Feeling baffled when it comes to producing captivating blog topics? Don't fret.
Coming up with insightful information that reels in readers may seem like an onerous task, but once you have a system in place, you'll experience a surge of engaging, lead generating things to share on your blog.
It will be effortless. Like slicing through butter with a hot knife. As it should be.
Here are five seriously easy ways to come up with captivating blog topics.
1. Clearly define the purpose of your blog.
Establishing what your blog is about concretely from the get-go can help jog topic ideas easily.
Think about what you have to offer as a brand and the kinds of messages you want to spread.
Even more importantly, think about what your customers care about. Why do they follow your brand? What kinds of expectations do they have? Do some brainstorming.
Once you're clear on how to set the stage, define what kinds of information people can people expect to find on your blog, as it pertains to your brand.
Make a promise by putting a message in your blog sign-up that explains what people will receive when they sign up for your blog.
Establishing your categories will also help to keep your blog focused and on track. Don't go crazy. Six to ten is good.
For example, if you sell organic, Fair Trade skincare products and are passionate about Eco-friendliness, you could define your blog as being the place to find great tips pertaining to all-natural skin care, true beauty, and living a holistic, green lifestyle.
Your categories might include best natural skincare ingredients, responsible beauty, natural skincare regimes and tips, Eco-friendly living, inner beauty, holistic lifestyle, sourcing organic, and Fair Trade. Once established, each category should spur a slew of ideas.
2. Look at your competitor's blogs.
Although you don't want to copy your competitors, this is great way to incite ideas. Perhaps they've covered a topic you can cover better or put a unique spin on.
3. Use online tools to scope out industry questions and news.
Here are a couple great tools for finding questions being asked in your industry:
Here are tools to help you keep abreast of trending topics and news in your industry:
4. Utilize your customer's questions.
Blogging is about being of service. This means providing your target audience with useful information that somehow makes their lives better or easier.
Work with your staff to concoct a list of questions your customers ask frequently. You can also include valuable things you know you can teach your customers and potential customers. Things they maybe wouldn't think to ask. This should tide you over with blogging fodder for awhile.
If you're having difficulty coming up with a list, ask your audience via social media or newsletter survey. Creating specific poll options may make it more likely you'll get a response.
You can also ask people what they'd like to learn more about at the end of your blog posts. You include something like, "How can we help? Please comment below with questions you’d like answered or topics you’d like covered in future blog posts pertaining to......"
Professional partners may also be a good source. Ask them what they'd like to know more about when it comes to your services and products.
5. Keep track of ideas with Evernote.
Any time I find an interesting article pertaining to a topic I'd like to write about or I come up with an idea I'd like to use later I put it in Evernote. When I go to write a blog post, I have a bunch of ideas waiting for me. It's brilliant.
Making It Even More Effortless
Once you come up with one blog topic idea, it often creates a domino effect, spurring another. The trick is to not try to tackle everything in one blog post.
Thinking in terms of a series will ensure you have plenty of blog topics to work with.
For example, instead of doing one blog post on serving Italian cheeses, you could do a whole Italian cheese serving series with one blog post that gives a briefing on the different types of Italian cheeses, one that explains how to choose the right assortment of Italian cheeses for a dinner party, another that covers what to pair Italian cheeses with, and another with tips on how to arrange an aesthetically pleasing cheese platter.
Blogging shouldn't be a burden. Ever. It should come easy. Be fun even.
After using these trusty tips, the hope is that you'll finally be rid of your blog topic deficiency, that you'll cross over from a stressed and discouraged state and proudly proclaim "I heart blogging!"
Which of these tactics will you use to come up with new blog topics? Any tips on coming up with blog topics I didn't cover? I'd love to hear from you. Please comment below.
Not sure why no one is buying your products online? It may be your product descriptions - or lack thereof.
Not having product descriptions on your ecommerce site is a serious missed opportunity. Google - the most integral search engine - covets fresh, authentic content, and so do your potential buyers. When you can't deliver, your search engine rank and sales falter.
A product description provided by the manufacturer will help you get something up - and quickly - but it won't help your bottom line. It's highly likely your competition has the same one. This doesn't help you stand out in the minds of potential buyers, and Google frowns on duplicate content.
If your products are your own, having a product description that just talks about product features or just has bullet points with product features is boring, and when people are bored they click elsewhere - like your competitor's site.
Features usually aren't enough to compel people to buy. As important as size, color and care are, people need to be able to imagine how your product will change their world.
