By Sue Brady
Every day I read at least 5 blog posts written by others. I ‘retweet’ a lot of these and also ‘favorite’ them for future reference. Here are 5 posts that I have found to be extremely helpful:
- Free competitor analysis tools to help you evaluate your website against your competitors from a search perspective, including link building, traffic analysis, and keywords.
- Free Blogging platforms to help you get started as a blogger.
- Free Reputation Management tools. It’s important to know what’s being said about your company and these tools can help you monitor that. You’ll be able to set up rules to search complaints or to monitor where others might be using your name.
- Free images for your blog. Sometimes you need an image to enhance your blog’s appearance. Here are some sources of free imagery that you can use.
- Free content templates. These templates will help you to organize, improve, and get the most out of your content.
What are your favorite free tools?
By Sue Brady
Content development requires careful thought and planning. And it can feel overwhelming if you don’t know where to start. Content can come from anywhere really, but how you create it depends on who you are trying to reach and what you are trying to accomplish.
Once you understand your ‘content goals,’ here’s how to find topics to write about:
- Case studies. Case studies are short stories about how a customer successfully used or uses your product. These are often used in B2B marketing. The best source of case studies is your customer service or sales departments. Ask them about the customers they talk to and have them identify a handful that were positively impacted by your company. Call the contact person there and ask if they’d mind being interviewed for a case study you’d like to post on your website. You can explain that it can be good press for their company and that they’ll be able to approve the finished article. You can even offer to share their URL in the story. Set expectations regarding length of time the questionnaire will take and even offer to send it to them in advance of the interview. You can do your interview over the phone or in person. If you are going to have the interview in person, I recommend having someone videotape the conversation for later use on YouTube or on your website (you of course have to ask for permission from the person you’d be filming…and you’ll want to get that consent in writing). If your product services multiple industries, it’s a good idea to develop at least one case study per industry.
- User reviews. Read your reviews. Note if there are benefits or features that are pointed out more often than others. Use those as topics for your next blog post. And pay attention to the comments that others leave after reviews. If you can identify questions that are frequently asked, you can devote a post to just that topic.
- Customer Service and Sales Departments. Survey your customer service agents and sales people to find out what questions/complaints/praises they hear most often from customers and prospects. Use those to develop a list of topics to write about.
- Employees at your company. Employees talk to their friends/family/clients/each other. Ask them what questions they hear most often about your products. Form some blog posts around those. In addition, employees can be great authors. Have each employee in your company write about a topic they feel is relevant to your customers, company or industry. You can even make an event out of it where for 2 hours one afternoon, everyone focuses on writing about a business-relevant topic of interest to them.
- Identify someone who is respected in your industry and see if they’ll agree to an interview. It’s great press for them and identifies your company with a thought leader.
- Social media conversations. Read what people are writing about your industry or your products specifically to identify hot topics to write about. You can find relevant topics using hashtags on Twitter, or look for conversations on Facebook or Linkedin that have generated a lot of comments. It’s a great way to enter the conversation.