You’ve taken the plunge, and decided to incorporate custom content for your business. Good for you!
Why Custom Content is Important
Custom content is important for two big reasons—your readers and the search engines.
Let’s start with your readers. Have you ever visited a blog you follow and notice it hasn’t been updated in days? Stale content is disappointing, especially if you’re passionate about the subject and can’t wait to devour the next post.
Sites that are regularly updated keep users coming back; sites that don’t lose readers over time. Plain and simple.
SEO works the same way. Search engines depend on the quality search results, and Google believes recent articles are more relevant than articles posted years earlier. Sites that offer fresh content on a regular basis have a better chance of shooting to the top of search engines than sites that remain static.
2011 has been a big year for custom content. In late April, Google announced they changed their search algorithm to weed out “content farms”—sites like eHow, Answers.com and Examiner with more ads than words—to produce results that readers really want. With 12 percent of searches affected by the change, now more than ever is a great time for your unique content to shine and be seen.
What to Do When You Run Out of Ideas
If you’re new to the world of blogging and social media, a good place to start is setting some ground rules for updating your site with the fresh, new content your readers are waiting for. I’ve never met someone who truly believes they post new content on their site as often as they should. I highly recommend setting some goals for posting—whether once a week, or once a day—and putting these milestones on your calendar and to-do lists.
We all have our excuses for not posting enough—time, family, exhaustion, social events—but I think these are all just code for “I have no idea what to write about.” The truth is, not every post has to be polished to the point of publication. I don’t mean you can skip over spelling, grammar or proofreading, but writing for the web is often conversational, and reads better than a formal report or research article ready to be published in a magazine in your field.
Here are a few ideas on what to write about when you’re fresh out of good ideas:
- Share something that inspires you. Not every post has to be related to your brand on the surface. As a reader, I love to find out what my colleagues find inspiring. Maybe you can’t stop thinking about a great story you heard on public radio this morning, or a feature story in last Sunday’s New York Times. Share these thought-provoking stories with your readers, along with a few takeaways. Be sure to give credit to the rightful owner by posting links to the full article and crediting any photos you use.
- Branch out into multimedia. Chances are, you already own the technology needed take photos or record video and audio. This type of blog post can be as simple as sharing a photo of an interesting part of your day. If you’re feeling ambitious, think about video blogs or podcasts to connect with your readers. Programs such as iMovie or GarageBand offer great tutorials to help you get started.
- Impart your knowledge. We all have something we’re great at in our respective industries. What expertise do you have to offer your readers? Tips can range from how to deal with a difficult client to how to organize your email inbox. One of my top posts in the last six months on my blog, Playing House, was a humorous how-to called “How to Trick Your Boyfriend Into Eating Salad for Dinner.”
If you still need help coming up with ideas, check out “Thirty Ideas to Help You Tackle Blogger’s Block” by MarketingProfs.
Still stumped? It might be time to look for a freelance writer to help you accomplish your blog’s goals.