If you want to write ecommerce product descriptions that sell, you need to employ some of the strategies used by professional copywriters.
9 Hot Ecommerce Product Description Writing Tips Likely To Drive Sales
1. Focus on Benefits That Spur The Psyche
Don't get me wrong, I'm not suggesting you boycot bullet points. They're important. They highlight key features of your product and you want people to be able to easily decipher those. But as integral as product features are, they aren't as compelling as benefits. They can't stand on their own.
People often buy based on emotions. You have to get in your target demographic's head, you have to be able to speak to what they're really looking to accomplish when they purchase a product such as sex appeal or being with the in-crowd.
2. Know Your Audience
You can't speak to your target demographic's deepest desires without getting to know them first.
Imagine your target demographic vividly. What are they wearing, what are they doing, how do they talk? What's important to them, what stirs their emotions? When you go to write, picture them in your mind.
Learn how to speak their language. Find out where your target demographic hangs out online and listen in. Use their lingo in your descriptions.
If you're still not sure what motivates your target audience, ask them. Conduct a survey or start a focus group. One of my clients set up a group on Facebook for this purpose. She offered freebies to those who participated.
3. Solve A Problem
Some people are seeking out a product because it compliments their lifestyle or makes them feel cooler or more desirable, but some are simply looking to solve a problem such as finding a skin care product that helps them to fight aging, sans harmful chemicals and too many dollar signs, or finding a double D bra that's supportive yet sexy.
Foreground benefits in your product description. Get to the point. Ask yourself, "What problems does my product solve?" and then answer the question. Try to speak to all possible uses for your product.
People dig a good story, especially when it's about them. Painting a vivid picture of your potential buyer's problem using a clever anecdote or story that positions them as the protagonist then immediately solving their problem by presenting the key benefits of your product is a smart tactic.
4. Optimize Your Product Descriptions for Search Engines
You want to make sure you're using search terms, or keywords, your target audience might use to find your product online.
You can use Ubersuggest, Keyword Eye or the Google Keyword Planner tool in Google Adwords to generate keyword ideas and gain insight on search volumes and competition levels.
Include these keywords in your product description, but don't overuse them. You want to make sure the copy flows well and doesn't sound awkward because your primary objective is to appeal to buyers.
5. Capture and Keep The Attention of Potential Buyers
Internet browsers tend to have short attention spans. Hook them right away with questions, bold statements and compelling language.
Keep it short and succinct. Long product descriptions usually don't get read. Three to four sentences tends to be good. If you want to have a longer description, make sure to break the copy up into short, easy-to-read paragraphs.
6. Use Both Action and Descriptive Words
Using fresh, vibrant language throughout your description will also help keep potential buyers enthralled. Get creative. Show personality and passion - it's contagious. Have fun.
Don't use the same word more than once. When I was writing product descriptions for sexy lingerie I spent time brainstorming and made a list of every possible descriptive word or phrase synonymous with sex appeal. Whenever I got stuck and needed to freshen up my approach, I referred to my list.
But don't get me wrong, you don't want to only use descriptive words. In fact, the more verbs the better. This helps keep the copy lively, and it allows people to envision your product in action.
Here is an example of a product description from Fab.com that allows potential buyers to picture themselves using the product. It's fun, it hooks readers right away, it speaks the language of the target audience, and clearly explains the benefits of purchasing the product.
7. Make Sure Your Product Descriptions Match The Tone of Your Brand
Before you start writing your product descriptions, you want to get clear on what defines your brand so you can establish the best language, or tone, to represent what you stand for.
For instance, if you're an eco-friendly or holistic wellness company, a nurturing or empowering tone might be a good way to go. If you're a clothing company selling colorful duds for teens, you might want to take on a more fun, youthful tone. You want the tone that works best for your company to be consistent throughout your product descriptions.
8. Don't Get Overzealous
Don't try to add hundreds of product descriptions at once. Not only will you burn yourself out, but when you do this, it's pretty much guaranteed you'll end up with copious grammatical errors and less than savory copy. This will not help your bottom line.
Set realistic goals for how many product descriptions you'll write and upload each day. Four or five a day is good.
9. Check Your Grammar
Grammatical errors can turn buyers off. Especially if your product description reads awkwardly or is hard to understand. Check your product descriptions for grammatical errors, then check them again. Then have a couple other people check them. Grammar-Monster.com is good source for easy-to-follow grammar rules and explanations.
