Blog sections are a dime a dozen. At this point in time, everyone and their grandparents know how important blogging is to get a name out on the web.
However, while there are millions upon millions of blog sections, very few knock it out of the park when it comes to the quality of the content. As many bloggers quickly realize, getting things up and running is only the tip of the spear. Once you hit a wall with topics, the bulk of the battle involves keeping a consistent flow of fresh content that adds something new and substantial to the conversation.
So how can you ensure that you maintain a killer blog with killer content one, five, or ten+ years down the road?
Let’s dive in.
1. Go through the Comments Section of Top Blogs in Your Niche
Perhaps the biggest differentiator between a good blogger and a great blogger is the latter doesn’t see him/herself strictly as a blogger. The best ones are extremely diligent readers before they even start writing. Plain and simple, if you aren’t keeping up on industry blogs and the conversations they generate, the bulk of your content is likely contributing to the echo chamber, as opposed to adding something fresh.
One of the places that many people tend to overlook while they are reading up on the latest niche blogs is the comment section. These are prime spots where people express their candid (and sometimes unfiltered) opinions about a certain topic. When you are looking for fresh topics or viewpoints to write about, comment sections are a gold mine – especially on higher traffic websites. For example, let’s say you are an SEO agency. Hopefully, you are making it a point to read up on posts from Search Engine Land, Search Engine Journal, Moz, Neil Patel, etc. Here is the comment section from a recent post published on Moz titled: What the Local Customer Service Ecosystem Looks Like in 2019
The highlighted part of the comment talks about the importance of Google Reviews. You could easily turn this small tidbit into a post about how to gain more verified customer reviews and why they are so crucial for SEO.
Every blogger knows how important it is to keep up with the top platforms in their niche. As it turns out, leveraging the comments can be equally valuable for inspiration.
2. Ask Fellow-Guest Bloggers to Pitch in
Generally speaking, one of the greatest (if not the greatest) things about the blogosphere is that it is a vast pool of shared knowledge in which everyone helps each other out with their insights. Chances are, you are doing some degree of guest posting on popular industry blogs to help get your name out there. The lineup of guest writers on whichever website you write for is full of opportunities for collaboration.
Take your favorite platform that you’ve written a guest post for. Look through a number of posts by other guest bloggers and choose a couple of your favorites. Then, reach out to the person(s) who wrote it.
- Tell them why you like the post they wrote.
- Add a bit of your own insight.
- Ask them if they would like to do a content swap (you write a post for their home website’s blog section and they write one for yours.)
- Give them the mutual benefits of doing the swap.
Content collaborations are an awesome way to get some fresh perspectives on your blog section and grow your community. It’s a win-win situation.
3. Interviewing Your Top Customers
Everyone knows how powerful the words of past customers are. Just the fact that they are a third-party with no ulterior motives (ideally) conveys a lot in the way of authenticity. In terms of sprucing up your blog section, you can use this to your advantage.
Let’s go back to the hypothetical example that you are an SEO agency. If you had an awesome campaign with impressive results, you could approach the client about answering a few questions for an interview-style blog post. Now, if you choose to go this route and write a post involving a happy customer, you need to tread lightly. The goal should be to write a genuine post with subtle hints of being a testimonial, as opposed to a blatantly promotional post.
Instead of talking purely about the results and how awesome you are, make it a point to discuss your process and the rationale behind it. In the context of interviewing a client about an SEO campaign, you can start the post by asking them what their goals going in were, then follow up with how you approached the task.
- What keywords were they trying to rank for?
- What was your strategy for keyword research?
- What types of content did they want to produce?
- How did you approach content ideation/execution?
- What were their target KPIs?
- How did you go about tracking the results?
Essentially, this post should give readers an in-depth look at how you operate and how your methods have been put to the test (and succeeded).
4. Break up Your Long-Form Posts
In the early days of your blog section, you likely wrote a number of long-form posts with a broader focus. For example, if you do web design, you may have put together pieces like: X Ways to Improve Conversions; How to Design the Perfect Product Page; How to Optimize Your WordPress Website for the Search Engines; etc.
Now, once you have these posts written, you can take a section and expand upon it for a full post. If one of the “Ways to Improve Conversions” was to “Focus on Visual Hierarchy”, you can easily turn that into a much more in-depth post of its own. Chances are, in the first article, you only gave a surface level idea of what visual hierarchy is and how to apply it to a website.
If you give the concept of visual hierarchy its own post, you can dive much deeper into the specifics and give people something that is highly actionable and beneficial.
So, the takeaway here is that you should start your blog section by writing broader posts, then examine certain sections of those posts under a microscope for future content.
5. Publish User-Generated Content
Simply put, coming up with fresh content multiple times every month is tough. In all honesty, there is a limit for many people (myself included) when it comes to reading educational posts that promote a brand or an expert. Sometimes, it helps a lot to mix it up and add content that comes directly from third-parties that are not directly involved with the entity that runs the blog section. Now, this goes beyond just testimonials or interviews (as mentioned in the last section)
In terms of incorporating user-generated content (UGC) into your blog section, there are plenty of ways to go about this depending on your niche. A great place to start is asking questions on social media and gauging the responses. Using Quora or a Facebook/LinkedIn Discussion Group, you can ask a thought-provoking question that is relevant to your target readers. For example, as a marketing agency, let’s say you ask a large group of people how they went about building their social media presence. This is a great question because there are all kinds of potential answers. Someone might talk about how they built a massive Instagram following, what their most successful content was on Facebook, how they engaged in conversations on LinkedIn, etc. Give it a few days, then pick your favorite actionable responses.
Once you have narrowed down some awesome answers, you can turn this into a blog post. Perhaps with a title like: We Asked X People How They Built Their Social Media Following (And Got Some Great Answers).
Not only is this content valuable, it comes from a variety of different people – some of which might be in the same boat as your readers.
Many companies encourage UGC in which people post pictures, videos, or anything else that relates to the brand. GoPro has been doing this spectacularly for years. They have a channel on their website dedicated to UGC that customers submit.
Simply getting everyday users involved in your content platform can do a lot to make your messaging feel more interactive. UGC has been an amazing trend in recent years – something that will likely continue.
6. Recycle and Repurpose
Recycling and repurposing your content is a fantastic way to rejuvenate popular topics. If you had a blog post that got tons of traction, comments, shares, etc., don’t just sit there and watch it get older!
There are a few things you can do here. For starters, go back and look through the content for anything that can be updated. Perhaps there is new data or research available you can add to the post, new examples, trending news that impacts the post, and so on. Once you update the blog, you can recycle it (just be sure it’s not a close duplicate of the older version).
Now, you can also change up the format of the post. For instance, you can turn a popular article into an infographic, slide share, instructional video, etc. For example, let’s say you wrote a blog post along the lines of: The Ultimate Checklist for Developing a New App. This content can easily be turned into a video that gives viewers a visual understanding of how to carry out certain tasks. Like in this video here:
Many people have a misconception that a blog section can only be filled with articles or text-heavy information. While this is the typical baseline format, it doesn’t mean you can’t include videos or graphic-based content. Recycling and repurposing your blog posts is a great way to mix up your content and add something new.
A thriving blog section is a serious commitment. If done correctly, a blog section will showcase your expertise, provide and interactive element to readers, and give people an instant sense of credibility as soon as they see your brand colors on the screen. If done poorly, you are just adding to the ever-increasing background noise of the internet.
Regardless of the niche, your blog section is an opportunity to prove that you are a force in the industry. Going the distance and making it awesome will have all kinds of benefits down the road.
Got any other ideas for keeping your blog bustling with fresh, awesome content? Please post your thoughts in the comments below!