This is a guest post by Kristi Hines.
One of the biggest challenges that bloggers face – whether they are blogging for themselves or their business – is creating enough content. Most people can’t just write a blog post in 15 minutes. Creating quality content takes a major investment of time and resources. If you’re struggling to create enough content, then here are some great ways to get additional content for your blog.
Supplement with Content Curation
If your challenge when it comes to content creation is coming up with original blog topics, then one way to fill up your editorial calendar is by adding curated content. Curated content is simply compiling and organizing content from other sources into one post. The Ultimate Resource Guide to Guest Blogging and Blogger Outreach is an example – it is simply a list of networks and posts from other sites on how to have successful guest blogging and blog outreach campaigns.
Note that these kinds of posts are not time savers – you still have to find the best pieces of content to curate, organize everything logically, give each piece a description, and compile it all together. But it can be a lifesaver when you’re having trouble coming up with new ideas while giving your audience some awesome content to chew on.
Tips for Great Curation Pieces
- Don’t only use curation pieces. It might give the impression that you have nothing original to say. For example, if you have five new posts a week, you could consider one curation post per week. If you have one new post a week, you could consider one curation post per month.
- Think about curation topics that could include one or more of your own posts. In the above-mentioned example, I included a post from the KISSmetrics blog on how to do guest blogging. This can help you highlight your own content as well as others.
- Use Google Reader to subscribe to your favorite sources. Google Reader has a great search function, so if you wanted to curate resources on a particular subject, you can use the search to find posts from every blog you are subscribed to via RSS.
I’ve found that content curation comes in handy in a couple of ways. For my blog, it gives me a weekly roundup post to rely upon with no inspiration needed. Even blogs like HubSpot and Social Media Examiner have their own version of weekly curated content. And for the blogs I regularly contribute to, it was easy to find content related to their niche to group together in a large lists like 45 Posts on A/B, Multivariate, and Usability Testing and smaller lists like 8 Useful Recruitment Infographics.
Another way to create content for your blog that doesn’t include coming up with all new post ideas is by repurposing your pre-existing content. This simply means that you refresh, reorganize, and recreate content that has worked for you in the past. You can also take content in one format (such as video) and repurpose it into another format (such as a slideshow).
Tips for Repurposing Old Content
- Find your most popular blog posts that are over a year old. You can do this by sorting your WordPress posts by going to All Posts and sorting them by the number of comments. You can also use your Google Analytics and look under Content > Site Content > All Pages. This will show you your top content based on number of views.
- Break overview posts into several detailed posts. For example, I could take this post and create five individual posts that include in-depth details about content curation, repurposing content, attracting guest bloggers, hiring freelance writers, and connecting with businesses for content.
- Turn a series of detailed posts into an overview post. As opposed to the above tactic, if you have a series of detailed posts on one theme, you could create an overview posts that summarizes each and links back to the detailed posts. This way, you have a new piece of content and you get a chance to highlight your previous work.
Tips for Repurposing Other Formats of Content
- Transcribe your videos. If you are creating video content (vlogging, video interviews, video testimonials, video tutorials, etc.), then you can easily turn your videos into blog content by embedding the video into a blog post followed by a transcription of what is said throughout the video.
- Transcribe your podcasts. Similar to video content, if you are a podcaster, you can transcribe your podcasts in a blog post.
- Add commentary to infographics. This one you can with your own infographics or infographics made by others. Infographics usually include a lot of information that you may – or may not – agree with. Embed the infographic into a blog post (giving credit where credit is due) and then add your commentary above or below the infographic. Talk about the points you agree with, the points you don’t, and add some additional information that may not have been included. You can see an example of this in my post on Top 25 Hosting Companies that includes an infographic plus additional details.
- Summarize presentations. If you speak at conferences or simply create presentations for Slideshare, you can embed those presentations into a blog post and further explain the bullet points and slides.
One of my goals for 2013 is to produce more eBooks, but I find it hard to commit to any piece of writing longer than a blog post, especially now that I’m a new mom. So I’m looking at repurposing as the answer by staring my next eBook as a series of blog posts. So far I have 40+ post drafts ready to be written. Once they are done, they will be repackaged nicely into an eBook.
Attract Guest Bloggers
If you don’t have time at all to create yourself, you can look towards outside resources to create content for you. The first (and free) resource for blog content is guest bloggers. Guest bloggers will provide content in exchange for exposure with your audience – they usually just want an author bio that includes a backlink to their website.
Tips for Attracting Guest Bloggers
- Create a page on your blog with guest blogging guidelines. Title the page “Write for Us: Guest Blogging Guidelines” or similar – this includes keyword phrases that guest bloggers typically search when looking for guest blogging opportunities. Be specific about exactly what you want when it comes to content submissions so you can get the content you want and have a quick response when you receive low quality submissions.
- Link to your guest blogging guidelines often. Link to it in your blog’s navigation bar or sidebar. Also include a quick link at the end of posts that your blog is open to guest post submissions. If you’re publishing guest posts, include a link at the top where you say, “This is a guest post by…”
- Share your guest blogging guidelines on social media. If you have a good-sized audience that happens to include bloggers, sharing your guest blogging guidelines page on Twitter, Facebook, and Google+ can help you get more guest bloggers.
Tips for Working with Guest Bloggers
- Be sure to quality check incoming guest posts. Some guest bloggers are marketers in disguise, and there are bad marketers out there that will submit poor quality content or content that has been published elsewhere. Read the post thoroughly and do a quick Google search for a sentence or two to make sure it is unique content.
- Make sure you stand by the information presented in the guest post. If you are adamantly against something, you don’t want to publish content by someone else that is for it. If facts are presented without reference, make sure they are true. The last thing you want is to have to defend guest content yourself. This also includes checking the website that the guest author is linking to – make sure it is something you wouldn’t mind your audience visiting.
- Encourage the guest author to participate in the community. Specifically, encourage them to revisit the post and answer comments. This way you are getting content and community management all in one.
Last year, when I was fully focused on client work, I depended on guest bloggers to keep my blog afloat. And that they did – I had regularly scheduled guest posts two to three times a week. Although I am changing up my blog strategy this year (similar to the ProBlogger evolution), I was grateful to have such great content on my site from many talented authors.
Get Completed Articles
If you want to bypass interacting with writers for content, your next best bet is to look for networks that offer ready to go content. Networks like MyBlogGuest and GuestBlogIt allow you to connect with guest bloggers as well as browse through completed articles that you can publish on your blog.
If you don’t have time to browse through lots of articles, networks like PostJoint let you choose topics and then sends you a daily email when new content is available for you to browse. The email includes the content titles and the first sentence so you can preview them right in your inbox.
Tips for Getting Great Content
- Quality check. Just like you would do with guest blog posts, you need to quality check articles you are getting from any network for value, accuracy, and whether the content has been published elsewhere. Just because most networks require writers to submit unique content does not mean that they all follow the rules.
- Visit the websites listed in the author bios. While some article submissions are by bloggers looking for more exposure, others are from businesses looking to market their website. Be sure to check out their links to make sure they are websites you would be OK with your audience visiting.
- Be prepared to answer comments. Since you are getting whole articles, you won’t be getting the author who wrote them to participate in your community. Hence you will need to be prepared to answer your comments and discuss any points in the articles you post.
If your blog isn’t quite at the stage of attracting guest bloggers, then this might be a good route to go. I also found it useful to grab pre-written, unique content for my blog on the days where my scheduled guest blogger missed their submission deadline. This ensured that my blog didn’t go silent on a day people expected a new post.
Hire Freelance Writers
If you have some money to invest in your blog and are not having luck with guest bloggers, then you can always hire one or more freelance writers. The advantage to freelance writers is that you have more control over what they write and can insist upon edits when necessary.
Tips for Finding Freelancer Writers
- Invest in quality writers. Depending on your niche, you probably won’t be able to hire $5 article writers. When it comes to quality content, you really do get what you pay for.
- Look for freelance writers who write for similar blogs. Run a Google search for site:domain.com “freelance writer” where domain.com is a blog that contains content similar to what you need for your blog. This will help you find experienced freelance writers in your niche and give you a chance to see how well their work is received. This will ensure you have writers who understand blogging etiquette and community participation, something you may not get out of the average article writer.
- Contact prolific guest bloggers. Use a similar searches such as site:domain.com “guest blogger” or site:domain.com “guest post by” to find guest bloggers in your niche who may be looking to earn extra income through freelance blogging.
Tips for Working with Freelancer Writers
- Be specific about your needs. Unlike guest bloggers, you can be really specific with what you need from your freelance writer since you are paying for their services. Suggest topics, give editorial guidelines, and let them know what you expect from start to finish.
- Set a schedule. If you want a steady supply of content, you need to set a regular schedule for content delivery. Otherwise, you may contact your writer for a post you need ASAP to find they are already committed to other projects.
- Pay on time. Just like happy employees produce quality work, happy freelancers are going to do the same. The best way to keep your freelancer writers happy is to pay them on time, otherwise they will spend the time they could be using to create content for your blog to play bill collector.
Though I’ve never hired a freelance writer for my blog, many blog owners and businesses have hired me to create content for them. It works out great because then they can focus on monetization and revenue generating tasks while ensuring their blog is kept up-to-date with quality content.
On to you…
Have you used any of these strategies to get content for your blog? Please share your experiences plus additional tactics for increasing your blog content in the comments!
Kristi Hines is a freelance writer, ghostwriter, and professional blogger who writes about blog marketing strategy at Kikolani. She has also contributed to well-known online marketing blogs including Social Media Examiner, KISSmetrics, Unbounce, and Search Engine Journal. Follow her on Twitter or Google+.