What to Blog About When You Have Nothing to Blog About

no-inspiration

 

In my travels around the world holding Internet Marketing workshops, the subject of blogging invariably pops up. Usually, it is prompted by a fierce discussion about business web sites and the hairy dilemma of fresh content or lack thereof.

The Company Blog Dilemma

The discussion goes something like this:

Business Representative: “You say that we need to consistently add new content to our web sites in order to rank better in Google. But what sort of content can we add? We’ve already got pages for each of our products.”

Me: “You can add all sorts of content. Newsletters, customer testimonials, white-papers, articles. Do you have a company blog?”

Business Representative: “Not any more. We used to have one because our competitor started one. But we didn’t have anything to blog about so we deleted it”.

Me: “What do you mean you didn’t have anything to blog about?”

Business Representative: “We’re a company. We don’t really have a lot to say. Blogs might work for personal web sites, but not for a company. We really didn’t know what to blog about.”

Myth Busted

I’m always amused when I hear this argument. I tend to respond with a raised eyebrow and a knowing smirk. Rather than continue to argue, I simply load this page on to the big screen.

This “article” – and I use the term loosely – consists of nothing more than a handful of photos and less than 200 words of text. The subject matter is RIDICULOUS. Why would anyone feel the need to write about a lost TV remote? Well apparently, it’s a direct response to frustrated searchers who type in things like “where is the *&%$&^ TV remote?” or “where did I leave my keys?” into Google in desperation. As remote as it seems (ha!) there is actually a market for this type of thing and WikiHow authors have capitalized on it.

Let’s face it – if you can blog about how to find a lost TV remote, you can blog about ANYTHING. Look how many shares that article has had! I’m sharing it with you now and I’ve seen it shared on Facebook a dozen times, possibly in a “what the…?” way, but still.

It might be an extreme example, but it underscores the point that the “I have nothing to blog about” excuse doesn’t cut it any more. You truly CAN blog about anything. Q and A based or How To style blog posts are the most popular with searchers, because people are constantly looking for answers and solutions to problems. If you can meet that need, you are halfway to doubling your traffic.

Sources of Blogging Inspiration

Still unsure what to blog about? Let me give you some potential examples:

Blog Topic Ideas for: Banking / Finance

  • How to Choose a Suitable Retirement Fund
  • Q & A: Which Bank Fees are Tax Deductable?
  • 10 Tricks to Get Your Kids to Save Their Pocket Money
  • 5 Financial Calculators You Can’t Do Without

Blog Topic Ideas for: Travel / Hospitality Industry

  • Top 10 Items to Include on Your Packing List
  • Q & A: Is a Credit Card or Debit Card Better to Take on Vacation?
  • Best Value Vacations for Large Families
  • How to Always Book the Best Seats on a Plane

Blog Topic Ideas for: Retail

  • 10 Tips for Successful Online Clothes Shopping
  • How to Win Online Auctions Without Using Auto Bidding Tools
  • Online Shopping: How to Protect Your Privacy
  • How to Find Retail Coupons Online

Blog Topic Ideas for: Education Sector

  • How to Manage Restrictions on Your Child’s Mobile Device
  • Q & A: Are Online Courses Recognized by Employers?
  • Top 10 Mobile Devices for Senior School Students
  • 5 Apps That Will Encourage Your Kids to Do Homework

Getting the drift? I made these up in about 10 minutes, but I’m sure you can come up with plenty of more appropriate ideas that make sense for your own particular industry and target audience.

Metrics Gold:

A fantastic source of potential web site or blog content can be found in your site analytics. If you use internal site search, make sure you check the search trends on a regular basis. If you’re using Google Analytics, you can find these under Behavior -> Site Search. Here you can find not only the search terms that people entered into your internal site search box, but the pages that they visited as a result of their search. This is metrics GOLD! You will often see keywords and topics here that your visitors are looking for on your site but aren’t finding. Again, it comes back to the concept of providing answers to regular questions. If you are an online retailer who sells baby capsules and you’re noticing a lot of visitors searching for “baby capsule for car”, that should prompt you to write an article or blog post along the lines of “How to Secure Your Baby Capsule in the Car”.

Customer Driven Content:

Your Customer Support or Help Desk team can also be an ideal source of fresh site content. They are the people closest to your customers and they have a good idea of what problems or questions customers have about your products and services. By gauging the topics your customers are most interested in, you can plan new content knowing that you have an audience already keen for it.

It’s a similar story with Social Media. The conversations you have with your customers via social channels can be a source of inspiration for new blog posts. Even a basic exchange on Twitter, for example, can be easily turned into a Q and A article.

So next time you think “But I have nothing to blog about!”, refer back to this article and think again. Now… where did I put that jolly TV remote?

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Fast Five in Search – Week 42, 2013

fast-fiveThis week we’ve got: Hummingbird, link building in the new era, social media templates and an interesting story about creating ‘big content’ and what it can do for your business. Enjoy!

Six Vital Google Hummingbird Questions Answered by Rajveer Singh Rathore
In a nutshell, Rajveer advises, “the major reason that Google has rolled out Hummingbird is because it wants to offer relevant and helpful results to conversational, voice searches. By creating content that is suitable for mobile users, you can optimize it for the Hummingbird algorithm.” Rajveer also provides some great examples of mobile friendly content, to inspire digital marketers.

Keyword Secrets to Link Building after Hummingbird, Penguin and Panda by Eric Ward
Eric’s been at the forefront of link building and keyword research for many years – so when he says, “linking techniques don’t work in the way they used to – [but] keywords are still vital to your link building strategy,” I believe him. Eric’s hosting a free webinar at noon Eastern, 5pm UK, on Thursday (November 14) – see the link at the bottom of his post.

