Guest post by Glori Surban
Does coming up with blog content keep you up at night? You know that blogging is a big part of marketing your small business. So the thought of visitors (potential customers!) arriving at your blog where the latest post was from two months is more than disheartening. But creating content doesn’t have to be hard. It’s all in the planning. We'll focus on capturing great content ideas and deciding on what kind of content should grace your blog.
Capturing Great Ideas
Content planning starts with the right topic ideas. Content is easiest to create when you know your goals, target audience, and you have topic ideas beforehand. Ideas are everywhere. It’s just a matter of capturing them. Get ideas from your "aha" moments and personal experiences. Be inspired by other blogs, trending topics, answers to customer questions (ask ‘em!), quotes, movies, books, and stories. Update your customers on promotions, anniversaries, and new products and services. Wherever or whenever you get them, jot them down right away. Experienced bloggers will tell you that keeping a list of ideas is one of the secrets of successfully planning blog content. Here are free tools to help you capture your ideas easily and in an organized manner:
Deciding on Content Format
Your small business blog needs variety to keep it entertaining and interesting. There are different kinds of content formats you can use, from “classic” articles to the increasingly popular infographics. Let's take a look at the various forms you can create yourself and the free tools you can use to make content creation a breeze. Articles (standard blog posts) are the most common kind of content you can post on your blog. Whether its list posts, how-to's, news, guest posts, interviews, or reviews, articles are a main staple in business blogs. You can use ZenPen (for no-distraction writing) and then InboundWriter (to improve optimization). Videos are the best medium for explaining how your products and services work and for tutorials and testimonials. Video is also important if you’re the face of your business. Use a decent webcam to ensure quality video and audio. You can use Screencast-O-Matic if you want to give tutorials. "Pinnable" images are perfect for small businesses revolving around the beauty, health, coaching, and fashion industry. Find quotes via Goodreads and photos through PhotoPin and use PicMonkey to create quote images and collages. Making infographics has become easier over the years. Web-based tools such as easel.ly and visual.ly are easy to use and master. But "infographic" has become an umbrella term for many kinds of specially-created images with text on them. Lately, marketers have disguised self-promotional mumbo-jumbo as infographics. Try to remain true to the “info” in infographic for your readers’ sakes. Slide presentations are also easy to make. Use Google slides or Microsoft PowerPoint to create your presentations and upload them to SlideShare, or embed them directly on your blog post (if using Google slides). Quizzes are perhaps the least used content format around. You can give fun quizzes related to your business every month to increase reader engagement. Don't make them too long though. Use ProProfs QuizMaker and embed the quiz in your blog post or you can simply enumerate your questions in a blog post just like what Copyblogger did. Capturing blog post ideas and deciding how you’ll present those ideas in your blog may seem too much work at first, but once you get the hang of it (and use tools that work for you), content creation becomes a breeze. What types of content are on your blog? What tools do you use to create them? Share your stories below!
Glori Surban helps small business owners and entrepreneurs save time and focus on their strategic goals by providing quality blogging and guest blogging services, taking their mind off content creation but still establishing themselves as experts.