Blog Post Inspiration Sources

Blogging is one of the most strategic ways a business can position itself as a trustworthy, reputable and knowable source of products and information.

However, if you aren’t regularly adding value to the conversation when you blog, or posting information people want to know about or solving their problems, you may not gain any traction with prospective customers.

How do you find information that’s current and where do you get inspiration?

You can always search the web with Google or Bing, however, if you want real-time or consumer-curated insights which are more genuine and more helpful and which provide absolute insight into your consumer’s needs, there are other options. The sources we’ll discuss here all provide genuine consumer-relevant information to inspire posts, which is your imperative as a blogging business owner.

Using interesting and relevant topics for your posts is a better way of getting blog inspiration than relying solely on what you think is important, though, that also has a place in your blog topic calendar. If you search, review and analyze live topics and trends relevant to your business and which are top-of-mind across the Web, you’ll meet consumer needs and business needs as well as get keen business insights.

Using the example of a cupcake shop wanting to get inspiration and learn what’s trending, let’s review a number of sources analyzed below. There is a hyperlinked cupcake example (search) for each of these sources, so click on each hyperlink to experience how these keyword focused searches work on each platform.

Some of the ways that you can find current topics of interest include:

  1. Google Trends—Google actively indexes in real-time what people are searching for now, so using Google Trends is like having a crystal ball giving you real time access to the global mind. Using this Google Trends, you can see a graphic representation of the topic’s growth and decline, as well as important and related keywords and countries where the topic is trending. Google Trends Cupcake Example.
  2. Twitter Search—Twitter, the micro-blogging platform, has a powerful search feature. Twitter Search allows you to dive headlong into the stream-of-consciousness-slice-of-life-Tweets of Twitter users.  Using Twitter to search the global hive mind provides you with a great set of “here’s what we’re talking about” and access to the a real voice of your customer. You can search Twitter by keywords or hashtags, the active operators which immediately categorize information tagged. Hashtag examples are #CHS for Charleston, and #Foodies for food lovers. Twitter Keyword search example for Cupcake. Twitter #cupcake search.
  3. Facebook Search – Facebook is a powerful search engine. Using the search feature, you can input a hashtag and search posts, pages or people. Of course, individuals’ privacy settings control what is visible. That being said, many people do not limit what others see. Posts by pages are visible in search. There are an amazing number of filters which you may apply that select posts, pages, people, the public and you can set specific locations. You can search via your friends and so much more. Check out the image of a typical search.
    cupcake search example from Facebook
  4. Answer the Public– This amazing resource allows you to input a keyword and learn what questions people are searching related to that topic. You can export the information and it’s also presented visually as a circular infographic so you can quickly take in how the information is related to the topic. Try out Answer the Public.
    Answer the Public visualized search results
  5. Instagram – The photo sharing platform Instagram allows users to hashtag images. You can search tags, and topics for visual inspiration for blog posts. Remember, blog posts can be photos, graphics, videos, and text based. Input the hashtag #cupcake into the Instagram search tool and enter. Voila! You can see exactly what people are sharing and posting and you’ll be able to see which posts have the greatest likes and shares. View examples of posts tagged #cupcake.
  6. YouTube Search – YouTube is one of the highest used search engines. The ability to tag videos and set rich descriptions makes this a vast repository of current content. YouTube also has a trending filter so you can see what is rising in popularity. You can search based on a channel, a playlist (groups of related videos created by users), length and so much more. The ability to search and filter by rating helps you determine what is popular.
    YouTube search example
  7. Brand Mention AKA Social Mention – Provides a way to search across the social media universe to see how people are using specific terms and posts. You may search based on time period, such as last 24 hours, last week, or last month. You may also search by language.  Brand mention Cupcake Research Example.
  8. Pinterest– Frequently thought of as the stomping ground of hobbyists and bored moms, this social media site is a treasure trove of what is trending. Pinterest rocks as far as getting incredible ideas based in imagry. Check out the results from this search for #cupcake

There are many ways go gain inspiration for blog posts. These are examples of some of my favorite ones. What are your favorite ways to get blog post inspiration? Share yours and help compile a list for everyone’s benefit – because, that is why we’re all here – to help one another.

