Written by: Bill Hartzer
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How to Find Content for Your Blog
I was just looking at the WordPress dashboard for my blog and noticed that I have written 587 blog posts (this is the 588th blog post to be exact) and 31 pages of content (well, that’s 31 articles that I have posted here on my blog). I have to admit that those numbers are pretty awe-inspiring to me. I mean, really–how in the world have I come up with 587 blog posts and 31 pages of content? Well, in this blog post I am going to tell you EXACTLY how I did it. Here is how you can find content for your blog.
Do your research to find content for your blog
Before I start ranting and raving about how I personally come up with content for my blogs, including this blog right here, let me add my .02 cents about bad blog content (blog spam). There has been a lot of press and media attention lately about Google’s crack-down on content farms. I am not going to get into the search engine optimization details and other info about the Google algorithm, I will save that for another post. But I am going to say that if you are a blogger or someone who has a blog, you probably already know whether or not your content is considered a content farm. Take a long hard look at the source of your content and your ideas for blog posts. Blogging is not about scraping, spinning, rewriting, or even repurposing content. It’s about writing original content that someone else other than yourself will want to read.
That’s where the source of your content comes into play here. Let’s dig a bit deeper into possible sources of blog content, and look at the places where you might find content for your blog. There are a lot of places where you can find good content. You just have to spend a few minutes looking around the web.
First, you have to really start with a few keywords related to your blog. Let’s use this blog as an example. I actually have three major “themes” of my blog, or “interests”, you could call them “topics”. Here are a few keywords that I personally use when I’m searching for content for my blog posts:
– search engine
– social media
– social networking
– social network
– domain names
When I mention “search engine”, that could mean a few different things: as in “search engine optimization”, “search engine marketing”, and even “search engines” like Google, Bing.com, etc.. If there is a news item, article, or something related to “search engine” that’s faily new, then I probably will be interested in it. Social media, social networking, and simply “social network” could fall into one category, and I might also use related keywords such as “Twitter, Facebook, etc.) on my list. I invest in domain names, and am interested in domain name issues, so I actually like to see what’s going on in the domain world. Marketing is also something else on my list, as well.
So, as you can see, once I have a keyword list or even one keyword that I want to write something about, I start doing some quick research. Here is a list of some of the places you could go searching using your keyword. I personally like to put myself in “investigative reporter” mode, or get in a journalistic mode when I am searching for possible blog post content.
– Google News
– Press Release Web Sites (prnewswire.com, prweb.com, marketwire.com, businesswire.com)
– Twitter (Twitter search for your keyword, pay attention to “Top Tweets”)
– Tweetmeme.com (tweets are categorized)
– Message Boards (people still use them, and they’re typically on topic)
– Google Blog search
Once you have a keyword in mind, start searching Google News. Find articles or press releases that have been recently posted on your subject. Once you find something, remember that even though someone has already written about it, you could do some more investigation and write “on a different angle” or take a different viewpoint. And you could even link out to that previous article as a source.
Press releases are getting pretty over-done now, so you really have to watch out. There are a lot of “press releases” being written that are junk, and only written for their SEO value. If you want better press release content or ideas, pay more attention to PR Newswire or Business Wire, or even MarketWire since it costs more and they still exercise some editorial control over it. Keep in mind also that if you’re going to use a press release as content for your blog post, make sure you take the time to write something that has value (just don’t regurgitate the press release unless it’s really useful information). And remember that it’s news…so you may want to jump on it quickly before 300 other sites post it.
Twitter can be helpful, but you may want to use it more for blog ideas. I like to use a combination of Twitter and Tweetmeme.com to find what people are talking about on a subject. Again, it’s more for finding blog post ideas and what people are talking about. For example, in today’s top tweets, people are talking about Jackie Chan and the rumors going around about him. You could try to investigate the original source of the rumors, which might make for an interesting blog post if you have an entertainment-type blog. Or even take another angle–write about how rumors get started on Twitter.
Message boards can be a great source of blog post content, especially if you have a blog in a certain niche. People tend to “hang out” on certain message boards, and they’ll post about something new if there is something to talk about. If you’re in a niche, then take a look at the message boards and read the “newest posts” frequently. I’m sure you will find something.
Don’t forget about Google blog search. Search for your keyword and feel free to write something that is related to what others are writing about. I often like to link out to other blog posts and give others credit where it’s due. There’s always something that someone else forgot to mention, so mention it.
There are other ways to come up with content for your blog, especially when you cannot find anything on your subject that’s recent news. You can always:
– write a review of a product or service
– write about a company in your industry
– write about a tool (online tool, software tool, or a physical tool). Lots of industries use tools.
– write about your competitor
– make a top 10 list
– write about the 10 best… in your industry
– write about the 10 worst… in your industry
Another way to come up with blog content is to get on a regular schedule. I personally like to FORCE myself (yes, sometimes it is difficult) to write something EVERY single day on my blog. There are some days when I cannot possibly come up with something, and I end up writing a blog post just like this one. Well, yes, there isn’t much news to write about so I thought I would write a blog post about finding content for your blog. Go figure. But I digress.
You can get yourself on a schedule and have one blog post that you can write every week, every month, or even every day. I know of one blog who posts the daily mortgage rates. Then there’s a company who posts the bank rates on a weekly basis in a press release. You could come up with a top 10 or top 100 list in your industry and post it on a regular basis. If you end up coming up with a “top 100 companies” in your industry, then you bet that all of those 100 companies will end up being readers of your blog every month, as they will want to find out exactly where they stand on the list.
I have to admit, even someone like myself who writes a lot and comes up with sometimes the most bizarre content in my industry, that I have trouble finding content for my blog. But honestly, it’s not necessarily all about finding wonderful content. You can’t always write some incredible blog post that ends up going viral and bringing in a lot of visitors overnight. It’s getting harder and harder to find content. But it’s out there. There is always going to be something that you can write about, even if it is trivial. What really counts, though, is being consistent.