Feel like your blog is stale? Does it seem like you’re writing about similar topics all the time, or linking back to the same things because your topics are all related? Or maybe you just can’t think of anything new to say?
Fresh thinking is hard. You won’t get an argument from me there. I have the luxury of working for a marketing company. I have clients in varied industries, and I get to ponder disparate topics to write and edit content for several different verticals. You… maybe not so much.
And on our own Right Source blog, Marketing Trenches, I have the latitude to be able to, well, stretch a little. I can do things like swear in a blog post, or write about content marketing superheroes. Not every company’s culture allows for that kind of thing.
So if you have to write for just ONE company, and maybe you can’t curse or go down the path of the Transformer or Batman, how do you keep your blog fresh and exciting for your readers? The well is only so deep, right?
Don’t let your blog go boring. Here are some ideas to keep your readers engaged and even grow your audience.
- Audit what you’ve already done. So maybe this is not an idea to exactly create fresh, new content, but it is where you need to start. If you don’t have an inventory of what you have written about, make one. Part of what makes things boring is repetition. If you don’t pay close attention, it’s easy to repeat what you’ve already done, or at least parts of what you’ve done before. And that’s boring for your readers.
- Experiment with length. Are your posts always about the same length? Probably. Everyone has his or her comfort zone. Change it up a little. Write some short, punchy posts that are quick, informative, maybe a few steps to do X, Y, Z. Write something considerably longer that really offers readers some meaty takeaways. The point is, offer variety.
- Vary your writers. Are you doing all the writing on your blog? Or you and one other person? Maybe that makes sense because you know it will get it done, but not only does including different writers give you a break (although you DO still need to edit, which might be just as time consuming), it gives your blog a variety of voices. Your readers probably love your humorous opinion pieces or pithy insights on recent industry news. But they might also love the occasional succinct but serious post from your CEO or your finance guy. Variety = spice of your blog.
- Get a Guest Writer. Get a couple of guest writers. The right selection of people — preferably people known in your industry — will not only build credibility for your company, but will provide a marketing boost as they distribute what they wrote to their network.
- Post a Q&A. Not everything has to be your standard blog post. Your blog can be a flexible place. Do some different things with it. Get one of those guest-blogging industry experts I mentioned above to answer a few questions for you and BOOM… you have a Q&A.
- Do something funny. This might not work for everyone. Maybe your company culture wouldn’t really mesh with a funny blog post, but every now and then, even a slightly conservative company can throw in something with a bit of humor and your audience might appreciate it. All readers have a sense of humor hiding somewhere — just be funny about the stuff that interests them. Maybe it’s just a once-a-year holiday post with an industry spin (“10 Reasons Santa Might be a Cyber Security Threat”), or maybe it’s a humorous how-to or an opinion piece. It just depends on what your culture and established audience will tolerate. Just keep in mind that even a funny post needs a valuable takeaway for your readers.
- Branch out into a new area or drill further into an existing. This might seem tough. You probably think, “Well, if I could have thought of a new area, I would have branched out already.” Fair enough. So if you can’t think of a new direction to go into, then narrow the focus of an area you’re already in. Maybe create a series on that little focus. For example, we talk a lot about content marketing — all aspects of content marketing. Maybe for the rest of the year, we’ll put a particular focus on just marketing automation and create more content around just that subject that might include, let’s say, an eBook on how to decide if you are actually ready for marketing automation, blog posts on the subject, and maybe some downloadables.
- Create infographics. This is not as challenging as it may seem. Have a good graphic designer? He or she can tackle this for you, trust me. Repurpose content from some of those blog posts you’ve written in the past. Pull out 10-12 statistics on a similar topic (we know you have that, otherwise we would not be having this discussion on how to not be boring), have the talented designer combine that stuff into a cool graphic, and just write up a short why-this-is-important intro. Your infographic can have a lot of legs if you include valid, valuable statistics, an “embed this image” code so other content creators can use it, and don’t brand too heavily with your company’s logo. If you have enough existing content, you could create one of these every month or every other month.
- Brainstorm with your team. While this may go without saying, I probably should say it anyway. Once you’ve considered some of these ideas, pull together whoever might be on your content team and brainstorm some ideas that feed whatever areas you decide will help perk things up, whether it’s a list of funny topic ideas, potential writers for guest posts, new areas of focus, or subjects for your first 10 infographics. The point is, a brainstorming meeting can provide lots of ideas in a short time, will make your team feel like they are invested and involved in the process, and will help you adjust your content marketing plan moving forward.