blog ideas, content ideas

 

For bloggers and online content providers, originality is the perfect way to attract visitors, engage your audience and keep the hits coming.

Unfortunately, creating original content on a continuous basis is a big ask and maintaining a cycle of fresh blogs week after week after week can be a tough slog for anyone.

Even the brightest of marketing sparks can hit the ideas wall from time to time, especially if the site in question has been producing content for a considerable amount of time.

So, how do you overcome this hurdle? We’re glad you asked!

Join us as we dive into the open waters of blog generation and explore some of the most effective ways to generate fresh blog content.

 

 

Brainstorming

The first port of call for any marketing mind running low on inspiration, a group brainstorming session can be just the impetus needed to reinvigorate your blog with fresh ideas.

As the old saying goes, many hands make light work and that is very much applicable to blog content. After all, two heads are better than one (although too many clichés spoil the broth).

Clichés notwithstanding, the fact remains: opening up the floor to the rest of the team and spitballing ideas with your colleagues can result in pure gold.

A new perspective can be just the spark you need to reignite your creative embers and not only keep your content fire burning but once again set it ablaze.

 

Straight to the Source

As simple as it sounds, what better way to get a handle on what your audience really wants than by asking them outright?

Consumer feedback is a great way to gain first-hand insight into what your target demographic likes and dislikes in a clear and concise manner.

Surveys, polls and social media monitoring are all excellent ways to get a handle on exactly what your audience is interested in and what they want to see more of.

To ensure a higher response rate from your audience, you may want to incentivise such an activity by incorporating a prize element to further grease the participatory wheels.

Meanwhile, it’s also worth noting that people are far more likely to be brutally honest in their feedback if they feel it can be done in a nameless, faceless fashion.

Providing your audience with a means of delivering their opinions in an anonymous manner could help ensure that such feedback remains uncut, uncensored and unrestricted – warts and all.

 

Explore Comments

As mentioned in the previous section, social media is a great window into the minds of your audience; however, you don’t even need to run a poll or survey to gain that feedback.

Simply exploring the comments section of your social media posts can be a great way to inspire blog content for the future.

Similarly, a post that has gained significant traction on your social media channels and recorded sizeable engagement figures is a bright neon sign of public interest.

Expanding on a popular post to incorporate its subject matter into a blog can be a simple yet effective way of providing content that’s sure to appeal to your audience.

 

Past Blogs

Winston Churchill once said, “Those who fail to learn from history are condemned to repeat it.” However, in the case of blog content, historical repetition isn’t always a bad thing…

Retracing old ground by providing an updated version of old blog entries can be a great way to breathe life into a particular topic and provide new content at the same time.

For example, if you run a fashion blog and your “Fashion Tips for Summer 2019” had more hits than Mike Tyson’s punch bag, there’s nothing wrong with revisiting this topic with a blog on “Fashion Tips for Summer 2020”.

Naturally, this method is primarily useful for blogs that have previously performed well; there’s no use in revisiting an old blog that tanked. Meanwhile, it also tends to work better for blogs that are date specific.

 

Expand on Subheadings

As seen in the entry above, revisiting old content isn’t a sin punishable by digital exile and banishment to the realm of forgotten bloggers.

In fact, past blogs can provide more than just singular blog-spiration, they can provide a portal to a whole world of content – if you know where to look.

Subheadings (such as H2s and H3s) included in previous blogs can provide serious food for thought when viewed in isolation, with enough meat on the bone to feed an entire blog of its own.

For example, a blog titled “Tips for Starting a New Job” may include a section on appropriate work attire. That subject alone has legs to run on its own, so why not explore it further with a blog on “Dressing for Success in the Workplace”?

If you can gain inspiration for at least one blog topic from every old blog, you’ll soon have yourself a sizeable list of ideas that can help fuel your content calendar long into the distant future.

 

For more content writing tips and blog advice or to enquire about our own content marketing and copywriting services, why not drop us a line today? Call now on 01446 339050 or get in touch online by clicking the button below.

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According to WordPress statistics, over 70 million blog posts are produced each month on WordPress alone. Based on those gargantuan stats, it’s fair to say that competition is pretty high in the world of online content.

