Tag Archives: blog marketing

How To Generate A Steady Stream Of Tantalizing Topics For Your Blog

finding new blogging topics

Business blogs always sound like a great idea, until you run out of interesting things to blog about. We’ve all heard of writer’s block, but “topic block” is another common affliction among bloggers, and it can set in three weeks, three months or three years after launch. Here are a few techniques to help you keep your posts full of information that your audience wants to read, listen to, or view.

Get Help!

Topic block has set in. Now what? One of the most valuable business lessons I ever learned is, when you’ve got a lot of hard work staring you in the face … get somebody else to do it! This technique works like a charm for topic generation. Perhaps the best sources of topics for your blog are your readers, your customers, and your sales and customer service teams — survey these people to get their ideas. This can be done by —

  • Talking to them in person
  • Writing a blog post asking for their input
  • Emailing an online survey
  • Asking publicly or through private messages on social media

The key to making this work is guiding the responses. Asking an open-ended question such as, “What should I write about?” requires the respondent to do too much thinking. Frame your canvassing efforts with questions that facilitate a useful and specific response. Examples —

  • What is your biggest business challenge with (product/service/industry)?
  • What is your biggest operational challenge with (product/service/industry)?
  • What is your biggest financial challenge with (product/service/industry)?
  • How has this (product/service) helped you save money?
  • How has this (product/service) helped you become more efficient?
  • How has this (product/service) helped you?
  • What (product/service/industry) issue confuses you?
  • What do you wish you knew about this (product/service/industry)?

You should include response options if you do an online survey and have some ready if you’re in a live meeting to make it even easier for the respondents.

Look at Keywords

Whether or not you’re worried about SEO for your blog (you probably should be), keywords are an excellent place to mine for blog topics. The keyword data about search terms reveals a lot about what issues are of wide concern, and the language people use to research those issues. Uncovering common issues drives interesting blog posts, and using the popular language in the post title and text attracts blog traffic and holds reader attention.

Online keyword research tools such as Google AdWords Keyword Planner and Moz Keyword Explorer are easy to use and exceedingly helpful. For instance, if you have a food blog and wanted to write about rice pudding, the Moz tool might lead you to consider one or more of the following topics —

  • How to Make Rice Pudding
  • How to Make Rice Pudding From Scratch
  • How to Make Easy Rice Pudding
  • Rice Pudding Recipe With Cooked Rice
  • Baked Rice Pudding Recipe
  • Simple Recipe for Rice Pudding
  • Easy, Creamy Rice Pudding
  • Best Rice Pudding Ever
  • Rice Pudding With No Egg
  • Stovetop Rice Pudding

Note that this type of result can translate into multiple posts around the same topic. In this case, a general “How to Make Rice Pudding” post could be followed up with several more specific posts using titles from the list above.

Also, if your company is running a PPC campaign, you absolutely need to review the keyword data. It will tell you what keyword phrases are generating conversions — which tells you what keyword phrases are generating interest. It’s a must-do topic creation chore.

Stop Writing and Start Talking

A final suggestion for topic generation — probably the most enjoyable and for me, the most productive of all — is talking to colleagues and peers. Co-workers, bloggers in your niche or related ones, and maybe even competitors, are just like you, in the sense they are living, breathing and thinking about the same issues day in and day out.

Whether you talk one on one, attend a local meet-up, travel to a convention, use Skype or social media, you will eventually find people who make great brainstorming companions, and topic ideas will flow like a raging river. The nice thing about this topic-generation technique is that it helps not only you, but also your companions. They will develop ideas to help their business and blog, and may lead to guest blogging opportunities and other forms of collaboration that are good for business all the way around.

5 ways to generate more business with guest blogging

5 ways to generate more business with guest blogging

Guest blogging is a great way to generate fresh traffic to your blog and website, provided you make the right moves and you have crossed a certain threshold level. I repeatedly talk about this “certain threshold level” because unless you have crossed it, nobody is going to bother with approaching you for guest blogging opportunities.

Guest blogging has two sides:

  1. You offering guest blogs to other high traffic-blogs
  2. People offering to write for your blog to get exposure for their own website or blog

As rightly mentioned in this Copyblogger blog post on the power of guest blogging and how it frees you from the clutches of search engines like Google, guest blogging can be a double-edged sword. To understand this, you first need to understand

Why do people guest blog and invite guest bloggers?