If English is your second language or grammar just isn't your strong suit, hiring a proofreader is probably in your best interest.
Read any compelling ecommerce product descriptions lately? What made it so tempting to buy? Do share by commenting below.
“When people go to a web page, the thing that they want more than anything else is instant clarity.” - Ken McCarthy
Being able to write well is a good prerequisite for web content writing. Having a good understanding of how to write specifically for the web is even more critical.
But there is another often over-looked attribute of good web content writing: inquisitiveness.
It's the secret sauce, that magical ingredient that makes for lip-smacking good content. The more questions you can conjure - and then answer - the better.
Why is this so important?
Because people searching on the web are looking to have their questions answered - and quick. A vast majority of search inquiries are in the form of a question.
So many websites pussy-foot around crucial information, or fail to deliver it all together.
You don't want the answers to the questions your target audience is seeking buried in a bunch of gobbledygook, leaving them perplexed, and even worse: frustrated. You want to end their quest for answers.
This is why you need to have your business and your unique value clearly defined prior to sitting down at your computer.
Because if your web content doesn't clearly and succinctly answer all those questions swimming in the minds of your prospects, they'll click elsewhere without heed.
If you want to create web content that appeases a curious mind, here are some things you should be asking yourself:
Some of these questions may leave you feeling confused. There may be certain things about your business you still need to define before you worry about writing web content.
Or it may be because you're so inundated with day-to-day operations that it's hard to see the forest through the trees - so to speak. If this is the case, you may need to take a step back, or you may need to have someone else in your company manage the task.
If you can't answer certain questions about your business, then it will be virtually impossible to effectively convey your company's messaging to prospective clients on the web.
The more questions you can answer, the better your content, the better your Google rank, and the more voracious your visitors.
Questions or comments? Love to hear from you!
Have you received an arcane email from an SEO company lately?
Was it packed full of suggestions that made you feel like they were speaking in tongues?
I get them fairly regularly. So do my clients.
In fact, a client of mine received a long-winded email talking about Panda and keyword density just the other day.
My client was utterly confused. She was under the impression that pandas were cuddly creatures native to China.
I explained to her that Google likes to use cute and intriguing creatures to classify changes to their algorithms (a set of rules search engines use to rank search results).
I was half tempted to email the company that contacted her to ask them if perhaps they missed the memo that keyword density is now obsolete.
Now, don't get me wrong, there are some really good SEO companies out there that know what they're doing and would never send you puzzling, spammy style emails with incorrect information. And depending on the size and type of your business, you may very well need to hire one. But you want to make sure you choose one better than the one previously mentioned by educating yourself.
If you're a small, local business with some time to dedicate to SEO, search rank success is likely something you can achieve yourself.
SEO isn't as mystifying as you may have imagined. It's an art. It takes perseverance and online marketing savvy, but it's doable.
And really, the secret to successful SEO lies in your content. If you focus on putting out high-grade stuff and promoting it effectively, you'll be ahead of the game.
If you want to have the kind of web content Google covets, you need to think more like an SEO copywriter. Here are nine SEO copywriting tips to improve your Google rank:
Identify your keywords. Use them. But don't overuse them.
Google is trying to get people to steer away from writing for search engines. They want you to write for people.
It's hard to do that when you're trying to make a certain keyword fit into every other sentence. Stop worrying about how many times your keyword shows up. Google penalizes for keyword stuffing.
On the other hand, not having the right keywords on your page isn't in your best interest either.
Google claims individual keywords matter less and that it's more about the collective meaning of your content, but as of right now, having the right keywords in your content still seems to matter.
You can figure out what keywords are relevant for your industry by using a tool such as ubersuggest or Google Keyword Planner - you have to have an Adwords account and must be logged in.
Use long tail keywords.
Since the advent of Google Hummingbird, the focus has been placed on long-tail keywords (more specific search terms with lower search volumes).
Google is trying to accommodate the many people who search in a conversational manner or by typing in questions. Blogging is a good way to target these long-tail keywords.
Put keywords in headlines, italics and bullet points.
Keywords have more weight when they are toward the top of your copy and are in headlines, italics, bold or bullet points.
This isn't something to obsess over, you want your content to read naturally, but if you can make your keywords work well in these formats, do so.
Write an irresistible title tag and meta description.
Title tags and meta descriptions are extremely important for SEO.
Theses terms sound intimidating to people, but your title tag is just the title that shows up for a particular website when someone does a search. The meta description is the short, two sentence description that shows up underneath it.
