Get inspired! 5 ways to turn on the blogging light bulb.

If you read my last post about the importance of blogging for your business, maybe it motivated you to finally get that blog started. Maybe you excitedly sat down at your computer, opened up your blog, cracked your knuckles, put your hands on the keyboard and thought…

“What the heck am I going to write about?”

Yep, I feel your pain. I’m a writer. I write for a living. I can come up with topics all day long for other people. But when it comes to my blog? Nada. Zip. I can practically feel the tumbleweeds rolling through the hollow recesses of my brain.

It’s just harder writing for yourself. It’s a scientific fact. Okay, I don’t know that for sure but I bet there’s some research on that somewhere.

Anyway, I’ve found that sitting down at your computer and waiting for inspiration to strike you while staring at a blank screen is the absolutely worst way to get inspired.

So don’t do that. Try some of these instead:

Look at other blogs.

Please notice I said “look” not “copy.” Copying = bad. Very, very bad. But checking out other blogs in the industry – even if they’re not in your particular niche – is a perfectly legitimate way to see what other people are talking about and interested in. Particularly note which topics are popular or have a lot of conversation around them. And don’t think because someone else (or 100 someone elses) has written about dog poop that you can’t write about dog poop, too. Your perspective and spin on the topic – even more than the topic itself – is really what helps set you apart and keeps people coming back.

Keep on top of current events

Just scrolling through your Facebook feed can be a wealth of inspiration. Be aware of the things that everyone seems to be talking about and jump on that wagon, especially if you have expertise in that area. For example, is there a new, controversial training technique people are discussing? Or a hot news story about the rescue community? Or proposed legislation that potentially affects pets or pet owners? Blog about it!

Get personal

 Some of my most popular posts have been when I’ve gotten a little more personal. For me, having a blog is really about two things – helping others and making connections. And there’s nothing that will make others feel more connected to you than cracking the door a little and letting people see inside. I’m not saying to air your deepest, darkest secrets because that would be, well, awkward. But, for example, if you’re a trainer and you’ve struggled with training your own dog, it’s okay to tell your readers. It makes you human and more relatable when you say, “Look, I get it. I’ve been there, too.”

Interview people

Interviewing someone else about a topic is probably one of the easiest blog posts you’ll ever write. This is especially great when you’re not an expert on a topic but you know someone who is. After the interview, you can write a post around the topic and insert their quotes. Or…even easier…just transcribe your interview into a Q&A form. (Be sure to ask them if you can record the interview before you start.) It’s also a great way to cross-pollinate audiences by linking to their site within the interview and by asking them if they would be willing to post the interview on their own platforms.

Ask

If you’re still not sure what to write about…ask! Reach out to your mailing list (you do have a mailing list, don’t you?) with a quick one-question survey: “What topics would you like to see covered on my blog?” Add some multiple-choice answers to make it easy and also leave a spot for them to fill in their own topic. People really love to help other people out and you’ll probably be surprised by the number of responses you get. I’ve used both Survey Monkey and Wufoo, and had good experiences with both.

I hope those suggestions helped! And if you have any inspiration suggestions of our own, I’d loooooove to hear those, too. Just leave a comment below.

Do you really need a business blog?

Photo by Glenn Carstens-Peters

If you have an online presence, you’ve probably heard that blogging is important. And maybe you’ve kinda sorta hoped that was just a mean, awful, exaggerated rumor. Because, yeesh, who has time to blog? And what would you blog about anyway? And does blogging really make that much of a difference? Isn’t it enough to just have a nice site and offer a great service or product?

Well, maybe. Maybe you could just putter along doing what you’re doing and still get an okay search ranking and make a decent living. But if you want to stay ahead of the competition, reach more people and grow your business, the hard truth is that you’ve gotta blog.

I know. I’m sorry.

But here’s the good news: When you blog on a regular basis – meaning even once a month – you reap a whole passel of rewards, like:

Better search rankings

Google rewards sites that offer authentic, helpful, original content. So whenever a search engine crawls your site and finds super awesome new content, bam! Up in the rankings you go.

Creating positive connections

Even in the seemingly impersonal world of the Internet, customers still want to buy from people they feel like they know and can trust. Surveys have found that 82% of consumers feel more positive about a company after reading custom content. And when consumers feel warmly toward you, they’ll be more likely to do business with you.

Encouraging more time on your site

Consumers love great content. In fact, surveys show that 68% of consumers spend time reading content from brands they’re interested in. Regularly posting content that your customers or prospects find useful will help ensure they return to your site again and again.

Getting people talking

By writing helpful content that people want to share, your blog posts will reach people that may never have heard of you otherwise. This is especially important since it’s estimated that by 2020, customers will manage 85% of their business relationships without ever talking to a human being!

Generating more leads

At this point you’re probably thinking, “Yeah, but does blogging actually make me money?” It sure has the potential to. That’s because B2C businesses that blog get 88% more leads than small businesses that don’t. HUGE!

Listen, I get it. Blogging is one of those marketing things that gets pushed down the list for “when I have more time.” I’m guilty of it myself, even though I know how important it is (and even though I actually write for a living). But if you want to build your business and bring in more money in 2018, it’s time to dust off that long-neglected blog of yours or finally start a new one!

Your turn: Do you blog regularly? If not, what’s holding you back? Share with me in the comments.

P.S. If just the thought of blogging makes your eyes roll back in your head, I’m happy to help! Start by sending an email to amber@commahound.com to learn more about my blogging services.