Sometimes there is nothing more intimidating than a blank piece of paper. When you know you need to have a blog written and you don’t come to the computer with the topic in mind, you can risk wasting a lot of time looking for inspiration in the wrong places. Whenever I start writing for a client, I start by researching and looking for blogs to bookmark for inspiration. I’m not out to copy what’s already out there. But by taking a look at what’s working, I can try a different spin or angle and add to the conversation in a positive way.
Keeping up with industry specific blogs also just keeps you up to date on what’s out there. It’s easier to spot a trend if you keep your eye out, and reading more often simply makes you a better writer.
Here are some blogs I bookmark for content marketing inspiration.
There is always something new on the HubSpot blogs. They have a large number of qualified people writing on everything inbound. The type of content ranges from infographics to longer, research based posts.
Moz most definitely leans toward the longer, more in depth posts. When I read a headline I’m really interested in I tend to set some time aside and read through it thoroughly. Another great place for inspiration is their comment section. A lot of really smart marketers and SEOs put in their 2 cents in the comment section and it can really spark something worth writing about.
The Content Strategist has a lot of examples of how brands are achieving success with content marketing. They have some great statistics and figures of how it’s done, and every piece is extremely engaging.
Creator by WeWork
WeWork publishes content for business owners and freelancers as well as employees working in creative industries. I especially like scrolling through their newsletter and finding an article that looks interesting. Their website itself has a great layout and an awesome animation that shows you how far into an article you are.
Entrepreneur has tons of writers and publishes a lot of content at a wide range. The articles are short and they have a nice feature that tells you how long an article is in minutes before you click on it. This is often where I’ll go for the quickest inspiration. And if I don’t find something that sparks a blog topic, I always find something great for sharing on social media.
It’s no secret that titles are important. They are the first impression a reader has of our content. It’s important for a title to be descriptive and to garner attention, and that takes work. You don’t want all your hard work to go to waste because of title capitalization errors.
Let’s be honest, which words are capitalized in a title shouldn’t really matter if the content is great. But people on the web love to pick out spelling and grammar mistakes.
The excitement you get from writing and publishing some great content can go to zero very quick when a blog commenter points out that you forgot to capitalize the last word in your title.
To avoid worrying about this, there are a bunch of really simple title capitalization tools out there.
Titlecapitalization.com is one that will automatically capitalize your title for you. You can even choose a few different style variations of which it spells out the rules.
Most websites I’ve seen use the AP style of title capitalization. Here’s the rules.
Capitalize the first word of the title, the last word of the title, and all “principal” words (nouns, pronouns, adjectives, verbs, adverbs, and subordinate conjunctions) and all words longer than three letters. Lowercase articles coordinating conjunctions and prepositions, and lowercase the word “to” in an infinitive (to do, to make etc.)
The Chicago Manual of Style has similar rules, except it does not have you capitalize words based on length.
Wow guys, that’s a lot to remember.
Of course you can choose to not follow the rules and do whatever you want.
You Can Capitalize Every Word In A Title
You can write your title just like you would write a sentence, period and all.
Just be aware that to people who read a lot of content online, that different style could be distracting, especially if it’s not consistent throughout all of your content.
If you decide to follow the rules, make it easy and bookmark this page so you don’t make yourself go crazy.
Organic traffic is a proven driver of business for any website.
A key part of our digital strategy for Mann Family Dental was organic SEO and content creation. After a few months of blogging consistently, their organic traffic started to take off and so did their patients.
In the first year, Mann Family Dental’s website visits had increased by 200%.
Here at Schall, we tend to use our organic traffic results as the key indicator for how well we are doing with our website and our content. So how do you grow your organic traffic and get more qualified eyes on your website?
Here are 3 tips on how to start increasing organic traffic.
If you’re using WordPress, download the Yoast Plugin. It’ll give you great pointers and help you to get started quickly. If you are not running on a WP platform, review your Focus Keyword for each page. Revisit the content and make improvements where you can. Make sure your focus keyword is used properly in the URL, titles, images and copy. Link to both external and internal sources where it’s relevant. Review the images used in each page and check it they all have an alternate text set up. Last, try to have at least 300 words for each page/blog.
2.) Start Blogging
If you don’t blog or haven’t blogged in a while, start doing it. Start by writing a couple a month and work your way up. The sooner you do it, the better. It’s a lot of work at the beginning, but I guarantee you, you won’t regret it. You can’t out-bid your competitor’s marketing dollars, but can always out-think and out-teach them.
Now, if you suck at writing, you can hire an inbound agency to start researching and writing for you. (Shameless plug: We are researchers and writers!) Blogging quality content is the future of your website’s success.
3.) Share Your Knowledge on Social Networks
You can have amazing content that shares an experience that can be life changing for a reader but if you don’t tell anyone about it, no one will know. Promote your knowledge through your networks. Use your social media channels. I personally publish some of my articles on LinkedIn and have had great results. My 500+ connections receive a notification once my article is published. I’m becoming a thought leader within my network and also providing them a link back to more content on my website. Win win.
Websites these days need to act as your 24/7 sales team. Make sure it’s bringing in the leads and business that it should, and most importantly, keep in track of it. Ask your prospects how they found you. This way at the end of the month, quarter or year, you can find out how well your website is performing.
Increasing organic traffic is a marathon and not a sprint. It takes a lot of time and effort to build. But once it’s there, it won’t go away once you stop paying Google.
Share your knowledge and start writing some great stuff. I promise, you won’t regret it.
According to HubSpot, companies that publish 16+ blog posts per month got almost 3.5X more traffic than companies that published between 0 – 4 monthly posts.
While this data is true and valuable, it doesn’t speak to the quality of blog posts and how that affects inbound marketing.
Writing is hard. Grammar and punctuation aside, it takes a lot of work to create something from nothing. And it takes even more work to create something that other people find valuable.
Small business blogging has changed that a little bit. Now, we have data that can give writers a bit of how-to when they are writing for a brand. Keep your headline under so many characters, split up your paragraphs, use lists etc.
These are great statistics for a marketer to spout off to prove how great they are at marketing, but creating content needs to be more than that.
Now, it’s not SO much more that it becomes this mountain of a task, only attainable by the big brands and their highly paid professionals.
What are the dangers of small business blogging?
1. You basically become a robot, pumping out content every single day that follows all the rules but has no personality whatsoever.
2. You try really hard to follow what Rand Fishkin calls the “10X” rule, end up crying in the corner and never hitting “publish.”
Small business blogging can work somewhere in the middle. You can’t be afraid to put out content because you don’t think it’s good enough. Just like in business, you can’t be afraid to fail.
That being said, you shouldn’t be publishing 10 posts per month that get hardly any views, either. Even if your content is bringing in traffic, if it’s not bringing in leads or business you need to rethink your strategy. Publishing lots of the same kind of content isn’t doing anyone any favors.
So what should you do? When I blog for my business, I try my best to focus on improving. Every time I write, I am trying to improve my process as well as my end product. I also focus on improving the content that is already on my site. If I have a post that has been there for a while, gets a good amount of views but no one is converting, I’ll go back in and try to make it better.
Set Attainable Goals
Knowing that the odds of your blog post going viral are slim, it’s important to set attainable goals. Take a look at your traffic and leads today and aim to increase those numbers. If you can’t see the impact of your blog on your website and your business, it’s harder to keep it going on a regular basis.
Above all, you need to have patience. Creating content that people love takes a lot of time and energy. I’m trying not to get all philosophical here, but it’s really hard not to. Just take solace in the fact that no one really knows the perfect formula for creating great content. Keep learning, keep practicing, and always hit publish.