Blog post idea generation toolkit

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  • 1.   Copyright  2011  Right  Mix  Marketing  Inc.   1   Do  Not  Distribute   Blog Post Idea Generation Toolkit The Complete Guide To Better Blog Post Ideas Right Mix Marketing Inc.  
  • 2.   Copyright  2011  Right  Mix  Marketing  Inc.   2   Do  Not  Distribute   Introduction: Welcome to the Blog Post Idea Generation Toolkit! One of the hardest things about blogging is consistently coming up with new blog post ideas. In this document, we provide everything you need to get better ideas for blog posts. The guide includes the following sections: 1. 166 Blog Post Ideas 2. Where To Find Content Ideas 3. How To Stand Out With Your Blog – Charles Darwinʼs 12 Rules of Blogging Survival Make sure you read through the document, particularly part 3, before you get started and happy blogging! For more examples and ideas, go to our blog at the following URL: http://www.rightmixmarketing.com/blog/ _______________________________________________ 1) 140+ Types of Posts FAQs, Myths, Pitfalls • FAQ Post: Detail the Frequently Asked Questions for your company or products and answer them. You can do individual posts for more important FAQs. • Myths Post: Present the myths for your industry and write an article to debunk them. • Industry Secrets: Write about secrets that people don't typically know about • Common Pitfalls: Talk about common pitfalls and how to avoid them • Common Misconceptions: Talk about a common confusing topics for beginners • Industry Definitions: Define the key terms in your niche • Beginner Advice: Write advice on topics that seem obvious but aren't to real beginners Timely / News • Industry News (original): Break news or cover a hot topic in your industry in your own way • Curated News: Assemble relevant industry news and include snippets or summaries on your site (properly linking to and referencing the source) • Weekly News Wrap: Do a weekly news wrap up relevant for your customers • New Idea: Write about a new or unique idea related to your niche. • Service or Tool Review: Introduce people to a new useful service or tool • Meme or Trend: Write your own take on a popular meme, trend or hot topic
  • 3.   Copyright  2011  Right  Mix  Marketing  Inc.   3   Do  Not  Distribute   Series or Regular Post • Weekly Series: Do a weekly series of posts. • Annual Post: Do an annual top 100 list or yearly wrap up. • Weekly or Monthly Themes: Do themes for a given week or month. Research / Reviews • Research Assessment: Highlight, summarize and write about the key findings of research relevant for your industry. • Best Practices Post: Compile a set of best practices for your industry. • Curated Content Post: Collect resources from around the web and highlight them in a post. Make sure to include only “snippets” or summaries of the articles and link to the source. See this article for more about curation: http://www.rightmixmarketing.com/right-mix-blog/definition-and-tools/ • Compare and Contrast: Compare and contrast your market to markets in other cities, nationally or other countries • Book or Video Review: Review an article, book, PDF, video, training program, or service. • Advice Post: Write about the current market environment and how that impacts people or what they should do. • Different Methods Post: Compare and contrast one way of doing something from another way • Two Sides of Issue: Compare and contrast two sides to an issue. • Experiment: Do an experiment and talk about the results. • Two Options: Compare two options - choices potential customers need to make. Thought Leadership/Opinion Posts/ Inspiration • Future Trends: Discuss future trends or predictions. • Opinion Post: State your opinion on a topic and explain. • New Practice Post: Introduce a new practice or way of doing business. • Write an inspirational post. • Push For Change: Organize a drive for something and get other people involved. • Industry Changes: What would you change about your industry? Post about that. • Motivate Action: What helps people move beyond their fear - how people can be more confident to take an action. • Industry History: How your industry has changed over time, key milestones. • Counter-point To Common Belief: Challenge a commonly held belief in your industry. • A Manifesto: A manifesto is defined as “A manifesto is a public declaration of principles and intentions, often political in nature” (Wikipedia). Write a manifesto about your industry and something different youʼre going to do about some bad
  • 4.   Copyright  2011  Right  Mix  Marketing  Inc.   4   Do  Not  Distribute   industry trends (for example). Stories, Metaphors • Story Post: Tell a story as part of the post that delivers a certain message or makes a certain point. o Talk about how you came to be involved with your industry. o Include a personal story in a post. o Write about something unique that you've done or are doing (e.g. lived in china, running a marathon). o Company history (especially if interesting). o Tell a story of a challenge and how you or your company overcame it. • Customer Case Study: A day in the life of a customer or your company. • Good or Bad Experience: Talk about a good or bad experience you recently had and what it means (e.g. how your experience at McDonald's highlights customer service tips). • Analogy or Metaphor: Draw an analogy in a post or use a strong metaphor. Niche Celebrities, Brands or Movies • Speaker or Keynote Highlights: Summarize and highlight key points for recent celebrity speaker relevant for your industry (can even be a past video or audio recording). • The Mad Men Guide To… Make a connection between a famous person