As we continue our series of posts for the Beginner Blogger, the next logical topic has to be posting to your blog. And some of the questions I get often, if not daily are “what should I post about?” Or, where do I get ideas for my blog post? How often should I post to my blog?
Do you see a pattern here? All of those questions are so related to each other that each is a step to the other. We have a lot of sub-topics to talk about over the next few weeks or so as we look at posting to your blog.
To get us started, I have decided that we are going to take, “where do I get ideas for my blog post?” as the first one we should tackle. Mainly because it is the first thing you should consider before you look at what you should be posting about.
Where do I get ideas for my blog post?
As you consider this question in your own mind, you have to ask yourself a few more questions:
- What is my goal for my blog?
- What do I want to accomplish with my blog?
- Who do I want to reach with my blog?
- In other words, who is my audience?
- What is my topic?
- Do I want to provide general information about my business or just talk about my products or services?
- Do I want to use my blog as a conduit to open up a conversation with my audience?
I know what you are saying, those questions really all connect with each other and you are right. But, when you look at them, they really do have an impact on where you get ideas for your blog post.
First, can we assume you have some form of business. Online or offline. Either a home based business or a downtown brick and mortar business. The key is you have a product or service to sell and you need to reach your audience. Even if we look at each one of the above questions, there is one common item you have to consider. You and your blog want to be the go to place for your readers to go for information. Information that either solves a problem or gives them answers to their questions. Or, both.
Ideas for blog post
In no particular order here are some we have come up with:
Trade Journals: You should be keeping yourself up to date with what is going on in our own industry. You are reading about new innovation in your industry. New ways of solving your customer or clients problems. Trade journals also give you your industry news. Why not take that information and do a weekly or monthly overview of what is new in your industry. And why not link to the online version of this trade journal too. We will be talking more about linking in the very near future. For now, all you need to know is that linking out to authority sources such as trade journals will get you some serious SEO juice. Plus it shows your readers you are a source of information too. It also shows your readers you are keeping up to date on what is going on in your niche, market and industry.
LinkedIn Answers: What is great about using this method is the fact it accomplishes two things for you. First, answering questions on LinkedIn is one of the ways available to build credibility. And depending on what your niche is, you can even build leads for your business. Second, when you look at the questions being asked in your niche, they are a great source for ideas for blog post. Just take the questions being asked and answer them in a post. Jason Falls had a great post on setting up this tool and how to incorporate it into your daily routine. And just an FYI, the niche I follow on LinedIn was actually one of the sources I used to find questions being asked by Beginner Bloggers for this very series.
Sidenote: Just in case you don’t think blog content continues to get you traffic, consider this. The link above to Jason’s post is to a post he did way back in June, 2010. How is that for evergreen content?
Seminars and Continuing Eduction Classes: We all go to seminars from time to time. And for those who must maintain a license, you usually have to attend continuing education classes each year. Seminars and educational classes are a great source of blog post too. Usually, at least if you are lucky, seminars and CEC’s provide information about new advances in your particular niche. Why not tell your readers about what you have learned at these seminars. Apply what you have learn to your niche and solve problems for your readers.
Blogs you read: This really should be one of those D’oh!! moments. If you are blogging, you should be reading blogs in your niche. You should also be reading blogs not in your niche. Taking blog post you have read and applying them to your location or niche is a great source of blog topics for you to write about. Not only is it a great source, you should be linking to them in the post you are writing too. Linking out to your source is what many of us call organic linking. In other words, putting a link in your post out to the source or quote. This gets you noticed by the search engines. But, even more important, it shows your readers you are again a source of information. Oh, and don’t forget to link out and quote a competitor too. Yes, your eyes are not tricking you. I am serious. In fact, we will discuss linking to competitors and other linking methods in a future post in this series.
So, why should we link out. This very important practice accomplishes two things for you:
- You are providing your readers with even more information. Not only are you quoting this source, you are giving a link to them. Your readers not only have your blog for information, they have this other blog too. Your readers will actually appreciate the fact you are not trying to just keep their attention on your blog.
- You are showing them you want to be a source of information. This other blogger is going to notice that you quoted and linked to them too. Remember one of the activities we need to do as bloggers is to get our own blogs noticed. Quoting and linking to other bloggers is a great way to do this. And the organic link you are putting in this relevant post of yours gets Google attention too. Placing organic links inside a blog post to other relevant blogs and their post, is a key technique to gain SEO.
