a one-size-fits-all solution.

    12. The Worst Advice You Can Hear About ____.

    It might be a sense of morbid curiosity. It might be a comparative way to see how good you’re actually doing. It might be a way to learn by contrast. Whatever the case, we all seem to be borderline obsessed with reading about bad advice. Take it a step further to make it the “worst” advice, and you’ll capture a ton of attention in your field of expertise. As for the source of your inspiration, that’s up to you. This can be advice you’ve actually heard, or a mistake you’ve see made reduced to advice form. As long as it’s a bit nasty, you’ll be in business.

    13. The Best Advice You Can Hear About ____.

    Let’s not get too negative, though. For every person squirming to learn what the worst advice on a given topic is, there are just as many people who want to know the positive corollary. Tracking down the “best” advice on a subject is tough work, and most of the time, there’s no such thing as one bit that’s objectively “best.” However, you can back up your claims with evidence, or even an anecdote, to make your topic resonate with audiences. It’s also valuable to point out other pieces of good advice that didn’t make the cut as the “best” to show you did your homework.

    14. Read What These X Experts Have to Say About ____.

    One of the most effective ways to secure visibility online is to stir up debate or disagreement. When people disagree with each other, they become more emotionally invested, more vocal, and the piece itself attracts more comments, shares, and reactions. All of these are good things, so how can you imply discussion and debate with just a title? This title fits the bill. You’ll track down a number of experts, find their views on a given subject (hopefully disagreeing with each other), syndicate the article, and let the fun begin. Also note that the title isn’t sensationalized; it just presents the situation as it is.

    15. Why We Love ____ (and You Should Too!)

    People increasingly rely on recommendations to make their decisions. They’ll even trust reviews from strangers rather than relying on their own devices because we’re social creatures who like to see human-backed evidence that a decision is correct, or at least worthwhile. If readers have any sliver of trust for your brand, they’ll see a title like this and will want to know more about what it is you’re recommending and why you’re recommending it. The only caveat here is that your blank space shouldn’t be overtly self-promotional; stick to things your target audience will find genuinely useful.

    16. ____ 101: All the Basics You Need to Know.

    When there’s a topic you know nothing about, but want a briefer on it so you can hold your own in a discussion or prepare to be immersed in the field, what do you do? You Google it, just like the rest of us, hoping to find an all-in-one guide that explains the high-level view of the subject with a handful of practical takeaways to boot. Introductory classes in college are frequently referred to as “101” courses, so labeling your introductory guide is a good way to secure some immediate attention.

    17. The Beginner’s Guide to ____.

    You may see this title and think it’s almost identical to the 101 guide I covered in the last entry. However, a 101 guide covers everything there is to know about a subject—from its history to the basics to long-term strategies—while a beginner’s guide is custom-made for people trying to get started in a field. For example, a “101” guide for SEO might give you a high-level vision of what SEO is and how it works, while a “beginner’s” guide might give you some fast tips to start actually optimizing your website.

    18. The Intermediate Guide to ____.

    The title says it all, both to you and to your readers. Generally, if you’re going to go this route, you’ll want to start with a beginner’s guide first; that way, you’ll prepare your readers for a series to come next, and you’ll be able to capitalize on a single stream of audience members throughout the process. Your intermediate guide should target the same audience, but be a bit more advanced in scale; you’ll want to go over some common misconceptions, more technically demanding tasks and skills, and how to develop a long-term plan.

    19. The Expert’s Guide to ____.

    The last guide in this chain, as you might imagine, is the “expert’s guide.” This will be sure to attract a number of people in your industry—from self-proclaimed experts who want to check to see if there’s anything they’re missing, to entry-level newbies who want a glimpse at what they’re in store for in the long run. Referring to it as an “expert’s guide” will make you seem like an expert yourself—but only if you can successfully back that claim up with quality content. This guide should be packed with valuable information, living up to its title and then some.

    20. The Ultimate List of Resources for ____.

    No matter how good your blog is, it’s not a comprehensive resource for everything there is to know about your industry. Even if you somehow provided all the information all your readers needed, there would still be trade organizations, networking opportunities, and other organizations who offer what you can’t. That’s why an “ultimate” list of resources is so appealing; it aggregates all those sources and puts them in one convenient place. The title alone will encourage readers to click through, rather than hunting down all those resources individually—and you might get some extra shares from people “bookmarking” this guide for later reading. You can see one good example of this here.

    21. X Videos About ____ You Have to Watch.

    This is a form of content aggregation, which can be both powerful and efficient if you use it correctly. The idea behind aggregation is to collect bits of content that other people have already created, assemble them on your own space, and add a bit of your own flavor to it, either with commentary or by unifying them under a single theme. There are many options here, but the key advantage is obvious; you don’t have to create the videos yourself. Instead, you merely need to find interesting videos that already exist and collect them in a way that makes them even more valuable to your readers. The headline also makes the notion compelling: you “have to” watch these.

    22. X ____ Podcasts You Should Be Listening To.

    Podcasts are seeing a massive resurgence in popularity, for a handful of reasons. People are crazy about them, and are always looking for new ones to follow and listen to. That’s where this headline comes in; it’s another form of content aggregation, but this time centered on podcasts. The burden will be on you a little more here—since users can’t listen to full podcasts on your site, you’ll be relegated to describing them in detail. Make sure you do a sufficient job of giving your audience what they need to make their listening decisions, and choose from the best podcasts you can find.

    23. The X Blogs You Need to Be Reading on ____.

    At first glance, you might think this is another form of content aggregation. For your readers, certainly, it fills a similar role; they’ll be scouting this type of post to find more content for their wants and needs. However, it also serves as an engine for recommendation. You won’t be featuring any specific posts from these blogs on your site, but you will be listing them. Spend some time finding some of the top blogs in the industry, and make sure you justify each of your recommendations.

    24. X Reasons Your ____ Isn’t Working.

    One of the worst feelings is putting something together with excitement and high hopes, only to realize it’s not working the way you expected it to. For example, you might have started a new marketing campaign expecting a certain increase to your traffic flow, or you might have attempted a DIY project that didn’t turn out quite right. In any case, you’re confused, and this title promises to correct that confusion. Plus, even if you aren’t experiencing any immediate problems, if you’re interested in the subject, you might see this title and read the piece proactively to learn what could be done in the future.

    25. How to Troubleshoot ____.

    Troubleshooting can cover a lot of hypothetical ground. You might write a troubleshooting article on a problem with your software or products, or help correct people in their approach to solving a certain problem in their life. In any case, the word “troubleshooting” bears most of the significance in this title; either your readers will be interested in correcting a problem, or they won’t be. If you want to add a bit of flair to the title and possibly get more impulsive clicks, you could amend the title by adding “in X steps.” Such an addition also implies more certainty and finality, which is always good in problem solving.

    26. What Will ____ Be Like in X Years?

    This is another kind of prediction article, similar in premise to the titles I introduced earlier in this collection, but with a slightly different viewpoint. Rather than making predictions about how an industry or subject matter will develop, you’ll be trying to take a snapshot of how it looks like after a number of years have elapsed. For example, rather than making claims like “SEO will become more conversational,” or “search engines will adopt more machine learning updates,” you could try to illustrate the totality of SEO as it will stand in 2025.

    27. X Common Misconceptions About ____.

    There are two obvious trigger words here, and the first is “misconception.” This implies that there’s something your readers believe to be true that isn’t—and that compels them to find out what that is. Even if they don’t believe themselves to hold any misconceptions on the subject, their curiosity will drive them to check to be sure. The other word is “common.” These aren’t just misconceptions that happen to pop up from time to time; instead, there’s an implied likelihood that most readers harbor these misconceptions, making the article appealing to more people.

    28. The X Funniest Stories We’ve Heard About ____.

    Taking a break from somewhat serious matters like troubleshooting and correcting misconceptions, this title is less practical but far more entertaining. Depending on your readership and the makeup of your other content, this could be a standout title in your syndication efforts. It promises your stories to be amusing, and also gives you lots of options. These are just “stories,” so you’re unrestricted about how to attain them; for example, you could tell anecdotes about your own experiences, or explain something that happened to someone else, case study style.

    29. X ____ Tweets That Will Make You Rethink Your Strategy.

    This is a form of content aggregation, but the spin in the title makes it that much more appealing. First, note the use of the word “tweet”—you could substitute another medium of content (like “quotes” or “blog posts”) but tweets imply something succinct. Combined with the number at the beginning, your readers will immediately understand that this is a rapid-fire means of consuming content. This also implies a degree of significance; these tweets are informative and surprising enough to make you rethink your strategy entirely.

    tweets

    (Image Source: Offbeat)

    30. X ____ Influencers You Should Be Following.

    There are a few titles about influencers on this list, whether you’re listing them outright or drawing quotes from them, but this one is different; this one is about the influencers on social media that your readers should be keeping tabs on regularly. Why is this differentiated? First, it qualifies influencers not on how influential they are or what they have to say, but the consistency at which they have good things to say. This is a subtle, yet important distinction. It also implies that these are people “everybody” follows, piquing readers’ interests and drawing them in.

    31. X Quick Tips About ____.

    Some of the guides I’ve mentioned earlier in this article are in-depth, such as “how to” posts, or the history of your given industry, but not everyone has time to wade through long-form material. Just like the “tweets” title implied a degree of urgency and lightness, this title boasts a similar appeal. Here, you’ll be coming up with a number of “quick tips” to guide your readers in the right direction. For example, “quick tips” on driving wouldn’t be a comprehensive guide on how to operate a vehicle; instead, it would boil down to easy-to-follow improvement tips like avoiding slamming on the brakes or slowing down in inclement weather.

    32. X Fast Facts About ____.

    This is a sister title to the one above it. People love to get small nuggets of information, which is why “did you know” style pieces of content and trivia are so popular. Here, you’ll let your readers know that they won’t have to spend much time on your piece to get something valuable about it, which is compounded by the fact that there’s a number in the title. The blank for both of these titles can be pretty much any subject you can think of related to your brand, including your brand itself; why not show off some of the facts that make your company unique?

    33. The Ultimate Cheat Sheet on ____.

    “Cheat sheets” are fundamentally reference materials, which makes them appealing to anyone trying to get ahead in your industry or with a specific subject. Your cheat sheet could be a list of reminders, a boiled-down set of instructions, or even a list of reference materials to consult. It can be whatever you want it to be as long as it provides some fast, helpful information on your topic of choice. The title is also persuasive because the phrase “cheat sheet” implies that your readers are getting away with something borderline “wrong,” or something exclusive that only exists for the in-crowd.

