The need for consistent content creation is crystal clear…
Between more leads, conversions and opportunities to dominate the blogosphere of your niche, it’s obvious why more and more brands are investing in smarter content marketing.
However, the expectation to constantly churn out new content leaves many businesses in a bit of a bind. That is, how can we possibly write pieces that always knock it out of the park?
Consider this: according to Hubspot, businesses that blog more than sixteen times per month garner a staggering 3.5x more traffic than competitors blogging on a weekly or monthly basis.
Sixteen posts. Per month.
That’s a lot of content, especially if you’re relying on yourself or a relatively small team without a dedicated writer on deck.
Likewise, the more we write, the more we’re forced to scramble for new blog ideas. This often leaves bloggers trapped as they feel helpless to come up with fresh ideas yet know that they’re leaving potential traffic and money on the table by neglecting their content.
So, what’s the fix?
The Ultimate Guide to Blogging for Small Business
Choose to diversify your blog content
Instead of spinning your wheels and churning out the same types of posts time and time again, take a moment and think about the true function of a blog.
Blogs represent so much more than 500-word posts for the sake of SEO or a place to dump content for the sake of “marketing”.
On the contrary, blogs represent:
- The opportunity to educate visitors and provide something of value to your audience
- The chance to tell your story, make connections and build relationships
- The ability to motivate an audience to act, whether it means clicking, sharing or buying
On a similar note, bloggers no longer rely solely on the written word. The explosion of visual content and social media, for example, signal a new era of blogging that expands far beyond the standard “five paragraph post”.
Diversifying your blog content doesn’t require a complete overhaul of your site, but rather a new approach to content marketing based on the modern era of readers.
If you feel like your blog is stuck in a rut or simply isn’t getting the traction you’re looking for, consider the following four tips to breathe new life into your blog.
1. Experiment with new post formats
There is no one-size-fits-all approach to blogging; therefore, it’s only natural to diversify how you deliver information to your audience.
The concept of varying your content formatting is nothing new, yet it’s rather shocking how many bloggers still follow extremely rigid guidelines in terms of word count, linking, images and keyword density because it’s the “right” thing to do.
Instead, consider how experimenting with your content can ultimately create a better user experience. How so?
For starters, we’ve far passed the tipping point in regard to the increased need to reach mobile visitors to our blogs: do you think such users really want to scroll through endless walls of text? In the midst of so many distractions and users’ relatively short attention spans, we need to do everything we can to keep their attention on the page.
On the flip side, sometimes we need to go in depth with our posts to provide the best education and information possible to our audience.
For example, could you successfully navigate a reader through the “how-to” of an intricate WordPress installation or SEO software in less than 500 words? Probably not: guides covering complex content could easily topple the 5,000-word mark.
And guess what? That’s completely okay.
Despite popular belief, it is possible to please readers and search engines simultaneously. Rather than taking a blanket approach to your blog, start mixing it up. How?
Short form posts
Conventional wisdom tells us to shy away from short-form content because it may be perceived as “low quality” or “thin” in the eyes of search engines.
Bloggers should worry less about having the “perfect” post and instead keep their readership in mind. Business mastermind and blogger Seth Godin is often cited as an example of exactly how powerful short-form posts can truly be.
In 20 words, Godin manages to say much more than the average keyword-stuffed blog; meanwhile, he has hundreds of social shares to boot.
Sometimes brevity is key to getting your point across. Rather than padding your blog with time-wasting content, consider how being concise has the potential to speak volumes. Also bear in mind that shorter content provides fewer opportunities for visitors to bounce versus staring at a daunting wall of text.
Google loves long-form content, from how-to guides to in-depth discussions and beyond. The longer your content is, the more opportunities you have to target keywords and build links.
Beyond the typical SEO benefits, long-form content can help build your brand’s reputation as you rely on your content as a means of showcasing expertise. Instead of just scratching the surface of a topic, getting into the nitty gritty details presents an opportunity for you to educate readers and provide legitimate value through your blog.
While long-form content requires a certain degree of dedication, often 2,000+ words, such blogs are a great way to create evergreen content that stews in the SERPs as part of your long-term SEO strategy.
In the modern era of “viral” content, listicles and “top #” lists have become the norm.