Why do you want to guest blog on other blogs and why do people want to guest blog on your blog? You can achieve the following by guest blogging:

  1. Get more direct traffic by publishing your blog post on another, high-traffic blog and getting your byline included.
  2. Expose your ideas to a different, wider audience.
  3. As a person or as a brand become known to more people.
  4. Get fresh content for your own blog by letting others write for it.
  5. Get yourself some respite by not having to continuously write yourself and instead, allowing others to generate quality content for your blog.
  6. Increase search engine rankings.

Unfortunately, it is the last, 6th reason for which people mostly guest blog and this is how you can become a victim of spamming if you are not careful about for whom you write and from whom you accept content. If you can take care of both these aspects guest blogging is one of the greatest ways of getting access to a wider audience as well as continuously getting new content for your own blog.

How do you generate more business with guest blogging?

Yes, ultimately you want to generate more business. How does guest blogging contribute? Here is how…

  1. You get exposure: If yours is a relatively new business or if you are looking for a bigger audience you can either wait for your search engine rankings to improve and your social media and social networking audience to increase or you can guest blog for more famous blogs. A good thing about guest blogging is, provided you use the right sort of blogs, you can gain massive amount of traffic in no time. How does this help you grow your business? When you are guest blogging you are mostly targeting highly focused, niche blogs, read and viewed by people who are already interested in what you have to offer. Suppose you are in the business of producing biodegradable building materials. Which blogs would you choose? Maybe architecture? Alternative lifestyle? Green living? Regular visitors to these blogs will be more eager to check out your website and become your customers.
  2. You expand your influence as an expert:
    Suppose you make a living off advising people how to do a particular thing. For that you need to establish yourself as an expert. You want to be known as an expert in your field. More and more people should know about your expertise so that when they need the expertise that you can provide, they remember that you can provide it. The more you are known as an expert, the better are your prospects.
  3. You get more targeted traffic to your website:
    Generating more business from your website and blog is all about getting targeted traffic. Most of the websites face this problem that although they get lots of traffic, they are not attracting the sort of traffic that turns into business. When you are guest blogging you carefully choose the blogs. As I have mentioned in the first bullet, if you are producing biodegradable building materials you will naturally be guest blogging for blogs that attract an audience interested in nature-friendly architecture, green living and pursuing alternative lifestyles. This will send your way lots of targeted traffic and this in turn will improve your conversion rate and hence, generate more business for you.
  4. You get quality content for your own blog: Just as you are providing quality content to other blogs as guest blogger, when you invite other guest bloggers to write for your blog, you are engaging more and more people to generate content for you. As a small business it might be difficult to produce lots of quality content on an ongoing basis over a sustained period of time. But once your blog has crossed a certain threshold level of popularity and traffic, greater number of people will be interested in writing for you. Just imagine, a single person writing one blog post every day and a slew of writers writing multiple blog posts every day. Wouldn’t that be marvellous for your content quantity and quality? The more content you have, the more content is indexed by the search engines, the more content of yours is exposed on social networking websites and the more targeted traffic you have to your blog and website, getting more business to you.
  5. You strike up new business partnerships: It is not just about traffic and exposure when you use guest blogging to generate more business. You can strike up direct business partnerships with people who get involved with you and with people you get involved with. Many of the guest bloggers may turn out to be your customers and clients later on. Similarly you may end up doing business with people you are right now writing for.

Guest blogging is a great networking opportunity because when someone allows you to write blog posts for his or her blog he or she is allowing you to enter his or her space. This is a great opportunity for you to get close to that person in terms of establishing a mutually beneficial business relationship. The same is applied to people who want to guest blog for you.

11 essential ingredients for creating great blog posts

The objective of every blog post that you write and publish should be to get maximum exposure from your targeted audience, and not just exposure, but also sharing love. Maximum number of people should share your blog post link using their social networking and social media profiles.