    34. The Ultimate Checklist for ____.

    Avoiding the positive and negative aspects of “cheat sheet,” a checklist-style post is a sure way to get interested readers. Checklists are helpful for almost any task you can imagine, and they’re also usually speed-reads. If you can make your checklist interactive, you’ll engage your audience even further. Try to be as comprehensive as possible here; if your checklist is effective enough, your readers will likely bookmark your page so they can return to it later the next time they’re working on this project.

    35. The Top 10 ____.

    Note that there’s no stand-in “X” variable for the number here. It’s entirely possible and valid to have “top 5” or “top 8” or any other types of posts, but “top 10” has a ring to it that makes it stand out from all the others (my hypothesis is that it’s due to the alliteration). In any case, you have a lot of room for creativity here. You could do the top 10 influencers in your industry, the top 10 software management products for a given application, or the top 10 innovations that sparked change in your industry. The sky’s the limit; almost any top 10 post will attract ample attention (and may even spark a debate).

    36. A Buyer’s Guide for ____.

    This is ideal for companies that are selling tangible products. You’ll be creating content specifically tailored toward people looking to buy products like yours, and telling them exactly what to look for when they buy. Try not to be too salesy, though; you’ll want to create a legitimate buyer’s guide that walks users through all the steps in making a decision, presenting your competitors on somewhat equal footing. You can go the full-scale interactive route, like in the example below, or work on something more concise; this depends on how much time your target audience needs before finalizing a decision, which will obviously vary.

    product chart

    (Image Source: Product Chart)

    37. Why ____ Is Overrated.

    One of the best ways to drive attention to your blog posts is to strike up a controversy, and with this title, you can do it before your readers even click the headline. Immediately, you’ll call out a product, a strategy, an approach, or even an influencer (be careful with that, though), and declare it to be getting more attention than it deserves. You’ll probably get some shares and comments on this type of post from people who haven’t even read it, but don’t rely on that to help you succeed—make sure you back up your bold claim with compelling evidence.

    38. X Alternatives for ____.

    This is another title with tons of potential applications. You could list alternatives to solving a problem, alternatives to a prominent brand or company, or go more conceptual with alternative ways to think or brainstorm. The word “alternative” is the obvious focal point here; it appeals to anyone looking for more options on a given topic. Even if you’re satisfied with the way you’ve been handling something, you can’t help but be curious about what those alternatives are.

    39. X Considerations Before You ____.

    This post serves as a kind of gentle warning, zeroing in on an audience that’s about to take a given action, such as making a major purchase or pulling the trigger on a new business strategy. This type of post offers a handful of important considerations before following through, from a kind of mentorship role. Readers see a title like this and immediately view you as an authority with some kind of experience in your chosen topic, lending some extra weight to the headline.

    40. What These People Did Wrong in ____.

    It’s natural to be curious about the ways that other people have messed up. There are some clear motivations for why this the case. First, there’s the amusement factor; it’s kind of funny to read about someone else’s mistake, and the playfulness of this title implies that level of amusement. Second, there’s the education factor; we like to read about how other people screwed up so we aren’t doomed to the same fate. In fact, there’s some evidence to show that we learn more from other people’s mistakes than we do our own.

    41. Do You Need ____? Take Our Quiz to Find Out.

    This one’s for all those potential customers on the fence about your products or services, or those who aren’t quite sure what they need in a given area. The brain gravitates toward certainty; when we don’t know something, we’re compelled to find an answer (regardless of what that answer is). The quiz element shows a degree of both interactivity and personalization, distinguishing it from the usual types of “filler” content posts, and indicates that once taken, this quiz will lead a reader to a final, definitive answer.

    42. How Much Do You Really Know About ____?

    This is a direct challenge to your readers, and one that you’ll find works quite effectively to draw people in. This is one of the most ambiguous headlines on this list, which means you have the flexibility to transform it into almost anything you want. You could use it as a platform to uncover little-known facts about your industry, or highlight the fact that few people know much about your products. In any case, this forces an introspective thought in your readers—“how much do I know?”—followed by an urge—“I want to find out.”

    43. X Signs You Should Invest in ____.

    This headline gives you a chance to show off your products and services (though of course, your content will have to remain neutral and informative for the most part). The blank here is something you sell, whatever that happens to be. There are two main keys in this headline, the first of which is “X signs,” giving readers a certifiable blueprint they can use to come to a decision. The second is the word “invest.” Investments are different than purchases—it implies you’ll get more out of the transaction than what you put in, elevating your value immediately.

    44. The History of ____.

    This is a simple, straightforward headline, but it works well to appeal to history buffs and anyone especially interested in where your industry came from. You can do your industry, or some segment of it, from a high-level perspective, but it’s better to go after something more specific if you want to attract more attention. You can also transform this post into almost any kind of medium you want—generally, visual is better, like the infographic examples below. It’s easier to acquire and retain information this way, especially when dates and timelines are involved. We’ve done two examples of this type of headline with the following infographics:

    45. How to Solve the Biggest Problems in ____.

    This one may make you feel arrogant. After all, how are you to know how to solve the biggest problems, even if they’re in your area of expertise? If the top minds of the industry haven’t been able to completely solve them after decades of work, how could you hope to address them in a single post? That’s what your readers are going to be thinking, too, and they’ll want to see what suggestions you have to offer. Remember, you don’t have to completely eradicate these problems to “solve” them—instead, you could merely offer advice on how to work around them, or mitigate their effects.

    46. The X Habits of Successful ____.

    Ever since the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People was released, people have loved the idea of studying the habits of people who have already achieved success (they did before, too, but not with such a specific name). The idea is that by mimicking the actions and habits of people who have already accomplished greatness, you can accomplish greatness in your own right. Of course, most of this is usually anecdotal evidence affected by human bias, but it’s still interesting to study and will undoubtedly earn you clicks in your core niche.

    47. X Ideas for Your ____.

    You clicked on this post, didn’t you? Take a moment to think about why. Maybe you’ve been struggling to come up with title ideas and you wanted some extra inspiration, or maybe you feel confident about your ability to come up with ideas and were curious about what I had to say. Either way, the notion of reviewing a list of someone else’s ideas for your own use is appealing (not to mention practical). The higher the number here, the better, as it implies a higher value for brainstorming and utility. The ideas themselves can be anything—strategies, creations, recipes, dates, or anything else you can think of.

    48. The X Types of ____s You Need to Know.

    We like to classify and organize things; it helps us understand our subject matter better. That’s why this post is valuable—it takes some big, complex group, like social media followers or donuts, and reduces them to a number of different “types” that can be separately studied and analyzed. If there are categories out there that already exist—like powdered sugar donuts—feel free to use them. Otherwise, don’t hesitate to invent some categories of your own. The tail end of this headline—the “need to know” gives it some extra oomph.

    49. X Amazing Things You Wouldn’t Have Guessed About ____.

    Human curiosity once again enters with this title—and you already know its power. You’re implying that the items you’re listing are not only “amazing,” but they’re currently unknown to the reader. What you’re actually promising here is a surprise, and the magnitude of that surprise is intensified by your “amazing” adjective. Of course, you’ll want to back this up by offering some truly surprising tidbits about your audience’s interest, but the title alone will help you sell them.

    50. X Tools Everyone in ____ Should Be Using.

    Some of the best blog ideas are ones that give users some practical value, almost like drawing water from a faucet. This is a promise for pure practicality; once a reader is done with this blog, they’ll walk away with X brand new tools to leverage in whatever context you choose. More isn’t necessarily better here; sometimes, offering a sheer quantity of tools is helpful, while other times, it’s better to delve deeper into the pros and cons of each one.

    51. Are You New in ____? Here’s Everything You Need to Know.

    This is another title that’s partially reliant on the type of audience you’re serving. If you want to exclusively cater to readers who have been in your industry for years, or more advanced experts, this isn’t going to work. Otherwise, it’s a great way to appeal to the entry-level crowd. You may even attract some intermediate-level professionals who want to catch up on everything they might have missed in their first few years.

    52. How I Made ____ in X Years/Months/Days.

    This is a more personal post than most of the others on this list, but I always recommend leveraging personal brands to make your content more powerful. There are a number of appeals here. First, the “I” alone makes this post resonate more powerfully, as it’s the relation of a personal experience. Next, the creation—the blank, which can be money, a business, or any kind of achieved goal—gives the title some measurable weight. Finally, the “X” referring to a measure of time makes it seem possible for any reader to achieve a similar goal within those time constraints.

    53. An Innovator’s Guide to ____.

    The one thing that makes us all the same is our desire to be different. We all like to believe we’re special, and that we’re different from everybody else. We see ourselves as innovators, in whatever space we’re in. That’s why this title resonates with such power; it gives people a chance to see a certain topic from the perspective of someone who thinks “outside the box.”

    54. A Practical Guide to ____.

    This is another variation of the “common” guide template, but focuses on more practical takeaways. This is ideal if your audience is impatient, or if they’re focused on bottom-line figures, like incoming revenue, goals, or other specific accomplishments. The title also implies that it’s been stripped of any superfluous additions, like fluff content or other wasted material.

    55. The Frugal Guide to ____.

    When it comes to startups, small business owners, parents, fresh college grads, and about a hundred other potential demographics, frugality is a virtue. Few people, excepting the very rich, actively enjoy spending money, and with all other variables being equal, prefer more cost-effective options. We like to get the most for our money, and the raw appeal of this title somewhat proves it. You can spin almost anything into a frugal version of itself, from buying cheaper pizza to managing human resources more wisely.

    56. How to ____ the Right Way. 

    The power of this title comes from the fact that, if there’s a “right” way to do something, there’s also a “wrong” way to do it. Even if your target readers are absolutely confident they’ve been doing something the “right” way, or at least an effective way, some small part of them will be curious to figure it out for sure. Is there some other way to go about this? You can also put a variant on this title by adding “in X steps,” which makes your promise of a strategy more concrete.

    57. X Hacks For ____.

    The exact structure of this title doesn’t really matter. What does matter is the presence of the word “hacks,” which has become a buzzword thanks to the takeover of life hacks in our common lexicon. A “hack” is basically any kind of shortcut or trick designed to make something more effective or more efficient, and they exist in almost any area of life or profession you can think of. Introducing “hacks” into your title makes people curious about what insider information awaits them.

    58.The Anatomy of ____.

    In this post, you’ll be breaking down the makeup of some element related to your business. If you sell products, you might demonstrate the anatomy of one, like “the anatomy of our smart can openers,” or “the anatomy of a perfect mattress.” Otherwise, you can focus on more abstract ideas, like “the anatomy of an ideal meeting agenda.” The point is to imply some kind of deeper analysis, breaking down the components of a given subject to better understand how it works, like the “perfect landing page” in the infographic example below.

    landing page infographic

    (Image Source: KissMetrics)

    59. X Trends About ____ You Should Kno

    People love to watch trends. Evergreen content topics are good, and generally preferred due to their indefinitely long lifespan, but the appeal of trends is sharper and faster. They’re new, they’re fleeting, and they need to be acted on quickly if they’re going to serve your purpose, so they make for a perfect injection into your headlines. The fact that there are a concrete number of them is just an added bonus.

    60. X Reasons Your Competitors Are Out-____ing You.

    The blank here can be any verb that relates to your business, though generally, this headline applies more to business owners than direct consumers. If you want to make it more consumer-centric, you’llhave to swap out the word “competitors” for something more relevant, like “peers” or “managers.” As an example, if you’re an SEO agency, you can offer X reasons your competitors are “outranking” you, or you could go with the general “outperforming” if you include some specific industry terminology elsewhere.

    61. X ____s Everyone Should Own.

    This title can be tricky to pull off, and certainly works better in some contexts than it does for others. The problem is there aren’t many general products that everyone “should” own—there’s too much differentiation in needs besides food, water, and shelter. However, if you substitute “everyone” with a more specific, industry-related term, you can expand your range. You can even change the word own to “use” if you get stuck. For example, you could offer “X efficiency tools every marketer should use.”

    62. X Questions to Ask Before ____.

    This is a great title for any business that sports a long buying cycle, or one that requires significant consideration from clients and consumers. The vast majority of people consult the web before making any kind of purchase, so if your target market is struggling to finalize a decision, this is the perfect chance to capture them. Here, you’ll let them know exactly what they should be thinking about and what they should be asking their prospective dealers. It’s also a perfect opportunity to lead potential clients or buyers in your direction.

    63. X Ways to Research ____.

    This title follows the same core concept as the last one—consumers want to do their research and learn more information before making a final buying decision. Here, instead of telling them what questions to ask or what to consider, you’ll be telling them how to conduct their research. For example, you could tell them to ask friends and family members, find referrals, or get quotes from multiple providers before finalizing.

    64. X Ways You Can Become ____.

    Everyone’s trying to get somewhere. For some people, that’s becoming a doctor. For others, that’s becoming physically fit. Some people just want to be a “better” version of what they already are, like a “better writer” or “better golfer.” You can use that desire to feed into this title, giving users executable strategies they can use to get wherever they want to go. You can also substitute more specific phrases in for “ways,” such as “avenues for becoming” or “ideas for becoming.” Just keep it focused on that end goal.

    65. X Signs You’re Wasting Your Time in ____.

    In our culture, time is precious, to the point where we count every second of our days. If you imply that your readers are spending their time in inefficient ways, or that they’re wasting time altogether, they’ll be desperate to figure out how to correct the problem. This article will imply that many of your readers are wasting their time in some area of their lives, and that you have the knowledge necessary to fix it.

    66. The X Key Benefits of ____.

    This article title is ideal if you’re targeting users early in the buying cycle, but can be a good way to optimize for your target keywords, too. Here, you’ll be outlining the main benefits of whatever it is you’re offering, whether that’s a product or a service. It’s an entry-level piece, to be sure, but it’s got lots of appeal to anyone who’s completely unfamiliar with the subject.

    67. Pros and Cons of ____.

    If you’re trying to take a more unbiased approach, or speak to readers who are debating whether or not to move forward with their decision, you can list out the pros and cons of your product or service, or some other element of your business. For example, you could discuss the pros and cons of hiring a contractor versus doing a job yourself, or the pros and cons of hybrid cars.

    68. Which Is Better: ____ or ____?

    Typically, there are at least a handful of ways your clients will be faced with diametrically opposed options. Should they hire a freelancer or full-time worker? Should they get cake or ice cream for a birthday party? Should they choose vinyl or wood siding? This comparison title promises to permanently resolve the dispute (even if all you’re doing is objectively comparing the two against each other). Some sites, like Diffen, have dedicated themselves exclusively to this approach due to its popularity with users.

    mac vs pc

    (Image Source: Diffen)

    69. Is It Really Worth It to ____?

    People want to make sure they’re spending money in the right way, and that their investments are going to pay off. This title immediately shows readers that you have empathy for their position; the wording implies you’re familiar with the struggle—and that you have a genuine answer. In most cases, the answer will be “yes,” giving you the opportunity to pitch your business to new readers, but stay as objective as possible.

    70. X Ways to Motivate Yourself for ____.

    These days, when someone feels unmotivated or can’t bring themselves to do a task, they turn to the Internet, where they can browse the news and discover new articles. If they see a title that addresses and responds to that lack of motivation, they’ll be highly likely to click through—and hopefully find some inspiration to get back to whatever it was they were doing.

    71. X Ways to Generate New Ideas for ____.

    I’ve already presented a post idea for simply presenting new ideas to your readers, but that’s a “give a man a fish” method. This title is a “teach a man to fish” approach. Instead of merely presenting ideas for your readers to use, you’ll be giving them ways to come up with their own ideas. For example, instead of giving you 101 titles for your blog, I could have recommended strategies like word association games, reading competitor blogs, and social listening to come up with them on your own.

    72. X ____ Strategies You Hadn’t Considered.

    This title obviously caters to a crowd that relies on strategies to accomplish some goal. This is often, but not necessarily, relegated to the business world. For example, you could list sales strategies or bear hunting strategies your audience hadn’t considered. The key point of interest in this title is the “hadn’t considered,” leaving your readers to feel like there are strategies they haven’t been able to come up with on their own, further enhancing your expertise and value.

    73. X Underrated ____ Strategies.

    As we’ve seen a number of times already, “strategies” are almost always a good angle to go. You can come up with strategies or approaches for almost any subject matter, and people will eat them up because they’re valuable. Here, the differentiator is the word “underrated,” which implies two things—first, that these strategies aren’t used or appreciated, which makes them rare and appealing. And second, that these strategies are highly effective.

    74. The X Most Popular Forms of ____.

    The blank here can be anything, but is best served as one of your top products or service offerings. For example, you could reference the most popular types of cheese, or the most popular forms of advertising. People have a vested interest in knowing what other people think—it’s the whole reason things go viral. People tend to value popular things more, which drives their popularity even further.

    75. Which ____ Is Right for You?

    This is a variation on a buyer’s guide, except there may not be any purchasing involved. For example, you might write about “which management style is right for you?” or “what type of pants are right for you?” You can also vary this based on specific situations, like “what type of pants are right for a wedding?”

    76. X Fundamentals to Know About ____.

    This certainly isn’t the first post idea on this list that’s targeted toward beginners—we’ve also seen “101” and specifically designated “beginner’s guides.” But this one takes the approach from a slightly different angle, reducing the entire process to a specific number of fundamentals that people need to know. The article also has an appeal for more experienced members, who can use the article as a refresher or even as a teaching aide.

    77. The Magic Formula for ____.

    There’s never a magic formula for anything, no matter what you might have heard. Common clickbait titles use this gimmick to try and get people to buy weight loss supplements, but you can use it as a way to draw people into your products or solutions. The only drawback here is that it can come across as a gimmick—so be sure to explain yourself in the body of your content.

    78. X Creative Ways to ____.

    This goes along with the “alternative” angle I’ve mentioned a few times already. Finding creative approaches to solving problems or creative ideas in general is appealing, because it implies a break from the norm. It’s also a fun title to write (in most cases) because it forces you to think outside the box.

    79. How ____ Can Be More Efficient (X Tips).

    People are always striving for more efficiency. More efficient work can lead to more money, while more efficient lifestyles can lead to more satisfaction and less stress. That’s one reason why life hacks are so popular—but here, you’ll be explaining how to make something more efficient in a number of steps. These should be able to apply to anyone even close to your target demographics, so use it wisely.

    80. X Perfect Examples of ____ in Action.

    It’s good to talk about subjects, but sometimes it’s better to simply demonstrate them. For example, rather than writing about what makes a great music video, you could write a post containing some of your favorite music videos, and why they work. This title gives you a good platform to showcase items within your realm of expertise and offer commentary about how they do or don’t work. There’s a lot of flexibility here, so you can showcase ads, foods, performances, products, or anything else you can think of.

    81. X Foolproof Tactics for ____.

    You know how the For Dummies series got to be so popular? Part of the reason was the excellent content in their books, but an almost bigger reason was probably the title. Like it or not, we’re all “dummies” and “fools” about some things, even ones in our own field of expertise. Few people feel like they’ve truly mastered their respective niche, and this article title calls upon that. The tactics and tricks you present will all be “foolproof,” meaning anyone can use them to their greatest potential, which is highly appealing for novices and fools alike.

    82. X Ways to ____ Without ____.

    This is a pretty thin title as it stands, so as you can imagine, its power comes from what you choose to fill in. There are limitless possibilities here, but a few broad categories to consider. You could imply a danger such as “ways to stretch without hurting yourself” or imply a lack of resources such as “ways to market your business without a massive budget.” Or you could imply that this is a list of alternatives such as “ways to find leads without cold calling.” It’s a differentiator, and can be highly appealing based on your direction.

    83. X Strategies to Supercharge Your ____.

    I’ll be the first to admit that the word “supercharge” is buzzy, and borders on the clickbait line. However, people love the idea of taking something effective and making it even better. Supercharging implies that it’s already achieved some kind of baseline; for example, if you’re “supercharging” your social media following, you’ve already got a respectable, active following to work with. This suggests there is a “next level” to achieve, and that this guide will give you the means to achieve it.

    84. X Ways You’re Sabotaging Your ____ Without Knowing It.

    As we’ve seen in dozens of titles so far, it’s effective to imply that your readers don’t have the knowledge you’re about to provide. That effect is amplified when that lack of knowledge is causing active harm to something valuable to them. Self-sabotage is a real phenomenon, and can manifest in a number of ways. So how is your audience of readers sabotaging themselves? Are they failing to learn enough to move forward? Are they running with cheap, ineffective solutions?

    85. The X Secrets of Successful ____s.

    People look to successful individuals in all areas with a sense of grandiose admiration. These people have already done something impressive, but the simple advice of “work hard and be persistent” isn’t as appealing as the idea that there’s some kind of secret or shortcut that got them to where they are. This allure will draw readers into your post immediately, and you don’t have to worry about these being actual “secrets.” They can just be habits, pieces of knowledge, or approaches that are not commonly known.

    86. X Things to Do Before You ____.

    This title will help you guide users in a direction of your choosing before they take some action relevant to your brand. For example, you could tell users X things to do before buying a house, suggesting they contact a real estate agent (you or your contact). Or you could tell users X things to do before starting a workout regimen, suggesting they work with a personal trainer (you or your contact). The sequence of steps here is informative, and seems highly significant to the average outsider.