You don’t have to look far to find listicles on your newsfeed. Straightforward, easy to read and ultimately built for sharing, listicles represent a quick and simple way to turn a seemingly ordinary post into something unique.
2. Tap into visual content
While visual content was once an option for bloggers, it’s becoming more and more of an expectation among our audiences.
Between eye-popping imagery and the rapid rise of video, the numbers don’t lie when it comes to the power of visual content, from increased conversions to exponentially more social shares, the best blogs moving forward will be rooted in powerful, memorable visual content.
Despite popular belief, you don’t have to be Picasso or Martin Scorsese to leverage visual content. On the flip side, engaging users through imagery requires more effort than buying a generic $5 stock photo. If you’ve mostly stood by written content and want to try something new for the sake of your audience, consider the following:
- Repurposing a blog post or how-to guide as a video: Rand Fishkin does this all of the time through Moz’s Whiteboard Friday series, educating users about SEO and providing a written transcript to accompany the video.
- Harness the power of infographics to grab users’ attention in less than fifteen seconds: there are a number of resources out there you can use to create data-driven imagery based on your own research.
- Beef up the presentation of your posts through screenshots and high-resolution images rather than run-of-the-mill stock photos.
If you have a smartphone at your desk, you already have the tools necessary to leverage visual content. Why not start now?
3. Don’t forget about guest posts
Pitching for guest posts has been seen by many as the ultimate win-win situation for bloggers looking to gain exposure. The benefits of a guesting posting campaign are three-fold, both for yourself and your readership:
- Increased exposure for your blog and the potential to bring in new readers and backlinks
- Getting more mileage out of your content and potentially exposing your readership to new voices
- Opportunities to leverage additional relationships, which in result opens more doors for guest posts
Rinse and repeat.
There are many moving pieces to a successful guest blogging strategy, from crafting the perfect pitch to driving more shares to your posts. While guest posts may represent a reasonable commitment of your time, they also serve as the ultimate networking and link-building opportunity for bloggers looking to grow.
4. Ask more questions (and find the answers)
Here’s a secret: there’s no shortage of good, buzz-worthy topics out there for you blog.
Rather than having to hunt for compelling content, work smarter to have the compelling content come to you.
Ask more questions.
Experts and influencers represent the movers and shakers in any industry; instead of being a trepid follower, use your blog to break news and give your readers the answers to their most pressing questions.
What’s bothering your audience?’
Is a flashy, new product in your space any good?
What’s next for your industry?
The questions are out there, but it’s up to you to come up with the answers. If you’re looking to stand out from the pack and become a more valuable asset to your industry, consider the following two options:
Conduct an expert round-up
Conducting an expert round-up post represents the ultimate means of being perceived as an influencer and valuable resource in your space, all the while leveraging the expertise of existing influencers. In short, expert round-ups allow you to use the insight and popularity of industry insiders to craft a post that responds to a specific inquiry.
For example, you could reach out to fellow bloggers via email or Twitter and ask “What’s the biggest time-wasting aspect of being a professional blogger?” The answers you receive would represent the meat of your content: your job would simply be to compile the responses and link them accordingly.
There’s lots of legwork to do for a truly stellar expert round-up, however, your decision to undertake such a post can easily set yourself apart from the competition in the long-run.
Leverage product reviews
Such a statistic should set off a siren in your head: what better way to answer the pressing questions of your audience than by authentically reviewing the products they’re using?
Whether you’re discussing a new SEO software or the latest self-help book in your industry, such reviews represent a potential goldmine for debate and discussion. Likewise, your ability to review products within your niche displays your dedication to your audience and ability to think critically.
Audiences are constantly seeking new influencers to follow: why can’t that be you?
A diverse blog is a powerful blog
While not every single one of your blog posts is guaranteed to be a knock-out punch, you should constantly strive to keep your blog fresh for the benefit of your readers. By varying your content strategy, you can further separate yourself from the pack and keep your audience guessing every time you hit “publish”.
Guest Author: Kostas Chiotis is the founder and head of outreach of Iris Signals, a content marketing agency that specializes in blogger outreach. His mission is to grow businesses with the power of content marketing and make the web a better place! Connect with him on Linkedin , Twitter @IrisSignals and Facebook