If your business has a blog, you’re well on your way to driving more traffic to your website. However, a lot goes into a blog for it to be successful. It’s not just about writing engaging and unique content. You have to know how to share and promote it as well. The phrase “Content is King” is true, but the phrase “Relevant Content is King Kong” reigns supreme. If your blog doesn’t relate to your audience’s needs and wants then what’s the point? Here is a guide for setting up a blog for your brand.

How to Gather Topic Ideas

1. Do Your Research

Every expert first got started by researching the work of others and taking inspiration from the best of the best. It’s commonly suggested to start with a good swipe file. If you notice a good headline or piece of content, chances are others have noticed as well. When you’re scouring the internet looking for ideas, save anything you might think will be helpful later on down the road. Easy places to look for examples are TV ads, magazine ads, email headlines, Facebook ads, PPC ads and book titles. Take what’s been successful in the past and adapt it to fit your needs.

2. Surf Social Media

To help with gathering ideas, look on Twitter to see what’s trending. Yahoo Buzz and Google Alerts are other great sources to look at. If you’re planning on joining in on a trending topic though, be sure you can somehow tie it in with your content. The worst mistakes are made when businesses try garnering attention on Twitter and other social media sites by joining the conversation on a serious topic in the attempt to sell something. Just look at what happened to DiGiorno Pizza on Twitter when they joined in on a domestic violence chat without first checking to see what the hashtag was being used for. The backlash was so severe that the company went silent for over a month on social media before starting back up again. That’s just one of many examples of tweets gone wrong. Lesson here is definitely, by no means, force yourself into a conversation. Remember, it must be relevant!

3. Check Your Inbox

If you’re someone who sends hundreds of emails a day, go back into your sent file and see what you wrote. There could be tons of topics you could expand into blog posts just sitting there waiting to be collected. Google is especially great because they provide related search terms for your keywords. Take those related terms and turn them into blog posts! FAQ’s and SAQ’s are great ideas for blog posts and are topics that your readers will definitely appreciate. SAQ’s (Should Ask Questions) are where you can differentiate yourself because they show your readers they don’t know what they don’t know.

Focus on the Details

You may not know it, but sites like the National Enquirer, AOL and Digg.com are great resources for seeing what kind of headlines work best. Remember, facts tell. Stories sell. Everyone loves a good story. A little secret among marketers is that when it comes to sharing content, its 10 percent product, 90 percent promotion. You have to promote like crazy and it’s no longer good enough just to have a good blog post. Writing eye-catching headlines is a good start to getting people to read your blog and come to your website.

It’s human nature to underestimate the power of our own knowledge. It’s easy to gloss over the tiny details and go too fast when trying to get the larger picture across. These tiny details that experienced minds forget to include are usually what gets readers most interested and is what can make your blog unique. There are nuances everywhere you look that you can write about. Take a fresh look at what you’re offering. You can always break something down into individual components. Just take building a blog as an example for a blog post. That one topic can then be separated and broken down into many different topics such as landing pages, linking building, SEO, imagery, headlines, copywriting, etc. Boom! You just turned one blog post into 6 posts and all relevant to your audience if that’s an area your business deals in.

The Process of Getting Started

To borrow the slogan of Nike, “Just do it.” Just start writing. Typos are fine as you write because you can always go back and correct them. Don’t let anything interrupt your momentum once you get going. Keep a journal or a place for your notes on your computer. I’m personally a fan of Google Keep but there are tons of note taking platforms out there to use. You have to schedule times to write and make it a priority. It’s not going to just happen by chance, you have to be willing to work at it. Speed is everything so move fast to capitalize off hot trending topics. Your blog will garner significantly more attention if you’re number 3 in line rather than number 5,000 in line when talking about a particular topic.

If your blog isn’t interesting, then why would anyone want to read it? As I’ve said, the best blog posts tell stories and then are strategically shared and promoted. Get the word out that you’ve got good stuff worth telling. Social media is great because it’s free and can pass your content around to billions of people but you can also look into paying for advertising to really boost your blog’s traffic. As always, use images or videos within your blog posts. That visual appeal can be the difference whether or not your content stands out in your audiences’ newsfeed.

In closing, the entire purpose of your website is so that your business can better generate leads. Having a blog is a great way to provide relevant and valuable content to your current and potential customers. Nowadays, it’s not enough to just have a blog. Almost every business has one. In order to build a blog that converts, you have to be willing to put in the work to make it happen. Nothing great was ever achieved without enthusiasm.

About Steven Eastlack

Steve Eastlack is a Content Marketing Strategist and writes articles related to content marketing, social media marketing, and brand strategy on his blog – eastlackmedia. He works for Surefire Local, headquartered in Tysons, VA and holds degrees in Marketing Management and Psychology from Virginia Tech. Through the use of developing a content strategy, writing monthly editorial calendars and content, and performance reports, Steve helps to build audience and awareness for brands across all digital platforms. When he’s not busy with work, you can find Steve either watching a movie or sporting event or writing for his blog.