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I know I keep banging on about blogging as a great way to develop your web site content and SEO rankings, as well as develop an interested following, but it’s true, IT WORKS! The most common fear among my customers when talking about creating a blog finding something interesting to say on a regular basis.
So I’m going to tell you what I do to get inspiration.
The biggest area I get inspiration from is, you’ve guessed it, social media. There are of course others to here are my top 12 ways to get ideas for blog posts:
1) LinkedIn – You should already have a profile, if not do it now (link to LinkedIn). Log in and do a search for groups in your industry. To do this use the search box in LinkedIn, drop the menu on the left down and select GROUPS. Type in your business area such as HOTELS or SOLICITORS and see what comes up. If there’s no group covering your business area think about setting one up yourself, there’s no better way to be perceived as an expert. Join relevant groups and they will send you emails when new posts are made. Lots of good blog ideas there. Use the newly launched LinkedIn TODAY news service (link to my blog article).
2) Twitter – Use the HASH tag (#) which defines a subject, to keep an eye on what’s new. I use TweetDeck (https://www.tweetdeck.com/) to do this, it’s free, but there are many free and paid for tools that will achieve this. TweetDeck also monitors my Facebook and LinkedIn feeds. So for example in TweetDeck I select “Add” which adds a column and then I simply place my hash tag in the search box. TweetDeck then searches for all relevant tweets and the appear in real time in that column. For example “#golf hotels” or “#law Edinburgh”. Remember you are looking for inspiration so scan and see if there’s anything interesting happening that you can follow up on for a blog post idea.
3) Facebook – Search Facebook for people or companies in your market place. Start to follow them, including your competitors. You’ll be amazed at what comes up.
4) Google Groups – This is similar to LinkedIn. You need a Google account, set one up here https://www.google.com/accounts/NewAccount if you’ve not got one. Find the Groups link in your account page and search for the areas you are interested in. Again if there’s no activity think about setting up your own group.
5) Yahoo Groups – Basically the same as Google Groups.
6) Google Alerts – Log into your Google account and find the Alerts link on your accounts page. You can then set up Google to alert you when it finds stuff you are interested in. At a minimum you should have an alert set up for your company name. You will need to fine tune these for a week or two but they run without any ongoing effort on your behalf emailing you when Google finds something interesting that you’ve previously set an alert for.
7) This is a biggie for me, Podcasts – If you have a smart phone, an iPod, any MP3 player, any tablet, you can listen to these in the car or when you have downtime. I use iTunes and my iPhone so I can stay up to date with my industry leaders and innovators. In my car I have a cheap Dictaphone and if something gets said that sparks my interest I make a note and follow up when I’m at my computer. This is my biggest source of inspiration and it’s great to get other takes on your own business. Do a search for podcast index if you’re not on iTunes and you’ll get lots of podcast listings to search through.
8) Video Podcasts or Videocasts – As above but you need to be able to watch a screen so driving isn’t ideal!
9) Here’s another biggie for me, Blogs – Follow other peoples blogs. There will be many people blogging in your business areas. If you have a smart phone or tablet you can easily read blogs on the move, alternatively at your desktop. Don’t be afraid to put your own spin on someone else’s comments or ideas, discussion and debate are healthy and fun!
10) Industry Journals – Subscribe to journals that are about your business or industry. They are mostly free and can spark some excellent ideas for you to expand into a blog post. Read industry magazines.
11) This is my last biggie, Webinars – A webinar is like a seminar but over the web. You log in and listen/view. You can often ask questions and interact with the presenter. They are usually 30-60 minutes and in a lot of cases they get archived so you can watch them when it suits you. Of course if they are archived you can’t ask the presenter questions. Do a search for “webinars about hotels” or “webinars about law” and you’ll be amazed at what you can find for free.
12) And finally make a note – When a thought pops into your head or comes up in conversation don’t dismiss it thinking you’ll be able to recall it later, you won’t. Make a note immediately. I use Evernote (https://www.evernote.com/ ) on my iPhone which syncs in the cloud with my PC and tablet, but anything from a pen and notepad to a Dictaphone can be used, just use something. Don’t let it pass, it’s unlikely you’ll come back to it.
Well I hope that’s been of some use. Like everything that’s worthwhile blogging takes effort but the more you do it the easier it gets.
See you in the blogosphere soon!
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