and your post (e.g. How Lady Gaga would… or The Sopranos Method of Couples Counseling). • Big Brand Examples: Use famous brands, products or marketing campaigns as good or bad examples of a practice. • Highlighting key points from a longer article: Summarize or give key points for someone else's long post or article. • Compiled Tips Post: Compile input from several knowledgeable industry sources - one sentence or paragraph per expert. • Interview Post: Interview an influencer or expert and document the interview or key points (can also include video or audio). • Promote Other Blogs: Highlight several blogs you follow and why – this can help give you some social capital with the other blogs. Customers / Clients • Case study post about a customer. • Answer Questions: Take reader questions and answer them on your blog. • Address Blog Post Comments: Write about a topic or question raised in the comments section of your blog. • Biggest Problems: Ask clients, Twitter followers or others about their biggest problem related to your industry • Best Readers: Connect in some way with your best readers - e.g. thank them,
  • 5.   Copyright  2011  Right  Mix  Marketing  Inc.   5   Do  Not  Distribute   interview them, have them write a guest post, etc… Your company / products – use sparingly (people care a lot about your products than you do…) • Company Differentiators: What makes your company different from the others? • Service Philosophy: What is your customer service philosophy? • Specials: Monthly specials, deals, promotions, close-outs. • New Project: Talk about a new project and invite input or invite people to participate • Company Involvement: Talk about a publication you contributed to or a project you or your company was part of. • Related Industry Post: Create a post for a related industry. The customers for both industries should be the same. Potentially involve or interview partners or complimentary companies. Tips / How To / Why / Tutorial posts - written, audio, video • How To Post: How to build something, make something, buy something • Detailed Tutorial: Write a tutorial on a very specific topic not usually covered in that detail. • Curated Tutorial Post: Compile a set of the best tutorials on a very specific topic and briefly describe each and what they should use them for. • Teach Via Your Experience: Teach people how you overcame a common hurdle. • Pottery-Making 101: Do a “101” (like a fundamentals course in college) post or series of posts (e.g. pottery-making 101). • Beginners/Advanced Tutorials: Do a beginnerʼs tutorial or advanced tutorial. • Break Down Complexity: Simplify a complicated topic. For example, take a technical topic and break it down or make it simple. • Why You Should… Why the readers should do something. • Timesavings: Write about how you save time doing something in your area. • Curated or Compiled Tips: Assemble a variety of tips and compile them. Can be from within your company or from other people or resources (credit appropriately). • How To Start: How to get started in something. • Common Hurdles: How to overcome common hurdles. • What To Do When You… Common triggers for action - write about that and what to do. For example, “Three Essential Things You Need To Do When You Get Laid Off”. Pictures/Graphics • Infographic: Create an infographic that graphically explains a complicated topic using pictures or graphics: See this infographic as an example: http://www.rightmixmarketing.com/right-mix-blog/should-i-move-to-wordpress-
  • 6.   Copyright  2011  Right  Mix  Marketing  Inc.   6   Do  Not  Distribute   infographic/ • Pictures Post: Create a post that is mainly pictures related to your industry. • Single Picture Post: Post one striking picture that conveys an important message. • Charts & Graphics: Use tables, pie charts or other graphics to tell a story. Fun/Humor • Game/Contest: Provide a game or run a contest for potential readers • Animation or cartoon • Funny Comparison: Compare your company to something famous, different or in the news (e.g. Why Learning a Language is like Baking a Pizza). • Satire Post: Satirize a popular movie or commercial (e.g. Apple iPhone commercial satire, Star Wars satire). • Humor: Add humor to spice up a dry topic. • Something Unusual or Unique: Write about something unusual or unique in your industry - web site, blog, book, etc. • Quiz: Put a quiz for your readers. • Quotes: Pull together quotes that inspire or relate to your industry. • Award: Create an award for customers, readers or other industry players. • Top 10: Rank 10 people in your industry along some criteria (positive is better than negative!) • Curate Funny Pictures or Video: Provide funny or interesting video or pictures (make sure to use and credit appropriately) • Humorous post: Write a funny post or include a joke. • New Word: Create a new word and define it. • Online fun resource: Highlight or include something fun, like a free online game. • Favorite Thing: Ask people what is one item, tool, gadget or productivity item they can't live or work without. Interviews - Written, audio or video interviews • Influencer Interview: Interview famous people in your industry. • Customer Interview: Interview your customers. • Employee or Executive Interview: Interview people in your company. • Get Interviewed: Have someone interview you – preferably an industry influencer! • Partner Interview: Interview partners or potential partners. Polls/Surveys • Twitter Question: Ask a question on twitter related to your industry and write about the input (e.g. what would you change about making vacation plans online?) • Survey/Poll: Run a survey or poll and analyze and write about the results.
