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DISCUSS: How do you Keep your Content Fresh, Interesting and Engaging?

Over on our Facebook page last week Kim Hill-MacCrone asked a question that I thought might be a good one to discuss with the wider ProBlogger readership.

How do you Keep your Content Fresh, Interesting and Engaging?

It is a question I get asked quite a bit and know is a challenge many bloggers face. I also know that bloggers use a wide array of techniques and strategies to combat the problem including:

  • limiting posting frequency to when they actually have something fresh, interesting and/or engaging to say
  • having an editorial calendar that cycles through different types of posts on different days of the week
  • outsourcing some of the writing of content (paid writers or guest posters)
  • regularly polling readers on what topics they want written about on the blog

I’m just scratching the surface here – I’d love to hear your thoughts.

So lets hear some tips and suggestions on the topic – how do you keep your content fresh, interesting and engaging?

About Darren Rowse

Darren Rowse is the founder and editor of ProBlogger Blog Tips and Digital Photography School. Learn more about him here and connect with him on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn.

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Comments

  1. Joni says:

    Just to keep it all fresh, interesting and, engaging I tweaked the blog concept a bit. My readers are my writers! Through comments we’re making a story. It needs time but it will work out I think.

    • Adam says:

      Will you go back and turn some of their comments into full blown articles?
      Or full blown articles to answer their questions?

  2. Dave Moser says:

    I blog in a very focused niche niche:
    Religion > Christianity > Bible Study > How the whole BIble (including the Old Testament) points to Jesus

    My niche is extremely narrow and I can only post on a few topics: interpretive methodology, examples, list posts. However, I find that the results of those studies have impacts relating to other niches within the larger category. Lately I’ve been blogging a lot on the impact my niche has on evangelism – a related niche.

    Narrow your niche a ton, write it really well, and then apply the results to related niches.

  3. Laura says:

    I write one of the top blogs in my niche there are very few bloggers that write of firsthand accounts living with cerebral palsy mainly it’s the parents of people with cerebral palsy that blog. Knowing that I watch my stats and see what days people stay on longer and what content they are staying on and try to write more of that.
    I write 7 days a week and use an editorial calendar to do so I find if I am ahead of myself and the stress is off the content quality ends up being better.
    My traffic blew up overnight when I was published in a textbook and also named one of the world cerebral palsy day ambassadors. Please take a moment and check out my blog I am curious how others achieve consistency.

  4. I write on a number of topics, so I schedule them on different days such as martial arts on Monday and Friday, family history on Wednesday, St. Louis history on Thursday, etc. I try to post consistently on those days, so that readers can check in on the topics that interest them and know what day it will be posted on.

  5. Serdar Kara says:

    Generally I find i get ideas for at least 1 article every week from the comments to previous articles, what also helps is to have a regular posting schedule.

  6. Claudia says:

    I think it should be a mix of posting something fresh, but helping yourself to reach goals by having an editorial calendar.

  7. Nancy Man says:

    I use the first two strategies — limiting posting frequency (to 5 posts per week) and using an editorial calendar — plus one more:

    Every time I have an idea for a post, I start a draft. This way I have plenty of fresh ideas to draw from when I’m in “writing mode” and want to get some posts finished and scheduled. As of right now, I have about 700 (!) drafts waiting to be written.

  8. I don’t really have that problem at the moment. A grand total of 4 posts to date. Hardly worn out my stay just yet. What I do have a problem with is that no matter what I consider writing about it’s already been done and quite often done repeatedly. On my last post for example I went looking for a picture when I’d completed it and found a You tube video with 1.2m hits that mirrored and went way beyond my post. Only difference is they hadn’t applied their ideas to blogging so I just included it at the end. I have a feeling I can expect this to happen quite a bit.

    • Delia says:

      Michael, this should not prevent you from blogging. You have your own perspective and personality to bring to your blog. Perhaps everything has been said and put in audio and video format, but when you write about it, it’s still different.
      My 2 cents to keep blogging :)

  9. I keep my blog content fresh by writing about solution to the problems of people as it affect me too and I do lot of keyword researches on search engine sites and social media circles to source materials.
    I discover that each time I write more ideas keep rolling in my head,such as using my blog to connect to sponsors,companies,advertisers and like-minds.
    Am presently working on my new blog http://www.boomoffice.com/blog and I welcome comments and criticism from everyone.

