One question that came up during a recent employee training here at SHIFT was whether or not you can run out of content for the company blog, especially for industries that tend to be commoditized. The short answer is no, and the long answer is no, if you have a few blog creation strategies in your toolkit. Here are a few that you can see evidence of on the SHIFT blog for how we keep making content that provides value to you.
1. Series. Take a topic that’s too long for a single blog post and break it into pieces, such as our How to Measure PR series:
2. Instructionals. Some days it’s unquestionably a struggle to find something new. When that happens, the easiest valuable fallback is the simple how-to post. In many cases, those posts can become multimedia posts because how-to can often involve video tutorials, info graphics, and other forms of media. Best of all, as someone who is a subject matter expert, you should be able to knock out how-to posts on things that are relatively basic for you. Some examples – including this post – of the how-to at work:
3. Calendaring. There are known events that occur every year. There’s a good chance you can look at those events through the lens of your industry and create “anchor” posts that work with it, such as our recent April Fool’s Day post and many, many other holidays. If you know something’s coming up, you can plan well in advance of it. Go Google for 2013 holidays and look at what’s available for you to plan around. Just in the next few weeks, we have Tax Day, Earth Day, Administrative Professional’s Day, Arbor Day, Lag B’omer, Cinco de Mayo, Mother’s Day, and many more.
4. Respins. Subscribe to as many blogs as you can practically and reasonably read or scan in any given day and do your reading. Then look at taking popular articles or topics and writing about them from your own perspective or industry. Sometimes there are provocative posts on social networks that are worth responding to as well, so curate a list of people in your industry worth following and reading, then respin the material they’re sharing from your own perspective. (NOT copying them, just using them as a springboard for your own ideas)
5. Photo Lotto. Go to the popular photo sharing site Flickr. Head into the Creative Commons section and look at the 100 most recent photos posted. Pick one at random and find a way to make that photo a part of a blog post about your industry.
How would you, for example, take this photo and turn it into a blog post about your industry?
These general tactics are the easy go-tos when you find yourself struggling to put pen to paper or fingers to keyboard for your blogging efforts. There are hundreds of other different ways people write, so be sure to subscribe to various writing resources around the Internet such as Copyblogger for many more perspectives. One of their most fascinating series is The Writer Files, where they look at how popular and prolific authors such as Seth Godin and David Meerman Scott write.
Good luck writing!
Christopher S. Penn
Vice President, Marketing Technology