If 2015 were a football game, I suppose we’d be coming out of the locker room and getting ready to kick-off the second half.
Today, I’m going to share an infographic that was put together by Smart Insights on the state of content marketing in 2015. One of the things that stuck out to me on this graphic is from a recent survey by CMI of B2C marketers in North America.
3 of the top 5 most common challenges people listed are very closely related:
1. Producing Engaging Content
2. Producing Content Consistently
3. Producing a Variety of Content
Whether you are a business trying to find and engage customers, or someone who builds niche/authority websites as a side gig – the struggle of consistently creating high quality content that will attract readers and keep your existing readers interested is very real. The great thing about producing high quality content is that it’s a strategy that works on any site, any platform (e.g Squarespace, Weebly, WordPress), and any niche. It’s a lot of work, but it also just plain works.
Take a look at their infographic and afterwards, I’m going to share 10 ideas of how your can produce quick, engaging content on your blog or website.
There is a ton to take in on this infographic, so let’s focus on the challenges mentioned earlier. I’m going to highlight 10 quick blog post ideas that can be implemented in a variety of niches and industries:
1. Embed and React.
This term comes from the folks at Digital Marketer who have a number of excellent content ideas that are quick and effective. The post you are reading right now is actually an “embed and react” post.
The idea is that you take a Youtube video, Infographic, Slideshare, or some other form of visual media that people want to be shared across the internet and embed it into a blog post. Then, you simply “react” in some way in that same blog post.
In this case, I found a really in-depth infographic and noticed that creating a variety of helpful content on a consistent basis is a big struggle for people, so I’m reacting with a list of ideas for creating high quality content in a short amount of time.
The uses for this are nearly endless.
If you are in a plumbing business, you could share a Youtube video of some DIY plumber teaching people how to fix a leak. Then, below the video you can react by pointing out what he did right and what he did wrong.
If you run an environmental website, you could embed an infographic with stats about pollution or other problems and then offer your practical advice for how people can help reverse these trends.
By embedding really interesting visuals that someone else created and adding in your own insight, you can save time and budget and still give your readers top notch content.
Frequently asked questions aren’t some blazing trend, but they can often be turned into a helpful and fast blog post.
“FAQ” is one of the many ideas shared by Kevan Lee in his list of blog post ideas.
If you sell a product or service, simply jot down all the questions you receive. Then, when you are short on blog content, use one of those questions as the topic of a blog post. If someone is asking you, then a bunch of others are probably wondering the same thing.
If you can’t turn one question/answer into a full blog post, then do a “mail bag” or a compilation where you answer a few different questions in one post.
3. Create a Series
If you are teaching people about a topic or how to do something specific, think about breaking it up into a series of steps. It can be easier to take in from the reader’s perspective and it lets you turn one piece of content into a series of 4 or 5. This allows you to go in-depth on each step of the process, and it gives you a reason to email or communicate with your audience as you publish the series.
Jennifer Snyder recently talked about the value of using series on your blog by saying “The benefits of series posts are twofold. You have the opportunity to teach your readers and keep them coming back for more every week. Also, you can then create a page with all the posts from the series, which is good for search engine optimization.”
4. Aggregating Content
Aggregation is simply compiling and curating a bunch of different ideas into one big list, and using it on your blog.
You see these everywhere because they work well and they are relatively quick to produce.
Here is an example from DIYReady:
They created a post of 14 detox waters, which at the time of this writing has been shared over 73,000 times on Pinterest.
The crazy part?
All 14 detox water recipes were created and posted on other sites. DIY Ready simply found the recipes they liked best, put them all into one blog post and linked back to the original source of the recipe:
The last point is an important one. Aggregation isn’t about stealing other people’s stuff and acting like it’s yours. When you collect a bunch of ideas that your audience will benefit from, be sure that you are linking back to the source and give credit where credit is due.
5. Expound on an Old Post
If you’ve been blogging for awhile, then you’ve probably had some hits and some misses. Those posts that really resonate with your readers, maybe get a bunch of comments and shares, and then those posts which simply do not.
Julie at the Co-schedule blog shared a great process to go through for giving new life to those old hits.
She mentions looking for comments like these on your original blog post as a sign that you could write more on that topic:
- I don’t understand.
- I disagree, and here’s why.
- I don’t think this would work for me.
- Here’s my specific situation. Would this work for me?
- This is so helpful. I especially like the part about _____.
These are all signs that you could dive deeper into one part of that topic, apply the concept to different situations, overcome objections to your original point, etc.
It’s something your audience wants to hear and because you’ve written about it in the past, and you’ll probably be able to churn out another post in short order.
That’s what some people call a “win-win.”
6. Best Practices/Knowledge Sharing
Our business is software. Originally, Long Tail Pro was created by Spencer Haws because he wasn’t a big fan of the keyword research tools available in the market. We’re a small team, but we don’t just sell and promote software – we still use Long Tail Pro for our own projects.
So like the president of Hair Club for Men, we don’t just work here, we’re a client!
