10 Ideas for Finding Blogging Inspiration

10 Ideas for Finding Blogging Inspiration on ProBlogger.netThis is a guest contribution from Larry Alton.

No matter what famous authors tell you, writer’s block is a real thing, and it’s not easy to overcome. If you’ve spent much time in the content creation world, you’ve probably done your fair share of staring at a blank word document, wondering what you should be writing next. However, that gets you no closer to your end goal. If you find yourself hitting a wall the next time a blog post is due, consider these inspirational tactics. 

Set Up Google Alerts

When in doubt about what to write next, stick to current news and events. By setting up Google Alerts, you can always be aware of the biggest trending news topics and subtopics. It also introduces you to new content sources and helps you stay informed about what’s happening with your niche in real time.

Subscribe to Similar Blogs

Be aware of what your competitors are blogging about. Monitor their latest topics by subscribing to their blogs. This will allow you to enter the current conversation rather than end it, which is what your bloggers really want.

The topics others are writing about will give you inspiration for your own blog and keep you up to date on current topics. However, beware of taking the same angle as a competitor. In most cases, you’ll want to take a different angle on the same topic so that you aren’t simply mimicking other blogs.

Post a Poll

Readers love to be given a chance to participate, and posting a relevant poll is a great opportunity to engage readers while gaining useful feedback. You can do this on both social media and your blog post. At least once a week, ask an interesting question and let the answers tell you what your readers want to read now.

For example, you might ask them what movie they watched last, what their greatest fear is, or any other question that could spur relevant content for your blog. If you have a vast readership, consider using a free polling service that will make collecting the results easy.

Invite Guest Authors

If you’ve really hit a wall with no immediate signs of recovery, get a guest blogger to post on your website. This will keep your readers entertained while you take some time to generate new ideas. There are several online tools you can use to find guest bloggers for your website at decent prices.

Take a Walk

Still can’t think of a topic? How long have you been sitting in your desk chair? Your prolonged stationary position is probably only stifling your creativity. The longer you sit staring at the computer screen, the more your brain begins to get sleepy, distracted, and burnt out.

Going for a walk or exerting some other form of enjoyable exercise will help you to be more awake and alert and give you the boost of creativity you desperately need to get writing again.

Blog About Mistakes

The general population loves to read about mistakes. It makes them feel human and allows them to learn a powerful lesson. We’ve all heard the old adage, “You learn more from failure than success,” and readers eat that stuff up. The next time you can’t think of a topic, reflect on a recent mistake you made and create a blog post based on that.

Talk It Out

Blogging is a solitary job, and you can gain powerful insights from talking with a friend or family member. Explain your problem and talk about some ideas you’ve considered or talk through what’s blocking your inspiration. Your friend doesn’t need to know anything about your blog or offer any suggestions. Simply talking about your dilemma out loud is an excellent way to spark creativity.

Write About a Controversy

Do you feel differently about a hot topic than many of your competitors? Address the controversy. Every niche has a subject that’s currently garnering both attention and fire. Don’t ignore what’s popular. Take a stance on the current hot topic and discuss the matter in depth.

Ask Questions

Furthermore, if there’s a controversy in your industry that you’re undecided about, ask your readers what they think. Begin by offering context on the subject and explain a few of your competitors’ viewpoints; then ask readers what they think. This is another great opportunity to engage with your fans, and it will help you come to a conclusion regarding this topic.


Get out of your office and into the world where you can view a world of interesting people making interesting decisions. Go somewhere where your target audience usually congregates, and observe their actions. You can gain a lot with your insights from this activity.

There are hundreds of things you can do to get out of a writing slump and inspire a topic that’s truly creative. One of those things might be entering a community where you can find inspiration for blog posts, network with other writers, apply for gigs, and learn more about your trade.

Larry Alton is an independent business consultant specializing in social media trends, business, and entrepreneurship. Follow him on Twitter and LinkedIn.

How She Does it: Blogger Pip Lincolne Talks Finding Time to Write Books

How She Does it Blogger Pip Lincolne Talks Finding Time to Write Books on

As Darren said a little while ago, everybody has a book in them, but it’s probably more accurate to say every blogger has at least 10 ideas for eBooks inside them. If you’re a writer, you’ve got a lot to say. You might want to write eBooks, print books, memoirs, autobiographies – a thousand ideas, but realistically not a lot of time in your schedule for your one (or many!) overarching grand plan.

You may well set aside 15 minutes every day to chip away at it, or you schedule some vacation time and get a chunk done. You might stop blogging over a certain period, or you could burn the candle at both ends… the choice always depends on the person making it.

I was given a fantastic piece of advice lately, and that’s if you want to do something, you don’t find time, you make time. So I asked one of the most prolific bloggers I know how she makes time to do write more involved books in addition to all the other things she does. Pip Lincolne is the author of five published books and is a regular contributor to blogs, websites, and magazines.  She blogs at Meet Me at Mikes, and she graciously asked a few questions I had for her recently.

How do you make writing books fit into your everyday busy life?

I prioritize it. You know how you might insist on having a lunch break every day? (If you can!) I treat writing a book as seriously as having lunch and block out an hour or two each day to get the words down (let’s call that a long lunch, actually!) Some days are busier than others, but I always make sure that I spend at least an hour on the book I’m working on to be sure that I’m on deadline, but also to ensure I stay in the zone and keep things flowing nicely.

Do different styles of books take different times to write?

Well, I can only speak from my own experience here. I’ve written books with lots of craft projects in them, and more recently one with only a few craft project (and a more substantial observational-style writing element.)

The books with more instructional elements take more time, because not only are you ‘translating’ practical steps onto the page, you have to test those steps and rewrite and test again.

Although I got my start in publishing writing how-to type books, I much prefer the creative flow that observational writing offers.

Do you have a particular writing style now after writing so many? Is there a rough formula you follow?

I think I have a very consistent style, but sometimes, if I’m weary I might slip out of that story telling, chatty mode and into more of a documentary style. I much prefer the former and think that our writing uniqueness comes from writing in the same chatty way that we’d speak to a dear friend. Of course, if you are writing a more technical text, that might might not always be appropriate, but I’m lucky enough to be able to stay true to the voice that comes naturally for me.

I don’t really have a formula, but I do try to make sure that my work has clarity, flow and warmth to it. I triple check what I write for ‘sense’ because I often find that the sentences I conclude with often belong at the start of the piece (and things might need a brisk reorder and edit.) Often things write themselves backwards, if that makes sense!

I know you write a lot every day so how do you find the motivation to write extra on top of that?

I think that if you want to write well, you have to write often. I’ve certainly found that my writing has improved in leaps and bounds, not only via writing consistently, but also via reading great books and hearing other writers talk about their work.

I’ve always, always felt compelled to write regularly and prolifically. Apparently I have things to say! My great grandfather, Frank Boreham, was the same. He wrote over 50 books – selling millions of copies – as well as penning hundreds of editorials for The Age and The Mercury newspapers. I think my urge to write is in the genes! I can’t fight it! I thank Frank for that.

What are the lessons you’ve learned about the book-writing process over the years?

I’ve learnt so many things! I’ve always worked with wonderful editors, so I’m all about letting go a bit and letting the experts help me to tighten up and simplify my words. I’ve also been lucky enough to work with several great photographers (John Laurie, Tim James and Julie Renouf) and designers/stylists (Michelle Mackintosh and Ortolan.) They’ve shown me how wonderful the collaborative process can be. I think it’s easy to get hung up on having as much creative control as possible, but it’s very important to loosen up a bit sometimes and let others work their magic alongside your good ideas.

I’ve also learnt that it’s important to NOT wait until the night before your book’s publicity tour begins to read it from cover to cover again – especially if the first interview is breakfast radio – because you might be up half the night marveling at how your book actually isn’t half bad and a bit exhausted the next day! Better to do that first-since-published re-read as soon as it arrives in the post, I think!

I’ve learnt that I work best if I write almost every day. Five days a week, minimum, works well for me. It keeps me writing naturally and stops me from overthinking the words or writing too sentimentally.

What are the shortcuts you’ve figured out over the years?

I’ve got a snazzy shortcut for creating a framework for a book. This is helpful for people who want to try writing a book, but aren’t sure where to start. I used this method to write my most recent book. It goes like this:

  • Choose your subject or storyline.
  • Write ten or twelve MUST KNOW (or MUST DISCUSS) points or plot events to fit that subject or storyline.
  • Turn each of those points or events into a chapter title (they can just be working titles at this stage).
  • Write 1000 or so words on each of those chapters (or slot in writing you have already done where it ‘belongs’, under the relevant point or event).
  • Try to write for at least an hour, five days a week. Just get the words down, however they come out.
  • Re-read, rewrite, edit.
  • Repeat as needed!

What do you do with your blog when you write? Is it kept at the same frequency?

I do keep blogging pretty consistently when I’m writing a book, because the more I write, the easier it is to write. I find that when I don’t have a lot of writing work on, the words come less freely. This is part of why I love Julia Cameron’s writing exercise The Morning Pages (from her book The Artist’s Way.) The Morning Pages set the daily task of writing quite a significant amount, long-hand, just for the sake of writing.

I find it’s a great way to stay in shape during the ‘off season’, so to speak! It encourages me to get whatever is in my head (quite messily) down on the page and has a magical way of loosening up the cogs, making writing much easier and more natural for me. I recommend this method to all my blogging students too.

In short: if you want to write well, write more and write daily.

What about social media? How do you keep on top of that, given you’re a personal blog and you can’t exactly hire people to be “you”?

I tend to use social media for sharing others’ work as much as my own. I use CoSchedule to share my own posts to social media. It’s such a great plugin and I’m a huge fan. You can create your social posts and schedule them from within your WordPress post editing window. I do this when I’m finished writing my post, so it’s part of my editorial workflow rather than a pesky ‘extra step’. Then the plugin does the job for you – sharing to Twitter or Facebook in whichever way you’ve asked it to. So streamlined and simple to use! Elephant stamp in the time-saving department for CoSchedule!

I then make sure I check in and monitor/reply to anyone who’s nice enough to talk to me on Facebook or Twitter. It only takes a few minutes a couple of times a day and it means that followers aren’t just yelling into the void (to quote Grace & Frankie!)

When it comes to sharing great stuff other people are doing, I have all my favourite reads on Feedly so I can enjoy the in one time-saving window. I then share the best of my Feedly reading, loading them up in Buffer with a chatty comment, an image and a tag for the great-stuff-creator where possible. Buffer sends them out to my custom schedule and using Feedly and Buffer together is a great time saver (you can also share directly from within Feedly if you like but I prefer to share on the actual Buffer platform as I like the interface.)

How do you know when to say yes to a book?

I think a great publishing deal comes down to working with good people. If you have a great rapport with a publisher, if they’ve got a great track record, if they’re prepared to give you a bit of room to move (so you can have a bit of creative freedom when you’re writing) and a great royalty then chances are it’s a ‘yes’!

It’s also good to know what marketing and distribution ideas they might have for your book, as well as any design vision they might be considering. Then you can see if everyone’s on the same page (!) and if your book will have the support it needs to stand out from the pack.

I’d definitely go for a great royalty over a big advance if you have to choose. I’ve heard people splash around big advance figures – but you’ve got to earn that money back in book sales. A big advance = big pressure! So look for the best royalty rate you can get. The Australian Society of Authors (ASA) recommends at least 10% – but you may find that as a first time author it will be lower than that.

I’d also do my homework and ask for help – perhaps by engaging a literary agent (because they’re smart when it comes to digital rights and other ever-changing details) and joining the ASA so that you can find out more about what goes into making a great book.


Has it convinced you that you can make some time in your schedule around blogging to finally get started on that book? What are you writing about?

Stacey Roberts is the Managing Editor of a writer, blogger, and full-time word nerd balancing it all with being a stay-at-home mum. She writes about all this and more at Veggie Mama. Chat with her on Twitter @veggie_mama or be entertained on Facebook.

How to Create Great Content For Your Blog – Q&A, Part 1

How to Create Great Content For Your Blog – Q&A, Part 1

Today’s episode of the ProBlogger podcast is a melting pot of your inquiries – really diverse topics, such as:

  • Should I share personal posts on my business blog?
  • How often should I be posting on my blog?
  • How do you develop compelling content?
  • What days of week/time of day are best to post?
  • How did you come to have the great writing skills that you use to blog? Did you ever get any formal training?
  • What have been your most effective techniques for engaging readers? What types of posts have generated lots of authentic comments from your readers?
  • Where do you get your ideas for content? Do you have any techniques/tips to share?

I’m sure these questions are ones that more than one person has, so I’ve given quite extensive answers to each.

You can find episode 41 of the ProBlogger Podcast “How to Create Great Content For Your Blog – Q&A” at, along with show notes and extra reading.


I’m also planning on doing a part two to this series of Q&A podcasts, so feel free to head to the Facebook page and submit your question here.

Further Reading:

10 Ways To Stay Productive as a Work-at-Home Blogger

10 ways to stay productive as a work-at-home blogger - don't tell me you don't need these tips! On is a guest contribution from Larry Alton.

Working from home sounds like a pretty cushy job. You can wear whatever you like, eat as often as you want, text your friends, run errands, and be at home with your family, all while being employed. However, that list of things can often make it difficult to accomplish your work.

If you’re struggling to find a productive schedule as a freelance blogger, consider these tips.

Find Your Groove

Everyone has a groove that spurs productivity. Maybe you need to sit in your office chair with the lights off, blinds shut, and a fuzzy blanket on your lap. Or maybe you need to have a clear view of the sunshine and wear your lucky socks. Maybe your groove requires waking up and going straight to work without eating or showering. Everyone has a different groove, and if you find yours, you’ll find your most productive hours.