Not only should these include your keywords, they should also be written in a way that entices people to click on the site.
Your title tag should be 70 characters or less and your meta description should be 160 characters or less.
Your web designer can put these in for you, but if you have a WordPress site, you can get an SEO plugin that makes it easy to put in title tags and meta descriptions yourself.
Write more in-depth content.
Google favors in-depth content - 500 words or more.
Longer content doesn't mean you need to be boring. It means you have the opportunity to provide an abundance of helpful information, the kind people are likely to share.
Make sure to break up written content with headlines, short paragraphs, bullet points, photos and videos.
Concentrate on creating cohesive, well-written, well-organized, highly informative content.
Your content should be authentic, devoid of grammatical errors and read clearly. Once you write it, make sure to read it, re-read it, and then have someone else do the same. You may even want to recruit a proofreader.
Poorly written content could potentially evoke the wrath of Google Panda, the algorithm Google implemented to snuff out article spinning, duplicate content and low quality content.
Avoid possible ramifications at all costs by putting out respectable stuff.
Your content should be well focused, rather than all over the place. Get really clear on what you want to talk about before you start writing. Creating an outline helps.
Your content needs to be easy to grasp, since you're writing for humans and all. Not to mention that most of the visitors to your site will be scanners.
Google wants you to make creating a good user experience a top priority. Be a beacon for your clients. Enlighten them, show them the way.
Offer lots of helpful content that eases their worries and makes them feel empowered. Along with this improving your bottom line, Google will reward you kindly.
Add calls to action.
What good is coming up in the top search results if your site isn't bringing in customers?
If you want people to buy your product or contact you to discuss your service, you need to direct them to the appropriate action on every page. Examples are "Shop now," "Download our free report," "Click here to sign up now," or "Click here to get started for free."
Buddy up with Google Plus.
Your activity on Google + has the most bearing on your SEO results.
You want to make sure you have an account and are posting regularly. You also want to make sure that you have a prominently placed Google Plus share button on your site and are encouraging people to click on it.
And even more importantly, you want to make sure you're publishing your blog posts using Google Authorship. Here's how: http://blog.kissmetrics.com/google-authorship/.
If you show Google love, they'll reciprocate.
Once you've created content worth sharing, add share buttons.
Share buttons need to be pervasive on your site, especially on your blog.
Although Google + is the most important, how much the content on your website is getting shared by the other major social media platforms is something Google factors in highly when determining where to rank your site.
The more people sharing your content, the better your search rank. You can use ShareThis.com or AddThis.com to set up your share buttons. Using Click to Tweet within your content is a great way to get people to share your content via Twitter.
Share your content everywhere.
Here's the caveat to my previous tip: you can't just put up share buttons and hope for the best.
You need to be actively promoting everything you publish on all the major social media platforms. This will drive people to your site who are likely to "like," tweet, +1, and share your content - assuming you're putting out good stuff.
Want more information on how to write fabulous web content Google is likely to dig? Click here: How To Write Effective Website Content
Questions? Would love to hear from you. Please comment below.
If people don't get what you do, how you do it better than everyone else and how you can solve their most pressing problems, they'll click on. It's only a matter of seconds. If they have to squint to read your content, there are long, bulky, time-consuming paragraphs, or there are copious grammatical errors: CLICK! Your copy must be succinct, easy to read and engaging if you want to avoid losing your prospects forever. Here is what you can do to keep them sticking around and coming back for more.
Get Clear on Your Keywords
Contrary to what you may have been told, having a healthy dose of keywords in your content still has bearing on your SEO results. However, keyword stuffing and writing just for search engines is not to your advantage - never was, really.
You don't want your website content to sound awkward when you read it aloud because you're forcing an excess of keywords into the copy, but you do want to be cognizant of your keywords, using them where it's appropriate to do so. Besides helping you with SEO, doing the research and developing a good keyword list can really help give you a sense of direction when you go to write your web content.
Make Your Home Page A Priority
Your home page is the most important page on your website. I've seen way too many websites that have little to no copy on the home page. This is the page that Google looks at the most.
If your readers don't understand what you do or what your value is, they will click away from your website. Many companies put all the juicy stuff about their company on the about us page, but most people will never go to that page, especially if they haven't been given a good reason to do so on the home page.
