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We all know how important blogs are in the era of quality content and content marketing. We can use blogs to perform a number of different functions: establish our online presence, communicate with our customers, engage new visitors to the site, and provide valuable tie-ins to our site for our social media and newsletters.
How to stay fresh with your blog
Here are a number of different ideas from heavy hitters in the blogging field:
A rough art form
Mike Brown from The Social Media Monthly – who has written a blog post every day for a number of years – says one key to blogging success is understanding that you are writing short articles that can’t include everything. You can always go back and change something, but one of the key components of having content go up on a regular basis is not getting perfectionistic. You want the quality to be great, of course, but don’t fail to blog regularly out of a concern that it won’t always be “just right.”
A little help from your friends
Darren Rowse of ProBlogger mentions a couple of different ways that you can utilize the ideas of other people to diversify the topics and perspectives of your blog. One is hiring freelancers or inviting writers of other sites to guest-blog for you. Two is suveying your audience to see what kinds of topics they would like to see covered.
Liz Fulghum, writing for Copyblogger, suggests that developing content for a blog becomes much simpler if you find a format that will work over and over and over again. When Liz was writing the the blog for a T-shirt review site, she wrote about a different T-shirt every day. The key is to find something about your website’s topic that can generate a thousand posts, not just one.
Another recommendation of Mike Brown is to brainstorm more ideas than you are going to need for the blog. If you come up with 20 different topic ideas ahead of time, that makes it easier for you or your writer to pick and choose whatever looks the most interesting or easy to compose at that time. It also allows you to better plan and organize a couple weeks out, rather than scrambling to develop from scratch each day.
Obey the system
On the same subject of organization, Darren Rowse stresses the importance of an editorial calendar. If various people are involved in content development for your site, you can use Google Drive or another service to share and edit the calendar. The calendar gives you a sense of how to diversify and provide reasonable intervals between different formats and topics.
Similar to Rowse’s suggestion to survey your readership, Liz Fulghum notes that one of the real advantages of blogging is the ability to interact. Rather than just a soapbox, it can be a give-and-take that’s mutually beneficial. Invite people to contact you and share their ideas. Ask people to comment as well. Quickly respond to both, and you will start building lasting relationships, one at a time.
Parts of the whole
Blogging is not just about the process of generating the content, says Brown. You also need to have a second person look at every post, if possible (unless you have a great one-person writing/editing team, and even then, you’re taking a chance). Additionally, you want search-engine friendliness to guide all your efforts, and you want to carefully select compelling images. Finally, tie your blog efforts to your social media.
Don’t force it
If you have an outside party in charge of your blogging efforts, clearly it’s their professional duty to maintain high-quality and engaging copy (or video if applicable). However, if you are handling your own blog, don’t feel that you have to post something just to post something. Balance Mike’s thoughts on perfectionism (above) with Darren’s comment not to overdo it if you have writer’s block and are “forcing” the content.
New ingredients for your recipes
Liz says to jot down new ideas and to seek them out. More than anything, you want to remain open at all times. You’ll often be able to rehash and repurpose ideas that are not completely related to your site, forming interesting connections with leads discovered in unlikely places. Here are a few helpful tools, per Liz:
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