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Gini Dietrich

25 Ways to Create Shareable Blog Content

By: Gini Dietrich | July 1, 2014 | 
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Blog ContentBy Gini Dietrich

The trend toward using the web to grow your business continues.

Email keeps growing exponentially, with trillions sent every year. Facebook went from university students only in 2004 to more than a billion users eight years later. Pinterest became one of the fastest-growing social networks ever. Billions of videos are streamed on YouTube each day.

But the most alarming stat is the number of blogs created only to be abandoned in favor of Facebook, Tumblr, Twitter, or the newest shiny toy.

This is a very bad idea!

It’s not easy to have consistently fresh blog content that people want to read and share and shout about from the rooftops. That’s why a blog content development process is essential.

Create Shareable Blog Content

People ask all the time, “How do you get your blog content ideas? What is your process?”

The truth is, when you blog consistently, you begin to see ideas in everything: In what you read, on television, in the wild, and even in discussions with your peers, your clients, or your friends.

My friends know when the blog notebook comes out, parts of our dinner conversation are probably going to be published (I always ask permission so there are no surprises).

But you can also give your idea generation or inspiration a jumpstart with these 25 tips.

1. Subscribe to SmartBrief

The SmartBrief newsletters aggregate blog content every day (at least 10 articles) around one topic, such as entrepreneurship, leadership, or social media, that is applicable to something you care about.

2. Subscribe to Talkwalker Alerts

A replacement to Google Alerts, Talkwalker Alerts are even better, provide more relevant results, and are free. This will give you plenty of really good story ideas just from scanning those every day.

3. Read the comments

If you have an active community on your blog or on one of the social networks, read the comments! You will get story ideas just from what people say—things you hadn’t yet considered or different perspectives. If no one is commenting on your blog content, read the comments on other blogs within the industry. Read Twitter streams. Read the comments on Facebook updates. Read the comments in Google+.

4. Pay attention to current events

There is almost always something happening in the news that you can comment on for your industry. You can think about how Livestrong is pulling away from its founder and what that means for other nonprofit organizations. Or it could be how Yahoo! is requiring employees to work in an office and what that means for human resources or culture or leadership. When you begin to read, watch, or listen to current events, you’ll find ways to relate it back to your expertise. The more you do it, the more natural it becomes.

5. Go through your sent mail

This is a tip from Andy Crestodina, the co-founder of web development firm, Orbit Media. He suggests you go through your sent mail to see what types of things you’ve sent to customers, prospects, and vendors that could be used for blog content. Most of us write emails to explain a sales process, a feature or benefit, or our thinking. Use those emails to publish non-proprietary information online.

6. The Trends Manifesto

You’ll find this happening in the blogosphere every year. It begins in October and runs through January. It’ll either be the trends you are expecting to hit your industry in the next year or the three words people will use to drive their success. The trends manifesto provides you with an opportunity to shine as a leader in your industry. The three words, on the other hand, give people a sneak peak into you as a person and as a leader.

7. The Pop Culture Tie-in

Lots of really successful content creators take something that is happening with the Kardashians, or Dancing with the Stars, or the latest reality show and provide lessons related to their field.

8. The Debate

We often disagree with other voices on the web, but we don’t feel “safe” to voice our differing opinions. That’s why you often hear things such as, “echo chamber” and “yes men” when bloggers are discussed. Paul Sutton, a communications professional in the United Kingdom, creates the opportunity for debate a couple of times each year. He takes one side of an issue and another blogger takes the other. They debate it and create a poll to let readers decide who wins. Giving people an opportunity to see two sides of something works incredibly well.

(In fact, we have a debate coming soon!)

9. The Good

While people love good train wrecks, we also want to know how companies in our industry are doing things well. Interview organizations in your industry and highlight the good things they’re doing through your blog content.

10. The Bad

It’s no surprise the bad case studies are shared over and over and over again. When Chick-fil-A had their train wreck of an issue because their CEO came out against the gay and lesbian community, the best blog content was about why politics and religion in business are a bad idea and not about how the author felt personally about the company’s leadership or the issues being dissected.

