Anyone responsible for creating blog content has been there (frankly anyone responsible for content period). Writer’s block. Let me take you back to when I was working client-side. I’m sure it’s a story that you can relate to.
I refreshed the company website. It looked great! I needed to improve my online visibility to I engaged an SEO agency. Together we agreed that a steady stream of content added to the site was much needed. A blog would be a perfect vehicle and so I created one. We had a few whitepapers lying around that I could use to start writing posts and all was well… for the first couple of months. Creating one decent post per week was the bare minimum and started to prove problematic after about 8 posts. It was a technology company, and while I had a general working knowledge of the products and solutions I was writing about, it wasn’t enough to deliver what I needed for the blog longer term.
This scenario is one we hear all the time at C4. Frankly it’s why we started writing and managing blogs for clients. We recognized a few things early on…
- Blogs are a very important tool for improving search engine optimization (visibility)
- Being consistent with posting good blogs is challenging for everyone
- A dying blog is a sad thing
With all of our clients, the need to overcome a lack of content is real. Coming up with fresh ideas for posts will always be a challenge, but we’ve come up with a few ideas to help writers get over that block. Here are a few that we use with our clients (and can help you with as well).
5 Ways to Solve a Lack of Content
1. See what Google delivers when you search your keywords.
Certainly, this is something you’ve done as part of your SEO research (if not give us a call). If you haven’t you should. The type of content that Google provides on the search engine results page (SERP) for your keywords can be very telling (and helpful)! Check it out…
If you’re in the cybersecurity space, then you’ll likely have some “ransomware” related keywords on your list. In fact, if your company is trying to help organizations “stop ransomware attacks” then it’s likely that very phrase is part of your keyword strategy. When you search that phrase, outside of the paid ads almost all of the first page results are blogs or articles.
These are great blog titles that could help you create some of your own. In addition, if you scroll down to the bottom of the page, Google will also help you by providing related searches for that same term. This is part of Google’s effort at providing better insight into user intent. If people conduct a search for “stop ransomware attacks” but then bounce back to the SERP because they didn’t find what they wanted, Google pays close attention to what they search for next. Here are related search terms to our initial search.
These related search queries can also provide some great blog ideas, such as:
- Five Reasons Why Ransomware Attacks on the Rise
- Three Ways to Defend Against Ransomware Attacks
You get the idea!
2. Emulate what is working for your competitors.
I’m not suggesting you copy your competitor’s blog content, but if you have a competitor or two that you know do a good job with their blogging efforts check them out. Sometimes you can see social media share counts and other social metrics that can give you a good idea as to how their posts are performing. Make note of the titles of some and come up with alternatives that you can use at your blog. Certainly, write new and unique content to address the topic that fits in line with your brand, solutions, and products. In short… don’t copy; emulate.
3. Content curation.
There’s that old saying, “you don’t need to reinvent the wheel.” That’s somewhat true in content creation as well. There’s a ton of great third-party content out there that doesn’t need to be rewritten; it’s just needs to be improved or added to. This is where content curation comes in.
Set yourself up with some sort of RSS feed from sources in your industry (I use Feedly). You can also go old school and bookmark them as well. If you’re in the tech industry there’s sources like CIO and CNET, as examples. You’ll also want to subscribe to some relevant LinkedIn Groups – of which there are likely many to choose from. Here’s an example scenario of how content creation works:
You find a post titled “5 Ways Hyperconverged Infrastructure Benefits your Data Center” over at CIO magazine written by Bill Smith. You can use the five ways that Bill outlines in his article and list them out providing three or four more ways that hyperconvergence benefits a data center. In essence your building on the list that he started and adding additional value. Be sure to give full credit to Bill with a link to his article.
What’s nice about this approach is that if there’s a comment section at Bill’s article go ahead and leave him a comment. “Hey Bill… great article! I added to the list you started over at my blog here: Link to blog.” Bill may or may not approve the comment, but if he does you’ll gain a nice inbound link and likely some additional traffic from a worthy source.
The key to content creation is adding value and improving the reader experience. Going back to reinventing the wheel. There are countless companies that deliver tires, rims, and wheels and they certainly didn’t reinvent them, but they did make improvements – like run-flat tires, snow-studded tires, and lightweight chrome rims.
4. Stakeholder interviews.
This is something we do with a number of clients, especially when the subject matter is complex or technical. Chances are if you manage your company blog you’ve solicited content from internal subject matter experts. Some jump at the chance to author a blog and some do not. Those that jump at the chance tend to fade as content providers when they get busy or realize it’s more work that they initially thought. Hey, writing is difficult… it’s why I wrote this blog post remember?
Here’s what you can do to keep the content coming… Set up a 15-minute interview with an internal subject matter expert. You can email one or more questions in advance to the person so they have time to review what to say. Bring along a recording device (your iPhone or smartphone will work fine) and record their answer(s). Be sure to let them know in advance both what you want to ask (your objective in asking it) and that you’ll be recording the conversation. You can then transcribe the recording into a blog OR create an interview style blog with question-answer content.
If you work remotely from your work colleagues there are a number of different ways to record a conversation including via Skype (there are tons of apps that are free… just Google it), Webex, GoToMeeting, etc.
We’ve actually set up interview style video recordings to extend the legs of our efforts. Not only do we get a blog out of the conversation, but we can post the video to YouTube or Vimeo as an extra. Needless to say, the interviewee needs to be comfortable in front of a camera, but this approach can go a long way in helping you create content for your blog and beyond.
5. Industry trends.
It’s important to stay current on what people are talking about in your industry and it helps if the content you are creating is current and binge-worthy. Many of the social media platforms that we use today – LinkedIn and Twitter in particular – make trends easy to discover thanks to hashtags. There are two platforms that I use to see hashtag use within industries that help to determine trends:
- https://www.hashtags.org/ Allows you to conduct searches for particular hashtags or see what’s trending.
- https://www.trendsmap.com/ This is Twitter-specific but allows to you map the most popular trending topics throughout the country at any given time.
The other place I spend a lot of time is at LinkedIn Groups as mentioned above. I subscribe to a number of groups that cover all of our blogging clients and and being able to see what content is being shared, and more importantly what content is getting interaction, can help me come up with ideas for fresh content (or discover curation opportunities). Plus, once you write the post it’s a great place to share it!
Creating content – in this case blog posts – is not easy, but it is important. Try out these five ideas if you get into a rut and try to stay consistent. The most important marketing tactic for a healthy website is content creation and the best vehicle for that is an active blog. If you run into roadblocks that’s okay. It’s going to happen. You can always give us a shout as well. We’re happy to help with blog writing and management to keep your content engine humming!