  10. Sarah Bauer says:

    Instead of regurgitating information that I have a strong knowledge base to leech off of, I explore my topic of interest or “expertise” for new bits that I don’t know as much about. Within the process of researching something new comes the passionate urge to share my new-found knowledge with others. Let there be a journey of discovery for you and your readers, and you’ll never run out of fresh things to talk about.

    Cheers
    Sarah Bauer
    Navigator Multimedia

  11. sandi says:

    I think that the best option is paid writers or guest posters.

    Another interesting option is commenting on current events in various fields. And, of course, add your own opinion

  12. I did all of those. My first year with Keep the Tail Wagging, I posted 5-6 days a week. I now post 3-4 days a week.

    I invited regular guest contributors to the site to offer another voice for my readers and they appreciate the change.

    I also created a Suggest a Topic link and will be adding a Ask the Fur Mom link to the blog. I get emails from dog parents all the time who are looking for my advice on an issue and I love getting back to them with my thoughts, some resources, a reminder to call their veterinarian (or dog training), and I will start adding this exchange (sans names) to my blog for others to learn from as well.

    And I stopped doing the following…

    Me Too Blogging – I would see what others were doing and what seemed to work for them and then copy it for myself. That never works.

    Focusing on the Numbers – I look at my analytics long enough to update my PR/Media page; I’ve been checking them out weekly, because of a code I added to my site that’s supposed to help properly reflect my bounce rate/time on site. We’ll see.

    Affiliate Marketing – I kept reading that this is how to make money (this and ebooks), but I had tons of doorways to invite people to leave my site. No fair. So I only promote the products I believe in and weave links throughout my blog posts. I want my site to be for dog parents to learn how to raise happy healthy dogs; not a store front.

    So far, so good!

    ~ Kimberly

  13. Read like crazy Darren. Following your blog and other authority sites provides me with new interesting ideas. I publish quickly, because when I wait it seems like writer’s block get worse.

    Act immediately. Prosper. Put your knowledge into use and benefit others.

    Thanks,

    Ryan

  14. Ismo Tammi says:

    The best methods of keeping the posts interesting and fresh and engaging is to bring in diversity and above all add new tools to your arsenal that means devouring one new book/week on your nitche as often as you can. Using what I have learned from them and implementing it.

  15. Asif Billah says:

    I also agree and like the point “Be clever but don’t forget the point or your audience will too”. Twitter and Facebook can really help bloggers to keep their content fresh and let the audience not to forget the same.

  16. i agree on most of the tecniques staded in this analysis and i`m also wondering ig guest posting will survive the next generation of google algorithm updates .

  17. marty says:

    For me I have trying to only write when I have something good to say so that things dont become repetitive and then I have set days for certian and throw in surprises every now in then

  18. Dan Stelter says:

    If you know your niche and audience well, there’s always something going on to talk about. You can also take a fresh approach on an old topic. Or, take a controversial stand that goes against conventional wisdom.

  19. Angela says:

    I try to combine the needs and interests of my audience and ask myself what’s going to help them. Then I see how I can incorporate that need into what’s going on with my knitting (it’s a knitting blog) and offer advice. The combination of story telling and problem solving seems to generate more return visitors. It keeps me inspired too, because I’m always asking myself how what I’m doing can help people. It’s great being of value.

  20. zolar says:

    always reading and get a new info..
    okay sometimes I look at the older entry and update it with new version

  21. Asking what readers want is always a good way to keep content relevant, plus checking sites like Pinterest to see what is being bookmarked and make more of it.

  22. Edson Hale says:

    Fresh: Whatever comes from your heart must be fresh
    Interesting: Whatever comes from your soul must be interesting
    Engaging: Whatever comes from your mind must be engaging
    it’s so simple

  23. Linda says:

    I just try to be updated with last news and of course, I’m writing what I know that my visitors will be interested about :)

  24. Lalanthi says:

    I try to post at least 3-5 per week. I do a lot of research and do read a lot to keep my blog content fresh and new. I too write drafts and keep them ready for future posts. I also agree schedule them on different days so can maintain my posts well. This way I can have a mix of posting with something fresh every week.

  25. Sharon says:

    I talk to my readers, a lot. Many of them mail me and I use the questions they ask (with their permission) to form a blog post. Also, I monitor Google Alerts for any mention of my niche, then I share my experiences. I blog about writing and self-publishing fiction so it’s quite a focused niche.

  26. Anh Le says:

    I normally do a lot of researching and read from other fellow blogs to get inspired for the content. I normally come up with something when browsing around. Of course the scope maybe similar but the way to approach and how to deliver more values to readers would be nice to make the content interesting and engaging.
    And of course to write the best content, we need to PRACTICE and PRACTICE a lot. Make it a habit and you will get progress!