Because of that, we’ve discovered and learned things about how to get the most out of the software. The problem is, it’s easy to forget that new customers don’t inherently know the things you’ve learned with experience. So recently, we created a post with 5 tips for getting the most out of Long Tail Platinum in an attempt to share some advice that will make keyword research faster and more effective.
Could you do something like this for your own business?
Another example is the website builder Weebly, who does a “How’d They Do That” video series on their Youtube Channel. In it, they show cool things their users have done and then show you how you can do the same thing with your website. (By the way, if you’re wondering if what platform to use for your site, we have comparison posts on Wix vs Weebly, Weebly vs Squarespace, and Weebly vs WordPress).
This kind of content is something your existing customers can really benefit from.
7. Interview Posts
Interviews don’t always have to be a formal thing, and they don’t have to be an audio recording.
In fact, if you email a busy person and ask to “interview” them for your blog, it may be a tough sell unless you have a personal relationship or a decent sized audience already.
The good news is, that doesn’t need to stop you from doing interview posts on your blog. This is another template used by the folks at Digital Marketer that I’m a big fan of. One example they share is on the Salesforce blog, about how 10 winning sales people spend the 15 minutes before a sales call.
To create a post like this in your industry, you need to get comfortable with email outreach.
Think of a question that your readers would love to know the answer to, then ask influencers or experts on that topic what they think.
“How 17 Wedding Planners Make Memories on a Budget.”
For a post like this, simply email a bunch of professional wedding planners and ask something like:
I’m working on an expert round-up of wedding planners and would love to include you. Hopefully it’s an opportunity to brag a little bit about your work 🙂
What’s the most creative thing you’ve done for a wedding party that was on a very tight budget?
Thanks in advance and I’ll be sure to send you a link once we publish!
As the answers start rolling in, start compiling your list of insights. Again, you’ll have excellent content that was largely written for you by experts in the industry who volunteered to share their knowledge.
8. Cover a Trend
Simply head over to Google Trends, type in a keyword that fits your business and then filter down to a recent time range like the past 7 days or past 30 days. Let’s assume my blog was full of ideas for homemade crafts. I might get super creative and type in “crafts.”
Then, scroll down and click on “Rising” to see the things that have been growing in popularity during that time span:
Assuming you are heavily involved in your industry, you might not be surprised to see some of the items that are rising in popularity on Google. In fact, you’ve probably got an opinion or insight to share on the topic.
That could make for a simple and timely blog post.
In this example, people are searching for “save on crafts” a lot recently.
This could quickly be turned into an aggregation post that we discussed earlier, or if saving money on crafts is something you’ve covered in the past, maybe you compile some of your own best ideas and add in a couple of new ones to a big list of ideas for your readers.
9. Convert Existing Content Into Visuals
Everyone learns and consumes information differently. Things you’ve written in the past may be better served to some people as a visual. We talked earlier about “embed and react” where you use the visuals someone else has created, but you can also create your own visuals pretty quickly as a way to better connect with your audience.
Canva is now my go to tool for creating attractive images and graphics.
Recently, they’ve added templates for infographics and blog graphics which allow you to put your ideas into really attractive visuals. Many of the templates and elements are free to use, so it isn’t a stretch to say that you could convert a previously published list of ideas, a “how to” post, etc. into your own custom graphic without spending any money.
No, you probably won’t win a design award for your work on Canva, but you’ll have something beautiful and professional that speaks to your audience (which is the most important part)
Besides the visual itself, you can add some written copy to really drive home the point.
Repurposing as a visual will give you more variety in your content without spending weeks coming up with the information.
10. Inviting Others to Guest Post
Guest posting has been around forever, but have you ever hosted a guest poster on your website?
It’s a fantastic way to get new content on your site that you don’t have to spend any time creating. In our industry of internet marketing, people guest post like crazy. But if you have a blog about hot tub maintenance and care, there probably aren’t a bunch of people in that industry seeking out solid guest contributors.
If that’s the case in your industry, you should be at an advantage.
Find people that you admire, thought leaders, and others in your space and ask them if they’d like to post on your blog. This is really a mutually beneficial arrangement when done right. Obviously you get great content, and they get free exposure to your audience and the chance to further establish themselves as an expert in the industry.
Here’s one way that you can approach someone about contributing to your site:
I hope all is well! This is Jake from ________, a local pool and spa company in Cincinnati, OH.
I’m a big fan of your blog. In fact, your company is part of the reason we started a blog on our own site to connect with customers – so thank you!
Your certainly an expert in our industry, and we’d love to have you share some of your insight with our audience. Please let me know what you think and we’ll figure out the details.
Clearly you don’t have to follow this exact template.
However, I’ve had the most success when I do a little bit of “ego bait” by mentioning my admiration for their work. In fact, if you can briefly comment on something specific that their work helped you with – even better.
Then, simply say that you’d be honored to host them on your site and let them share with your audience.
Keep it short, and try to get an initial response. If they respond positively, then you can work out some specific topic ideas or ask them if there is something specific they’d like to share.
Keeping up with a blog is tough – especially when that is only part of your job! Hopefully these ideas have given you some inspiration of things you can create in a short amount of time that will add variety and provide value to your audience.
Do you have blog post ideas that have worked well? If so, please share below: