Breaking Through a Blogging (writing) Slump
I hope you’re maintaining an active blog on your business site.
If you aren’t, then you should **read this post** about why you should be doing it and the many ways it can give your business a boost.
One of the most common problems that online businesses have with running their blog is coming up with new ideas for content. Without content, you don’t have a blog, right? Well, don’t let the fear of having nothing to write about stop you from launching one.
Here are a few good tips to ensure that you never run out of ideas to write about …
Read, Read, and Read
Reading goes hand-in-hand with writing. If you don’t read, then what are you going to have to write about? Reading not only gives you information you can use yourself, but whether openly or subconsciously, you’re forming an opinion on the things you read while you’re reading them.
I’m sure you read your industry news sources and publications. But are you taking the time to get out there and read the blogs of other people who work in the fields related to yours? You should.
You’ll discover new points of view. You’ll learn about tools you may not have known about, that make running your business easier. You may pick up industry tricks of the trade with which you were not acquainted . . . and the list goes on.
When you’re reading other people’s blogs, there are three things to remember:
- Always be thinking about how you could support what they’re saying or could start a good debate. Look for opportunities to get in a fight. Yep, you read that right. If you disagree with something you’re reading and you can back up your reasoning or at least offer a thoughtful insight as to why you disagree — there’s an awesome blog post right there. By disagreeing, you can often open a two-way street between yourself and the other guy that readers and customers will follow and want to interact with. That brings you attention. Even agreeing can be effective. Write your own take, add information, and link to the other post as the “starting point” for your thoughts. Example: “Just yesterday, I was reading xxx post at xxx blog and it got me thinking. I believe they’re right on the money, but there are a few other points I feel could have been made but weren’t” . . . and continue with your post.
- There’s more to a blog post than what the author wrote. There’s a whole world of opportunity if you take the time to read the comments and interactions that the post inspired. Many times, readers will point out mistakes or questions that weren’t covered. They’ll add to the post with more tips, information, or resources. If you take all of that in, you’ll develop an amazing foundation for quality, helpful blog posts your readers will love.
The Traditional Round-Up
This ploy has been used for ages, but it’s still a good way to draw attention to yourself while directing your readers toward valuable info. They’ll appreciate it.
In a round-up, you’re simply writing a post that includes a list of other bloggers for a specific purpose.
- Example one: You can write a post about the top five bloggers that are active in your field and why you think they deserve to make that list.
- Example two: You can create a blog post that outlines the top ten online tools that people in your field or your customers would find helpful.
- Example three: You can find examples of the best way to use your product/service — e.g., something like “7 Amazing Examples of Productxxxx In Action” or “4 Innovative Uses of Productxxx that Got Real Results”
Common Question Curation
Read through the contents of your inbox . . . your comment cards . . . your help desk. What are some of the most common questions that your customers have? You could easily start with these questions and create blog posts out of them.
You can take this further by actively monitoring social media. Watch for questions about anything related to your business or industry. You might even find people posing pertinent questions to one of your competitors. It doesn’t matter. These are potential customers.
Once you’ve created this kind of post, continue to monitor social media and question/answer sites (Yahoo Answers, Quoara, Ask.com, etc.). Now you have an easy way to get in front of targeted potential customers without being direct, overly sales-minded, or just plain annoying. Direct people to your helpful blog post that answers their question.
BottleNose: Real-Time Activity, Trends, and Popularity
Last, but not least … a neat little tool I discovered that helps you find trending topics, popular posts, and pages right now, through search of the most recent comments, trending keywords and hashtags, etc.
It’s called BottleNose. Check out the screenshot below and the little overview beneath it:
In this screenshot I simply typed in “shoes” and searched. Let’s look at how helpful this could be if you sell shoes or shoe-related goods and services …
- The green circles are the different areas of the results. Pretty obvious.
- The red arrow: Hmmm, Lil Wayne is coming out with his own line of shoes? Interesting ….
- The blue arrows: This is very popular. Three different posts are getting a lot of attention. They all relate to a news item about a police officer in New York who gave a homeless man a pair of shoes. YES, this could be helpful, if you think outside the box. Suppose you announce today that you’re going to give away one pair of shoes to a homeless person each week until Christmas — just like the New York police officer did; you could get a lot of new traffic to your site. Your blog post would be fresh and unique, and it contains keywords that people are searching for. Something like “NY Police Officer Inspires Your-Company-Name to Give Homeless Person Shoes Each Week ‘Til Christmas.” Can you see the potential this has? I hope so!
Blogging shouldn’t be a chore. It should be inspiring, and if you learn how to think outside the box with it, blogging should be something you look forward to doing.
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