  27. I blog daily but I rely on an editorial calendar with different themes on different days. I try to write content that fits with holidays, seasons or popular topics.

  28. Gene says:

    I do blog post for various local small business niches. Most small business owners do not blog or even implement social media which leaves it up to me. I usually do a search for niche blog and explore the possibilities and can come up with interesting stuff. Another way is to plug niche keywords into my google alerts. This can give you some on the spot relevant for the times posts ideas.

  29. Zack says:

    I try to remind myself “quality over quantity” when thinking of ideas to post. If I feel like I’d be writing just to fill a post, I don’t do it. Also, if you have the ability to spin current events into relevant blog posts, you’ll have an easier time always keeping your content fresh!

  30. Keep asking my readers what they need to know! Then, write posts about that.

    Also, solicit guest posts from among your readers on how they’re succeeding, so you get that nice variety of voices, just like right here on Problogger!

  31. Sam says:

    If your blog is on something you are passionate about you can keep things fresh more naturally, plus polling your readers can point out different takes on your subject. I am not really big on having a calendar you need to follow, of course when you are stuck, outsourcing is a very workable solution.

  32. I have used all of the ideas you’ve mentioned in this post to engage my readers. However, I also check out what’s trending on Twitter. If you can add to whatever it is that already has people’s attention, you’re sure to see audience engagement. Thanks for the post.

  33. Jake Meador says:

    I’ve been maintaining our business’ blog for about four months now and something I’m realizing is that in our industry (we do marketing for multifamily properties) we’re not going to have tons of subscribers to the blog. There aren’t a lot of dedicated marketers in our target demographic who will have the time to read a blog everyday. Instead, there are one-man marketing teams who are already stretched for time as well as property managers and owners who come to us when they find us on Google because they need marketing help.

    As a result, it’s probably OK if I publish a blog post in April that has a lot of overlap with one from February. Most the people who see the April one may not see the February one and vice-versa. Obv. I don’t want to just republish content over and over, but some overlap is OK.

    The other thing I’m doing is I’m starting to experiment with some lengthier posts that really dig a bit deeper into the subject. That gives me new ideas for future blog posts and it allows me to really plunge all the way into a given subject.

    Long-term, I see this working out as a 50/50 type arrangement–about half the content is going to be the short-form (400-500 words) blog posts that largely circle around pretty similar themes but get reworked every few months. Then the other half are 1000+ word posts that really dig deep into a single subject.

  34. I write for financial advisors recently wrote this article: http://www.riabiz.com/a/21185485/6-ways-that-rias-can-hone-their-expertise-in-social-media-by-acting-more-like-journalists

    Here are are a few of the points:

    Get somebody to interview you, or interview somebody else
    Chances are that, like most of my sources, you simply won’t say anything interesting unless it is drawn out of you. Don’t take the first answer. Be like a kid and respond to each answer with “why” until you get a real answer, spoken in real words.

    3. Don’t read The Wall Street Journal or any other publication that covers the topic you are going to write about
    It’ll infect your thinking. In one writing class I took given by a famous writer, he said that he read only Faulkner before writing because nobody can imitate Faulkner. This is what I’m getting at. Other people’s styles are as counterproductively catchy as a British accent.

    4. Subject whatever you write to a cold-blooded reviewer
    A spouse or significant other is good. Inevitably they’ll unearth what’s interesting and tell you what you can lose. Sloppy or mindlessly repetitive content suggests sloppy thinking, not something you want to put on public display all over the web.

    5. Don’t think any of your readers are stupid
    I am amazed how people don’t think other people are media-aware or know anything. Trust me, if information is the least bit stale, readers can smell it a thousand miles away. But it also works the other way. If something is truly juicy — and you tell the story like you’re telling your best buddy — you almost can’t hide it. If you want to obscure good work, BTW, do it by forgetting to add a human element, by burying good information in background fluff or hemming and hawing so long that it becomes old news.

    6. Don’t always try to write catchy headlines — unless there’s hot information backing it up
    We all read the National Enquirer in the checkout line, but how often have you bought it? The headlines all cry wolf. When I have a dull story, I’ll dull down the headline a bit so that I don’t bait-and-switch my readers.

  35. I think if you’re excited about the content, then it remains exciting and engaging.

  36. Delia says:

    I usually set a monthly theme and blog based on that, with the posts having some continuity so readers expect and are looking for the next post. I currently have a “Spring clean your blog” theme all this month and I’m loving the interaction :)

  37. Hello …

    In order to keep my content fresh and interesting ,First I decide to post limited .Only 3-4 in around a week.Second I research well for my new post ,because it increase the quality of content. Without a good knowledge on the topic you are going to write ,you can’t make value from it.That’s why only posting doesn’t everything.Despite of it posting rationally is better.Thanks for this nice article.

  38. Linda says:

    I have an editorial calendar, but I also use Pinterest to see what topics are popular in a given time period. My blog (http://agirlagarden.wordpress.com/) is about gardening, and there are a TON of gardeners on Pinterest.

    I fell into this method when I was invited to/started following several group gardening boards, each of which has several thousand followers (you can follow a group board without being invited, but you can only pin to them if a current member of that board invites you). It was super easy to see that certain ideas were getting a lot of pins.

    An example would be raised bed gardening. I noticed that there were a lot of pins about raised bed gardens, so I wrote a post about my own experience using them. In less than a month, it’s received 5000+ views. My blog is only a little over a month old, so to me that’s a big deal!!

    I’ve used this technique for other topics, and while nothing yet has rivaled the post about raised bed gardens, it always seems to get me a lot of views.

  39. I think the key is to be a “fresh, interesting and engaging” person. :) If you’re always reading, learning, and discussing things, you’ll be far more likely to have intriguing thoughts to blog about. :)

  40. Just a question, does every comment go into moderation? I’ve been posting here for years and don’t believe I’ve ever posted something problematic. Yet, I’m still modded. ????

    • Delia says:

      Alison, I was wondering the same too :)

      Darren (and if you have someone helping you also), it’s gonna save you some time not to have to moderate all, no? Just saying’…

  41. Amy Blevins says:

    I think many people have heard the phrase garbage in- garbage out. I think the opposite is also true. Good content to read = good content to write. Exercise for the body = energy for writing. Time off = Better Focus. Communicating and networking with others in your niche = a strong handle on the needs of your community. Good Sleep Habits are essential, as is quality nutrition and exercise. When I get writer’s block I go through this list and look for areas I can improve. I usually start with an earlier bedtime and a walk around the block :).

    • Tash Hughes says:

      Really good point there, Amy – if you are stale or tired, it’s very hard to write something fresh and engaging. And as I am tired and stale, I’m reading rather than writing posts, but it’s good to be reminded that it is good practice not a cop out :)

  42. I keep a list of blog topics — not a strict editorial calendar — because I like to write opportunistic posts about timely topics. When I write about something in the news my traffic increases. Just writing down the topics, though, can make you relax and not worry about what you’re going to write about next. I try to write posts of substance and that takes time. I can’t write a daily post and keep up the quality — along with serving my clients. So my advice is write really good content and don’t try to push out a lot of posts simply so that you can say you post daily. Quality is more important than quantity.

  43. DT Krippene says:

    Many good suggestions here. “Fresh” is not just a word used at the grocery story. I’m a writer and a magnet for blogs of the writing craft. Some of it is very good, most of it a rehash in somebody elses voice. It’s important in my view, to remain true to your author/blog brand, whatever that happens to be. If you’ve been blogging on life and times of dogs and built a following to it, switching to cats might confuse the readers who’ve come to like your articles on dogs. Good discussion, thanks for all the commentary.

  44. Arul shaji says:

    Reading will help us to know more about a topic and guide us to write fresh content and help us to write more interestingly. So as a blogger we have to put maximum effort to gather more information.

  45. Clarabela says:

    I keep a notebook of interesting ideas for blog posts. I don’t have a problem with finding fresh topics. I have more of a problem finding time to write for my blog.

    • Delia says:

      Clarabela, have you tried writing shorter posts and all at the same time?

      You can block 3 hours one day to write 3 posts, I find it takes shorter if you get into the groove and stay focused (no distractions at all!) – then I have content scheduled for the entire week – TA DA! :)

  46. siddharth says:

    I think it should be a mix of posting something fresh, but helping yourself to reach goals by having an editorial calendar.

  47. michael says:

    Thank you, It makes me problem everyday that I am losing topic to post in my blog.

  48. Japheth says:

    This can be daunting task for new bloggers but b4 i started my blog i developed the content first.I had written 500 articles and my readers are assured of a new article every week.That how i keep my blog alive.many pple start blogs and by the second month their articles dry up.