Reader comments: This is an often times overlooked source of great ideas for blog post. If there is one thing I have found over the last 7 years of blogging, the readers of your blog give you some of the best post ideas you can find. Especially in the comments on your blog. The comments on your blog are a gold mine of ideas. And sometimes the comments on a particular post might be better then your actual post. You should not overlook taking the comments you receive on your blog and using them as post ideas.
What is also great about this technique is the fact you can include the comment and the commenter in your blog post. If you use a comment as an idea for a post, give the commenter a link to their blog and even better, see if you can link to one of their post that is relevant to the post you are doing. Give the commenter some link love and they will remember that.
For example, I plan to use a comment in this post for another post in this series.
Client/Customer questions: This one is my favorite source of ideas for blog post and the one which moved me up in the search engines the fastest.
In any type of business, you get questions every single day from customers or clients. And if you publish a blog to promote or market your business, you should be taking advantage of all those questions too. One of the ways to get noticed by the human search engines and the non-organic search engines is to post answers to those common questions you see daily.
What you will soon discover is the simple fact those questions you are getting every day either on the phone or in person from clients/customers and prospective ones, are the same search terms people are typing into Google. And, they are basic questions. Questions that make great blog post and are easy for you to answer in a short to the point post.
Everyday you are getting questions and/or comments from clients, customers and prospects. If you are not taking those and making them into blog post you are really missing out on a great opportunity. Not only is it great post content, it shows you are connected to what is going on in your niche. Using those questions and/or comments also gets you involved in the conversation taking place in your niche or market.
Twitter: I know what you are thinking. Twitter is a fad. It is dying and will not be around. All I have to say to that is bull and so what. Even if twitter only last for another year or two, why would you not want to take advantage of this great tool. In fact, twitter has become my social media portal of choice. It is also another of my favorite sources of post ideas.
As a blogging tool, twitter is useful for not only promoting your blog. It is very useful as a way to gather blogging ideas. I use twitter almost daily for post ideas. And one of the best ways to do this is to just ask a question. I often ask questions on twitter days if not weeks before I write a pillar post. Before I even started to write the post, I asked a simple question on twitter to get me started in my thinking process. And continue the conversation on that question for a series of tweets to flesh out ideas for the post. More times than not, using this method will give me more than one post idea. And sometimes leads to a short series of post. This series for example.
What is so great about asking questions on twitter to get post ideas is the fact you are taking your thought process to the “people”. You are actually asking the question to those who are more likely than not, reading your blog. By doing so, you are getting your readers or prospective readers engaged in your blog without them even visiting your blog.
Once you get them involved in the research and development of your post, you are allowing them to become invested in your blog and your postings too. This process right in something we will be talking about more too. Keep these letters in mind, F.L.E.E. Find, Listen, Engage and Empower. The last two letters of F.L.E.E. give us engage and empower. And asking questions on twitter, getting our readers and prospective readers involved in our posting process early, also gets those people engaged in our blog and the conversation going on there. And we are empowering our readers to get involved too.
Forums: I personally don’t belong to very many forums at the present. In the past, I use to be on a few forums where I would take some time to answer questions involving what I did in my own business. Not only are forums a great way to get noticed and gain traffic to your blog. Forums can be a great source of post material. There are a lot of common questions you see in the forums. Questions which are asked over and over again. Why not take those common questions, make the question a post title/headline and then answer the question in your blog post. I must admit, the Headway forums have given me some ideas for future blog post here too.
What you may find by doing this is that you are going to gain some good organic traffic from these “answer” post you are doing.
Some final thoughts
This is not the complete list of where you can get ideas for blog post. In fact, we will be talking more about this as the series goes on. What I need from all of you is for you to leave your comments with some of your own ways of getting ideas for blog post. Let’s keep the conversation going!
And just as a heads up, here are some of the topics we will be covering very soon in our ongoing series, Beginner Blogger.
- How do I set up a blog?
- How do I buy a domain name and should I even bother?
- What blogging platform should I use?
- Should I pay someone to build my site?
- What is a theme?
- How often should I post?
- How to set up a Facebook page for your blog
- How do I promote my blog?
- What widgets or plugins should I use on my blog?
- What are some of the blogging tools I can use?
- Establishing a posting schedule and sticking to it
- How do I get readers?
- Should I build an email list?
- How do I do an email newsletter?
- Should I allow comments on my blog?
- and the list goes on and on and on…
And if you can think of other questions, which I know you can, please leave those in the comments as well.