I know a few couples that are so perfectly in love, it’s just gross. They look at each other the same way today that I imagine they did on their wedding day years ago, despite dealing with serious illnesses, raising kids, changing jobs, and losing loved ones. In a country where the divorce rate is around 30-40%, their relationships seem like miracles!
I’ve always wondered how they keep the spark alive year after year… and oddly enough, as a marketer I am often asked a similar—though perhaps less personal—question by clients: how do you prevent your relationships with blog readers from going stale?
2 million blog articles are posted to the Internet every day—enough to fill TIME Magazine for 770 years. That’s a lot of material vying for your readers’ attention! If you don’t continually produce material that gets readers’ attention and provides value, you lose your audience and miss out on the many benefits of blogging: brand promotion, lead gathering, and a greater number of indexed pages on your website for greater SEO, just to name a few.
Use the five tips below to keep your blog fresh and engaging. (Note: These tips are most helpful for businesses who already have blogs and are looking to maintain, though that’s not to say that you can’t keep this information in mind if you don’t yet have a blog. For those blogless business, go to my blog page to sign up for my email newsletter and receive free information on how to build your blog from the ground up.)
- Brainstorm a good content management plan
The key to building an engaging and informative blog is determining the topics that resonate most with readers. If you’re not sure what that list might comprise of, start broad and then get more specific. For instance, a real estate agency’s topic tree might look something like this:
Real Estate –> Homes –> Selling –> Tips to Increase Your Home’s Property Value –> DIY Home Care Projects for the Summer
Of course, this is just one simple branch. The possibilities are endless! Get together with your team (or colleagues within your same niche, if you work alone) and outline a topic tree. Once you get the wheels turning, you’ll probably find that you have more blog post ideas than you know what to do with.
- Check out the competition and some unexpected places
Your competitors’ blogs are a treasure trove of information. Look at what they are producing as well as the rates of audience engagement. It’s not okay to steal content but it doesn’t hurt to gather some inspiration from outside sources.
Additionally, consider following blogs from industries outside of your own. I’m a freelance writer, content developer, and copywriter, but I’ve found that some of my greatest ideas come from painters, musicians, coffee enthusiasts, world travelers, and engineers. You never know what might plant a seed of an idea in your mind or provide new perspective on your blog, your customers, or your industry.
- Peruse past content
Look through your past blog articles and see which topics have performed well. Iterate on those ideas or update them if necessary. “The Real Estate Market of Orange County at a Glance: 2013 Edition” could easily be updated for 2016 by inputting current statistics.
With that said, be sure to balance out trendy topics with plenty of evergreen articles—everlasting content that remains relevant long after publication. Evergreen content can continue to draw readers for years, resulting in a high ROI for each article.
- Turn to your customers
If you’re wracking your brain about how to engage customers, why not go directly to the source? Ask your audience for feedback.
- What topics would they like to learn more about?
- What would they like to hear less about?
- If they could ask you any question, what would they ask?
- What problems could you help them solve?
- If they could attend a free webinar, what topic would they choose?
For some questions it’s best to give readers a list of options they can choose from, as some might be a bit stumped or overwhelmed by your questions at first.
- Work with guest bloggers or freelance writers
If you’ve never worked with a guest blogger before, don’t worry. Try reaching out to other influencers in your space and see if they would be willing to make a swap: they write one article for you every few weeks and you write an article to share on their blog in exchange. This is not only a great way to add variety to your blog, but also a good strategy for increasing your reach since you’ll be communicating with a second audience.
Also, don’t shy away from hiring experienced freelance writers to help maintain your blog. The best ones know how to produce engaging content, grow your audience, and improve your SEO strategy. Just one word of advice: avoid content mills and underpaid freelancers when looking for quality content—it’ll come back to bite you.