Monday, September 27, 2010

10 Ways to Energize Your Blog

Anyone who publishes a B2B blog for their company, their client, or even themselves, eventually reaches a point where they struggle to write the next post. While they may have many post ideas drafted, there’s just nothing there that’s especially inspiring. This assumes that you have been blogging for six months to a year and you generated enough traffic that you are committed to continuing publishing. Here are 10 ideas for blog posts that will not only get you over your lack of inspiration, but will re-energize you and remind you why you started blogging in the first place (besides driving traffic and increasing your business).

1. Update Your Most Viewed Post
It is very likely that your most viewed post is more than 4 months old and could use some updating. Many people are more interested in current content, but your most viewed post still drives search traffic. Update the post by adding current numbers or situations, as well as adding the word updated in the headline. Also include the word Update in bold in places where you have added new information. To make sure current readers know this post has been updated, write a new short post highlighting some of the new information, and provide a link to the old post. This will show up in your RSS feed, in the inbox of email subscribers and at the top of the home page.

2. Critique Your First Post
Most first posts are not very good. It always takes some time to get into the rhythm of a new blog and find yours or your company’s voice. It is instructive to review that first post and describe to readers what was good about it and what you wish you had done differently. There may be some good information buried in that post, and this new critique post will send some readers back to that post.

3. Compile Your Five Favorite Posts
This is similar to the first two ideas, and helps draw some readership to older posts, but this one is really for you, the writer of the blog. There are always some posts that we have a fondness for in our hearts, but readers just did take to them. List each post title with a link and describe why you like the post, in addition to a summary of the post. This will also help you understand why readers didn’t feel the same way you did about these gems.

4. Interview Yourself About the Success of Your Blog
As you continue to blog, you define your own measures of success. Describe these metrics to your readers in a question and answer format, which will help you refine your answers. Readers are not interested in the details of sales or other propriety information, but if they are regular readers of the blog, they would want to read what you think you do well. Comments on this post would be interesting, because you can see if your measures of success match the perception of your readers.

5. Compile Five Posts on a Topic to Show How it Has Changed
As you write about industry topics, details about those topics change. Since most blog posts reflect the time they were written, it is instructive to both you and your readers to review several blog posts on the same topic and describe how it has changed.

6. Contact People Who Left Comments
Comments are great inspiration for future blog posts, but they also help to reminder you about the importance of interaction and engagement around your blog. Pick a few people who left thoughtful comments and email them with one or two questions about a new or related topic. Their answers can become the core of a new blog post.

7. Publish an Editorial Calendar
Many successful blogs create an editorial calendar to help guide the content and avoid the “what do I write about” syndrome. Even if it is so obvious to you when you publish certain things, your readers may not know you always publish an industry round-up on Fridays. Publishing an editorial calendar is a great way to set reader expectations of what is on the way. They might even become more engaged if they understand your flow of posts.

8. Describe Your Best and Worst Calls To Action
Several of these ideas offer a behind the scenes look at your blog. While this may seem to be more illustrative on marketing blogs, if you are a successful blogger in any industry, other bloggers will be looking to you as a role model. Since you should be providing calls to action on every blog post, review and share the kinds of things that work. Are your readers more interested in downloading content or just asking to be contacted?

9. Highlight Other Blogs that Linked to You
If you use Wordpress for your blog, the dashboard displays other blogs that link to you. In addition to leaving comments on these blogs to show that you care and are interested in building community in your industry, by highlighting some of these blogs on your blog helps promote them. Looking through these links can sometimes be surprising when you realize who has linked to you. It’s a good reminder that relevant industry people are interested in what you have to say.

10. Predict the Future
Everyone wants to be thought leader, and by predicting the future in your industry, you can be part of the inner circle. Make sure you give the post a headline that people will find when they are searching. Review other posts to see what last year’s posts were called. This post also gives you several opportunities throughout the year to review your predictions.

What are some other ways you can revisit old blog content, remind yourself how well you have been doing, and add value to your readers?

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