Today we conclude our Help for Blogophobes series with some more advice on what to write about. But first, a quick recap of Parts 1 through 4:
- In Part 1, we introduced you to Posterous, an online blogging platform that can help you get started in the blogosphere .
- In Part 2, we offered another easy-to-use blogging platform called Tumblr.
- In Part 3, we shared some helpful tips for finding the time to develop effective blog content.
- In Part 4, we talked about some internal sources that you can access for your blog post ideas.
And today, we’ll turn our attention to outside sources of content for your business blog.
Remember, your blog is all about the issues that interest your current and prospective customers. More specifically, it’s about your take on the issues that interest your audience. And that’s where your secret stash of online resources comes in handy.
By following blogs, news sites, forums, and other online hubs that cover the topics your audience cares about, you access a treasure trove of blogging ideas that you can make your own.
But wait a sec, you say. You mean I need to surf a bunch of websites to find ideas for my blog posts? Not at all. We’ve got a few easy tools that can bring the content to you.
- Google Alerts: Wouldn’t it be great if you had a gopher to go out and search for great content that matches a specific set of criteria? Well, you do, and it’s called Google Alerts. To set up an “alert,” just go to the Google Alerts website and type in the keywords that match the content you’re interested in. (For example, mine is set up to search “small business” and “social media.”) Then once a day, you’ll get an email with links to all the new content that matches those keywords. Mine looks something like this:
- Google Reader: Once you start following a few blogs, it can be a challenge to keep up with them on a regular basis. Google to the rescue again! Google Reader lets you create a dashboard where you can see the latest updates from all the blogs you follow. Your reader is fully searchable and allows you to create folders for specific topics.
- E-newsletters: Daily or weekly newsletters from trusted sources in your field can be a great source of content ideas.
- Q&A sites: Search sites like LinkedIn Answers, Quora, and Yahoo! Answers to find out what kinds of questions your customers are asking online—then build a blog post around your solution.
- Your customers: Take a few minutes to think about the questions that your customers bring to you and the solutions you provide. Choose one, put it down in writing, and you’ve got yourself a blog post.
So, how do you find content for your business blog? Share your secret in the comments—we’d love to hear from you!
And if we’ve missed any “phobias” that are keeping you out of the blogosphere, let us know so we can help!