 

Thanks to Image by congerdesign from Pixabay for the featured image for this post.

Bounce Rate Demystified

Bounce Rate demystified
Click the image to view the original at Kissmetrics

Google Analytics is a valuable tool for every website owner. By monitoring your Analytics reports, you may determine which pages and content types are the most valuable.

Learning just a few key reports to monitor will help you improve the value of your content to your site visitor. This is a simple tutorial in pictures that makes it very clear.

Bounce Rate vs. Percentage Exit

If you’ve been in business any time within the last five years, you know that your website analytics mean just as much as your budget report. In fact the results of your analytics dictate how your business sales improve and grow. It’s important to monitor bounce rate, especially when your goal is to decrease bounce and provide interesting content–which some people call creating stickiness. Google Analytics can seem intimidating. Read on to learn what it means when your bounce rate is too high or your exit rate is fairly low.

In this post, we’ll explore the meaning of these two terms and a few others within the scope of Google Analytics Behavior Reports.

Bounce Rate

Bounce rate is simply a measure of visit quality for single-page views. Boiled down to the basics, this just means how often people leave your site after originally visiting a single page on your site. When potential clients or followers depart your website without really looking at anything your company has to offer, they’re obviously still shopping around. This means that if you aren’t hooking them from the get-go, this is probably not the way to attract new business.

Google Analytics uses an equation to calculate bounce rate for you, so it’s not necessarily important that you understand the way it’s derived. However, if you know the basic formula, it’s easier to see the way it all works.

Kissmetrics Bounce Rate Equation

Basically, it varies across industries how high the bounce rate is on average. The bottom line is, no matter what your bounce rate actually is, you can always improve it.

  • Provide relevant content: If your readers get the answers they need, they’ll visit your page more often.
  • Define all ambiguous terms: No one wants to read a post on something they don’t understand.
  • Get rid of pop-up ads: Ads make people angry. Angry people don’t come back to your site and don’t look further than the first page.
  • Make sure the layout is user-friendly: Not everyone is tech savvy, so a site that’s difficult to navigate without some insight as to how it might work. Clean it up, and that population of viewers is less likely to bounce from your site.

Percentage Exit

Percentage Exit rate refers to the percentage of viewers who leave the site from a specific page or set of pages. This is normally reviewed considering time spent on each page as well as the progress made on each page per view.

Google Analytics compiles this for you with its own algorithms. You’ll find this statistic in your Behavior Overview Report. After that, it’s up to you to take the information and use it to the site’s advantage.

Review the Exit Pages Report [Behavior > Site Content > Exit Pages] to determine which pages are most commonly points of departure from your site. Analyze time on page and notice if there is any congruence you can determine between the page preceding the exit page. Pages with lower exit percentages indicate more valued content.

Repairing a high exit percentage boils down to the same advice provided for a high bounce rate – create more compelling content your target market finds useful or interesting. As you make modifications and tweaks, review that page’s exit percentage to see if your changes made a difference.

These tips, as well as diligence with Google Analytics Reports, should improve your site’s visibility and interaction from potential clients. After all, this is what makes all the difference in the reports, behavioral or budgetary.

Bounce Rate Demystified.

Methods and Tools to Promote Your Blog Posts

 

Writing posts is not all you need to do

So you write posts for your corporate or personal  blog. You’ve learned how to make your posts interesting and  you create content [photos, videos, infographics, podcasts, articles] regularly to provide information to your loyal clients and attract new ones. You may be doing this to enhance your SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages) and increase traffic for targeted customer needs, search phrases and keywords.

But blogging is not an “If you build it, they will come,” scenario. You have to do as the newsboys of the last century did and stand on the digital corner to promote your blog. If you don’t, you’re wasting valuable effort and time. You can dramatically increase traffic to your blog by using a few tools:

  • Social Media
  • Blog Feeds or Syndication
  • E-mail marketing

By planning carefully before each post and using the stats you gain after each post, these tools and tips become the keys to your pay-off in the end.