With so much content produced every single day, it’s all too easy for a mediocre blog to quickly become buried under the rubble – only the very best content can stay above ground.

That being said, there are a few simple rules that you can apply to your content in order to keep it unique and engaging. Check out these content writing tips from the masters...

 

content writing tips, writing tips famous authors

 

Content Writing Tips from Literary Icons

When it comes to content writing advice, a simple Google search will fire back an endless list of results from a myriad of “experts” and “specialists”, usually accompanied by unfamiliar names and unrecognisable faces.

Why take the word of someone you’ve never heard of when you could sit under the learning tree of the biggest names in literary history?

Get the most out of your blog writing by channelling your inner Hemingway and following these steadfast tips from the very best.

 

Rules Are Made to be Broken

Elmore Leonard once quipped “If it sounds like writing, I rewrite it”. From a content standpoint, this can be an extremely valuable lesson to learn.

If strictly adhering to conventional writing techniques makes your content sound boring, don’t be afraid to bend the rules and play around with your wording.

Content that lacks natural flow can become laboured and quickly result in the reader navigating elsewhere. Let the content speak for itself: if you have to sacrifice writing technique for the purpose of rhythm and tone, so be it.

Keep in mind the audience that you’re writing for and mould your content accordingly. A conversational tone can be far more effective (and fitting) in a light-hearted blog than one that rigidly follows the codes and conventions of the Queen’s speech.

It’s worth remembering that this advice also comes from the same man who wrote “10 Rules of Writing” for The New York Times, proving that even the very best like to colour outside of the lines from time to time.

 

Don’t Be Too Wordy

In a 1906 letter to his eventual fiancé, Louie Burrows, D.H. Lawrence laid out some pearls of writing wisdom to his would-be lover after reading an essay of hers on the subject of art.

In the letter, Lawrence reminds Louie to “be careful of [her] adjectives”, reminding her that “there is so much more force in a rapid style”. Roughly translated in 21st-century lingo, what Mr Lawrence was so elegantly trying to say to his betrothed was simply this - “don’t waffle”.

If you too are guilty of waffling, Lawrence advises to “look at your piece and see how many three-lined sentences could be comfortably expressed in one line”. Remaining concise without losing the point is a key factor in maintaining reader retention.

Coincidentally, Lawrence also goes on to say in that very same letter “don’t use hackneyed adjectives” and instead to “try to be terse and in some measure original” – which brings us nicely to our next point…

 

Don’t Rely on Clichés

George Orwell once said, “Never use a figure of speech you are used to seeing in print”.

While Orwell may be best known for his novels and works of fiction, that piece of advice can just as easily be applied to anyone looking to create written content online.

In fact, Orwell’s rule is a fantastic tip for any writer looking to engage their audience in a unique and memorable way, while also providing a great opportunity to inject a bit of personality into your content.

Tired tropes and overused phrasing can become instant fodder for eye-rolling. Try to stray away from clichés and mix it up in order to keep your audience engaged and interested.

Enjoyable reading translates to longer page dwelling times which has a positive effect on SEO, as well as the user experience.

So, don’t be afraid to drop the clichés like a bad habit and avoid them like the plague.

…D’oh!

 

For more content writing tips or to explore the professional content creation services at Designer Websites, why not drop us a line today? Call now on 01446 339050 or get in touch online using the button below.

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For many businesses, professional copywriting services can be a Godsend. Providing sleek, readable copy that speaks volumes to your customers, a professional copywriter has the ability to raise the game of a brand exponentially.

A professional presentation can lend unrivalled credibility to a business, providing instant integrity and boosting customer confidence. Meanwhile, the alternative route can be the complete opposite, raising red flags and act as an immediate customer-repellent.

Professional copywriting is the tailor-made tuxedo of web content, while a DIY job represents a pre-owned hand-me-down. While both may get the job done, one will undoubtedly fit far better and leave a more memorable lasting impression to onlookers.

Like most things in life, the more you invest, the more you get in return. Professional content writing is no different – and here’s exactly why…

 

 benefits of professional content writing

 

Why Hire a Professional Copywriter?