Dress Up

It’s pretty cool that you can go to work in your pajamas and fuzzy slippers, wrapped up in your Snuggie. However, that comfort zone may be your downfall. Wearing clothes that are too comfortable can often lead to a stronger desire to relax rather than work. Dressing up in your business professional clothing can help working at home feel more like working in an office, and you might find your productivity spike.

Manage Projects

Stay organized by managing your projects. Whether you write just one blog or you ghost write for 20, there are several tools you can use to stay organized both on the computer and off.

For example, there are software tools and apps that make invoicing, scheduling, and emailing extremely easy. Or if your projects aren’t very complex, you can use a simple white board to keep track of your daily tasks and mark them off as you go. Either way, stay organized to help you stay on track.

Remove Distractions

Email, cell phones, kids, roommates, pets, food, television—all of these are some of the most tempting distractions for freelance writers, and if you want to find productivity, you’ll get them out of the way. Go somewhere to work where you won’t be distracted by your surroundings, and set aside separate time to check your phone and email so that you’re not doing it during your most productive time.

Set Specific Work Hours

Scheduling your time is extremely important for having a constructive day if you make a schedule that works specifically for you. Choosing your own schedule is one of the better perks of working at home, after all.

When are your most productive hours? When do you work most slowly? Some bloggers have their most productive hours between 5 a.m. and 10 a.m. Others have it from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. Whatever time works best for you, make sure you build your schedule around that.

Make Daily, Weekly, and Monthly Goals

Both short and long-term goals do wonders for inspiring creativity and helping you stay productive. If you’re a work at home blogger, you’re probably goal oriented and deadline driven. Each day, write out your goals for your desired progress and tack it to your office wall. Similarly, define weekly and monthly goals that you’re constantly striving to achieve.

Log Out of Social Media

Social media is incredibly useful for promoting your writing and networking with others. However, when you’re supposed to be writing, it’s basically the antithesis of productivity. During your scheduled work hours, log out of social media. Better yet, block your favorite networks on your computer until a certain time or ask a trusted friend to change the password for you until you’ve finished your work for the day.

Make Time for Exercise

Sitting at your desk chair all day long not only contributes to lost muscle mass and definition, but it also makes you feel less alert and can contribute to lost productivity. When you stay stationary all day long, it can make you feel sleepier and fog your thoughts. Setting aside time for exercise on a daily basis can boost your efficiency by making you more alert and motivated, all while leading to a healthier lifestyle.

Eat Healthy Meals

Another thing that contributes to fatigue and lack of motivation is sugary, unhealthy food. These make it so that you don’t feel 100 percent, which makes it difficult to work efficiently. Healthy meals and reduced snacking on sugary treats can make you feel more alert and healthy, which enhances your abilities to perform your daily tasks.

Prepare the Day Before

As a work at home blogger, your schedule can fluctuate from day to day, but you can still benefit from preparing for your workload a day in advance. Write out all of the tasks you need to complete the next day and even a tentative schedule for completing them.

Furthermore, prepare yourself and your office space. You might set out your clothes or prepare your lunch. You might also clean up your office and pull out any resources you might need for the next day’s tasks. A cleaner, more prepared office makes it easy to go straight to work without worrying about a mess.

Further Reading: 5 Ways to Make Your Blogging Life Easier.

Productive blogging takes practice and a series of trial and error, but once you figure it out, the freer lifestyle is worthwhile.

How do you stay productive when goofing off is a more appealing option?

Larry Alton is an independent business consultant specializing in social media trends, business, and entrepreneurship. Follow him on Twitter and LinkedIn.

3 Places Your Best Ideas Are Hiding In Your First Drafts

Many bloggers write drafts and then ‘edit’ their writing – but ‘revising’ is a little different and is definitely a good exercise.

Today I came across a great short video by Beth Dunn from Hubspot that was recorded earlier in the year at the Inbound conference.

In the video Beth talks about ‘fixing your writing’ by learning to ‘revise’ your work.

There’s lots of take home points in this video but what resonated with me most were the three points Beth makes about the places in your first drafts that your best ideas often hide (at around the 9.30 mark).

These best ideas (or the ‘screws’ or the ‘points’ as Beth calls them) are often the things that you need to pay particular attention to and that you should make the centre pieces of your revised drafts.

These points regularly can be found:

The Change

The place in our writing where we hit a fork in the road and it changes course in some way. Some writers call this the pivot.

For me in my writing I find myself regularly feeling tempted to take a tangent in my writing halfway through a post and have trained myself to take note while I writing of these moments because they are often golden moments that can trigger me to completely change what I’m writing or that lead to followup posts.

The Laugh

The moment while you’re writing when while you’re writing something just ‘lurches out onto the page’ and you laugh out loud and wonder where it came from.