Include Calls to Action
If you ultimately want visitors to your site to contact you for a free consultation, sign up for your newsletter or shop your online store, make sure you've stated it in your copy and made it easy for them to do so my linking to where you want them to go. If you want them to sign up for your newsletter, offer an enticing freebie in exchange for their contact information.
Note that people see offers for free consultations all the time, so it may be more compelling if you call it something different, something that describes what they can expect to get out of their free session.
Focus on Benefits
Listing features can help to sell your product or service, but making people understand the benefits is what really gets the sale. You may think the benefits are obvious, but assume they're not. The best way to show benefits is to solve a problem - or five - for your prospective client. Set up the problem by creating a story that evokes their stressor, then quickly explain how you alleviate it. If your prospect breathes a sigh of relief after reading your website content, new business is likely to come easily.
It's Not About You
It's about your current or prospective client. Use "you," rather than "we," or "I." I see a lot of websites that focus solely on talking about how wonderful the company is. Your website is not about your company, it's about what your company can do to make your prospect's life easier or better.
Define Your Unique Value
If you're a web designer or hairstylist, it's likely you have a lot of competition. You need to be able to clearly define what it is that sets you apart. Answer the question your prospective client is milling over: Why would they want to go to you versus someone else?
If you're going to make a claim, make sure you can back it up. So many companies say they offer quality products and leave it at that. If you have a testimonial from a client explaining how your product lasted longer and was easier to use than all the other products out there, that speaks volumes. Show, don't tell. Just saying you have quality products means nothing if you can't explain why or how it's quality. Don't be afraid to use the word "because." And again, don't assume anything is obvious.
You don't want to talk to visitors to your website like they're stupid, but you do want to talk to them like they're busy. They're more than likely scanning your site, so you want to make sure things are quick and easy to understand. Sometimes that means listing a benefit in a couple places, or explaining a little bit more than you're used to.
More Helpful Tips On How To Write Effective Website Content
Any questions on how to write effective website content? Please comment below.
The key to success with content marketing isn't esoteric or nouveau just because it's on the internet. Regardless of whether you're marketing online, in print or face-to-face, success remains rooted in basic marketing principles. One such principle is that if you want more buzz around your business you need to ask for it.
Have you created highly educational, inspirational content? Want people to "like" or share your photo on Facebook, or retweet your brilliant quip on Twitter? Once you create quality content, all you have to do is ask. Then you have to make the desired action clear and easy for people to implement. Yep, it's that simple. Below are the six best ways to ask for the distribution of your content. You'll see how just asking can catapult your online marketing efforts.
1. Get people to comment on your blog and share that comment with others: At the end of each blog post ask a thought provoking question, or ask if anyone has stories to share relating to your topic. Follow it up with something like, "Love to hear your thoughts. Please comment below."
People love giving their opinions and talking about themselves. I end every blog post this way.
Want those comments that keep rolling in to get shared on Facebook? Use the Facebook Comments Box. You can get the plug-in here: https://developers.facebook.com/docs/reference/plugins/comments/
Another helpful hint: You can also increase your social following by saying something like, “If you enjoyed this post and want more, please follow us on Twitter or become a fan on Facebook.” This makes for more people that are available to share your stuff.
2. Use the Facebook Ask Question feature with poll options to ask a question that people are likely to engage with and share: This Facebook posting feature is often overlooked. If the question is compelling enough people will ask their friends, thus sharing your content for you. Invite people to add poll options in your post.
3. Ask people to "like" your Facebook posts directly and you'll be amazed by how many do: Post a gorgeous or intriguing photo - people love pics - and then say something like, "Click 'like' if you dig this!" I've gotten over 350 likes this way, meaning that all of the friends of the people that "liked" the pic got to see the post. You can also just ask them to share it with their buddies: "Click share to spread the love to your buddies!"
4. Ask to people to retweet at the end of a tweet: Tweet something that gets people pumped and then say something like, "if you agree, retweet!"
5. Get people to tweet compelling quotes from your blog posts: Write something that's quotable - especially for people in your industry - and then use Click to Tweet so your visitors can do just that.
6. Invite people to forward your newsletter to a friend: Saying something such as, "You're more than welcome to share the information in this newsletter with a friend, and if you think they might benefit from future offers, webinars and blog posts make sure they sign up for my email list at _______."
How will you ask people to share your web content? Have you already had successes with asking? Do share. Please comment below.
By Sabrina Gaffney
From blogging to bios, freelance website copywriter Sabrina Gaffney, offers a powerful profusion of copywriting tips that bring in the moola! Connect on LinkedIn.
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