    87. X Ways to Recover From ____.

    Disaster can strike anywhere, whether it’s fire damage to your home or a negative ROI for your latest marketing campaign. Big disasters, small disasters, and disasters of all varieties can make you feel defeated, but there’s always a path to recovery. This title offers that path, and does so in a quantifiable number of suggestions—which is extra appealing to those dealing with stress and confusion. You could also vary this title by making it “how to recover from ____ in X steps.”

    88. X Harsh Realities About ____.

    Not everything in your industry is pretty, and this title instantly implies that. Listing the harsh realities about your situation, your industry, or even your brand is a way to prove your integrity, transparency, and honesty to your readers. Not all businesses are willing to disclose these less-than-perfect details, so the fact that you are instantly makes you more trustworthy. Plus, there’s something irresistible about learning the “dirty” details behind a business or industry you respect.

    89. X Embarrassing ____ Mistakes You Can Learn From.

    Embarrassment often triggers a sympathetic response, but it also calls upon our senses of humor. Other brands and consumers have already made some powerful mistakes, so why not take advantage of them to give your readers a good laugh (and some helpful information along the way)? Be careful who and what you list here—if you tell the embarrassing story of someone who takes it personally, they could go after you—but otherwise, try to have some fun here.

    90. Are You Ready for ____? Here’s How to Tell.

    There’s always something to look forward to, in every industry, in every community, and in every subject. It could be a convention or gathering, a new technology coming out, or a fundamental change in how you’re doing business. In any case, this change is accompanied by some kind of monumental shift, and your readers know it. Behind this title, your readers will find out whether or not they’re truly ready for the changes to come.

    91. What Your Employees Should Know About ____.

    This title is specifically targeted toward team leaders, entrepreneurs, or other professional roles responsible for managing individual employees. If that isn’t your demographic, you may wish to alter it in some way (for example, you could change “employees” to “students” or “children” without altering the main idea of the title too far). Either way, this article title implies a couple of things that draw readers in; first, that your employees don’t know something, and that this article will tell it to them. Second, that your employees should know this, increasing the perceived significance of the work.

    92. What Your Boss Should Know About ____.

    Again, this title’s relevance is partially dependent upon your chosen target audience. If you’re targeting employees who have bosses and supervisors, this will work fine. Otherwise, you may need to find a substitute, such as “teachers,” or “mentors.” This one has an extra appeal because there’s an incentive in presenting new information to a higher authority; not only are you providing interesting reading material, you may be helping along their careers by helping them impress their boss. If you can provide this information, these readers will be much more likely to stick around.

    93. X Surprising Lessons We Learned From ____.

    The blank here is an open gateway to almost anything you can imagine. Maybe it’s an event your company attended. Maybe it’s a current event in that national news. Maybe it’s an experiment your company performed. There are only a few stipulations here; the blank must be recent, it must have given you some new information, and of course, it must be relevant to your audience. From there, you’ll come up with surprising lessons you didn’t expect to learn; this can help you pique the interest of readers who have already heard about your “blank.”

    94. What’s the Best Way to ____?

    The magic of this title is that it implies there’s a best way to do something. The very first entry in this list was a “how to” post, which can tell you how to approach a given task (let’s say cutting a pineapple). It may get the job done, but is it the most efficient way to do it? Is it the fastest? Is it the easiest? The word “best” implies that this is somehow better than the “normal” way, and therefore has mass appeal for readers. But you can also substitute almost any superlative here for the same effect; i.e., the “simplest way to cut pineapple.”

    95. What ____s Get Wrong About ____.

    Here, the first blank is going to fill in with your target demographic; this gives you the opportunity to speak directly to your audience, not to mention optimizing for related keywords. The second blank is going to refer to your main area of expertise (or your current target). People are enthralled by their own identities, and if you imply that they’re doing something wrong in their own area of expertise, they won’t be able to resist clicking through to find out.

    96. X Huge Influencers in the ____ World.

    Even though you might have established an impressive reputation in your niche community, you aren’t the only influencer out there. People love to see different influencers because they need different perspectives, different viewpoints, and even different voices to get a complete experience. That’s why this simple list post can be so effective; all you have to do is identify some key influencers in your industry and list them out—or if you want to get fancy, you can hit them up for some quotes that best represent their opinions on a given subject.

    97. A Timeline on ____.

    There’s nothing psychologically special or subtle about this headline, which is a big reason why it works; it simply lets readers know they’re about to see a timeline on a given subject. This implies it’s a start-to-finish history on a given subject, explored in some graphic or visual way, which readers always love to see. You could easily turn this post into an infographic and reap even greater rewards.

    98. What Would Happen If ____?

    Depending on your industry and target audience, this could be an immensely fun post to write. AlternateHistoryHub has developed its entire brand around providing information on alternative histories. The NFL has a fun video series dubbed “N ‘if’ L” that explores alternate realities about players, games, teams, injuries, and the like. You could also approach this as present-day experimenting; what would happen if your customers suddenly did something to their cars? The what-if model is appealing because it strikes a chord with our imaginations. It forces readers to come up with a hypothesis before clicking through, and encourages them to see if it’s right.

    99. What ____’s Top Influencers Say About ____.

    Remember what I said about influencers? Here’s your chance to call upon them again. Only this time, instead of listing them, you’ll be interviewing them briefly on the subject of your choice. This is a fantastic opportunity if there’s a new technology or an emerging trend in your industry that your peers are worried about. Gather up a bunch of quotes on the matter from some of the most respected influencers you can find, and if you can, try to hit the problem from multiple different angles.

    100. X Statistics on ____ You Need to Know.

    People love to read—and cite—statistics relevant to their interests. They tend to be objective, enlightening, and hard to obtain, which makes them valuable. But you don’t necessarily have time to conduct all that original research on your own, so the next best thing is to round up statistics from a bunch of other sources and collect them together into one, convenient document. The “need to know” in the title adds a bit of extra flair, implying extra importance for the piece.

    101. What Do You Want to Read About Next?

    This is less of a full-fledged article title, and more of an important post you’ll want to make to your readers eventually. You’ve spent a while looking over these last 100 suggestions for titles, but there’s an even better resource for finding new titles your readers will love—your readers themselves! Reach out and ask them what they want to read, and you’ll probably get plenty of responses to keep your content strategy moving in a solid direction.

    There you have it! Like it or not, you now have zero excuses not to have a full editorial calendar. Swap out some keywords and phrases, and you can easily use each of the titles on this list multiple times over.

    Assuming you’re posting twice a week, this alone can keep you going for several years—not even counting the other great creative ideas you have in the back of your mind. Dedicate yourself to ongoing refinement and new idea generation (even if you use this as a backup plan), and you’ll never run out of awesome headlines to use in your content marketing campaign.

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  2. Why You Need a Business Blog

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    The Internet has provided business owners with a wealth of possibilities for driving traffic, generating leads and ultimately obtaining customers. One of the most popular and effective options is to create a business blog. According to HubSpot, “nearly 40% of US companies use blogs for marketing purposes and companies that blog have 55% more website visitors.” This data proves how big blogging has become for companies and the benefits it offers. Let’s get into the specifics of why you need a business blog.

    SEO Value

    With more and more people turning to Google and other search engines to find everything under the sun, getting your business’s website ranked highly is crucial. Since the majority of search engine users don’t click beyond the second page of results, it doesn’t do you much good if you’re not on the first two pages. One of the best ways to receive a top ranking is by blogging. This is helpful for several reasons:

    1. You can utilize internal linking where similar blog posts can be linked together
    2. You can optimize your posts as you go by using proper keyword density, adding tags, etc.
    3. Each blog post has the potential to be shared on other websites, blogs and social media networks
    4. Consistent posting tends to appease search engines because they value fresh content, which can increase rankings and traffic

    As your blog post count continues to rise, your SEO should continually improve as more respect is earned from search engines. An added benefit is that it’s possible to receive a considerable amount of traffic from keywords you’re not even trying to rank for. Due to the nearly infinite number of keyword combinations, you can appear in search engine queries that weren’t even on your radar. The more content there is, the more traffic your site should receive.

    Community Building

    community-building

     

    At the core of most successful companies is a community of loyal customers. This group acts as a strong foundation that brings in repeat business and also spreads the word to others, while validating the company as being legitimate. These individuals are sometimes known as brand ambassadors who go above and beyond to aid in the success of a company. While there are several ways to build a community, maintaining a business blog is one of the best.

    By creating high quality posts and routinely engaging your audience, it inevitably sparks a discussion. One person chimes in with a comment which leads to another person doing the same. As information is exchanged and relationships are formed, your audience has the opportunity to get to know you, your employees and each other. Over time, this can lead to the formation of a thriving community where everyone is interacting and learning. In turn, this keeps existing community members coming back and new ones coming in to see what the buzz is all about. This means plenty of exposure, added credibility and the potential for more sales.

    Unbiased Feedback

    Another perk of a community around your business is that it’s a natural catalyst for valuable input. For a business to maintain itself and keep growing, it needs to always be in touch with its customer base. Otherwise, losing touch with customers is one of the quickest ways lose brand equity and flounder. By allowing your audience to voice their opinions via comments following blog posts, it will immediately tell you what you’re doing right and what could be improved.

    This is like getting feedback straight from the horse’s mouth and from the people who matter most – your customer base. Some companies spend thousands or even millions of dollars on exhaustive campaigns to figure out what their customers want. Blogging, reading comments and responding to them is a great way to cut to the chase and gain an objective perspective that should keep your business on the right track.

    Developing a Personality and Brand Identity

    A large part of ensuring longevity involves distinguishing your business from the masses. That’s why companies like Apple and McDonalds have thrived. They have been able to create a unique personality and brand identity which makes them immediately noticeable and memorable. Blogging is the perfect platform for businesses that have a certain style and message, but need some polishing. By having a single writer or group of writers regularly contribute to a blog, your audience will quickly get a taste of your personality.

    Whether you take a casual and slightly sarcastic approach, or a more formal one, blogging provides an excellent outlet for branding. This is beneficial because it gives your business the opportunity to transcend a single product or service and become your own unique entity. When compared to competitors who have no real identity, this can be a serious advantage.

    Building Trust

    In order to get potential customers over the buying hump, it often depends on earning their trust. Before people spend their hard earned money on a product or service, they want to know that the company is competent and professional. They also want to know that their purchase will solve a problem or enrich their lives. To turn leads into conversions, it usually takes time and a sincere effort to gain trust. This is a huge factor because it’s one thing that money simply cannot buy.

    Providing your audience with insights pertaining to your industry is a great way to show that you know your stuff and that they should pay attention to what you have to say. For instance, a dentist might create articles that explain teeth whitening techniques or flossing tips for healthy gums. A mechanic may create posts about maximizing a car’s gas mileage or tips for changing a flat tire.