Despite being a valuable skill that’s honed through years of practice, copywriting often gets held to a different professional standard than most specialisms, with many individuals opting to pen their own content unqualified.

To put that into context, that would be like a bride and groom sacking off a professional wedding singer in favour of their Uncle Steve on the basis that he sings in the shower. While undoubtedly the cheaper option, it’s also a real recipe for disaster (sorry, Steve).

The results of non-professional content writing can be dull at best and dire at worst, ranging from spelling mistakes and grammatical incorrections to verbose meanderings and unintelligible nonsense.

If you’re considering penning your own copy for your business, here are a few reasons why you might want to hire a professional copywriter to do your bidding instead.

 

Language

Any professional copywriter worth their salt will have a firm grasp of the English language so tight it could rival a boa constrictor on a budget.

Armed with a vast vocabulary and a mental spellcheck that requires no word processor, a pro will be able to turn the dullest of subjects into a textual feast for the eyes – error-free, well-structured and as engaging as a diamond ring.

A good copywriter will also be well-versed in the art of proofing and have an expert eye for faults and flaws. This should help to ensure that your finished copy is not only enticing and interesting to read but also grammatically correct with unwavering punctuation.

 

Research

Professional copywriters are often tasked with lending their wordsmithery to subjects outside their sphere of knowledge. As such, efficient and accurate research skills are paramount.

The benefit of this is that any statements made in your copy will, more often than not, be backed up with credible sources as evidence. Meanwhile, this process may also uncover additional details for inclusion that you may have overlooked out of familiarity.

If curiosity killed the cat, then a professional copywriter may need to have eyes in the back of their head for their own safety, because a healthy curiosity is key part of the job. A curious mind and thorough research skills, coupled with the ability to communicate the results is the perfect combination for golden content.

 

Perspective

If you’ve been part of a project from the get-go and are deeply rooted in the thick of it, it can be hard to see the wood through the trees. Hiring a professional copywriter can allow your company to take a step back and paint the bigger picture.

A fresh pair of eyes from an outsider’s perspective can be invaluable in providing accurate and unbiased content.

While a pro will naturally be able to create the message your brand is going for, they will also be able to highlight areas you may have overlooked through familiarity.

 

Engagement

One of the biggest perks of professional content creation is the ability to attract, entice and engage your target audience – an extremely important skill. Case in point: headline copy.

Research has shown that as much as 80% of people will read a headline but not the body of the article. Loosely, translated: a rubbish headline can leave the rest of your text untouched.

Imagine if The Ritz had an exterior that was dirty, decrepit and covered in graffiti. No matter how good the inside was, chances are, you wouldn’t venture past the front gate.

The same principle applies to headlines. A polished copywriter will be able to craft an attention-grabbing headline that’ll pique interest in a single glance.

 

Optimisation

With Google algorithm updates taking place multiple times a year, keeping on top of SEO best practices can be a near-impossible task for anyone not 100% focused on the task at hand.

A professional copywriter will be able to pen SEO copy effortlessly and optimising content will be second-nature, ensuring your pages are ranking as well as being perfectly readable.

In the long run, this can be the difference between being seen and your services

 

Professional Copywriting Services

Taking everything else out of the equation, professional content creation takes time, dedication and consistency – three things that are hard to commit to and maintain when your attention and expertise are needed elsewhere.

Even if you sell the greatest products/services in the universe, poor communication and clunky content can tarnish your brand instantly. Give your business the best chance of success with professional content from a pro.

 

For more information on our professional copywriting services, why not drop us a line today to find out more? Call now on 01446 339050 or get in touch online by clicking the button below.

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Featured Snippets

Google's featured snippets have been around for a little while now, and they're appearing in SERPs more often than ever before. For site owners, they represent a significant organic exposure opportunity; however, many people right now are unaware of the value of ranking as a featured snippet and unsure of how to do so.

In today's blog, we're going to show you how you can obtain a featured snippet for your site - before that, though, let's take a quick look at what exactly a featured snippet is.

What are featured snippets?

When you type a query into Google, a featured snippet is the short answer (or summary of an answer) that sometimes appears at the top of the results page. A snippet's content is extracted directly from the source website, and each snippet includes the page title and URL of the web page it's drawn from.

What are featured snippets?

