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I’ve talked in the past about how writing a regular blog can be a great marketing tool for your training business, and a way to build your reputation and authority, but committing to a training business blog is just the beginning. How can you keep coming up with fresh ideas?
In this week’s article, I wanted to take a look at failsafe ways to generate new blog topics when your inspiration is running dry.
I’m a big fan of Google Trends. If you haven’t used it before it’s essentially a way of tracking what search terms are trending across the web. As well as highlighting the big news stories of the day, both nationally and worldwide, you can search for stories around your keywords – e.g. freelance trainers – and see how your search terms are performing.
Google Trends can be a great source of inspiration for your blog if there’s a news story that relates to your industry and connects to your training speciality or customers in any way.
Google Alerts is a fantastic tool that lets you monitor the internet for interesting content around whatever keywords you want to keep an eye on.
Simply go to Google Alerts and set up an alert for your chosen keywords. You can follow as many search terms as you like. You will then receive regular emails from Google letting you know what new content it has picked up for your alerts. As well as finding out when people are talking about you or your training business online (it’s always worth setting up an alert for your name and business), you can keep your finger on the pulse of what’s being talked about in your sector and use this content to spark discussion or give your take on a story on your own blog.
Promoted as ‘the front page of the internet’, Reddit’s community members – known as ‘Redditers’ – can submit content, such as text posts or direct links, to create a fast-moving online bulletin board of what they think is worth looking at online, including some previously undiscovered gems.
If there is a topic that you want to know more about you can add it to your ‘Subreddits’ and follow what people are posting within this topic-specific community. Reddit can be a bit baffling at first, but I found a good Reddit 101 guide over on Digital Trends that gives some beginners’ tips.
I could spend hours on Buzzsumo. This website lets you analyse what content performs best for any topic or competitor, showing you how articles using your keywords have performed on social media in terms of shares.
You might also want to keep an eye on the top influencers in your sector to see what content they’re posting and the hot topics on their social media pages. This isn’t with a view to copying their content, but you may be able to give your own unique take on something that’s generating interest. Imagine how excited I was to be listed as the top influencer for freelance training!
Quora is another great starting point if you’re stuck for ideas. It’s a massive online forum where people post questions (a bit like Yahoo! Answers) and other people within the community answer. Simply type in a keyword and see what questions people are asking about it.
Ideas for your training business blog content don’t always have to come from other websites. Your customers may be generating ideas without you even realising. How? With the questions they ask.
It’s worth taking some time to think about questions your clients ask you time and again. It might be about your training methods, your training content, your experience, your insights into a topical issue within your industry, or something else altogether.
Perhaps there are questions that come up on your social media pages or in the Comments section of your blog. Or do enquiries from prospective clients always begin with the same concerns?
You could also try looking at industry blogs or online publications and see what people are saying in the Comments to get a sense of what your clients might want to know more about at any given point in time.
Try making a note the next time anyone asks you anything as your answer may make a great topic for your next blog.
I like to use the Twitter lists feature to keep an up-to-date list of influencers in the training industry. I can then view the list for all an at-a-glance view of what they’re tweeting and what conversations are generating plenty of interest. Twitter is fast-moving, but a fantastic way of keeping your finger on the pulse.
Slideshare features thousands of decks (a bit like Powerpoint presentations) for pretty much every topic imaginable. Simply go to Slideshare, type in your search and browse the decks that show up in the search results. Inspiration will usually strike.
Although you might associate Pinterest with obviously visual, creative or product-led businesses, there is a huge number of fantastic pins that sit outside of these categories. I typed in ‘freelance training’ and was immediately met with hundreds of pins, many of which sparked ideas of my own. You could even create your own private/secret board where you pin blogging inspiration whenever you find it online.