6 Ideas for Creating Blog Content to Gain New Business

 

business idea_May14_Post 1So you’re sold on the fact that blogs are a fantastic way to build traffic to your site and convert visitors to customers. You’ve written two or three posts, but now…well, let’s say you’re lacking inspiration for more content.

It can be daunting, having to continually come up with engaging topics that will attract readers to your blog. But take it from me, someone who has written hundreds of blog posts (seriously), it is entirely possible, with a little help. Here are some tips that will inspire you to come up with more blog post ideas than you know what to do with.

Idea 1: Read Your Competitors’ Blogs

There’s nothing wrong with seeing what your competition is blogging about. In fact, it can help you come up with even better content. Just don’t copy their posts. Instead, use them for inspiration.

Pay attention to the popular posts on their blogs, and consider how you might write an even more engaging post on a related topic to drive traffic to your blog.

Idea 2: Use Your Customer Data

The best blog posts are those that are highly targeted to your customer base. Knowing exactly what your audience cares about will help you create content people want to read, share, and comment on.

Use your small business CRM reporting platform to glean insightful data on your customers, their interests, and their behaviors. Also use your CRM system to skim through what your customers are talking about on social media, and leverage all this data to come up with really eye-catching content.

Idea 3: Create an Infographic

Some people are visual learners, meaning they would rather look at an image than read a written blog post. That’s where infographics come in handy. They visually interpret what otherwise would be dense data in an appealing way. They’re also mega viral marketing tools. You’ll often see one infographic shared far and wide across the blogosphere, so if you are the creator, you’ve got ample opportunity to get dozens of links back to your blog.

Again, focus on what your audience really cares about, then work with a designer who has experience in creating infographics.

Idea 4: Pay Attention to Trends

What’s happening in your industry, or even the world beyond it, is always great fodder for blog posts. If you’re in the air transportation industry, the missing Malaysian airplane is a trending topic right now. Celebrity news is also a trend worth incorporating in your content.

Your blog posts don’t always have to be about the trend, but you can use them to attract more readers with a really magnetic headline. The 2013 Olympics inspired plenty of posts. A quick search of “what the Olympics taught us about *” shows that people in every industry leveraged this topic for their content.

Look at Google Trends as well as trends on Twitter to see what’s hot right now.

Idea 5: Break Out a Post Into Subsequent Posts

A popular style of post is the Top 10 post. If you write a post on Top 10 Ways to Be More Productive, you could then write 10 additional posts really diving into each of those 10 ways. This is a great strategy in which you can link one post to another to keep people on your blog reading more content.

Idea 6: Keep an Idea File

Blog ideas strike me at the oddest times, like when I’m walking my dog, so I keep a spreadsheet where I can easily write my ideas and come back to them later when I’m suffering from blogger’s block.

With a little strategy, you too can have a steady stream of content ideas for your blog!

Susan Payton is the President of Egg Marketing & Communications, an Internet marketing firm specializing in marketing communications, copywriting and blog posts. She’s also the founder of How to Create a Press Release, a free resource for business owners. She’s written three books: DIY Press Releases: Your Guide to Becoming Your Own PR Consultant, 101 Entrepreneur Tips and Internet Marketing Strategies for Entrepreneurs, and contributes to several sites, including ChamberofCommerce.com, The Marketing Eggspert Blog, CorpNet, Small Business Trends, and BizLaunch. Follow her on Twitter @eggmarketing.

Beef Up Your Content Marketing Strategy

cat-lion_Mar14The term “content marketing strategy” has evolved over the past few years. Now a full-on strategy involves totally customized communication efforts through channels like social media, email, press releases, and yes, your blog.

Why You Need a Content Marketing Strategy

If you’ve been subsisting on your blog content alone to get you in front of more potential customers, you’ve probably been disappointed with the results. Sure, great content on your blog does drive traffic to you, but it’s often not enough to bring the number of leads you need to convert. If you convert just 3% of your leads (an acceptable industry standard), you’ll need hundreds or even thousands of leads coming in to really boost sales.

Leads come from multiple places. That’s why you need a content management strategy that encompasses more than just your blog. The more places you connect with people through content, the more leads will funnel in.

Quality Over Quantity

While yes, you do want more leads, you also want them to be quality leads. After all, ten thousand unqualified leads with a .05% conversion rate isn’t as good as a thousand really qualified leads with a conversion rate of 50%. It’s an exaggerated example, but you get my point.

How do you get quality? You zero in on your audience. Don’t speak to a mass of a thousand people; speak to each person individually (more or less). Understand what they’re interested in, and tailor your content to them.

Leveraging Segmentation

The closer you can get to what each individual lead wants, the higher you can convert. That means your landing page should speak to her. Your emails. Your content. Everything.

A brief word on SEO: we keep hearing conflicting things about search engine optimization and what Google won’t move up in the search results. But if you focus on those keywords that your segment is interested in when you write your web copy, they’ll find you through search.

An Example

Let’s say you sell women’s clothing. You have landing pages for:

  • Shoes
  • Athletic gear
  • Dresses
  • Purses and accessories

If you optimize the keywords on each landing page, only those leads who are interested in that particular category of women’s clothing will click on that page. That keeps away those leads who would be interested in other types of women’s clothing, and helps you get really specific in your messaging.

Carry that one step further. On that page, visitors can sign up to get special offers in that category only. Those people that sign up for emails on the Shoes landing page won’t get emails about dresses or anything else. Again, this increases conversion.

