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.

Marketing and Management Tasks During Coronavirus and Social Distancing

Due to the spread of coronavirus, we are all experiencing slow downs in our businesses.

As people pull back from social contact and work from home their thoughts also turn to their families. New business is not top of mind these days and may not be for a while. Social distancing has limited face to face meetings and creative brainstorming sessions in the office. If you’re feeling a bit uninspired and lacking drive, we get it. But, there are some critical marketing tactics you can undertake to maintain contact with your customers.

Fine-tune your business now when you have the time

 If you have extra time on your hands, what can you do now that you haven’t been doing? What can you do to enhance your marketing? There are probably tasks which you’ve put off due to lack of time in the prior hectic months. Now is the time to get that list of “round to its’ out and dust it off and get to work accomplishing a whole array of tasks that will fine tune your customer outreach and improve your top of mind awareness.

Here are a number of projects you can work on now to enhance your marketing and business management.

  1. Work on your newsletter. People have more time on their hands right now and have time to  read and respond to your newsletters. If you have not told your clients what you are doing during this time of social distancing to support your staff, your vendors, and your customers your newsletter is a good vehicle for that. Have you changed your opening hours? Cut back on offerings? Changed your menu? Be sure your customers know.
  2. Survey the content on your website. When was the last time you reviewed your content with an eye to cleaning it up? How about the last time you reviewed which content was most consumed? Take this time to weed out low-performing content and observe your higher-performing content with an eye toward comprehending how you can replicate success for a related topic. Perhaps you’ve never created the content that you’ve always wanted to create for your website. Now is the time to do the research to find out what people search for when they’re seeking to solve a problem or issue for which your product or service is the perfect solution.
  3. Hold a Facebook Live event. Or InstagramTV event or post a video story on either Facebook or Instagram. People are spending more time on Facebook and other social media. Your followers get notification when you go live on Facebook and they might like to see and hear from you and get the news of what’s going on in your company. Since casual contacts at lunch or cocktails are curtailed for now, use the means you have to contact and connect with your clients.
  4. Create the YouTube video that you’ve always meant to create. Do you have a longer issue that you want to talk through? Or the solution for your customers most important issues? Create a video that can go on YouTube on your Channel. If you don’t have a channel now is the time to consider how people search for support and assistance on YouTube related to the products and services you sell. 
  5. Review your Google analytics data. Do you know what people consume when they visit your website? Do you know what order they go through your pages? How about what is your most important landing page? If you use the tools available to you with Google analytics you will get greater insights as to what content on your website is most helpful to your customers. 
  6. Review your search console data. Every website we build is connected to Google search console. Is yours? Within this tool you can find out exactly how people visit your website via search. You can find out what queries they use, what keywords they use, and where you rank for those. Maybe you’ve never taken a look at it before but now is the time to get familiar with it and learn more about this insightful data. 
  7. Add e-commerce to your website.  Now that people aren’t going shopping as much, what can you sell or offer on your website that people need and which you can deliver digitally or shop directly to them? In some cases you can simply embed an easy to use PayPal button to sell a single product. Or you might ask us to help you implement WooCommerce.
  8. Analyze your non-essential expenditures and cut back. With revenues slowing, it might be important for you to decide what expenditures your business can cut back on. It’s important to save money now.
  9. Revise your sales projections. Hopefully every quarter you review your expected income for the next quarter. Because none of us have a magic crystal ball, we can use our insights and our past experience to predict how the current situation may affect us.
  10.  Hold regular virtual staff meetings. In the absence of information people make up thoughts. Therefore, regular communication becomes vitally important in these times. Ensure your staff is continually well-informed.There are so many tools to allow you to hold online meetings but have you actually used them? If you have relied on face-to-face meetings to this point in time, now is the time to learn how to use virtual meeting platforms. From Zoom to Google Meet to GoToMeeting to join.me there’s a platform that will work for you. Some are free and some come at minimal cost. Test them out and figure which ones work best for you.

What else have you tried to keep on top of things during the coronavirus pandemic? Share your tactics and tasks so we may  learn from each other.

 

Photo by BRUNO CERVERA on Unsplash

Popping the bubble on pop-ups, opt-ins, and automation

Are opt-in pop-ups rude?

When you begin a conversation with someone, do you immediately interrupt the conversation to talk about yourself? No, I didn’t think so. Only someone totally clueless about person to person interactions would be so rude.

As you cruise the internet for work, research, shopping or in the pursuit of your hobby, no doubt you’ve encountered websites which interrupt your visit with opt-in pop-ups imploring you to subscribe to receive the latest posts or newsletters. This is analogous to interrupting someone with whom you have initiated a conversation, after inviting them to your home.

Slightly less annoying are opt-ins which are displayed as one scrolls down the page.
Opt-ins which seem even more desperate are the ones which are displayed as you exit, inviting you to join now, sign up now!

Current de facto advice to entrepreneurial website owners admonishes one to install opt-in, pop-up displaying software in order to grow your email list. I’m going out on a limb to tell you to stop this annoying behavior. Do really you think someone will want to opt-in after you’ve just annoyed them?

With current trends indicating the escalation of visits from mobile devices, Google is taking note of sites using content obscuring pop-ups. Pop-ups or opt-ins which cover content are frowned upon by Google. They lead to high (mobile) bounce rates. High bounce rates on mobile on sites using opt-ins blocking content are a signal to Google of an issue. Their use  may potentially result in lowered ranking for the site employing this strategy.

There are a variety of ways that conversations are interrupted in digital space all to get the valuable email address of the person visiting your site.  For every conversion or sign-up you get, how many people are turned off and leave your site?

Watch how fast they leave your site

If you want to know if your opt-ins are working, look at your website analytics to see how many people depart the page on which your opt-in is displayed. High bounce rates indicate that the content was not compelling, helpful, useful or that visitors were ticked off by the displayed opt-in.

How do you get more people to sign-up or give you their email address?

Everyone enjoys getting a gift. While it’s true “there is no free lunch”, it is also true we love getting something of value for a low cost. We can be persuaded to part with our email address if we feel we are going to receive something of value in return.

In digital marketing these tactics and deliverables are called lead magnets. Frequently, they are invitations displayed at the end of blog posts asking you to provide your email in order, for example, to receive sales improvement tips. After you’ve finished reading a great article, wouldn’t you be highly likely to respond positively to an offer to receive more of the same?

Another tactic is to offer an e-book or article with knowledge that is highly in demand in exchange for an email address. Business to business firms do this, offering latest insights relative to a particular industry in exchange for an email address.

Whitepapers and best practices / tips are another type of deliverable which may be used. When promoting a digital deliverable, use a landing page to both pitch the value of the content and to capture the lead / contact information. Rather than interrupt a visitor intent on particular information, landing pages are attached to digital ad campaigns or are provided as special graphic invitations, on your website navigation, footer or sidebar.

E-commerce sites may also offer an opt-in checkbox during registration to allow someone who is purchasing from you an opportunity to receive future updates or special offers. Lists built this way have great worth, because these folks are your customers. They want to receive news and offers.

Your RSS feed is another area where you can promote your special insights which are available for free, simply by providing an email address. Facebook and Twitter are additional channels where you can promote your valuable content bringing visitors to your deliverable landing / registration page.

You catch more flies with honey

With so many good ways to entice visitors to provide their email address, why would you scare them off by shoving a registration form in their face? Think about how you feel the next time a digital device holds the content you want hostage in exchange for your email address.