It’s hard to know just how many blogs there are out there. Some estimates put the number as high as 152 million. That’s a lot of blogs. So if there are that many blogs then it must be easy, right?
No question, it’s easy to start a blog. What’s not so easy is maintaining vibrant and creative content. When it comes down to it, most blogs aren’t all that effective when it comes to maintaining reader interest, attracting new customers, and engaging the community.
The reason that so many blogs miss the mark is that their content is unfocused and fails to support business objectives. Yes, it’s all about the content. But how do you come up with good content week after week? Here are five tips on ways you can spark those creative juices and develop engaging and consistent content.
Create a plan: Your number one weapon in battling with blank pages is to develop a strategy for your content. That means mapping out what you want to talk about for over a period of time rather than coming up with your topics on an ad hoc basis.
Stick with themes: Having a social media strategy that incorporates a series of themes can be a highly effective strategy for deciding on what to include in your blog.
Build on your most effective content: Look back on what content has worked for you in the past and make it better. It’s ok to repurpose an old topic or resurrect something you haven’t talked about in awhile. Of course, you’ll need to take a fresh approach but if something caught your readers attention once before, chances are it will again.
Talk with your community: Asking the people in your community what they want to hear about can be a great way to find your focus. Cast a wide net by including not just your customers, but all those with whom you collaborate.
Tell your story: If you think about it, you’ll find that you don’t have just one story to tell, you have lots of them. From helping your customers get to know the people they interact with to helping people learn the best way to use your products, your back office is loaded with ideas for content.
Don’t look at the process of coming up with ideas for your blog as a task to be avoided. Instead, view it as an opportunity to learn something new, engage with your community, and have some fun. When you embrace the process you’ll be able to say goodbye to sitting in front of the monitor and staring at the dreaded blank page. In fact, you may even find yourself looking forward to it.
2017 was the year of live video and there’s every reason to believe that the trend will continue through 2018. While the final statistics for 2017 aren’t yet available, it’s estimated that last year live video accounted for nearly 75% of all online traffic. YouTube surpassed 1 billion viewers, and 500 million people watched video on Facebook every day.
With numbers like those, it’s a given that video should be a key element in your social media content strategy. The problem is, how do you determine the most effective way to incorporate it? The solution – make it part of a weekly or monthly social media content theme strategy.
Let’s talk for a minute about social media content theme strategies. You may not have one. If not, the new year is the perfect time to start one. It doesn’t have to be fancy or complicated, just a roadmap of the type of content you’ll include each month across your social media platforms. By following a weekly or monthly theme for your content, you’ll avoid the trap of taking a scattershot approach and trying to be everything to everybody. Having a sharp focus will make it easier for you develop content and increase the chances that you’ll follow through on your plan.
The exact focus of your theme plan will depend on your goals and your industry but here’s an example. Say you’re an online seller of fitness products. January is easy since it’s time for fresh starts. For February, how about ‘showing a little love to yourself’? You get the picture.
Ideas on how to incorporate video are limited only by your imagination but here are a few ways you can get started:
Go live on Facebook
Whether it’s a product demonstration, a feed from a tradeshow or a behind the scenes look at how you do your work, Facebook is the perfect place to get started. Facebook also now gives you the capability of replacing your static cover photo with a video.
Create a video blog
Video blogs are a great way to establish your authority and engage with your followers. Covering an industry topic or fielding a common question are popular approaches.
Share Snapchat or Instagram Stories
You can use video to showcase a day in the life of your business or of a key team member.
Take Advantage of YouTube
Whether you use YouTube to go live or to act as a repository for your archived videos, this channel is rich with possibilities.
If you’ve never used live video, take some time to learn the basics, practice, and jump in. It’s no longer a matter whether or not you should use it, it’s a question of how. You’ll quickly find out that it’s not just your users that love it, you and your team will too. It gives you the chance to stretch your creative wings, think outside the box, and more fully engage with your community.
It’s almost the start of a brand new year, and that means it’s time to make your marketing plan. There are customers out there who are looking for your business, so what are you doing to bring yourself to the forefront and #BeAwesome?
There is power in storytelling, and your brand story is essential to gaining the advantage of your ideal market. Your real story, the pains you are solving, the struggles you’ve faced to be able to help them with their pain points…all of this is essential to a solid brand story.
Your customers want to know who YOU are, and what YOU can do for them. It’s time to put yourself at the forefront of your brand.
Here are some great questions to get you started:
What is your company’s origin story? Where did it begin?
Where is it headed and how do you plan to get there?
What significant events in your life and company’s history lead to where you are now?
What pains have you overcome to succeed, now?
What drives you to help others overcome those same struggles?
Your audience is tired of seeing generic platforms that try to sell to them constantly. They want a personal touch, a way to connect with a real human on the other side of the screen. Showing them the work behind the scenes is a great way to build an emotional investment in your viewer. People relate to the stories of other people.
Remember that you’re the face of your brand. If you’re late or slow to comment, that’s also a part of your brand. You should put your best (and most professional) foot forward. That doesn’t mean you have to use stilted language and respond like a robot. It does, however, mean that you need to put out professional quality and accurate information. A key point to remember is that a live video Q&A, training, etc. doesn’t mean a last minute production. Create quality content and you’ll gain the trust of your audience.
As a side note, consider adding a section to your site that highlights your most popular articles, products, or services. This gives your potential customer/client a great place to start. Shining the spotlight on these valuable posts and services will showcase what your brand is all about. Using the title “Most Popular” can have a great side effect of showing an active brand community.
It’s a new year. Use this time to ensure that you have the YOU in your brand.