    Regardless of the industry, blogging is the perfect medium for showing what your business brings to the table and acquiring trust from your demographic. Claiming authorship on Google+ can take it even one step further and will display your headshot along with a brief bio next to your articles in Google search rankings. As readers make the connection between you and your content, this can be monumental in gaining trust.

    Proving You’re Reliable

    Along with this, adhering to a steady posting schedule is a subtle way of letting consumers know that they can count on you. In most cases, two to three quality blog posts per week is sufficient for keeping readers interested and proving that you’re on the ball. Otherwise, only creating a half-hearted article once every few months can be counterproductive and raise questions about your dependability. Fortunately, even one or two writers can usually produce the necessary amount of posts with relative ease.

    Affordability

    An added advantage of running a business blog is that it requires only a minimal financial investment. If you create content in house, the only expenditure is the cost of hosting and the only real investment required is your time, which is also minimal. If you choose to hire professional writers and/or developers, the costs are still relatively low in comparison to many other marketing techniques like pay per click advertising. This tends to level the playing field between small and large companies, which is a real breakthrough if your business is an up and comer.

    Want more information on content marketing? Head over to our comprehensive guide on content marketing here: The All-in-One Guide to Planning and Launching a Content Marketing Strategy.

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  3. How to Maximize The Value of Your Guest Blog Posts: Part 2

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    Maximizing your blog posts

    In part 1, I outlined four powerful ways to maximize your blog posts. You can create videos, design infographics, use different facts and anecdotes from the content to create a series of social shares, and compose new content around offshoot topics to provide contextual inbound links and maximize the value of each blog post.

    In part 2, we’ll take a look at five additional ways that a great blog post can be used to generate more clout, conversation, traffic, and ROI.

    1. Guest Posting as an Expert

    Easier said than done, guest posting has become one of the toughest things to do. It’s easy to get in when you approach an emerging blog or low-quality website, but webmasters of high-quality, unique, and highly informative websites are understandably wary of granting new guest blogging requests.

    It’s quite obvious why. They have an established reputation, they value every one of their readers, and they want to push only the best content available.

    When you consistently publish high-quality posts on your blog — ideally peppered with images, infographics, videos, or other media like Slideshare slide decks — you’re building a strong portfolio that can be referenced when you pitch for a guest blogging opportunity. Remember, we talked about guest blogging when we spoke about offshoot topics (item #4 in part 1). This is different.

    The best way to maximize your blog post is by using it to pitch for a guest blogging opportunity. And what’s interesting is that in many cases, you can actually write on the same topic as your original blog post (although you’ll want to approach it from a different angle).

    2. Create Slides / Presentations

    Information that can be provided in chunks goes down well. It’s received easily. Slides and presentations are fine examples of this kind of information delivery. But of course, you’ve got to do them correctly.

    As an example, this very article could be converted into a beautiful slide deck presentation, and I could use it to share on websites that accept slide deck presentations, like Slideshare.

    This wouldn’t require much extra time to do. All the research and content has already been done. I’d simply re-purpose the content into a different format — in this case, slides — and I could then use those as a new form of content to spread the word across additional, new media channels, thereby extending my reach and audience.

    Creating slides from great content that can be cut into chunks is a seriously underrated tactic.

    3. eBooks, Reports, Emails

    Another method of re-purposing content is a surprisingly old one: create eBooks out of existing content. Tie up several blog posts around a particular topic and create a PDF out of it. Or, follow the same principle as in item #2 above (slides / presentations), and create a PDF out of that.

    This strategy can be used not just to lure more people to your website, but also to collect emails and facilitate social sharing. Interestingly, this practice has also been modified of late to create a series of posts and then send them out via email on a steady and regular basis — as weekly or daily lessons.

    Again, as an example, I could create a free nine-part course out of these two articles on maximizing your blog post, and use them as bait to attract potential customers.

    4. Do Interviews

    No matter what topic you might want to address, there are experts out there who’ve been doing it for long time, better, or in an innovative way. If you can catch up with one them and get him or her to do an interview, you’ve got another piece of high-quality content (whether as video, audio, or text) that will be helpful for your readers / target market.

    In the age of interconnectedness, Twitter, and email, there’s really nothing to stop you from reaching out to these experts. You might be surprised by how many of them are more than eager to share valuable information — and not because they want to get their names published. They are genuinely willing to help!

    I did an interview with Neil Patel discussing link building in 2013. Here it is:

    If you can do video interviews, you’ve got a gold mine: you can share the video on blogs, you can transcribe the interview and come up with a blog post, and you can also go on to create slides, short reports, and possibly even clips of edited video that are short (so people are again motivated to look at it).

    5. Generate Conversation / Debate

    This one can be a little challenging.

    Some websites use each new blog post to generate conversations on their forums as soon as it is published. Examples include AppleInsider and MacRumors, which use a comment+forum post system. You can replicate that if you have an active forum or discussion board where people take notice of new posts.

    There are other ways to generate a conversation, though. You have websites like Inbound.org (for inbound marketing-related topics) and HackerNews (which tackles tech-related topics). Almost every niche has a popular discussion board of some sort where the brightest of minds in the field meet up. Share your blog posts here, not just for traffic or links, but for genuine conversations. These can help you refine your blog posts, as well, which may be the most useful and productive effect they can have for you.

    So there you go. One blog post can actually serve as the staple for nearly a month’s worth of activity that creates enormous value around it. Ultimately, you have to keep your readers in mind every time you create something: Is it truly useful for your readers / target market without being repetitive?

    If the answer is yes, you’ve hit the jackpot.

    Want more information on content marketing? Head over to our comprehensive guide on content marketing here: The All-in-One Guide to Planning and Launching a Content Marketing Strategy.

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  4. How to Maximize The Value of Your Guest Blog Posts: Part 1

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    Creating high-quality blog posts — or any content, really — is just as important as making the best possible use of it. “Maximizing” draws a line between hard work and smart work. When you set out to produce great content that will be enormously useful to the readers (your target market), you are going to have to work hard.

    Maximizing guest blog value

     

    It can end there. But if it does, you’re not really squeezing the lemon for every drop of juice. In truth, you’d be leaving a lot on the table. With every genuine, high-quality, unique, and powerful piece of content comes a plethora of tactics you can employ to maximize its effects (ie, drive traffic, conversions, and social buzz).

    But why do that at all? It takes a lot of time to compose content in the first place. Why pile on extra work by trying to maximize the blog post after it’s already been published?

    The answer is simple:

    1)  You are creating more opportunities for content, links, conversions, conversations, and readership (all of which lead to a strengthened brand, greater trust, SEO value, and of course revenue).

    2)  You are reducing the need for “more” blog posts.

    Publishing 20 different blog posts every month is a great goal to aim for, but once you establish such a routine, it can get either exhausting or boring. Every good blog post you produce opens up various avenues for exploration. These take time and effort, but they pay off better than if you spent the same time producing more blog posts.

    So what can you do? Take a look:

    1. Produce a Video

    Videos are gold mines. If you can create simple videos relating to the content you publish, you can improve the quality of your rankings, visibility, virality, and readership. It works on a simple concept: If I show you a 2000-word blog post that scrolls for a long time, then a video associated with this blog post, you’ll probably choose the video.

    Most people don’t want to read and read and read, if they don’t have to. Not every blog post can be converted into a high-grade video, but wherever it’s possible, you should do it. Videos can be as simple as animated text against a good background. The objective is to make a media component out of your blog post so it’s easier for people to get the information quickly and easily.

    Plus, you’re going to attract links from YouTube and other video sites to which you publish your videos. And speaking of keywords, it’s easier to rank videos for certain keywords on Youtube because the competition is much less fierce than on Google.

    2. Create an Infographic

    If there’s data or statistics in the content of your blog post, there’s got to be a way to present it in an infographic. Infographics get shared, retweeted, and repinned, and are excellent drivers of traffic and inbound links.

    Here again, the combination of media (graphics) and easily-readable/digestible chunks of information helps readers to warm up to this style of presentation. So if you can follow up your blog post with a relevant infographic, your chance of hitting the social shares grows stronger.

    3. Slice Up and Share on Social Media

    It’s said that the average time a tweet is visible on a person’s timeline is about two hours. After that, it gets buried under more recent tweets. This is why you find a lot of content producers (and marketers) who share the same content over and over again. Some take it to an extreme, so that it almost becomes spamming other people’s timelines.

    When you have content — such as a blog post — that’s rich and filled with great information, you can pick various details from it to share on social media. For example, this very article you’re reading could be shared in six different ways on the same social channel.

    Each time, I’d pick a particular way of maximizing the blog post (create videos, do interviews, upload bits of content on forums for conversations, etc.) and share it along with the link to this content. It would be the same link but with different angles of sharing it.

    Through this method, I’d be helping people find this article, and prevent my share from getting buried in the overload of a Twitter or Facebook newsfeed. Each method might also appeal to a different set of people.

    This is much better than sharing the same text that goes along with the link on all social channels.

    4. Explore Offshoot Topics

    For almost every blog post that you write, you can propose offshoot topics about which to write more content that is relevant and linkable. Content agencies have used this as a method of coming up with blog post topics, but the trick is to tie things up with natural link-building.

    Suppose you’ve published a post on your blog. You can generate a few offshoot topic ideas around the blog post you just published. After you produce content relating to those topics, you can use them off-site. You can use them to pitch for guest posts on other people’s relevant websites or post them on other web properties you own.

    The trick is to link back to your original blog post contextually. This gains links and also improves click-throughs, because instead of forced or blatant branding, you are creating a contextual backlink that motivates users to check out your original piece.

    High-quality content producers understand the time involved in coming up with blog post ideas and getting them produced and published. You can either choose to rinse and repeat, or you can refine this strategy to the point where the time you spend in coming up with blog post ideas (and subsequently, the content itself) is maximized.

    By creating surrounding content and opportunities like social shares, infographics, and videos (or other media like Slideshare), you can dramatically raise the chances of your content gaining more inbound links, social shares, and readers.

    Ultimately, this will increase the brand value.

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  5. 5 Ways to Come Up With Awesome Blog Post Ideas

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    5 Ways to Come Up With Awesome Blog Post Ideas

    “Content is king.”

    We’ve all heard it, time and again. But how do you come up with something that’s worth anything? Day in and day out, it seems like everyone’s writing content—a lot of it. But 90% of the commentaries on the web go down the drain, and only the remaining 10% makes it to the top of Google’s rankings, or Inbound.org, or Mashable, and makes the rounds via social channels.

    Aside from the fact that it’s hard work to churn out lengthy, valuable content on a regular basis, it’s also difficult to come up with interesting ideas. From my perspective, that’s been the biggest challenge of maintaining AudienceBloom’s content strategy.

