Building a blog without a sound content strategy in place might feel like you’re setting out for uncharted territory, like a modern-day Lewis and Clark. However, the spirit of adventure will only last until your first bout of writer’s block.
No matter what you write about, who your audience is, or even what your endgame is, having a number of plans in place to offer your readers quality content is terribly important. If you’ve been struggling to find inspiration lately, here are five blog content strategies you may want to try out.
No matter how captivating and charismatic you are, or think you are, your readers will probably thank you for branching out from time to time to let them read something that comes from another perspective.
Suppose you run a blog about DIY home improvement. You might write killer blog posts about bathtub grout, but why not interview someone who does it for a living? They’re bound to have a number of keen home improvement insights that you’re not privy to.
Some important things to consider with interviews are:
– Time investment
– Prepared questions
– Hot topics
– Interviewee community
We should always consider the community our interviewees have because this will translate into additional exposure for us. Also, mini-interviews are a great way to crowd-source and involve a lot of people in a fun project. Just a few days ago, WebpageFX posted a perfect example of taking mini-interviews to the next level. They asked 40 expert social media strategists about their most creative social media campaigns, resulting in: 40 Expert Social Media Strategies. They were able to get responses from high profile brands and identities such as Intel, Google, Ogilivy, Rand Fishkin, Neil Patel, Joe Pulizzi, and many more.
One of the words that are constantly on every blogger’s mind is “shareability.” If your content isn’t shareable, you’re never going to grow your audience. One surefire method of offering up something fit for Facebook profiles and Twitter feeds everywhere is to create an infographic.
If you’ve somehow never seen an infographic, it’s simply a visual representation of complex data. It’s a perfect compromise for people who love to learn but want to keep the required reading to a minimum.
No matter what niche you find yourself in, chances are good your readership will enjoy the occasional infographic. It can be something related to your field of inquiry, or just something you find interesting or want to spread awareness about. Because it can be digested in a short period of time, readers are likely to share infographics with their social circles. Much more likely, that is, than if you posted a big wall of text instead.
You may be wondering, “how can my ‘boring’ business create a strong infographic?” From my experience, there are two primary forces effecting the success of infographics:
1. Creativity > Budget: If you’re creative enough, you can make an infographic with viral potential on a relatively low budget.
2. Budget > Brand: If you have allocation for a professional designer, the infographic can trump those created by some of the largest brands, despite your current brand awareness.
Let’s take a quick look at couple examples of small to medium sized businesses that are doing this effectively on their blogs.
This is an example from the CJ Pony Parts blog where they just released an infographic about the 2015 mustang. It’s topically relevant to their niche and includes humorous elements (such as ‘coolness level’) throughout to appeal to a wider audience.
This example is from the Maxwell Systems blog and highlights the world’s tallest buildings. It includes the total cost, size, and years needed to complete construction. As a construction software company, this is a topically relevant infographic that not only appeals to their demographic, but peaks the interest of general audiences like you and me.
The death of the desktop PC is still down the road a way, but the fact remains: we’re living in an increasingly mobile-first world. As a result, people are checking the news and sports scores and entertaining themselves more and more on mobile devices like smartphones and tablets.
Original video content is hugely popular on mobile devices: some smartphone screens now have more pixels than televisions do, and perhaps more importantly, our phones are always with us. As a result, people are digesting a huge amount of video content on-the-go.
Something you can do to bolster the content on your blog is to offer up quality video content that will resonate with your readership. As long as it either educates them or makes them laugh, chances are good they’ll respond favorably.
4. Guest Posts
We mentioned above that your readers will probably enjoy a change of pace from time to time with an interview. Whereas an interview is a highly structured experience where you’re still guiding the conversation, a guest post is a way to really get inside the head of another person, letting you see the world from their perspective.
Many bloggers have regular guest posters show up to offer a different voice or experience. It could even be somebody you know closely, such as a friend or significant other. As long as they have some experience in your niche, your readers will almost certainly appreciate a deviation from business as usual. Come to think of it, maybe you should even consider a guest blogger who doesn’t know a great deal about your particular niche; an outsider’s opinion could prove to be just as valuable.
When all else fails, it’s good to know that you can always pass the buck to your readers. There are a number of sites out there who poll their readers on their favorite products, services, locations, or people, and they’re pretty keen to chime in — who doesn’t enjoy offering their opinion, after all?
This could be a particularly useful practice for a site that’s primarily focused on giving advice or empowering readers to make decisions for themselves. Polling readers could uncover some little-known tips or tricks, or call attention to an issue that otherwise wouldn’t have seen the light of day.
Give your readers a set amount of time to respond to your prompt (usually a few days to a week), and then update them by highlighting the best responses. It’s a great way to not only offer up useful content, but also to remind your readers that they can be a part of the process.