Cliché fans will be well aware that in the autocracy that is SEO, content is king…or Google is, depending on who you believe. Anyway, whoever has the God-given right to rule over the kingdom of SEO is a topic for another post (something to look forward to, eh?) because in this post, I’m going to look at some quick ways of coming up with blog content on a regular basis.
I could bore you to tears with how Penguin and Panda have forced us all to take a long hard look in the mirror and consider what we’ve done but to be honest, coming up with successful content for SEO AND customers on a regular basis has always been a bit of an issue.
It’s perfectly understandable really; when faced with a client you don’t know that much about and tasked with coming up with a blog post every week, it seems inevitable that you’ll use all your good ideas up within two weeks and be stuck thereafter.
However, coming up with content on a regular basis needn’t be the massive mountain of adversity some people make it out to be. Here are some of the methods I utilise to generate ideas on a daily basis:
Exploit the News
The news; it’s the gift that keeps on giving. There’s nothing quite like sifting through the day’s dose of death, depression and stories about the oddballs that make up the cast of The Only Way Is Essex to come up with some quick ideas for blog content.
There are two ways to utilise the news; either searching for news directly relating to the content you’re writing about or relating a wider news story to your particular subject. Don’t just rehash any news you find though; either write an opinion piece on it (with the blessing of your client if you’re writing on their behalf, of course) or offer a useful take on it; upcoming legislation and how to prepare for it is a particularly good example for blogs heavily tied to a certain industry.
Relating a wider news story to your topic can lead to some pretty tenuous articles, but has quite a lot of viral potential on social media and beyond. It goes without saying that the impact of content based upon news lessens as the news gets older, so make sure you produce your content as close to the breaking of the news as possible!
If you’re really struggling to find anything relevant, then try out SEO Gadget’s Content Strategy Generator Tool; you stick a particular term into the spreadsheet and in return, it brings in content related to that term from all around the web. It’s an extremely useful way of generating ideas quickly.
Care In The Community
Working with a new client for the first time can be daunting, especially if you aren’t particularly knowledgeable about what they do or the issues surrounding their particular sector. When faced with moments like this, I utilise what I like to call ‘The Attenborough Approach’.
Taking inspiration from everyone’s favourite nature botherer, the Attenborough Approach involves immersing yourself in the community to gain a better understanding of what’s going on. Subscribing to RSS feeds and blogs, going on forums and of course, having a good root around social media help you to understand what your client’s peers and customers are up to and enjoy and should provide you with a neat little bank of topics to address in your posts. Plus, you’ll gain enough knowledge to write confidently about the topic too!
The Fountain of Knowledge
Knowledge is a valuable commodity online and positioning your blog as an authority is important – no-one’s going to bother subscribing to a guy (or girl) who kind of knows about stuff but isn’t too sure. The best way of building authority is to answer questions potential readers have been asking.
To determine the big questions, take a look at your Google Analytics account for what people are searching for (narrowing down searches using ‘who, what, where, etc.’), utilise Google Trends or get onto Quora or Yahoo! Answers. Yes, both feature some of the stupidest questions ever asked, but there is some genuinely useful stuff out there if you look hard enough. Bonus points and quality links are abound if you find a good question that no-one else has answered…and answer it correctly and in an interesting manner, obviously.
Think Outside of the Box
I have no idea where ‘the box’ is, but if it’s anything like I’m led to believe, outside of it looks a bit like your average David Lynch film. Nevertheless, a good way to come up with posts is to venture out into the content equivalent of Twin Peaks.
Thinking outside of the box is a pretty broad suggestion, but one way to approach it (and one which I quite enjoy using) is to take two completely unrelated subjects and try and tie them together – I did this when I came up with a pretty silly idea for a blogpost relating 80s’ miserabilists The Smiths with SEO, which ended up on State of Search. It can lead to some tenuous posts, and sometimes it won’t work at all, but when it does you might find you come up with something truly unique.
There are a thousand and one ways to come up with good content on a regular basis and everyone works differently, but hopefully some of the techniques listed above will help you out should you catch a nasty case of creative block.
On a side note, we’re currently on the lookout for a new Senior Developer, so if you’ve got the skills and fancy joining one of the best development teams in the North West, take a look at this post for more details on the role and how to apply!
(Image Credit: Drew Coffman)