Thursday, May 19, 2011

20 Things to Blog About

Blogging is really, really important now, because your blog can be embedded easily into other places, such as on-line communities, Facebook pages, and even iPhone apps. So if you're not blogging yet, I hope this article convinces you that it's easy to do. I'm going to share here 20 things you can blog about, with some examples from my own blog. I hope this convinces you that it's easy to blog, and you should never run out of things to write about.

1. Report on current affairs and news

One of the easiest and most obvious options: Simply link to an on-line news story, and add a paragraph or two of your commentary to it.

2. Summarise the latest research

Take some in-depth research from your area of expertise, and summarise it in a form that's relevant and meaningful to your market.

3. Share stories from your life

Differencemakers are always finding ways to work in anecdotes from their life into their presentations. There's no reason you can't do the same thing with your blog.

Example: Creating the dinosaur experience

4. Rant!

Express an opinion! You don't have to be rude and obnoxious, but your blog is the place where your personality comes through. So be direct, forthright and don't sit on the fence (You are a differencemaker, aren't you?)

Example: Differencemakers make a difference

5. Review a book you've read

If you've read a good book recently, write a brief book review on your blog. Again, your purpose is to help your blog readers, so they can decide whether or not to read the book themselves.

Example: The Dip, by Seth Godin

6. Promote a product or service

If you regularly publish high-value content, your blog readers won't mind the occasional promotional blog post. In fact, they almost expect it. If you can tie in the promotional stuff to some content (for example, a high-content blog post that ends with a link to the product), so much the better.

Example: The Seven Biggest Mistakes Business Owners Make With Their Web Sites

7. Announce something new

Use your blog to make announcements - whether they are new products, new services, new staff joining your team, success stories from a client, and so on.

Example: Are you on their iPhones?

8. Refer to other experts in the field

Everything you write doesn't have to be original content. In fact, it's quite common for bloggers to refer to other Web sites - and in particular, to other bloggers. It's a great way to provide value to your readers, and also encourages other Web sites to link back to you.

Example: How to Enthrall an Audience Like Steve Jobs

9. Copy other people's material

In some cases, you can even use other people's material directly, without having to link to it. Of course, this only applies if you have explicit permission to do so!

10. Profile a client or customer

Use your blog to write a profile, case study or success story about a client or customer. You could even ask them to answer, say, three questions, and post this as an interview on your blog.

11. Share a positive testimonial

When clients say nice things about you, get their permission to use that as a testimonial, and then post it to your blog. Again, as long as you don't do this all the time, your blog readers won't mind this occasional self-promotion.

12. Record an audio clip

Some people find it easier to record audio than to write. I don't - I find it much easier to write than to record. But I know some people who think nothing of pulling out a voice recorder, iPod or iPhone and recording a brief audio clip, which they can then publish to their blog. It doesn't have to be CD quality, either - as long as it's not scratchy or difficult to understand.

13. Record a video clip

The next step is video, and again I know some people who find it a breeze to record a video clip of themselves, with a short, sharp message they can then publish to their blog.

Example: Expect More: Inspiration to keep going

14. Insert a YouTube video

You don't even have to record the video clip yourself. YouTube, Vimeo, Viddler and other video-sharing sites make it easy for you to embed their video clips into your blog.

Example: Three stories of brand reputations spoiled online

15. Recommend a Web site

Find a Web site you like, that your readers might find useful as well? Write a brief review of it on your blog, along with a link to the site.

Example: File your documents and clippings with Evernote

16. Answer a frequently asked question

I bet your e-mail program's "Sent Mail" folder has some gems of information you've shared with somebody, in answer to a question they asked you. Why limit this to just one person? Many of these answers you write could easily apply to lots of people, with a bit of editing to hide confidential details and put it in context. This is great source material for blog posts. In fact, every week I go through my Sent Mail folder looking for just such material.

Example: How to reach people who don't know they need you

17. Jot down a half-formed idea

Blog posts don't have to be long, structured articles - as you would do for a newsletter, magazine or even an article on your Web site. It's OK to just jot down a few notes, as long as they make sense.

Example: Give value, get business

18. Publish your podcast posts

You might have a podcast that people subscribe to, so they receive your episodes automatically. To reach even more people, publish each episode on your blog as well, so that non-subscribers (to the podcast) can stumble across it.

Example: Google vs Beijing: More to this than meets the eye

19. Share a PowerPoint presentation

Create a message as a PowerPoint presentation, and then use to publish it to the Internet. You can then embed this into a blog post, just as you would do with a YouTube video.

Example: Personal Productivity and Time Management 2.0

20. Announce a coming event

Use your blog to announce your coming events. You probably promote them everywhere else as well - such as your Web site, your e-mail newsletter, your Twitter feed, etc. - so why not post them on your blog as well.

Whew - that's just for starters!

There are many other things you could blog about, but these 20 should give you enough for starters.

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