11. The Ugly

If you can figure out how to write about an industry train wreck without attacking a person, it’s going to be pretty popular. Ragan does a nice job of this quite often by using terms such as “most hated” in a headline. It grabs attention and makes people want to read and share.

12. The Lists

People love lists. We have so much information coming at us these days, and lists make it easier to scan and read quickly. If you integrate lists into your blog content, you’ll find it’s easily some of the most shared on your site.

13. Freebies

Give stuff away! It might be a book a friend has written, a collection of free eBooks available from other bloggers, or your own eBook. Doing this helps you begin to qualify prospects.

14. Ranked Lists

The organization Run, Walk, Ride puts together a list of the charities that raise the most money every year. They highlight the ones you’d expect, but also show how well some of the up-and-comers are doing. In 2013, they added an easily shared infographic for bloggers and journalists. It’s a win because they’re highlighting their peers (and competitors) and driving significant top-of-the-funnel traffic to their site.

15. Something of the Year

Just like People produces its “sexiest man alive” issue, you can do the same for your niche. It may be an app of the month or a productivity tool.

16. Book Reviews

If a book is a must-read in your industry, doing something as simple as summing up the key points or doing a review can easily give you 500–700 words.

17. The Rant

A rant can get people riled up about something and give them something to rally behind.

18. Interviews

Interviews work well because you’re giving people access to someone they wouldn’t otherwise meet. It may be the big keynote speaker at your industry’s annual conference, or someone you respect or admire for the movement they’re making. This works with audio, video, and written text.

19. Question of the Week

Let people ask you a question they don’t know the answer to, can’t find on the web, or are simply too lazy to do the research on their own.

20. Education

When the Internet and social media didn’t exist, we had to rely solely on our education and experience. Now you can make comparisons to business today and 10, 20, or 30 years ago. Show your audience the similarities, or differences, and suggest strategies to capitalize on them.

21. The Parable

Tell a story to make a point in a post. It may be a difficult but incredibly interesting post to write. The Paris Review does a great job with this when they interview authors. It only comes out quarterly so it’s worth your time investment to subscribe and read. Their writers will teach you how to tell a parable in a business setting.

22. The Latest Trends

While the latest trends may feel overdone, your audience is unique. They may not have seen what’s happening in your industry and count on you to tell them.

23. The Sales Questions

Sit down with your sales team (or just yourself if you’re the rainmaker) and ask what kinds of questions come up in meetings with prospects. That may include pricing, delivery, referrals, and point of differentiation. Create blog content around these things because if something is coming up in sales meetings people are searching for it too. Be found for those questions.

24. Roundup of Voices

There are some bloggers who do this very well. They’ll ask the same question of five industry experts and create blog content around their answers. For Valentine’s Day one year, Hubspot asked experts why businesses should create marketing that people love and want to share. They created a short ebook that included the quotes and fun images and let people download it for free.

25. The Smarty Pants

Ike Pigott, a spokesman for Alabama Power, wrote, “Eleven Words Guaranteed to Generate Killer Search Engine Traffic and Clicks.” When you go to the page, all you find are those 11 words. His point? People are dying for the big secret on how to game the system. It’s a get-rich-quick scheme, and it works for Ike in this instance because the other content he offers is extremely intelligent and very valuable. You can’t get away with this a lot, but adding in some humor to prove a point can work occasionally.

A version of this first appeared on Convince and Convert.

About Gini Dietrich


Gini Dietrich is the founder and CEO of Arment Dietrich, a Chicago-based integrated marketing communications firm. She is the lead blogger here at Spin Sucks and is the founder of Spin Sucks Pro. She is the co-author of Marketing in the Round and co-host of Inside PR. Her second book, Spin Sucks, is available now.