And then, maybe you include a few shoe-related blog posts on the sidebar of that page. You’re keeping your messaging laser-focused on shoes so you keep a visitor’s attention.

Let’s keep going. Next, you’ll send segmented emails to your different market segments. If you’re already using Customer Relationship Management software, try to find one that integrates with an email marketing platform, like Insightly CRM for email marketing. That way, you can integrate the data you glean from emails, such as when a customer clicks on a particular link or makes a purchase. Storing this information in your CRM can provide you with future opportunities to deliver content specific to what that customer really wants.

Pay attention to that data, and use it to your benefit. Your customers’ behaviors can help you shape future content and email campaigns, and further solidify your content marketing strategy.

Susan Payton is the President of Egg Marketing & Communications, an Internet marketing firm specializing in marketing communications, copywriting and blog posts. She’s also the founder of How to Create a Press Release, a free resource for business owners. She’s written three books: DIY Press Releases: Your Guide to Becoming Your Own PR Consultant, 101 Entrepreneur Tips and Internet Marketing Strategies for Entrepreneurs, and contributes to several sites, including ChamberofCommerce.com, The Marketing Eggspert Blog, CorpNet, Small Business Trends, and BizLaunch. Follow her on Twitter @eggmarketing.

Taming Tech-Age Troubles: When NOT to DIY

 

For small business owners, “do it yourself” (DIY) tends to be the default when it comes to managing a business. After all, budgets are tight (or completely nonexistent) and we want to keep an eye on where we’re spending money. Taking care of certain business tasks on your own is typically fine, but some things are best left to the professionals.

How do you know if you’re better off hiring someone else to take care of an issue?

  • It will be more time-consuming to complete it yourself.
  • It requires a higher level of technical skill than you possess.
  • The task stresses you out.

Out-of-the-Ordinary Computer Issues

You’re probably comfortable installing updates when your computer prompts you to, but if your computer’s gone wonky, you need to back up data, or want to install software, you might be better off calling the pros.

Companies like Geek Squad offer affordable computer troubleshooting and assistance, and can remove viruses and spyware or help you set up a wireless network. Prices start at under $200, and you have the option for remote assistance.

Graphic or Web Design

When I first formed my marketing company, I was convinced if I understood the basics of using Photoshop, I could design my logo and website. Ha. Twenty hours later, I was a sweating mess, cussing at my computer. (There’s a clue you shouldn’t DIY!) Now I leave the design work to professionals who can complete what took me days in just a matter of hours. My site and branding look more professional, and not as if a five-year-old created them.

Hundreds of graphic design and web design companies will be more than happy to share their portfolios for your perusal; pick the one whose style best reflects your desired design. Or go with a crowdsourcing design site like 99designs. You enter the specs on what you’re looking for (modern-style logo using green and blue) and dozens of designers will submit options. You choose the one you like best and pay a flat fee (typically under $500).

WordPress or Website Issues

While plenty of easy-to-use content management systems (CMS) exist to help even the least tech-savvy entrepreneur create a website, sometimes issues crop up that fall outside your scope. I know I’ve had trouble editing WordPress themes to change the color or remove a sidebar. The danger of DIY here is you can screw up your website, which won’t help you attract new visitors or clients!

Fantasktic solves WordPress issues like those pesky 404 pages, as well as assists with migrating your website to a new host, for $99 per issue. Not bad, considering how much time you’d waste trying to fix it yourself.

Social Media Management

I know plenty of small business owners who are adept at updating their Twitter and Facebook pages. Kudos to them. But I know others who either only update once a month, or have given up completely. Let me be clear: You need a presence on social media, whether or not you “get it.” If your customers are spending time on social sites, you need a regularly-updated profile wherever they hang out.

That being said, if you’re not the best person for the job, it’s worth the expense to hire a social media professional or firm to take over the management of your accounts. With a little help from someone with social media savvy, you stay “top of mind” with your followers while you build brand recognition online.

Accounting

Again, some business owners have no issue handling this task, but for those with a bigger staff or more complex accounting concerns, doing it themselves can prove disastrous—and could even lead to an audit. Keeping detailed accounting records of expenses and income is a requirement for every business, so if you’re not able to juggle your own finances, find someone who can.

The idea of hiring a small business accountant might make you cringe, but many work on demand, meaning you only pay when they update your accounts. That makes them more affordable than full-time accountants.

SEO

This is another field that might require more technical skill than you’re ready to deal with. Great search engine optimization (SEO) requires ongoing development of your content marketing and keywords. If you don’t have the time or understanding to work on moving up search results, hire a professional.

Investing money, especially hundreds or thousands of dollars, can be daunting for a small business. But in critical areas essential to your business’ growth, it’s worth the investment; spending a little can net you big results.

Susan Payton is the President of Egg Marketing & Communications, an Internet marketing firm specializing in marketing communications, copywriting and blog posts. She’s also the founder of How to Create a Press Release, a free resource for business owners. She’s written three books: DIY Press Releases: Your Guide to Becoming Your Own PR Consultant, 101 Entrepreneur Tips and Internet Marketing Strategies for Entrepreneurs, and contributes to several sites, including ChamberofCommerce.com, The Marketing Eggspert Blog, CorpNet, Small Business Trends, and BizLaunch. Follow her on Twitter @eggmarketing.