Planning Your Post

Before you send your post out into the cyber-sphere, it’s important to have a strategy for how, where, and when the message will go. Depending on the subject of the content and who you want to target, it could be sent to all sorts of sites and platforms.

Audience Research & Your Influencers

While it’s not always possible to conduct an in-depth investigation into the types of audiences you want to reach, you can make inferences and study data you have available to you. Many analytics dashboards, like Hootsuite, require payment for their services, which is what hinders people from using them. Using Tweetdeck doesn’t necessarily give every detail you may need, but it’s a good start to figuring out who your top influencers are. Those are the ones that will pay the most attention to what you post and interact with the content, making others more likely to see it as well.

Building the Anticipation

Releasing a post blindly doesn’t go nearly as well as talking it up beforehand to the people who will look forward to it the most. Find out who pays you the most attention, and let them know you’re putting something great out there soon so they can be on the lookout. Update them if a date changes or if the content will be on multiple sites. As long as you’ve done your research, this will prepare your own personal VIPs for what you’re about to pitch their way.

Now, let’s take a look at some of these tools you can use to promote as well as track the progress of your posts to get the most out of them:

Social Media:

Facebook Pages

You can easily link your blog content to your Facebook Business Page with the application Networked Blogs or at a minimum you can manually post links to your blog’s latest articles.

Twitter

Using Twitter you can write interesting leads and connect them with shortened URLs that provide trackable stats to measure your results using Tweetdeck. You can schedule your tweets to show up in your stream so you know they go out when your readers are most often viewing your content.

Linkedin

Use Linkedin as a conversation outlet to promote posts especially if your goals include increasing business to business awareness and leads. If you’re a regular participant in industry specific Linkedin groups, you may find this to be one of your most engaged audiences.

Pinterest

Every bit of content you create must have a visual component which help illustrate your concept or content. Distributing and promoting your posts to your Pinterest account either on your shared boards or your own boards will help increase awareness of your content among a widely female audience.

Goo.gl

Goo.gl is a link shortening service from Google. The service gives you a wide array of statistics related to the consumption of your content. Shortened URLs also use fewer characters to announce the release of content. The benefit of Goo.gl is that you get dynamic statistics regarding your content’s visitors. To use, you input your long link and create a shortened, trackable URL for blog content which you use in place of the long URL. From there, using the shortened URL, you schedule it on Facebook or Twitter.

Remember when you create your scheduled share, you must write a very compelling headline to get the stats to climb.

After posting you may review statistics for each URL/article to analyze best days of the week and geo locations where your interactions most frequently occur. Always review your stats to understand identify which audiences are more in tune with what you’re putting out there.

Blog Feeds and Syndication:

RSS (Really Simple Syndication)

Almost every blog has a built in RSS feed, which uses multiple standard web feed formats to publish frequently updated information, like blog posts. If yours doesn’t, you might consider looking into making that change (instructions can be found online for all types of browsers). This allows readers who like your content to subscribe in their choice of reader, pulling your content to them no matter how you post it. One of the most popular readers is Feedly.

Feed distribution

Feedburner, a feed distribution service owned by Google, provides great stats and shows how your feed has been used and how many clicks back to your site your post inspired.

Another popular feed distributor is Feedblitz, which offers more opportunities to manage and share feeds and track statistics.

E-mail:

Signature

How many emails do you send a day? While there are plenty new ways to cyber-communicate, email is still a primary tool, especially among businesses. Provide a link to your blog in your email signature so it’s being made available to just about everyone that may get interested in following it frequently.

By using these tools you can dramatically increase your blog’s readership as well as track what’s working for its visibility, what isn’t, and who’s watching. After all, you aren’t just writing for yourself or the business. You’re cultivating a blog you want to see take off and give results for all your hard work.

Read www.buzzstream.com/blog/content-promotion-campaign-plan.html for more on planning and tracking the progress of your blog’s content.

Photo credit: flickr creative commons user mwlguide