  • 7.   Copyright  2011  Right  Mix  Marketing  Inc.   7   Do  Not  Distribute   Events / Holidays • Press Without A Pass: "Be the press without a pass" at an industry convention - writing, interviews, short video clips, pictures (check convention policies). See this example: http://www.rightmixmarketing.com/right-mix-blog/19-lessons-from- peter-shankman-blog-world-la-keynote/ • Live-blog an event: Create a blog post real-time for an event. There are also specialized live-blogging tools if you want it to appear online as you type (search for “live blogging tools”) • Event/Holiday Posts: Write posts about upcoming holidays or events (Christmas, Valentine's Day, Super Bowl, World Cup) • Stages of Life: Write about stages of life or triggers - weddings, new babies, funerals, etc. • Events List: Document the events relevant to your audience - local events, conferences or webinars. • Deadlines: Key deadlines or information about training in your industry • Event Takeaways: Write about the key lessons you took away from an event. Video: • Product “How To” or Review: Record a product review or “how to” video. • Curated Video Post: Embed one or more good, relevant videos from YouTube and describe the key points in text. • Get to know your company: Film a day in the life of your company over video. • Convert blog post into video: Create a video of a popular blog post and post on YouTube and on your site. Local: • Local Area or Local Topic: Talk about a local topic or area that would interest people who are your target market. It doesnʼt have to be about your industry. • Local events: Highlight or list local events. • Local Companies: Highlight local partners or other local companies of interest • Local guides: Provide a guide to a local area. • Comprehensive Guide: Comprehensive information about a particular region from a variety of angles. Short List Post • Short List Post: Write a short list post. Examples include: o “5 ways to..” o “7 Tips For…” o Ten things you can learn by watching… o 6 ways __________ can make you ___________ Tools post
  • 8.   Copyright  2011  Right  Mix  Marketing  Inc.   8   Do  Not  Distribute   • Tool Review: Detail a useful online tool that customers in your industry could use. • Ultimate Tools List: Develop the "ultimate list" for all of the best online tools for your industry. • Crowdsourced Tools List Post: Ask your readers or ask on Twitter/Facebook for most useful tools or resources. • Tool of the Week (Month): Share a new tool or website each week that people will find useful. • Tool “How To: Do a “how to” post or video for a useful tool (or a particularly useful feature. Comprehensive List Post (e.g. Ultimate List of …) • Ultimate List Post: Develop "an ultimate" list of resources for your customers or others in your industry to reference. • Top Blogs or Websites: List and describe the top websites or blogs related to your industry. • Comprehensive Guide To… Write a comprehensive guide to a topic including data, companies, trends, sales (or if in travel - top restaurants, how to get there, weather, top hotels, etc.) • Best and Worst Lists: Like the "Best Dressed People of 2010" type of post. • 20 Free resources: Find free things that your readers will love. • Curated Video Post: Post (embed) several relevant YouTube videos on your site for a particular topic or product. Make sure you describe or summarize the contents in text to help the audience decide what to watch and for SEO purposes. • Curated Post: Provide a list of the top articles or blog posts in your industry or on a particular topic. Summarize or include a snippet from the post and link (and reference) the source. • Beginnerʼs Guide: Make a guide for your niche or industry. (e.g. “the beginners guide to refinancing your home”). • Resources Post: Ranked list of must read journals, magazines, books or blogs. • Ideas List: Brainstorm a list of ideas on a topic and publish them for input, feedback and additions (e.g. “50 eco-friendly vacations you can take this summer”). Guest Post / User-Generated Content • Guest Post: See if a partner, customer or industry-relevant blog would post your article from (describe the article and headline). • Get Guest Posters: Identify fans, partners, industry influencers or others to guest post on your blog. • User-Generated Content: Create a contest or request readers to submit content (articles, pictures, video). • Collect Input: Ask other industry influencers the answer to a question and collect
