How to create better long-format content for your marketers

A good blog draws in an audience in the digital and real world. Source: Shutterstock

A good blog draws in an audience in the digital and real world. Source: Shutterstock

BUSINESS blogging is quite a powerful marketing tool because it helps boost brand visibility.

Posting regular blogs can reap many benefits including increased traffic to your website, increased search engine optimization, and helping to establish authority in your industry

Furthermore, blogging has been shown to benefit your bottom line. According to research, six out of ten US online consumers have made a purchase based on recommendations they received from a blog.

Put simply, if you haven’t already jumped onto the blogging trend, you may risk losing out to your competitors.

Yet, coming up with engaging ideas for your next blog post can often be a challenging task. Sometimes it’s hard to find something to write about that hasn’t already been posted 100 times over.

But don’t let this put you off- there is an abundance of ideas just waiting to discovered and packaged into a wonderfully written blog.

If you’re looking for inspiration to fuel your editorial calendar, here are three tips for you:

# 1 | Watch your inbox

A great place to start looking for ideas for your next blog post is your email inbox. Here, you should find a wide variety of emails from customers.

Compile a list of the questions they’re asking you- even the ones that may seem painfully obvious to you.

You can take these questions and transform them into individual blog posts on these topics. Not only does this provide good content for your customers by answering their queries in an engaging blog post, but it will save you a whole lot of time.

Instead of responding to each individual customer query, you can direct them to your blog. This will free up some time for you to spend on other, perhaps more valuable tasks.

# 2 | Study your competitors

The idea here isn’t to copy the entire content of your competitor’s website, but a little peek into the content they’re creating can be a great source of inspiration.

Head over to your top competitor’s website and social media channels and note down the kind of topics they’re writing about, the customer queries they are answering, and the industry-related content they’re sharing.

You can leverage tools such as Buzzsumo to find and rank your competitor’s posts in terms of engagement (for instance, by how many social media shares the post received).

Here, you will be sure to discover some topics that you can either put your own spin on or give a more in-depth explanation of.

Why not collaborate with your competitors? You might want to consider brainstorming ideas together or creating a joint blog post.

# 3 | Take cues from social-listening

Social media platforms such as Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn are perhaps the best source of rocket-fuel for your blog.

Here, you can follow and join conversations relating to your industry. These conversations may make for great topics to expand on in a blog.

In order to quickly locate conversations that are related to your industry or niche, you should harness the power of a #hashtag.

On Twitter, for example, search for hashtags related to your specific industry, location, and competitors.

Are there any common conversations taking place? This might relate to consumers expressing their pain-points on a particular topic, or raising queries which they are looking to be answered.

Paying attention to what your customers, community members, competitors, and influencers are talking about online will give you a good understanding of the specific issues that people are facing.

There are also many media monitoring tools such as Mention, which allow you to set up alerts for key terms, topics, and hashtags that are in line with your brand and industry.

With this abundance of information, you will be sure to create some great blog content that resonates with your audience.

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