You have a regular content schedule, and it’s time to publish a blog post. You’re fresh out of ideas, but your readers are expecting you to deliver. If you find yourself in this situation, turn to one of the following easy ways to generate a blog post. These six tactics work every time, and they don’t take long to create.
Round Up Industry News or Tweets
One of the easiest ways to provide value to your readers without producing a lot of content on your own is to create a roundup of the best blog posts or most important industry news of the past week. Flynn Zaiger, CEO of New Orleans-based digital marketing and advertising agency Online Optimism, says this tactic works equally as well with tweets. Simply aggregate the top tweets from industry thought leaders into a post for maximum results with minimal effort.
List Tools or Resources
There’s an app for just about everything these days. There are likely multiple resources, tools and applications your customers can use to make their lives easier in any industry. Create a list of these tools and use it as a blog post.
Titles that begin with numbers, such as “10 Ways to …” or “10 Tools to …” draw readers’ attention and typically get shared more frequently on social media. Enhance this strategy by sending a tweet to or mentioning the people or tools you have included, or by emailing them to let them know. They’ll be likely to share it, which generates more exposure for your business.
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Compile Q&As, Answer a Single Question
Laurie Morse-Dell, a blogger focused on sharing empowerment tools to help women boost their professional image, says she relies on commonly asked questions to generate blog post ideas when the idea well is running dry. What questions are your readers asking you most often? Create a post compiling short answers to several frequently asked questions, or elaborate on a single question that has a more complex answer.
This is a great way to incorporate videos into your content mix as well. Recording a 10-minute video demonstrating how to navigate a specific feature of a software application, for instance, is easy to do using screen-capture software.
Write a Case Study
If you've been in business for at least a year or two, you probably have at least one smashing success story for a client or customer. Write up a quick case study describing how your company helped, what tactics you used and how these same strategies could work for other customers. Include results and data, if possible, and reach out to your customer for a quote to enhance the credibility of your post.
Produce an Industry Timeline
Many industries have changed dramatically with advances in technology. The public relations field, for example, was once based on a targeted, personal approach using an individual’s relationship with a journalist. But today, public relations encompasses social media, online reputation management and more. Other industries have experienced similar shifts. Take a look at yours and how things have changed over the past few decades.
Graphics increase clicks and social shares, so including data visualizations when possible will boost the value of your content and add visual appeal. Use a free tool, such as Timeline JS, to create a graphic depiction of your timeline to accompany the written content.
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Comment on Recent Industry News
What recent industry news has caught your eye? If you've read an article or seen a headline that made you stop in your tracks, write a blog post about it. Because you work in your industry every day, you immediately generate thoughts and opinions on major news—it’s human nature. Share all those opinions with your audience through a blog post.
Sarah Evans, chief evangelist for social collaboration platform Tracky, uses If This Then That (IFTTT) to conduct research and trigger specific actions based on the information filtered through her social networks. This delivers files to her Dropbox folder, emails to her inbox and status updates automatically to her social networks, taking the guesswork out of identifying trending topics and recent news. Google Alerts is another tool that will deliver the latest indexed content to your inbox based on search queries you specify.
There are dozens of no-fail ways to generate a quality blog post, even when you’re fresh out of ideas. Using an editorial calendar will help you stay on track and plan your posts into the future. But if you find yourself with an empty idea funnel, using one of the above idea formats will save the day—and your blog.Angela Stringfellow is a freelance writer, social media strategist and complete content marketing junkie obsessed with all things Web, written word and marketing. Angela blogs via Contently.com.
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