This reminds me of a post I wrote back in 2011 about ‘Listening to Your Inner Crazy Voice‘ where I identified that I’ve noticed that many times my best ideas have made me either laugh or gasp when I’ve had them.

As I wrote back then:

In each case, the reaction I had straight after having the idea was to either laugh or gasp. In most cases, the reaction was the same when I told those around me. I’m learning that the laugh and gasp reactions are good. They tell you that you’ve thought of something a little out of the box—something that will, at the very least, get noticed.

The End

The vast majority of your great ideas will be found at the end of your first draft.

This resonated with me very strongly. I regularly find that after banging out a post that the crux of what I say is in my conclusion.

This is logical in many ways – we spend a lot of time exploring an idea in our writing and after all that grappling with the topic we refine our idea to the point where they’re a lot better when we’ve finished than when we started.

In some ways the first draft becomes the opportunity for us to think out loud to help us get to ‘the point’ or the idea.

The mistake at this point is simply to publish what we’ve written. Rather – treat your first draft as the raw material for what comes next. Take that idea that you’ve refined and make it the centrepiece of your writing.

ProBlogger FAQ: How Often Should I Post?

ProBlogger FAQ - How often should I post Darren gives his answer :

Post frequency is a topic that comes up often among bloggers. It doesn’t matter if you’ve just started or you’ve been posting for years – people change, algorithms change, and even your motivations for blogging change. No-one is immune from wondering if their schedule is working, or if tweaks can be made for more successful audience interaction.

As I said in my previous FAQ post on how long posts should be – it depends on several factors. The length of posts, the frequency of posting, and definitely post content all require trial and error, and for the blogger to know what their readers respond to best.

There’s been a shift I’ve seen lately – two shifts, actually – in posting schedules that work for certain bloggers posting certain content.

There’s the shift toward following the Upworthy/BuzzFeed model of 10-20 posts a day, and others doing slow, longer, deeper posts.

The choice can even depend on your monetizing model. If you are dependent upon banner ads, your’e going to need more posts. More eyeballs mean more clicks, which mean more money can be made that way.

If you’re selling a product or service, then you’ll do better with slower paced, deeper content. You’ll notice that’s what we’ve been experimenting with here on ProBlogger recently.

Finding a posting schedule requires some homework on the part of the blogger – checking their Analytics to see what posts work best, what times work best, and at what speed. You can canvass your audience for their opinion outright by asking them on Facebook, email newsletters or including the question in your regular surveys and make your decision based on their answer. You also need to canvass yourself – how many posts can you reasonably fit into your schedule before quantity overcomes quality?

In this post on How Many Posts Should a Blogger Post I go into detail about the pros and cons of daily blogging, which might help you make your decision. Of course there are benefits of both, and sometimes it can take a while of testing before you find which works best for you.

You might also find this post useful where our guest writer Ali Luke discusses the surprising answer she found to the universal question.

Have you struggled with this? Or have you found the perfect posting schedule? I’d love to hear in the comments.

How to Create Awesome Content From Your Next Event Experience

Image via Flickr user richard.scott1952

Image via Flickr user richard.scott1952

This is a guest contribution from trade show expert Peter Symonds. 

Over the last few years, content marketing has grown from a marketing tactic used to generate publicity and inform customers, into an essential strategy for promoting any startup, SME or large company online.

The basics of content marketing are fairly simple: publish great content that solves your audience’s most common problems, informs them of the latest developments in your industry or teaches them something new and helpful.

Coming up with the strategy is often straightforward. Coming up with the content, on the other hand, can be tougher. From startups to small businesses, many companies’ content marketing campaigns burn out due to a lack of ideas.

If your business exhibits at trade shows or appears at other events, you have a great opportunity to get new content ideas – as well as detailed interviews – from the attendees and influencers you interact with during the event.

In this guide, we’ll share four techniques that you can use to create amazing content for your company blog, YouTube channel, guest blogging campaign, or other content marketing strategy from your next event.

Learn your target audience’s biggest pain points

The most effective company blogs discuss their audience’s pain points. Pain points are issues that your target audience is struggling with – inefficiencies in production or marketing, for example, or problems collecting payments from their customers.

Understanding your audience’s pain points is the key to closing sales and, online, an essential element of creating engaging content that your readers don’t just scan and close, but truly connect with and share.

Use your next event as an opportunity to learn more about your audience’s top pain points by interviewing people who visit you, or the people you meet. Ask them what issues they currently face, what they’re struggling with and what they want to improve.

Prospects are usually eager to answer questions and engage in conversation, unlike online. A quick and simple interview performed on 50+ prospects at a trade show, conference, or networking event will give you greater insight into your audience’s pain points than a month-long online customer survey.

