Blogs are critical for content marketing success. When done right, they drive brand awareness and credibility, attract attention to a campaign or product, and expand a company’s customer base. They’re also easily digestible as typically shorter pieces of content. The problem a lot of marketing teams run into, however, is the sheer volume of blogs they’re required to produce. Compared to assets like white papers and case studies, teams are expected to pump out as much as 20 to 30 times more content on a regular basis. For example, for a large enterprise, 1-2 white papers or case studies a quarter is standard whereas it’s normal to produce dozens of blogs each month.
It’s expected that every blog is relevant, valuable, and thought-provoking to its intended audience. This can get tricky when you’ve mapped out several blogs on the same subject (i.e. webinar promotions/recaps, event promotions/recaps, product push/launch). Subject overlap is unavoidable with blogging, but that doesn’t mean your content has to become stale, predictable or a regurgitation of what’s already out there. As someone whose full-time job is to write blogs (a lot of the time on the same subject matter), here are a few tricks I have (or insights I’ve gained) for keeping blog content fresh and different…
Look for an analogy: This might not work with every topic, but it’s worth considering to infuse creativity and get readers more interested in what you’re saying. For example, in a recent blog a client compared one of its service offerings to Lego blocks/Lego sets; you can buy pre-determined sets to create certain projects or buy “blocks” and create any custom project you want. Analogies often paint a stronger picture and help readers better visualize what you’re trying to say.
Tell a story, literally: Storytelling is at the heart of content marketing, but you can interpret this more literally with an actual story that hooks readers in. For example, I ghostwrote a blog once for an executive where we opened with how his wife loves to read magazines and he stumbled upon her latest issue of Vogue featuring pop sensation Ariana Grande. He was reading Grande’s interview when he had an epiphany about how pop music relates to product engineering. It’s not something you read every day, and it ended up being featured on Forbes.
Do a flashback opener: I once wrote a blog for a client that opened with a story of how customer service used to be 15 years ago. There were limited options in terms of communications. You got transferred multiple times. You might have received a survey towards the end of your conversation. At the time, choices were minimal in terms of the experience you received. Today, of course, everything is different thanks to advances in technology and evolving customer expectations and behaviors. And so the blog continued…
Do a trusty Q&A: Reposition content by having someone from your company (an SME, an executive or influencer) respond to a few questions on the topic. The beauty of the Q&A is its flexibility. This can be a Q&A about an upcoming event, the future of XYZ, top predictions/trends, etc. Let’s say you’re trying to promote a new product. You can write a Q&A that addresses the market challenges that your product solves for (organically weaving in key talking points as you go along).
Outsource blog topic creation: If you outsource any of your content marketing to a third-party (like me!), don’t be afraid to ask if they can create blog topics for you. I just had a call with a prospective client where this very question was asked and they were pleased to know that I do. Get inspiration from someone who doesn’t work full-time within the company; someone who can give you an informed opinion outside of your team. Things can get blurry when you’re so close to a project or piece of content. Sometimes, it’s best to take a step back.
These are just a few of my favorite tricks to keep blogs so fresh and so clean, clean (sorry, I had to do it). What tips would you add to this list?