Why should I care about featured snippets?

Because they will get your website seen and drive lots more traffic to their source pages! Featured snippets tend to appear above all other organic results, meaning that even if your website isn't rank #1 for a specific keyword, you can still show up ahead of your competitors by securing a featured snippet ranking for that search term.

In addition to ranking as a featured snippet, a particular URL can also still appear within the standard organic results. This means that a single URL can rank twice on the first page, in two separate positions, for the same query. (Take another look at the Obama example above - see how Wikipedia appears as both the featured snippet source AND the #1 organic result?)

Because Google is extracting the important part of your content and displaying it right there in the SERP, you might expect your click-through rate to drop when your content is used for a featured snippet. However, featured snippets have actually been shown to boost CTR, even when the source URL already held the #1 organic position.

How to gain a featured snippet

Now that you know how valuable a featured snippet can be for your website, you're probably wondering how to get your pages ranking in this way. Featured snippets come in a whole range of different styles, and your content must provide the right answer in the right format to be able to rank as a snippet for that particular query. Snippets occur in a number of different forms, including:
  • Text
  • Lists
  • Tables
The first thing you'll need to do is perform some keyword research and identify some questions that are a) commonly typed into Google, and b) relevant to your website. These questions can be implicit or explicit, but they need to be too complex for Google to answer using simple public-domain data from their Knowledge Graph. For example, Googling 'how old is Theresa May' won't produce a featured snippet because Google can answer that one by itself; however, Googling 'who is Theresa May' forces Google to pull a more in-depth answer from a third-party source, resulting in a featured snippet.

Featured Snippets Example
You may want to look for queries that already have a featured snippet in the SERP; if the current snippet is poorly-written or doesn't really answer the question properly, its spot should be fairly easy to steal. If a question is not currently showing a featured snippet result, this may be a sign that Google does not consider a featured snippet necessary for that query.

Once you know which queries you wish to feature as a snippet for, it's time to re-format your content in order to optimise it for...um, snipping. The format and language of your content is very important - when trying to achieve a featured snippet, you need to make sure that you use phrases and terms a little more strategically than you might in other pieces of writing. This is because Google is far more literal with these types of queries than usual; for example, if you were to Google 'how to make scrambled eggs', you will likely be shown an article whose title closely mirrors that specific query, and not something like 'scrambled eggs for dummies'.

You also need to make sure that the format of your answer matches the format of the snippet you wish to rank for. There's no point writing a regular ol' paragraph of text if the featured snippet you're trying to replace is a table of information or a bullet-point list of ingredients. It doesn't really matter where on the page your answer appears as long as your content is structured correctly and you're providing a clear and concise answer to the query that Google can easily lift out and display in the SERPs.

Here's an example. Let's say you want a featured snippet for the query 'what is the difference between a cake and a biscuit' - you can write an in-depth, thousand-word exposé on the exact distinction between cakes and biscuits, but you won't achieve your goal unless you also provide Google with a concise, easily-snippable answer like this:

"There are many ways to tell a cake from a biscuit, but the most important difference is that cakes get harder as they go stale, whereas biscuits become softer."

Once you've written the page that will hopefully rank as a featured snippet, read through it and try to identify the key sentence(s) that Google will be able to provide as a quick answer. If that portion of the article doesn't exist, you won't get the snippet. Don't forget to check the existing snippet for the keyphrase you've got your eye on - if the current snippet is a table or bullet-point list, you probably won't be able to usurp its throne with plain text.

You'll also want to use keywords judiciously throughout the rest of the page - for instance, including the phrase 'what is the difference between a cake and a biscuit' in your page title tag and H1 heading will greatly improve your chances of getting that featured snippet (and indeed of ranking for that term at all).

How to keep your featured snippets

You've been working hard and you've finally gained a featured snippet - well done! Now you can relax and take it easy, right? Wrong - the battle is still on! The websites below yours will probably attempt to steal that coveted spot from you, so how can you stay on top of the heap and ensure that your featured snippet keeps showing up?

The answer is that you need to get people actually engaging with your snippet. The organic ranking and format of your content aren't the only factors to think about; engagement and click-through rates also play a role in snippet selection. By ensuring that users are engaging with your snippet - that is, reading it and clicking through to your actual website for more information - you should be able to hang on to your featured spot indefinitely.