Once you understand your target audience’s pain points, you’ll have a deeper level of understanding about what they want to read, listen to and watch. Dedicate each new blog post to a different pain point and you’ll command attention online.

Take note of the 10 biggest pain points mentioned by your target audience. Break each point down into smaller, highly-focused topics to fill your editorial calendar for the next few months with engaging content.

Build a network of influencers and content promoters

Events can be great places to meet prospective clients and customers. They’re also great places to meet people in a similar situation to you – startup founders and marketers eager to grow their businesses, often through content marketing.

12 months ago, online helpdesk startup Groove had a company blog full of engaging, interesting content. They also had virtually no readers – a situation that many online businesses and startups can certainly relate to.

Groove now has one of the technology startup world’s most popular blogs, with over 1,000 shares on their average blog post and hundreds of thousands of readers. Their promotional strategy was simple: build a network of influencers and promoters.

Building an influencer list over email takes a lot of time. At a trade show, however, it takes only a few minutes of conversation to get to know someone within your niche or industry and discuss how you can work together to promote each other’s content.

Reach out to other marketers and entrepreneurs at your next event and build a list of influencers. Afterwards, invite everyone to a private Skype group, email list, or online community to promote each other’s content via social media.

It only takes a few retweets and status updates to give your next blog post the traction it needs to reach thousands of readers. Focus on building your network at your next trade show and you’ll never worry about content promotion again.

Ask your customers about their favourite blogs and websites

Knowing what your customers struggle with will help you discover new topics and trends to write about. Knowing what your customers already like to read will show you exactly where you should be promoting your content in the future.

From industry forums that attract your target audience to popular blogs that could be major marketing platforms for you, chat to your customers about what they like to read online and you’ll discover hundreds of content ideas and opportunities.

Over the last year, many technology companies have discovered that the “biggest” blogs and aggregators – places like TechCrunch and Hacker News – aren’t quite as valuable as they thought. They send lots of traffic, but rarely is it qualified.

Smaller blogs and communities, on the other hand, are often highly responsive to good content. While they don’t send as much traffic as the big names, the traffic is highly qualified, focused and genuinely interested in learning more.

Don’t just use your next trade show or conference as an opportunity to discover new content ideas for your business – use it to discover where your customers hang out online and the topics they like to read about.

Interview influencers and thought leaders in your industry

Connecting with influencers – entrepreneurs, scientists, columnists, authors and the other well-known people within your industry – is tough. They’re often too busy for the phone, unresponsive via email and surrounded by assistants and other people.

At a conference or networking event, however, many of your industry’s most recognisable names will be far less defensive. They’ll be interested in learning more about your brand and may even provide a short interview about themselves or trends in your industry.

Many marketers are scared to ask for an interview with an established person. The most common fear is that asking for an interview is too selfish and self-promotional – after all, it’s incredibly helpful for your brand’s reputation and credibility.

Most influencers benefit just as much from a video interview for your company blog or YouTube channel as you do. It gives them a new audience, new exposure and the publicity they need for their careers. It benefits both of you in the same way.

Before your next event, reach out to your industry’s influencers via Twitter or email (here’s a helpful guide to getting them to notice your emails) and try to set up an interview. You may be surprised by how many positive responses you receive.

More content ideas

  • Invest in photography – you’ll be surprised how much you can use high-quality images from the event in company literature, on your website, on social media and even for link building
  • Conduct a quick industry-relevant survey of visitors to your booth – use a prize draw as incentive to enter and use the findings to create a press release to promote awareness of your business.
  • Create a time-lapse video of the traffic to your booth throughout the day to document your trade show experience
  • Live blog or Tweet the events of the day as it unfolds using the official event hashtag, offering key tips to those who couldn’t make it
  • Publish a round-up post of 10/25/100 key takeaways from the event and ask the organisers to promote it via social media
  • Make your blog posts more visual and interactive by embedding Tweets, Instagram images and Facebook posts from the event

Are you getting the most from your event attendance?

Events are great opportunities to generate leads and close deals. However, if you think of them purely as sales-focused events, you could be missing out on blog and video content that could strengthen your brand and help your company grow.

Are you really getting the most from your attendance? Treat your next conference or trade show as a sales and content opportunity, and you’ll walk away with both a stack of names and business cards and enough great content ideas to last for the next 12 months.

Peter Symonds is a trade show marketing expert from Display Wizard. For more practical tips on how to increase the ROI of your trade show marketing, download the Display Wizard Guide to Exhibiting at a Trade Show.



Blog Post Idea: Answer a Beginner Question

Stuck for content ideas for your blog? Here is a type of blog post that might spark an idea or two for you – it could even spark ideas for a whole series.