  • 9.   Copyright  2011  Right  Mix  Marketing  Inc.   9   Do  Not  Distribute   the answer from several people into one post. Social Values post • Charity Post: Write about a charitable event, contribution or volunteer effort. • Issues Post: Write about a current issue and how people can help. • Cause Post: Write about a particular cause you believe in. Find a way to help non-profits in your industry and write about it or use the blog to forward it. • Eco-friendly / Green Post: Talk about eco-friendly or green steps you've put in place • New Uses Post: Fun or interesting ways people can reuse items instead of throwing them away. Negative (use with care!) • A Rant: Write a passionate post about a frustration - about something that is bothering you • Satire: Write a satirical post about something. • Response Post: Disagree with another blogger or other well-known person • Counterpoint: Do a counterpoint to someone or some trend in your industry. _______________________________________________ 2) Ways to find Content Ideas Where to find topics • Every day, everywhere. Keep a “blog post ideas” notebook or document and capture all of the inspiration you find, wherever you are. • Website Analytics: Check your analytics and the keyword phrases used to find your site - write a post about one of those phrases. • Search on Google - see what comes up for certain phrases. Dig around on those sites for inspiration. • Use the Google keyword tool (or other keyword tools) to see what people are searching for you in your industry. Consider writing about longer tail keyword phrases. • Use the Google Trends tool to see what things are on the upswing as far as interest. • Look at Amazon book titles or tables of contents to get inspiration. • Look at Amazon reviews to see what else people would like to know. • Find ideas inside books on your topic. • Look at blogs that get a lot of comments. See what topics they would like to know or like talk or ask about. • Use AllTop.com: search by industry and look at top blogs there and what kind of posts theyʼre writing (can even be in a different industry).
  • 10.   Copyright  2011  Right  Mix  Marketing  Inc.   10   Do  Not  Distribute   • Use Delicious, Digg and StumbleUpon to find articles or topics that inspire you. • Do searches on Twitter. • Convert old articles, white papers, and portions of books into posts. • Look at competitors or other industry posts – make a better, expanded or slightly different post. • Repurpose a blog post into a video or presentation. • Look at the questions people ask in relevant LinkedIn groups. • Look at answers sites – like Yahoo Answers or Quora. • Write an update or part two of a post that was popular. • Set up Google news alerts for key industry terms. • Listen to someone give a talk and find inspiration for a post. • Follow A Twitter Chat – see this article for more information: http://www.rightmixmarketing.com/right-mix-blog/twitter-chats-what-are-they-and- how-to-find-them/ • Start with a picture – get inspiration from a picture for a post. • Start with a favorite quote and describe how that applies to your industry. • Find an infographic and build a post around that or get inspiration from it. • Look at other industry blog posts and apply some of the headline ideas to your industry. • Subscribe to other blogs via email or RSS and get inspiration from their posts. • Ask your readers or social media followers. • Ask in a group, such as a LinkedIn Group. • Think about what topics are too complex for your customers and consider how to simplify one of them. • What do you do every day to solve a problem others might have? Use this as an idea for a post. • Take a key step of a process and consider writing a post about that. _______________________________________________ 3) Standing Out With Your Blog Charles Darwinʼs 12 Rules of Blogging Survival By Tom Treanor (Originally published on ProBlogger.net) Blog readers have a myriad of reading options for almost every topic you can think of. In fact, within your niche, potential customers may be enjoying blog posts written by your competitors while they ignore your blog like the plague. So what do you do about this dire situation? Do you hire ghost writers to create more
  • 11.   Copyright  2011  Right  Mix  Marketing  Inc.   11   Do  Not  Distribute   content? Do you promote your content more via social media? Do you get better at SEO so you can attract more search traffic? Well. These may work to a degree. You may see some minor bumps with more Tweeting, Facebooking and catching more long tail keywords in Google. But, itʼs a long and slow process if youʼre using these brute-force tactics. There has to be a better way. And there is. Like Darwinʼs finches, which evolved different beak sizes over the generations to better suit their differing environmental conditions and to survive, your blog has to become better suited for your audienceʼs needs over time. You need to develop more “evolved” blogging strategies that are more effective at differentiating your blog and attracting and keeping the readers that you target. You donʼt want your blog to end up on the wrong end of Natural Selection, do you? Here are 12 ways for your blog to survive and thrive. 