I was talking with a colleague earlier today and we were discussing blogging, marketing and how to engage with your customers and with more customers.
I’m a great believer in blogging being a really powerful marketing tool. (I’ve written about blogging and marketing here before in Inbound marketing – it’s new and it’s hard but we must get better at it and Content Marketing: Create, Repurpose, Recycle, Curate). However, we agreed that many businesses find blogging quite a bit of a struggle as they very quickly run out of things to write about and ways to say what they want to say.
As a few ways of getting started finding and creating great content for your blog, here’s some of the tools and methods that I use.
- Use Google Alerts. If you go to: Google.com/alerts, you can type in any subject or topic or area that you’re interested in and Google will send you alerts that are news, industry or blog based when new content is published or they find material that fits what you are interested in. This is a great way to find, comment on and share information that readers of your blog or your niche will find useful and interesting. It’s free too.
- Bookmarking Sites like Delicious.com or Digg.com can be really helpful in finding interesting stories that are relevant to your niche.
- Clipping. Related to number two is clipping. I find that when I see things in a newspaper or magazine then I’ll generally tear out the article that caught my eye and put it in my notebook so that I can write about it later. I do the same online but use an application called Evernote.com to ‘clip’ pages and articles that I find online so that I can return to them later when I am on or offline.
- Guest posting. It’s a myth that you need to create all of your content yourself and so guest posting ie. asking someone else like one of your customers or one of your suppliers to write a piece or a series of posts for you can be a great way to add different perspectives, voices and personalities to your blog. However, a few things that you should keep in mind are:
- It is your blog so always be clear about what you want them to write about (or get them to come up with ideas that they think could fit with your blog and then agree a topic); and
- Remember, it is your blog so never publish anything that you are not happy with.
- Interviews. Whether in text-based question and answer format or audio or video format, interviews are great ways to share different stories and perspectives from your employees, customers or suppliers and are great ways for people visiting your blog to get to know the real and personal side to your business.
- Other experts. You will obviously be an expert in your own field, right? But, I bet you don’t know everything, right? Therefore, keeping in touch with other players and experts in your field whether it is by subscribing to their blog or their newsletter is another great way to find new ideas and perspectives on things to write about.
These are six ways that I use to help me generate content for my own and this blog. What others do you use that I can learn from you?