Must-Have Social Media Meta Tag Templates for Improved Sharing and SEO by Cyrus Shepard
This post contains incredible code resources! Cyrus has given us a selection of excellent meta-tag templates and even a breakdown on what content works best on which social media channels.

5 Strategic Steps to Big Content by Mackenzie Fogelson
A few weeks ago Mack Web Solutions released the biggest piece of content they’d ever written, a 147 page guide on how to build online communities. In this post Mackenzie takes us through the inspiration, development and benefits of producing ‘big content’ to promote your company’s ideal purpose.

And finally…

Google Authorship – Lethal For Low Quality Guest Bloggers by Rohit Palit
Rohit gives a quick rundown on how to set up Google Authorship on your site, but a timely warning for bloggers who post low quality content (usually as guest posts) – be careful to only enable Authorship on sites you want to be identified with. And maybe don’t produce spammy guest posts anyway.

Happy reading!

*Image courtesy of Threadless

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Fast Five in Search – Week 41, 2013

fast-fiveIs Google’s PageRank on its way out? And what are the key ingredients needed to harness the power of Twitter, Google+ and other social media channels? Read on…

Using Google+ to Appear in the Top Results Every Time – Whiteboard Friday by Rand Fishkin
For months now there has been an ongoing debate about whether Google+ integration affects rankings. In this post Rand proves that having an active Google+ account (with influential people in your circles) definitely puts you ahead of the game.

Driving Results With Visual Content: Interview With Krista Neher by John Rampton
Creating a ‘pinnable image’ is the secret to sharable content and this post includes a couple of handy tips on how to create such sharable morsels…

Is PageRank on Its Way Out? Focus on These Tools Instead by Adrienne Erin
Now that Google’s PageRank data is not being updated regularly, what other tools can SEOs use to determine the success of their campaigns?

Rock Social Media Content in 30 Minutes a Day by Arnold Ma
Is keeping all your social media channels open draining your productive time? This great infographic gives a couple of handy hints on automation and planning ahead for each channel.

And finally…

9 Awesome Uses That Make Twitter Exceptional by Albert Costill
This one’s just for a bit of fun. Did you know Twitter can be used for more than keeping up with people and events? It can also be used as a job search tool, recipe finder – you name it!

Happy reading!

*Image courtesy of Threadless

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Fast Five in Search – Week 40, 2013

fast-fiveIn response to your questions and comments, we’ve put together a selection of industry opinion about Google’s ever-expanding zoo of updates: Hummingbird and Penguin 2.0. What is the point of all these updates? And what do they mean for the future of SEO?

Hummingbird Unleashed by Gianluca Fiorelli
Gianluca has examined the original press announcement of Google’s Hummingbird by Amit Singhal and the documents created by industry heavyweights in the aftermath (including links) – to help us understand the purpose of this latest change.

What Do The New Google Updates Mean For Content Marketers: Interview With Greg Secrist At #Pubcon 2013 by Murray Newlands
Murray has included video of the interview and some key point takeaways. It looks like engaging, informative content will remain golden – and content marketers will keep their jobs in this new era.

What Does Penguin 2.0 Mean to Your SEO Plan? By Julie Ann Ross
Thin content, recycled product descriptions, paid placements and irrelevant links have all been penalized by Penguin and now Penguin 2.0 is here to finish the job. Julie outlines why rich content production is the key to surviving this, and all updates to come.

Google and the Death of “Do No Evil” by Ben Kemp
“After 16 years of helping other businesses achieve a greater prominence for their websites, the past 2 years of insanity has given me pause to contemplate the future. Clearly, Google is intent on rendering my chosen vocation irrelevant.”
Do you share Ben’s view? Read on…

And finally…

Are You Still Playing Russian Roulette With Google? Demian Farnsworth
As usual Demian gets right down to the point. “Hummingbird is not about the words you use when searching … it’s all about the meaning of those words.” Demian gives us a glimpse into Google’s vision of the future.

Happy reading!

*Image courtesy of Threadless

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Fast Five in Search – Week 39, 2013

fast-fiveIf you’re wondering what the latest Google Hummingbird update is all about, or how to get the most out of your analytics data, or how others are forging the social media frontier – this week’s Fast Five is for you!

How Google is Changing Long-Tail Search with Efforts Like Hummingbird – Whiteboard Friday by Rand Fishkin
Over the past few years, as our confidence in Google has grown, long-tail search queries have steadily increased. In an effort to keep pace with this growing trend Google’s latest Hummingbird update has focussed on the text analysis of search queries. Rand Fishkin takes a closer look at what Hummingbird means for SEO.

Study Reports 40% of Top Instagram Videos Were Brand-Created by Kelsey Jones
The latest study by Unruly demonstrates the power of video marketing when it comes to social shares. This post contains some interesting figures and a definite nudge for those who haven’t embraced social video yet.

Why Visitor Analytics Aren’t Enough for Modern Marketers by Rand Fishkin
How can we tell if conversions coming through Pinterest (or some other channel) have a greater long term value than those coming through our email list? Or what data do we need to convince our boss that a channel is worth pursuing in the first place? All these items are addressed by Rand in this great post.

Social Media: How Much Do You Really Need to Invest? By Tina Courtney-Brown
Do you have a niche business? How much should social media marketing be embraced or ignored? And what can we learn from other people’s blunders – like the Funeral Parlour business which promoted a “happy hour” special on Facebook?

And now, for an even broader perspective…

Google Developing Tools to Help Fight For Free Expression by Megan Abraham
Earlier this week Google announced its collaboration on the development of three tools to aid people living in repressive nations. Megan describes how uProxy, Digital Attack Map and Project Shield will change the world (for the better).

Happy reading!

*Image courtesy of Threadless

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