26 comments
jdrobertson
jdrobertson

I could not figure out how to post an edit - please note in my comment ...600 words takes 6 minutes - should obviously read 5 minutes - same for ...packed into 6 minutes - should read 5 minutes. My apologies

jdrobertson
jdrobertson

I am the reader of - not a producer of a blog! Therefore I am your target. I like your suggestions but If I were called on to advise I think I'd like to be more basic. Exempli gratia: How long an attention span are you going to give me bearing in mind your competition grows and grows and grows by the minute and I have less and less time to give my full attention to any single or several blogs I habitually follow. What vocabulary level will you cater to? How technical are you going to get taking into consideration you're trying to sell me something I know very little about? This is the Information Age - how do you know when enough is enough? The normal speaking rate is 120 words per minute - 600 words takes 6 minutes but a tremendous amount of information can be packed into 6 minutes - perhaps more than can be remembered. Just sayin'

DanielHonigman
DanielHonigman

Any content about a brand can be shareable - from one-off blog posts, to customer reviews on third party sites. Even a comment on a previous blog post can spark additional thoughts on a topic!

belllindsay
belllindsay

I find inspiration in the most mundane things. It's amazing how a little creative thinking will get you from zero to hero! LOL 

LauraPetrolino
LauraPetrolino

I'm a BIG user of the parable. In fact, a dirty little secret of my blog posts is that the majority of them I start with a story, having zero idea what the actual point on the blog is going to be! 

JoeCardillo
JoeCardillo

Good stuff Gini. If someone can't make a blog out of these ideas, they got other problems!

It's interesting to me how little people think about balancing owned/paid/earned media. As we're seeing with Facebook, corporate can change the rules as they please, and not having a blog and email newsletter is like throwing money away.

Word Ninja
Word Ninja

Great list! Comments can be a goldmine. My last post came out of a conversation on Jo Lynn Deal's small biz marketing group on LinkedIn. 


Not only did the idea for the post come out of those comments, but I also linked to the other blogger's post, which initially sparked the conversation, and I gained insight and a quote for one of my points from Jo Lynn. 


Both added greatly to the post and highlighted their blogs/sites as well.

Todd Lyden
Todd Lyden

I WILL NOT SHARE THIS CONTENT... will not

Howie Goldfarb
Howie Goldfarb

You nailed 25 without me thinking around number 11 the rest are thinly justified because you decided 25 was the goal and you were hellbent on making it. That is a rare coup!


I think two very unique points are to be critical objectively without targeting a person. Sometimes it is very hard when one person is fairly responsible for the criticism. The second was trends. There is a reason people come here vs mashable or www.biggestguru.com because you have a unique take. If all you are is a bandwagon honky then you won't have any barriers to readers leaving for others of yer kin.



biggreenpen
biggreenpen

Great tips/ideas! I had some great discussions with the bloggers I traveled to El Salvador with about varying approaches to blogging. One of them had one of her most successful blogs with the topic of "organizing laundry for a family w/6 kids"; one was a food blogger who said she experienced a little pushback when she posted about poverty in El Salvador instead of recipes (?). Each one of them gave me a new perspective and I came away with great ideas. // I would also give a shoutout to Rob Biesenbach's recent post about how material that is genuinely from your day-to-day life can be a lot more effective than tired parables/stories gleaned from internet searches for "inspirational stories" (his post was in the context of speaking but it applies to blogging as well, IMO.  

ginidietrich
ginidietrich moderator

@LauraPetrolino Speaking of, I didn't see you crowdsource your next blog post with the things you jotted down in the middle of the night. Are you going to do that?

ginidietrich
ginidietrich moderator

@JoeCardillo That is one of my biggest pet peeves! I hate to see organizations who put their content and community into one of the social networks.

corinamanea
corinamanea

@ginidietrich @biggreenpen That´s because people want/need to know the real person behind the professional. Talking only about the business part, no matter how good it is, gets people tired. Adding something personal it makes them feel a real connection with the person behind the name on the screen.  And that´s the beauty of it.

P.S: Excellent post and I am sharing it! 

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