There are some key performance indicators (KPI’s) that help you decide whether a blog post that you have published is successful or not. It’s not necessary that you fret over every blog post because there are some blog posts that you publish simply for the heck of the pleasure that you derive out of the process and the sort of interaction you have with your visitors, but if you’re publishing a business blog, then it’s very important that you know exactly what you’re doing on your blog and how you define success. A blog post would be successful if

  • It creates enough buzz to attract new customers and clients to your website
  • It makes more people click ads if that’s how you make money off your blog
  • More people subscribe to your newsletter if that was the intention
  • It helps you get more search engine traffic for your targeted keywords
  • It increases your longtail keyword traffic
  • It gets greater attention on social media and social networking resulting in the outcomes mentioned above

There are some fundamental ingredients that you can use in order to make your blog post successful. 11 such essential ingredients are published in this Copyblogger blog post in the form of an infographic, but below is the bulleted compilation of these ingredients:

  1. Create a killer headline that draws people from search engines and other websites to your website. Your headline should present to your audience the central message of your blog post in a most compelling and attractive manner.
  2. Make a great opening. Your headline should be followed by an impressive opening that prompts people to read further. Otherwise all the advantage gained by the headline will be lost.
  3. Use persuasive words. Such words not just give an adrenaline rush they also instil a sense of purpose in the process of writing as well as reading.
  4. Be authentic. It will help you stand out.
  5. Take every sentence seriously. Write good sentences.
  6. Use bullet points to highlight main points of your blog post.
  7. Divide your blog post under various subheadings giving a clear idea of what awaits.
  8. Use the art of storytelling to keep your readers hooked.
  9. Don’t reveal all your cards at the same time. Withhold your information and keep revealing small bits every couple of paragraphs.
  10. Use attractive images to give more meaning to your blog posts.
  11. Make a convincing conclusion so that people are not left clueless.

So how much effort and money do you invest in guest blogging?

Guest blogging, as Matt Cutts says in this blog post, isn’t as good an idea as it used to be a few years ago.

Guest blogging is done; it’s just gotten too spammy. In general I wouldn’t recommend accepting a guest blog post unless you are willing to vouch for someone personally or know them well. Likewise, I wouldn’t recommend relying on guest posting, guest blogging sites, or guest blogging SEO as a linkbuilding strategy.

Being lazy, being possessive about what I write and being highly distracted (and of course there was also this fear of rejection faced by every author) I was never much into guest blogging although it always hung over me like a heavy weight. People were doing wonders with guest blogging. People made entire careers out of first guest blogging and then blogging.

Let’s be frank. There are very few bloggers and webmasters who guest blog simply to add value to the blog or online magazine where their content is published. In most of the cases guest blogging is done to get quality back links because when you publish your writing on another blog or website, they also publish your profile with a link back to your website or blog. Fair enough.

In a recent blog post titled After content marketing, definitely focus on networking I stressed upon the point that it is not wise to solely depend on Google and other search engines for qualified traffic. You should develop your own traffic sources. If and when I indulge in guest blogging, it will be more for expanding my presence rather than getting back links.

Guest blogging gives you recognition. It helps you build audience for your own blog or business website. It gives you the much needed initial thrust. In fact, it would be wrong to say that I barely invested in guest blogging. In the early days of business I submitted scores of articles (those days I used to develop websites so my articles were on this topic) to many websites and most of my traffic came from their and this gave me a big boost and I’m still benefiting from that effort.

You have published a new blog post. Great. But what now?

I can totally relate to the overwhelming sense of achievement when you manage to write a complete blog post and then publish it after fully optimizing it and using the right images. But you know what, this does not ensure good visibility and exposure, whether it is search engines or social media/networking websites.

Once you have a new blog post you need to let the world know about it. Search engine optimizing is one way, of course. If you have a fully optimized blog post the search engines are bound to rank it well once they have indexed it. Is it that simple? With tough competition from legitimate as well as a illegitimate content, you stand little chance getting targeted traffic no matter how great your blog post is.

So what do you do to spread the word around? Many things actually? Some of them are:

  • Fill up all the Seo details like the title tag, description and keywords. By installing the All in One Seo Pack can give you lots of extra power, for instance having a different page title and a different blog headline.
  • Do a keyword analysis. With all the Google Penguin update confusions your confidence might be a bit shaken vis-a-vis using keywords, but they are still important. So make sure you have used the right keywords in your blog post and edit it if need be.
  • Post your new link on Twitter and Facebook (you have Twitter and Facebook accounts, right?)
  • Sort out your syndication. Make sure your XML and RSS feeds are updated.
  • Send an e-mail notification. You should definitely build a mailing list (this is not to be done after publishing the latest blog post – it is an ongoing activity) so that whenever you publish a new blog post you can send an e-mail notification to all your subscribers.

This blog post actually lists 12 things you can do (it’s an older blog post but I just came across it) after publishing your new blog post. You can use the things mentioned in this blog post as a checklist, although you should definitely have your own checklist too.