In this content heavy market, blogs and reviews likely drive a large chunk of traffic to your site and sales from it. Unfortunately, this also means writing (or outsourcing) a steady stream of blogs for your website, which means you are working with limited resources. If you’re paying for your blogs, then unless they are making you more profit than they cost you to outsource, you’ll eventually run out of capital. If you’re writing your blogs, you’ll likely hit some dry spells where you don’t have any more good ideas for blogs (if you haven’t hit some already).
Three Techniques You Can Use to Create Fresh Blogs When Yours are Stale
For those that have run out of topics to blog about, take comfort in the fact that this happens to just about every internet marketer that doesn’t have a team of writers tirelessly wracking their brains for killer blog topics. So if you find yourself teetering on the brink of an empty tank, try these three techniques for refilling your think tank:
1. Play I Spy. Unless you are the only person or website in the world in your niche, in which case just say that in blog after blog since there’s no competition, you likely have saturated marketplace to deal with. While that’s difficult for any number of other reasons, for blogging purposes, it could be a goldmine.
Simply go on a little “spying” mission to your competition’s blogs and see what they are blogging about. This could give you inspiration in any number of ways, maybe you see things from a different perspective and find ways to differentiate yourself; maybe you think your competition is completely wrong and you can blog why.
Most importantly, see which topics have gotten the most social shares or comments, those are the topics that your demographic wants to read or talk about, meaning you need to be covering them. The point is, use your competition’s blog to not only stay relevant with everything that is going on in your niche, but also as some motivation to set your site up as more knowledgeable and authoritative than your competition’s. Do this through blogging.
2. Look Inside. After you look around you, you should start to have some inspiration or ideas for blogs. Now, take a look at your own personal journey as an internet marketer. Think about your successes and your failures, these are what interest people.
Without a personal spin or attachment to a blog, it simply reads as some research that some copywriter did and then threw together in a few minutes. You should have some sort of personal story to relay that shows why what you’re saying matters.
People want to learn from other people’s mistakes as well as follow in the footsteps of their success. Outline what went right or wrong for you, how and why it happened, and share what your readers should take away from that. (It helps if what they take away is whatever you’re selling, but not every blog has to be sales-driven.)
3. Use Buzzsumo. Buzzsumo is an amazing search engine that is geared towards filtering through the metrics and results of content marketing. You simply enter a search topic or keyword phrase and then find all of the content that’s been published on that topic or keyword.
You can filter by date, type of content (e.g. articles, interviews, giveaways, videos, infographics, etc.) and then see how many shares each link has gotten across the various social media platforms. This will help you keep your finger on the pulse of the industry as well as come up with fresh blog topics.
In part one of this series, we took a look at the first five predictions for changes to marketing trends in 2016. Many of our first half of the list focused on changes in tone of voice and public perception approach, let’s check out some other angles in the next five:
6) Managing your entire marketing cycle will be cheaper and simpler
As so many new companies have sprung up on online, the demand for awesome business to business software as a service (B2B SaaS) products has skyrocketed. Platforms like Hubspot, Kissmetrics, Intercom, and more have sprouted up to help manage campaigns, test conversions, schedule content, and more.
This innovation will only get more competitive and result in better platforms and tools for brands. More than a few brands in 2015 likely saved themselves a boatload of money by using such tools to bring their marketing efforts in-house.
7) Advertising and branding agencies will change
Let’s be honest, this one has been happening for a few years, but we’re really going to start seeing the dinosaurs die out in 2016. Agencies who are still only working with legacy brands, betting on them not bringing in fresh blood who want to expand beyond traditional advertising, or who want to simply ‘service’ social media and new communication platforms to appease clients rather than to actually innovate, are going to have trouble.
8) Consultants will have to get more clever
In the same way that agencies will have to adapt or die, those proclaiming to be experts or gurus who can do branding on a freelance basis will have to expand their skillset. For the most part, such people are driven to stay up to date and won’t have a problem with this.
That said, there will no doubt be those who struggle to adapt and want to keep on writing the same types of sales pages and pitching the same type of creative to their clients. As these wane in effectiveness, so will their businesses.
9) Wearable format
In 2016, wearable devices like the Apple Watch (and whatever gets rolled out in the next few months) will probably move from fringe and toward mainstream. With mass adoption comes mass opportunity, so brands will need to look into how they can get themselves in front of users of these devices in a native format.
Native means working within screen size restrictions, limited app offerings, and forming partnerships with companies who have some hold in relevant markets.
10) Smart automation
As time saving and automation tools become more prevalent, brands will develop best practices for automating their marketing process. Please note: this does not necessarily mean automating everything you can.
In fact, some of the strongest brands are able to pick out situations where automation can still be genuine while saving time, and then also hone in on areas where interaction should be kept more authentic and manual. Perhaps even a new meta market of products who help brands identify which parts of their process they should automate will even arise.
When people decide they want to start off blogging or creating any kind of content for their business, they’re likely to come across guest blogging as a strategy fairly quickly. Guest blogging involves getting a guest spot on someone else’s website and creating a blog post that not only relieves them from having to fill a content slot, but gives you some exposure to their audience. Plus, if you have built up a following, you’ll be able to direct some of that attention toward the other person’s blog. In short, they’re a win-win.
Unfortunately, the way that most people approach a guest posting opportunity usually boils down to barely more than cold emailing people and hoping someone A) sees their email, B) bothers to open it, and C) actually reads it and does something about the message inside.
Instead, here’s a quick and easy checklist you can use to increase your chances of being accepted as a guest blogger on another site and using that siphoned exposure to help your own blog in return.
1) Identify a blog with audience crossover to your own. You don’t need to find someone writing about the exact same topic as you, but you do want to be able to identify some crossover between your audiences. For example, if someone runs a fitness blog that focuses on exercise and your blog focuses on diet, their readers might be interested in what you have to say.
2) Read a few posts. Get a feel for the blog by reading more than just one or two of their posts. Note the tone of voice and ‘angle’ they seem to have.
3) Comment. Leave some thoughtful comments on their post. If you’re the guy or gal leaving “wow. Nice post!” type comments, you will be ignored. If, however, you leave something genuinely thoughtful and which shows you were interested in and are interacting with their content.
4) Follow them on twitter. Next, find a social platform they’re on, usually twitter, and follow them. Share out a couple of their posts on your own feed over the next few days. Tag them in one of your tweets to make sure they know you’re giving them credit and to alert them that you’re sharing their content.
5) Send them a DM asking for permission. Before you pitch via email, ask for permission to do so. Send them a message on twitter letting them know that you have an idea you’d like to run by them, and if they have an email you can shoot it over to.
6) Craft an effective email pitch. An effective email pitch for a guest blog post gets to the point quickly. More importantly, however, a guest blog pitch focuses on much value and utility you can bring the person you’re pitching. Focus on what you can do for them, not on why they should help you out or how badly you need it.
Following these six steps, and having the patience to execute them over a few days, will put you miles ahead of every other pitch your target blogger is probably getting, and that’s definitely something.