    How do you identify topics that will connect with your audience? How do you come up with post ideas that will help you rank well? How do you locate ideas that will have an impact on your content strategy (and lead to more traffic, revenue, and brand building)?

    Over the years, a pattern has emerged that has helped me keep coming up with new and solid article ideas.

    As simple as it sounds, it can’t really work unless you do a lot of reading. Regardless of what niche/market you are in, there’s always a lot to learn, a lot to read, a lot to assimilate. If you are fully involved in the market, you surely have many personal experiences: these, too, come under “education” which should help you generate good topic ideas for your content.

    So briefly, remember these three things:

    • Read a lot. Assimilate!
    • Draw from personal experiences.
    • Answer/troubleshoot your target audience’s (or clients’) queries.

    Let’s dive in to the details.

    1. Read and Curate Great Content

    Content curation has become a mantra for many writers these days. Although I’m not a big fan of curated content, it’s definitely a productive way to come up with posts. The key is to find really helpful, actionable, and highly interesting/unique content across the web. The danger with curated content is that if you use it too often, your readers will come to think of you as just a resource-person/website rather than an authority.

    This means you don’t want to pick the most obvious, popular content and thread all those bits together to create your curated posts. If a content is particularly popular (let’s say it’s gone viral), you can assume that most of your target audience has already read or seen it. So unless it’s so vital that it bears repeating, or you can put an extra spin on it by expanding on the central idea, better not include those links in your curated content.

    Bottom line: Curated content is effective when used sparingly. Think of weekly roundups or monthly roundups of the best writing across the web in your market/niche. Ideally, your post should be a mixture of news/general information, “actionable” content, and some innovation or discovery.

    How to come up with curated content:

    • Scour the web for the best writing in your niche. Search under blogs (when you search in Google).
    • If you follow popular blogs, you already have your sources. Also, hunt down the articles those other blogs link to.
    • Online magazines, email newsletters, and even Twitter are good sources.

    Bonus tip: While reading and curating other content, you’ll get plenty of ideas from what other people in your industry or niche decided to write about. Can you give your own take or spin on a topic someone else wrote about? Did they get it wrong? Write your own version of it! There are lots of “How to come up with ideas for content” articles on the Web written by many different authors, but that didn’t stop me from writing my own. Why? Because I think my version is the most helpful and thorough of them all. Good content always wins, and it’s usually easy to improve on existing content ideas.

    2. Compile Lists

    In my experience, nothing performs better than a list post. If you clicked on the title of this article to read it, then you’re now a data point strengthening this hypothesis. List posts are crisp, easily consumable, and can be very informative.

    You can make list posts out of a variety of things. If you stumble upon three different methods in three separate blogs, then bingo: you’ve got a “3 Ways To…” post idea, ready to roll.

    3. Write “How-to’s”

    “How To Do Something” is another evergreen article title format. Coming up with one can be tough, however, unless you’ve figured out something yourself and can blog about it in your own terms.

    It’s easy to regurgitate what others have already blogged, and it’s difficult to write something unique. But if you’ve done or tried something yourself (with the help of other resources, no doubt), and then you write about it, that content is going to be more powerful. It has voice and it has an experience. Most importantly, it has the persona.

    I like to compose “How to” posts when I need to figure out something for my own good. One example that comes to mind is a post I wrote for Search Engine Journal called “How to Set Up Your Company in Bing Business Portal.” I got the idea for that post when I realized that I had no idea how to do it, and I wanted to learn. As I learned, I took screenshots, walking through each of the steps, and wrote it down in article format.

    Another instance in which “How to” posts are useful is when you would like to train your employees or clients how to do something. If you want them to learn how to do it, then it’s a safe bet that it’s useful information that other people would find value in knowing how to do as well. One example of this was my popular post titled “How to Find Guest Blogging Opportunities.” Obviously, with the popularity of guest blogging at an all-time high, I wanted to outline a quick and efficient method for finding opportunities for my employees. I decided to publish the blog publically since I believe it has a ton of value as a resource for other folks as well.

    How-to posts perform best when you’ve figured out what your market wants. To do that, you should consult:

    • Forums where your target audience interacts
    • Comments made by your target audience on your and your competitors’ websites
    • General discussions on other boards and websites (posts themselves)

    If possible, try to interact directly with your target audience—through forums, comments, email newsletters, etc.

    4. Discovered something? Write about it

    If you figure out a new way to measure ROI through Google Analytics, that’s going to be a great thing to share. If you came up with a new way to reduce load times, there’s another post idea! There are many things you do every day… and if you do something new, unique, or even something that’s old but still time-saving, cost-effective, or groundbreaking in some way or another, you’ve found a new post idea to write about.

    One example of this was my post for VentureBeat titled “How to Reduce Stress as an Entrepreneur.” The article details my experience with stress, some examples of how that stress started pervading my life, and the steps I took to solve the problems, complete with specific recommendations for tools and plugins I discovered that help de-stress my life.

    One objection to this idea might be that you’re afraid to share trade secrets or cool little advantages you’ve discovered. My advice is this: if you figured it out, someone else has too, or will soon. And the first person to publish the article about it will receive all the recognition, inbound links, website traffic, and referrals. So, don’t withhold information because you’re afraid your competitors will use it. Instead, think about ways you can be more helpful than your competitors are to your target market; how can you be the authority in your space that your potential customers think of when they’re ready to buy?

    5. Get controversial

    Plunging into a controversy is risky business but if done correctly, you could have a shot at virality. A good, controversial post — say, “Everything You Know About SEO Is Wrong” — has the ability to generate instant and relevant reader interest. But where do you find controversies?

    • Break the rules. Say why a trend is wrong.
    • Criticize someone else’s post (but do it respectfully and sensibly).
    • Disrupt the market by telling everybody what they think is wrong (but be ready with a strong explanation).
    • Touch on harm, fear, and lies to generate controversial topics.

    In Conclusion

    Stay on top of the best places to make sure you have your finger on the pulse of the market.

    • Discussion boards. These include forums and websites like Inbound.org and Mashable
    • Comment threads on popular websites
    • Twitter, Facebook and other social channels (follow people and brands)

    In the end, coming up with content ideas is half the battle, but it’s the first part of the battle. And if the content ideas are no good, the post won’t draw much interest. I hope these five tips for coming up with ideas helps you overcome the first challenge on your road to becoming a content marketing expert. Do you have other ways to come up with article ideas? Let me know in the comments!

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  6. The Ultimate, Step-by-Step Guide to Building Your Business by Guest Blogging

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    Many business owners are passionate about their product or service, but assume they lack the expertise in the online marketing sphere to gain visibility and website traffic.  This is a common challenge faced by many of today’s businesses and entrepreneurs.

    But in reality, you don’t need to be an SEO professional or online marketing expert to succeed with your online marketing initiative. In fact, if you have the skills to start a business, you already likely have all the skills necessary to exponentially increase your website traffic while building your brand equity for the future.

    The secret to success in the online marketing world, and the solution for business owners struggling to generate website traffic, is to establish your brand (and yourself) as a credible authority within your niche, and the best tactic for doing so is called guest blogging.

    Guest blogging has become the darling of the SEO industry, but that doesn’t mean that only SEO professionals can do it. In fact, in the competitive world of online marketing, it’s necessary for business owners to do, or risk being burned by the competitors who are.

    This article is meant for business owners who want an easy-to-follow, understandable guide to building their business online through guest blogging.

    Why Guest Blogging, and What are the Alternatives?

    It’s important to note that guest blogging is not the only tactic business owners should pursue. Online marketing is a diverse and rapidly-changing field that currently consists of tactics including (but not limited to):

    • PPC (paid search)
    • Paid ads
    • Social media marketing
    • Search engine optimization (SEO)
    • Content marketing
    • Email marketing

    With the exception of paid search and paid ads, all the other tactics intertwine and affect each other. For instance, a strong social media marketing campaign will positively affect your organic search rankings, improving your SEO. And a strong content marketing campaign will provide fuel for social media marketing and SEO campaigns.

    While paid search and ad campaigns can yield great ROI in the right situations, they usually amount to short-term gains with little or no long-term impact. A good SEO campaign, on the other hand, is like building equity in your business that lasts for the long haul. It’s similar to the difference between buying a house and building equity vs. just paying rent.

    So, why do I so strongly advocate guest blogging? Because a properly-executed guest blogging campaign yields the strongest and safest ROI while simultaneously supporting your SEO, social media, and content marketing efforts. It builds the most valuable, long-term equity in your business, and, most importantly, requires nothing more than a computer and an Internet connection to execute. This means there are no excuses; if you’re reading this, you already have everything necessary to start a guest blogging campaign and grow your business online.

    Don’t have time? Hire staff and assign them some of your duties to take things off your plate. Trust me, this is an initiative you should be making time for.

    The Benefits of Guest Blogging

    There are many benefits of guest blogging:

    • Builds and improves Author Rank (editor’s note 4/29/16: Google Authorship is no longer a thing, but it’s not known if Author Rank still is)
    • Creates links to your website
    • Strengthens awareness of your brand
    • Aligns your brand with industry leaders
    • Builds your personal brand
    • Generates leads and traffic
    • Creates social signals

    Here’s the breakdown on each of the benefits.

    Builds and improves Author Rank: Author Rank is how Google calculates the credibility of the author of a particular page, affecting how well that page ranks in search. Credible, authoritative, trusted authors receive “bonus points” in the rankings for articles they write related to their niches of expertise. I believe Author Rank will grow significantly in importance in the ranking algorithm over the next few years.

    Creates links to your website: Inbound links have the heaviest weight of all the ranking factors in Google and Bing. Inbound links are considered much like “votes” by one website for another. Links from more credible, trusted websites will be treated as more important votes, so it’s best to spend your efforts focusing on getting inbound links from authoritative publishers.

    Strengthens awareness of your brand: Every time you publish an article, you’ll get an accompanying author bio. See the screenshot below, which is my author bio at Search Engine Journal. The more posts I make at Search Engine Journal, the more exposure AudienceBloom gets there, which helps to build the brand image and awareness, driving higher-quality traffic which converts more often, increasing sales.

    Aligns your brand with industry leaders: Aligning your business name and website with brands that Google already ranks at the top in search engines is the best way to become a part of Google’s inner trust circle. This results in higher rankings for your website, driving more traffic, leads, and sales.

    Builds your personal brand: After a while, if you publish enough great content that your readers love, you’ll start to become an authority in your niche. Once you become a niche authority, this opens the doors for many more opportunities, such as:

    • Speaking opportunities at events (for which you can get paid and further build brand recognition)
    • Easier access to guest posting on more, higher-quality publishers in your industry
    • More leads from your target market
    • Higher quality website traffic

    Generates leads and traffic: Give advice or solutions to problems, and you’ll come to be recognized as a trustworthy source for further help, resulting in leads and sales.