It is something that should be relevant to most niches and topics of blog so pick one, write it up, and when you’re done I’d love to see it in comments below.

A question I had when I started out


Sometimes the best received posts are the ones for beginners on topics that help them really get started out in whatever pursuit you are writing about.

This is one of my favourite techniques for coming up with ideas to write about is to simply think back a year, two or ten and think about the questions and challenges that I had at that time.

Then I write the answer that I’ve since discovered to that question.

It might seem a bit silly writing about something so beginner or basic but you’ll if you were asking it you can bet others are still asking it today.

Beginners are often an ignored reader in many niches so paying them attention can be a powerful technique.

It’s also great for creating content that will potentially rank well in search engines as Google is a place many people go to ask the questions they’re too embarrassed to ask their friends.


Beginner photography question

On dPS some of our most popular posts of all time are answering really simple beginner questions. For example my How to Hold a Camera post was inspired by my own mistakes as a kid taking blurry photos.

As I’ve previously written on ProBlogger – that How to hold a camera post was something so basic I nearly didn’t publish it. But to this day it’s had over 600,000 visitors to it (with more arriving every day).

Beginner blogging question

A similar example here on ProBlogger is my ‘what is a blog?’ post. I wrote the post in 2005 and to this day it still gets traffic!


So think back – what questions did you used to ask about the topic or topics you write about? Come up with a list and start working through them.

You might even come up with enough to start a weekly or monthly series of posts for those just starting out.

Once you’ve brainstormed get to work and write your post. Once it is published feel free to share a link below so we can see what you wrote!

How to Create Your Guest Blogging Strategy [with a 5 step template]

This is a guest contribution from Toby JenkinsScreen Shot 2015-02-13 at 11.08.01 amMy business partner Adam Franklin attended the ProBlogger Event on the Gold Coast in 2014, and returned fired up and with a whole heap of take-homes.  At the ProBlogger Event, Darren spoke of success being a matter of doing the ordinary things. Specifically, to start, put readers first, be useful, find your rhythm, create meaning, and persist!

This has inspired me to share this recent guest blogging story.

We’re not talking about guest blogging that Google frowns upon, but high-value blogging via influencer outreach. Guest blogging is a hot topic we’ve been asked a ton of questions about lately and with good reason.

If creating great content is the first step, then promoting your content is the crucial second step. Guest blogging is a powerful way to do just that as you get to write for a whole new audience!

As well as helping you dodge some of the key mistakes, planning your guest blogging strategy will help you find, evaluate and target the best blogging opportunities.

When I blogged for fellow Aussie blogger Jeff Bullas

Jeff Bullas was ranked #11 on Forbes list of “Social Media Power Influencers” and he accepted my post called 6 Critical Types of Social Media You Must Plan For. Here are some of the exciting results:

> Record Month

This post helped us hit a record month in website traffic.

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> Landing page visits skyrocketed

I had a call to action in the article and linked to our Negative Comments Response Template (for Social Media) landing page. Visits to this page skyrocketed and so too did email opt-ins.

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> 4000+ Social Shares

Jeff’s huge social media community, and particularly his Twitter following, meant that the post received a ton of social shares too:

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> 50 National Media Mentions

It caught the attention of Fairfax Media.  Finally, when we sent this post to our Bluewire News subscribers, a journalist replied and asked if I was interested in writing an op-ed piece for Fairfax Media (one of the largest media companies in Australia). Of course I agreed! 

So I wrote a more concise op-ed piece called “He’s been questioned by police” and it was published on the Sydney Morning Herald homepage two days later, and syndicated across all 50 online Fairfax publications and three blogs:

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For the SEO geeks, these 50 backlinks were from news websites with domain authorities ranging from DA38 to DA92 and I was fortunate to have a follow backlink in my bio.

Building backlinks, watching traffic spike and getting qualified subscribers are all exciting outcomes. I was genuinely surprised (and stoked of course!) that this article had struck a chord. 

You can see why guest blogging can be a powerful tool.

Why did we approach Jeff Bullas? 

Aside from being a Forbes Social Media Power Influencer, there were a number of strategic reasons why we asked Jeff.

In short, he has a hugely popular social media marketing blog, followers in excess of 250,000 and we had built a strong relationship with him over the years. We also knew he accepted high quality guest posts. 

I’d aspired to write for Jeff’s blog for a long time so I’ll use it as an example as we go.

How to create your Guest Blogging Strategy 

For the rest of this post I’m going to take you step by step through the Guest Blogging Strategy Template.

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(If you’re really keen you might like to download our free Guest Blogging Strategy Template and fill it out as you work your way through this post – if not, then just read on!). 