1. Be the best teacher in your niche Explain the things that most people in your niche assume donʼt need to be explained. Answer all of your potential customersʼ frequently asked questions in writing, with pictures and (or) in video. Do detailed tutorials on fundamental as well as on in-demand advanced topics. Keep the quality high and listen closely to your audience when you pick topics and develop the content. When competitors start sending customers to your site to understand a complex topic, then youʼll know youʼve won! 2. Be more personal than the others Getting personal can lead to a deeper connection with your audience and pay dividends in terms of allegiance to your blog and brand. Many business bloggers put up a barrier between their personal lives and what they share on their blog. Including aspects of your personal life is one way to differentiate yourself from your “plain vanilla” competitors. 3. Be funnier than the others People love to laugh. Using humor well is hard, but can separate your blog from the pack. if you can successfully pull off inoffensive humor (depending on your industry), youʼll bring a lot of readers back again and again. Youʼll also likely increase the amount
  • 12.   Copyright  2011  Right  Mix  Marketing  Inc.   12   Do  Not  Distribute   of social media shares that your blog gets. 4. Say what everyone else thinks Itʼs uncomfortable to do. Saying what everyone else thinks is really hard. If you can be the “voice of reason” without upsetting everyone around you, you can gather a tribe of people who say, “Yes!” to every post. 5. Be the expert on a specific sub-niche Donʼt focus on widgets: focus only on the custom-designed, high-end widgets from Alaska. If you can focus on a specific, but important sub-niche within your industry and become the authoritative source, you can develop a big advantage against your competitors in that area. Once successful, you can extend from this beachhead into the broader widget market. 6. Have a bigger vision Tie your blog to a bigger goal. What far-reaching vision can you use to inspire people to join you in your mission? Can you align your company and blog with a bigger movement that is out there? Can you create your own far-reaching vision that aligns with your passions as well as with your company goals? 7. Be more extreme than the others Go much further than the other blogs in terms of topics, challenges, transparency or risks. It doesnʼt have to be dangerous, just extremely different. Youʼll get noticed. 8. Be more creative than the rest If everyoneʼs writing articles, why donʼt you mix in video? How about being the first infographic producer in your industry? Try new topics, writing styles, media or blog post structures. Think of other ideas that will provide value while separating your from the rest. Give yourself permission to try something unique. 9. Cross-pollinate better than the others Do you only work with other real estate-related blogs or influencers? How about looking at the lending, architecture, finance and relocation industries?
  • 13.   Copyright  2011  Right  Mix  Marketing  Inc.   13   Do  Not  Distribute   Spread your tentacles where your competitors never dreamed of going by guest posting, blog commenting or connecting with other bloggers in those industries. If the target audience is the same, you can gain some great benefits from this kind of cross- pollination. 10. Be the best curator of meaningful content Find the best information that others have written and posted online—the best articles, charts, tables, infographics, videos, or pictures. Collect it in a logical, easy-to-use navigational structure on your blog. Make sure you link to and give credit to your sources and only summarize (or take small portions of) the articles you link to. Content curation is a way to share great information that is already available and to become seen as a key source of great information. 11. Be the news source for your industry Focus on being the source of timely news and analysis for your industry. To be able to keep up with the news cycle, this often means a combination of curated content mixed with some original content or analysis. Niche or industry news blogs can do very well because they get lots of shares, links, SEO benefits and subscribers. Just have a plan for getting regular, high-quality updates onto your site. 12. Work harder than the rest Sometimes all the right things are in place but you donʼt have the results yet. Working hard can pay off, but pace yourself and donʼt burn out! Grab more virtual land than the competitors to create a barrier to entry for “lazier” niche-mates. Come up with your own unique variation Just like natureʼs many variations (which we never could have predicted), come up with your own unique way to differentiate your blog. The blogs that thrive in a given niche will be the ones who evolve in ways that allow them to meet the needs of their audience better than the competitorsʼ blogs. Avoid finding yourself on the wrong side of Natural Selection by using one of the strategies above, combining a couple or by developing your own differentiated strategy.