    Creates social signals: Social signals include Tweets, Facebook Likes, LinkedIn shares, Google +1’s, and more. Together, social signals represent a quality signal to search engines, because pages that are shared and discussed more often in social media channels are usually higher-quality. They are growing fast in importance as one of Google’s many ranking factors, so it’s important to get lots of social activity associated with your brand in order to stand above the rest in search engine rankings.

    Your Step-by-Step Guide to Guest Blogging

    Step 1: Start by ensuring that your social media profiles are complete and optimized. Be sure to set up your Facebook page, Google+ profile, Twitter account, and LinkedIn profile. Additionally, be sure to include links to your social channels on your website (usually in the upper right corner) and link to your website from your social channels.

    Step 2: Write ten high-quality, in-depth, totally amazing (yes, AMAZING) articles related to your industry, then publish them on your website. I recommend publishing them as blog posts rather than static pages. Writing anything less than amazing articles won’t help you, and may actually hurt you; your goal here is to impress editors of large websites, so show them what sort of value you’re capable of providing.

    Great content has the following elements:

    • Information that’s valuable, interesting, or insightful
    • Proper spelling & grammar
    • Subheaders to segment the article, making it easier to read
    • Text formatting (bold, italics, bullet points, etc.)
    • Images or video embeds

    Additionally, longer content tends to rank better in search results; aim for a minimum of 1,000 words per article you write. For more information about how to optimize an article for SEO, see “10 Steps to SEO-Optimizing Your Blog Articles.”

    Here are 8 ways to get new ideas for articles to write:

    1. Visit Q&A websites like Yahoo Answers, Quora, and Answers.com. Search for your keyword, see what questions people commonly ask, then see if you can answer one or more of them with a new article.
    2. Find other industry blogs and read their articles to see what ideas they’ve come up with. If you can write a different take on a particular topic, go for it!
    3. Think about upcoming events or holidays and how you could tie those into your industry. If Halloween is coming up, perhaps the “Top 5 Ways a Zombie Would Invest in the Stock Market” would be a good article idea for my friend. If the super bowl is just around the corner, then the “Top 10 Craziest Super Bowl Mascots Ever” could be an interesting article that would attract readership.
    4. Think about questions you commonly hear from clients or potential clients. Can you compile them into one article that answers them all?
    5. Analyze industry news.
    6. Write about how you solved a recent problem.
    7. Think about questions you currently have, and figure out the answers to them, then compose an article which outlines your findings.
    8. Create proprietary or original data, then publish an analysis.

    Step 3: Now, it’s time to identify and contact authority publishers in your industry. If you have industry connections, contact them. Peruse your LinkedIn profile for other folks who could help as well.

    If you’re technically savvy, refer to my post “How to Find Guest Blogging Opportunities” which outlines a step-by-step process for quickly identifying publishers in your industry by using a software tool.

    For non-technical folks, start by making a list of keywords for your business or industry. For example, if you’re in the business of selling raw dog food, then your keywords might be “raw dog food,” “natural dog food,” raw food for dogs,” etc. Your goal is to figure out what queries your target market would use to search for the product or service you offer in Google. For a walkthrough on how to figure out what keyword(s) you should focus on, see The Definitive Guide to Using Google’s Keyword Planner Tool for Keyword Research and How to Identify Long-tail Keywords for Your SEO Campaign.

    Next, visit Google and search for your first keyword. Go through each of the top ten pages or so, and keep track of any websites on which you’d love to get exposure. Great choices will include websites that are well-known, get lots of shares and tweets on their articles, have a lot of traffic, and get a lot of user comments.

    Step 4: After you’ve gathered a list of publishers which would make good candidates for outreach, gather their contact information. Usually, it’s easy to find an editor’s email address on the website, but you may need to use a contact form to get in touch with someone. LinkedIn or Twitter are good sources for finding editor’s contact information, too.

    Record the publishers you have contacted in a spreadsheet in order to keep your efforts organized.

    Here’s a sample email template you can use:

    Hi [editor name or website],

    My name is [your name], and I currently write for [website A, website B, website C].

    I’m a business owner and passionate about [your industry]. I’m trying to meet new people, and build a name for myself as a thought leader in the [your industry] community. I would be honored to have the opportunity to contribute to [website]. My goal is establish my name as an expert in the industry while giving positively to the community.

    Would you please let me know if you’d be open to having me write for [website]?

    Samples of my writing:

        • Sample URL 1
        • Sample URL 2
        • Sample URL 3

    Cheers,

    -[Your Name]

    As you send outreach emails, I highly recommend using Boomerang for Gmail, which is a Gmail plugin that will automatically remind you if you don’t receive a response after a certain amount of time. This is a tool I simply can’t recommend highly enough.

    Step 5: As you get responses, agree on acceptable article titles and formats. Then write and send the articles to the editors. Remember to have your Boomerang remind you after a few days if you don’t hear back. You don’t want your articles to go to waste if emails slip through the cracks!

    Step 6: Every time one of your articles gets published, share it via Facebook, Twitter, and any other applicable social channel, then be sure to say “thank you” to the editor. Then, in a spreadsheet, record the URL of the published article. Whenever you write a new article, refer back to this spreadsheet and see if you can link to other articles you’ve written. This will help those articles get more visibility, further building your brand.

    Step 7: Continue identifying and contacting more publishers with article pitches. As you contribute to more websites, you’ll find it even easier to get on board with new ones. As you grow your relationships with certain publishers, you may request or be offered a regular contributor column (ie, one contribution per week).

    Step 8: Keep another spreadsheet that tracks how long it’s been since you last contributed to each publisher. Every time an article goes live, be sure to update that spreadsheet. If it’s been over a month since the last time you contributed to any specific publisher, reach back out with a new offer to write. This will help to grow your relationship with that publisher, opening the doors for more frequent guest blogging.

    Here are some handy Google Doc formulas for tracking how long it’s been since your last post:

    Column A: Publisher Name

    Column B: Last Post – set the date that your last post at this publisher was published

    Column C: Days Since Last Post – =TODAY()-B2

    Is Guest Posting a Sustainable Online Marketing Strategy?

    Absolutely; in fact, it’s exactly what Google and Bing have said they want you to do, according to this article:

    “[Duane Forrester] suggested contacting an authority site in your space to see if they would publish a guest article that you write particularly for them. If the authority site finds your content valuable enough to publish, that’s a completely different situation from article hubs that allow anyone to publish anything.”

    Conclusion

    I hope you’ve enjoyed this guide on building your business through guest blogging. I strongly believe it’s the most valuable tactic business owners can (and should) be using to build a sustainable online business for the long haul, while growing traffic and sales. Did this guide help you? Are you going to give it a try? Leave a comment and tell me your thoughts!

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  7. Why an Active Blog is Necessary for a Successful SEO Initiative

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    The most important rule of blog management and creation: if you aren’t going to regularly update a blog, don’t bother creating one at all. Nothing looks worse than a blog that hasn’t been updated in months. It represents a lack of care for customers and contributes to a negative overall impression. While many companies think they need to jump on the blog bandwagon because everyone else is, many don’t realize exactly why everyone else is.

    The truth is, an active blog has many benefits, including:

    • Helps your website get indexed more frequently, resulting in better organic search visibility and traffic.
    • Improves conversion rate because your users see that the website is active (and, therefore, so is the business). Also helps to establish authority and expertise in the niche, building brand loyalty and further increasing conversion rate.
    • Provides discussion content for social media streams, and helps generate social signals when readers decide to share articles via Twitter or Facebook. Social signals improve your organic search rankings.
    • Allows you to rank for more keywords relevant to your niche. Every blog post is like adding another raffle ticket to a hat, giving you more opportunities to rank for user queries that are looking for your services.
    • Helps generate inbound links from other publishers looking for relevant articles to cite, which improves your rankings, generates brand awareness, and drives inbound leads.
    • Improves click-through rate in search engine results pages when paired with Google Authorship markup, resulting in more website traffic. 

    Google’s Freshness Update

    Google’s Freshness Update has shown just how much importance Google is placing on showing up-to-date, fresh information in its search results. This is a major reason for websites to ensure they are continuously updating their existing content as well as publishing new content.

    Blog posts also fall under the category of pages that search engines love to crawl and index. Not only should companies be updating their regular website content pages regularly (ie, their About Us and Contact Us pages), blog posts should be the medium through which significant additional value is added to readers, customers, and potential customers. They provide that dose of freshness that search engines are looking for.

    Blog Content Mix: Company News & Unique Value

    One of the types of content that’s great for SEO and readers alike is company news, which can include new hires, products, services, or new locations. These types of posts are filled with information (such as employee names, product names, and city names) that users might be searching for in search engines. They also reveal what’s been happening in the company recently, which is useful for potential customers, and shows Google that the company takes customer service seriously, making them a better candidate for displaying prominently in search results. Google’s emphasis on fresh content stems from its desire to provide the most up-to-date information available for website visitors, because this gives users a better experience.

    In addition to existing readers and customers that can stay updated from these types of news items, new visitors will also appreciate a cohesive view of what the company has been up to recently. This could lead to repeat visits or even a contact that could translate into a sale.

    A good mix of blog content includes unique news releases specific to the company as well as articles that offer compelling, actionable value to readers. While writing informational or insightful articles for a blog is excellent, throwing in once-in-a-lifetime news pieces as part of the company blog provides even better variety.

    Engaged Readers = More Traffic & Visibility

    Search engines are currently building in personalized search to more accurately find the right results for their users. This means that companies need to meet that need by focusing their blog content on what’s most engaging for their readers. This happens by writing content that answers questions or fosters discussion. In other words, it’s important for bloggers to stay updated in their industry and write posts that educate and keep reader interest.

    Blog posts that usually do well have a great title (such as those that begin with “How to…” or “## Reasons Why…”), can capture initial interest, while unique opinions or resource round-ups can keep it. To write posts that are engaging to readers, look at what gets most traffic and social shares, and prioritize writing about those topics or in that format. For instance, if video blogs generally yield the highest traffic, replacing one written post with a video equivalent may actually take less time (depending on editing) and could have a higher impact.

    And that’s where it all comes full circle: higher reader interest and more engagement results in better overall site and blog traffic. Great content is the best form of natural SEO.

    Gain Exposure and Credibility, and Google’s Authorship Effect

    Writing great content will naturally lead to better exposure, both through social media and other blogs and websites. Active social media users and bloggers love to share great content with their own audiences that they believe has merit. Because Google and Bing have incorporated personalized social search into results, blog posts written by companies or individuals with an extensive social network are often shown more frequently and prominently in search results, thus leading to more traffic.