1. Brainstorm Your Targets

This doesn’t need to be a long, drawn out process. Take 15 minutes to brainstorm and list some of the blogs you’d like to write for. An easy way is to simply google blogs in your niche; for example “social media blogs” or “gardening blogs”.

Large or small, seemingly impossible or really easy, just get them down. Sometimes this can feel like you have waaay too many options. That’s ok – the next steps will help you prioritise your target blogs.

2. Research Your Numbers

> Domain Authority:

One of the fastest free ways to check domain authority is to use Moz’s Open Site Explorer tool:Screen Shot 2015-02-13 at 11.11.58 am has a Domain Authority of 71/100 which is really strong. To put this in context, is 100/100, is 97/100, and is currently 46/100. From an SEO standpoint alone, a backlink from Jeff’s website would be really valuable to us.

The Mozbar plugin makes this step really easy by showing the Open Site Explorer info on any blog you visit:

Screen Shot 2015-02-13 at 11.12.43 am> Traffic Rank:

For this use Alexa’s free traffic rank analytics tool:

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Jeff’s website gets a ton of traffic which means that the article would be seen by lots of relevant people.

> Number of email subscribers in their list:

Jeff doesn’t actually publish his email subscriber numbers, but many others do:

Problogger: [or just look to right hand side of your screen :-) ]

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Convince and Convert:

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Email lists are a great indicator that the time you spend writing your content will be rewarded when it is seen by a large relevant audience.

> Blog subscribers:

Searching through Feedly will allow you to get blog subscriber numbers:

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> Twitter Followers:

Twitter followers are easy to find for Jeff. He has 246,000!

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> Facebook fans:

Facebook fan numbers are easy to find too:

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As you can see getting these numbers isn’t a long process. In fact it could be a piece of research that you ask an assistant to help you with.

3. People and outreach

As a part of your research, find out the contact person for each blog and their email address.

> Strength of relationship

Jeff has built an incredible audience, following and reputation. We’ve deliberately got to know him over the last few years by interviewing him in person and on our podcast, following his work on social media and inviting him to speak at our Social Media Down Under conference.

Because we’ve known him for a long time and nurtured a relationship, Jeff was much more likely to trust our content and therefore to post it and share it with his audience.

> Outreach

Then it’s outreach time.  I wrote him a short email:

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He accepted it, tweaked the title and posted it the next day.
The point worth emphasising here is that Jeff is a high-value, power blogger so without our long ‘getting to know you’ process our chances of acceptance would’ve been much slimmer. You’ll see it took years of proactively getting to know Jeff and this email was the final stage of following a deliberate process.  I’ve outlined all the steps in our Blogger Outreach Email Template. 

If you do get knocked back, don’t let it get you down, just read How to Handle Guest Post Rejection and get back on the horse. You can tweak the post and try again or submit it to a new blog.

4. Content and SEO

> How interesting is your content going to be to their audience?

Once you’ve determined that it’s definitely an audience you’d like to reach, then it’s crucial that you tailor your content for them. 

I thought my article on handling social media comments had a very good chance of being interesting to Jeff’s audience.

Please note: Ultimately making your content interesting to their audience is the single biggest factor in the success of your guest blogging. Understanding the different angles of your story that will enable you to tell it to different audiences is a deal maker and breaker. 

There are lots of ways you can craft your experiences and stories to fit different audiences.

For example, I wrote for a cloud accounting software business called Saasu and aligned our marketing content with financial reviews to make it more relevant:

How To Use Your Financial Reviews To Improve Your Marketing.

And another one I wrote for outsourcing giant oDesk discussed managing remote marketing projects: 10 Minutes Can Transform Your Remote Projects.

In order to make sure the post would be interesting to Jeff’s audience, I also reviewed what other articles had been written on comment handling on his blog to make sure it would add to their points and not just rehash them. I found an earlier post and linked to it in my article to demonstrate that I had done my homework. 

I also reviewed other guest blog posts to make sure my article would match the style.


From an SEO standpoint, I made sure I had my bio linking back to our website, specifically where people can download our 33 free marketing templates and I had a call to action to download the Negative Comments Response Template.  I’d decided to target the keyword phrase ‘negative comments handling’ using the free Keyword Tool.

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5. Activity

Then it’s a matter of getting in, writing the article, hitting your deadlines and making sure you give yourself the best chance of success.

Hopefully this Guest Blogging Strategy Template can help you focus on the opportunities that will get you the best results, fastest. The little bit of research upfront will really prepare and help you to make the most of the effort you put into the guest blog post itself.


What else do you look for when assessing guest blog opportunities? I’ll see you in the comments and the most informative commenter wins a copy of my book!

Toby Jenkins is an Olympic Water Polo player and co-author of Web Marketing That Works. You can download his 33 free marketing templates.