Need help driving organic traffic to your website? Get in touch with the Designer Websites team today - our SEO experts will be more than happy to assist you!

We are repeatedly reminded of how important it is to enhance our online presence with engaging content, but what use is a great infographic or a highly informative blog tutorial, if no one clicks through in the first place?

A great headline can make all the difference when it comes to engaging your audience, so it’s important to get this right in order to give your painstakingly thought-out content the best chance at success. Of course, no two pieces are the same, and no ‘one-size’ approach will always be suitable, which is why we’ve put together a list of various techniques to keep you inspired.

No matter who you’re targeting, or what the piece aims to achieve, the correct use of the following techniques can massively increase the engagement rate on your content, making the hours you’ve spent creating it worthwhile:

Write With Authority 

If you’re able to generate a sense of knowledge and authority surrounding your piece, then potential readers will be more likely to regard this as a useful source of information, and consider it a worthwhile read.
Examples:
‘The Essential Guide to ______’
‘The Best Way to _________’
‘Everything You Need to Know About _______’

Take Advantage of Title Generator Tools

If you’re a stuck for ideas, or you simply want to shake things up a little, then title generator tools can be a great way to create unusual, striking and thought-provoking headlines. Used in reverse, these tools can also make a great writing prompt if you have a subject of interest or keyword that you would like to target, but aren’t feeling particularly inspired.

Target Your Intended Reader 

If your piece is targeted towards a specific audience or readership, then why not make this obvious in the title? Engaging with related communities and influencers is, as we all know, a vital element of content marketing, which means that getting the right eyes on your piece is crucial. If a tile actively calls out or mentions people in a certain profession, or with a particular interest/hobby, they are far more likely to feel a connection to your piece right away, increasing the chances of them clicking through.

Convey a Sense of Urgency 

We’re used to urgency being used as a sales technique, but it can also be remarkably effective when it comes to sharing your content too! Whether you’re delivering a warning, or suggesting a change in behaviour, encouraging your reader to act is always a great way to capture their attention and draw them in.

Use the Power of Lists 

They may be everywhere these days, but there’s a reason why the ‘listacle’ is such a popular format for blogs and online articles. If a piece of content is organised and assigned value by placing it into a numbered list, it not only provokes curiosity, but also suggests that the information will be presented in an easy-to-digest format. Both of these attributes combine to not only to make the piece highly appealing on initial appearance, but also make it compulsively readable once the reader has clicked through.

Use Sensationalism

This is one to be careful with! Readers are becoming more and more attuned to the ‘clickbait’ strategy of luring people in with a controversial headline, only to leave them disappointed with bland content, or a poorly thought-out sales pitch. Despite this, when used correctly, a controversial statement/provocative question can still be used as a great starting point, prompting readers to challenge or decipher the reasoning behind your opening statement. 

Experiment 

If you work in digital marketing, it’s highly likely that you’ll already be familiar with the concept of A/B testing, so why not extend this to your creative content? While you may not wish to edit the title of the piece itself, you can still make alterations to the copy used to promote your piece, as well as the title image used to accompany it. By comparing the results gained by these advertorial headlines, you can gain a better understanding of what is encouraging readers to engage with your piece, and use this information to get the most from your content.

Provide Solutions to Problem Questions

If your piece has a tutorial element, or aims to demonstrate an alternative approach to an existing practice, then you should definitely pitch your blog/article as a problem solving piece in your headline! Of course, you may find the traditional ‘how to’ to be a bit bland, which can be remedied by adding additional value to the information you will be providing. Inform your reader that you will not only be explaining how to do something, but will be highlighting the best, easiest or correct way to do it! 

Let the Facts Speak

If your piece is based on experimental research or even a single revelation, you should exploit the value of this in your headline. When presented with a figure, fact or statement, it stands to reason that the curiosity and problem-solving instincts of your reader will provoke them to discover more; an aim which can only be achieved by reading your article!


Find out how the team of copywriters and content marketing specialists at Designer Websites can help you to produce high-quality, attention-grabbing content here.