    In addition, when a blog establishes itself as an authority in its field, it will be more likely to garner inbound links, which are a core factor in the ranking algorithm. More exposure for a company’s blog posts online will indicate to both online readers and search engines that a company’s website (and by extension, the company) is a credible source, building brand loyalty, improving conversion rates, and resulting in better visibility in search engine results pages.

    This effect is amplified when Google Authorship is implemented, which causes search results to include authorship markup, placing an image next to links in search results. These images draw the eye and attract more clicks, resulting in higher traffic, more leads, and more sales. Additionally, Authorship has been shown to increase the average ranking of pages on which it is applied, due to the effect of Author Rank.

    Being seen as a credible resource in the industry should be the top priority for all companies looking to build an extensive online presence. Luckily, a blog is the first step to becoming an industry resource, while vastly benefiting the overall SEO initiative.

     

     

    Google photo credit: Matt McGee via photopin cc
    San Francisco print credit: thelittlecanoe on Etsy

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  8. Are You Getting Great Results for Your Business Blog?

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    One of the most indispensable online marketing tools today is blogging. It’s hard to imagine implementing a successful online marketing campaign that doesn’t include a blog in the marketing mix. For online entrepreneurs, blogging plays a central role in their day-to-day strategy to provide their customers and their audience valuable information.

    If you are new to blogging, it can seem like an overwhelming task. There are things you need to consider carefully so as not to waste your precious time. Effective blogging is supposed to help you increase leads for your business and deliver value to your audience.

    If you do blogging the wrong way, you’re bound to waste valuable time and resources, as well as place your credibility in jeopardy.

    To help you get the most out of your blogging pursuits, the following are some of the primary components of an effective blogging strategy:

    • Social media share buttons
    • Calls to action
    • Blog layout
    • Visuals (images and videos)
    • Option for previews
    • Fast loading speeds

    Social media share buttons

    Social media is exploding, obviously, and it’s providing great opportunities for bloggers to get the word out about their blog to a broad range of potential audience with remarkably little effort. As people spend more time online in the social networks, it’s important to integrate tools that will allow you to connect your blog instantly to the locations where folks are hanging out.

    That’s why it’s crucial to incorporate social media share buttons into your blog. These include Facebook’s Like button, Twitter, LinkedIn, StumbleUpon, and the Google+ +1 button.

    However, you don’t want to overuse share buttons. Only include those that prove to be effective for your blog. The ones listed above are the ones we use here on the AudienceBloom blog; so far, each of these share buttons has provided us with tremendous results in terms of traffic and lead generation.

    The calls to action

    Calls to action are a must. After all, the ultimate goal of a business blog is to capture leads. One of the most powerful ways to capture leads is to include a call to action at the end of each of your blog posts. A call to action can be as simple as telling your readers where to get more information that complements your post, or letting them know where to sign up for a newsletter.

    I often include a call to action at the conclusion of each of my blog posts to tell readers how to get information about our social media marketing services.

    Blog layout

    The layout of your blog is also crucial. Most successful business blogs are two-columned with a prominent header and spare amount of ads. Make it easy for your visitors to navigate around your blog: be sure to keep the layout simple and user-friendly.

    Include visuals for stronger engagement

    Visuals such as photos, videos, and infographics are some of the most engaging components of an effective blog. People are easily drawn to content that is complemented by strong visuals that strengthen the blog post’s message. The photos you use should either demonstrate your message or act as a nice introduction to give readers a visual sense of what to expect from your content.

    Make it easy for readers to preview your content

    We live in an extremely fast-paced era in which people are on the go and always in a hurry. That’s why when you write a post, you want to be sure to make it easy to scan by including lots of sub headers, bullets, and bolded words. If you do that, you will make it easier for your readers to get the message, even if they don’t take the trouble to go through your entire post.

    Fast load speeds

    Nothing is as annoying as a site that takes a long time to download. Load speed is now a ranking factor. Make sure your blog loads quickly to enhance user experience. Work with your developer to find out how to speed up your blog’s load speed.

    Conclusion

    There are lots of other things to mention about effective business blogging, but the tips we’ve provided in this post should be plenty to get you started right and achieve the results you expect from your business blog.

    For inquiries on effective copywriting and content strategy for your business blog, contact us for your options.

    Want more information on content marketing? Head over to our comprehensive guide on content marketing here: The All-in-One Guide to Planning and Launching a Content Marketing Strategy.

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  9. How Automated Content Generation and Recycling is Bad for Business

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    Creating high-quality content on an ongoing basis is one of the most important aspects of running an online business. For one thing, creating specific content caters to a specific audience. And populating your site with fresh content regularly is crucial for raising your site’s ranking in search.

    But let’s be honest. The steady composition of new content can take a toll on your resources, especially if you are running a solo online enterprise.

    Because writing marketing posts is indeed an exhausting activity, some online marketers have opted to use software that automates the process of churning out content for their sites. It sounds like a great idea — one that helps businesses save on their precious time and resources.

    But is it really smart to entrust content production to software?

    Before we can address that question, we need to delve into an issue that is at the heart of web content production.

    To plagiarize or spin?

    Spinning an article has become a popular tactic among many content marketers. It has become much more acceptable to spin an article than copy or plagiarize an entire article without attributing the content to the proper source.

    Article-spinning software aims to create a unique piece of content out of an already published article in such a way that it it will pass duplicate tests administered by the search engines.

    What an article-spinning software does is to mechanically create a new version of an essay or review by using synonyms to replace certain terms, or rephrasing entire sentences and paragraphs to make the piece look and read differently from the original.

    How spinning crashed

    Spinning articles worked for a while … at least during the early stages of search engine optimization. Automating content production certainly helped online marketers to free up their time and save on resources. This approach allowed many marketers to focus on other tasks that were also important to their business.

    The need to automate the content-writing process arose when it took a toll on the marketer’s time. As many of you can undoubtedly recognize, even some of the simplest forms of writing require a level of critical thinking that no software has thus far been able to match. Despite the advances in technology, no software is capable of writing in a way an average human does. At least not currently.

    As search engines have gotten smarter, they have become better able to determine which content has been spun and which has not. We are now at the point where spinning an article using automated software no longer works.

    Search engines are currently capable of determining how an article should read; i.e., that it should flow smoothly and naturally. We humans are also readily able to tell whether an article has been spun or not. Spun articles tend to be difficult to read; the sentence structures are convoluted. That’s why most of us human web browsers tend to discard content at the first hint that it has been spun robotically.

    The death of content duplication

    Before the age of Google Panda, authors were free to distribute a single article to as many different article directories as they could find. However, when Google released an update that penalizes duplicate content, the tradition of submitting a single content to multiple directories was effectively outlawed. Google and other search engines became hell-bent on implementing measures to provide nothing but quality information for users.

    If you are actively promoting articles and other forms of content to increase your business’ exposure and your ranking, be careful not to damage the search engines’ trust, especially Google’s. The search engines are now disqualifying sites that use various forms of content duplication. As you know, Google is not very forgiving about that.

    Conclusion

    Quality will always be at the top of the agenda for Google and other search engines. It should be on yours too. Always strive to write content of unique and excellent quality. The search engines will approve — but more importantly, your target human audience will, too.

    If you would like to know how we can help you with your content marketing strategies, contact us to find out more about the opportunities.

    Want more information on content marketing? Head over to our comprehensive guide on content marketing here: The All-in-One Guide to Planning and Launching a Content Marketing Strategy.

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  10. Affiliate Marketing Tips: Making it Big with Authority Sites

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    Are you an affiliate marketer looking for marketing tips to help you succeed online?

    Then you’re in luck. This one’s for you.

    Because of Google’s latest update, dubbed Penguin, you could be having a hard time ranking your own affiliate website. Post-Penguin, a lot of sites have been negatively affected, with their rankings dropping substantially. Some even woke up and discovered their sites had disappeared from Google’s index.

    Naturally, marketers are extremely worried about where all this could lead.

    But it seems that the latest update Google rolled out will hold for the long term. That’s because Penguin is all about giving value to authority, quality, and relevance. And that’s what this entire search engine ranking game is all about.

    If you are new to affiliate marketing, that might discourage you in a big way.

    However, on the flip side of it, Penguin has actually created new opportunities for newbie affiliate marketers to make it big online. The best thing you can do these days is to ride on the solid reputation of authority websites by hosting your content on them.

    How’s that possible? What are authority sites and how do you get them to host your content?

    Sites familiarly known as web 2.0 sites like Tumblr, Yahoo! Voice, and Blogger, as well as video sites like YouTube and DailyMotion are authority sites. These are some of the biggest authority sites out there.

    Post-Penguin, there have been reports that content hosted on Blogger that disappeared from Google’s index has recently resurfaced. That missing content is actually sitting pretty on Google’s first page now.

    If you are a newbie affiliate marketer, we’ve got some nice affiliate marketing tips that you should take advantage of in order to dominate your niche with the help of authority sites.

    Use Tumblr or Blogger as your blogging platform
    Your new content will have a chance of ranking faster on the search engines if it’s hosted on either Tumblr or Blogger. That’s what recent experiments have shown. However, if you’re just starting out, you should probably choose Blogger over Tumblr.

    Why? Is Blogger any better? Not necessarily, but there is one very powerful reason to go with Blogger: It is owned by no less than Google.

    That being said, Blogger admittedly has a lot of shortcomings. It falls short of the user-friendliness of WordPress. But Blogger is relatively easy to customize, both on the dashboard and the HTML side.

    For your Blogger.com site’s name, choose one that is keyword optimized. Use a blogger name with the keywords that your affiliate marketing campaign is optimizing for. If you are selling car DVD players, for example, choose CarDVDPlayer.Blogspot.com as the name for your Blogger-hosted blog’s name.

    Upload videos on top video-sharing sites like YouTube
    YouTube is still the biggest and most visited video site on the planet. It is the largest in terms of videos uploaded and it is the most popular in terms of the number of visits per day. Above all, like Blogger.com, YouTube is owned by Google.

    The search engines are favoring video even more than they used to. That should make you want to step up your online video marketing for your affiliate campaigns.

    However, you should also distribute your content on other video sites. Some of the top choices would include MySpace, Vimeo, DailyMotion, and Videofy.me. These sites also have the ability to provide your campaign with a much-needed boost in traffic.

    Other affiliate marketers have noted that some of the videos they posted on DailyMotion showed up on the search engines way ahead of the ones they posted on YouTube.

    Conclusion
    Now is your time to make it big online. Follow these affiliate marketing tips and you won’t have to wait very long before you see your first affiliate sales.

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