How to Generate Blog Post Ideas, Part 2

Last blog post I talked about my system for consistently generating dozens of ideas for blog posts and weekly newsletter content, and shared three resources you can use to find kick-butt ideas of your own.

This time I want to talk about three other good resources for idea-gathering:

1. Google Alerts

Google Alerts will allow you to monitor any topic or search term you choose; when results are found for that search term, Google sends them to you in an email.

You choose result type:  “Everything,” or, news, blogs, videos, discussions, books, etc., frequency:  once a day, as they happen or once a week, and how many: “only the best results” or “all results.”

This is a great tool for generating content ideas, but you can also use it to gather market and competitor intelligence, and who doesn’t want that?

Go here to set up your own Google Alerts.

2. Blogs in your niche

I love this as an idea generator, because it’s essentially killing two birds with one stone – you’re likely reading the blogs in your niche anyway, so why not gather some ideas while you’re there? Just pop over to a few of your favorites and note what’s being written about.

But don’t stop there – you’ll also want to pay attention to which blog posts get the most interaction in the way of comments and social shares.  This will give you an idea of some of the hot topics in your niche.

You’re not going to copy these ideas verbatim, of course, but use the material to spark your own ideas, and add these to your Ideas File.  You can then write about these topics from the opposite viewpoint, or go deeper into them for a more nuanced view, etc.

3. HARO Queries

HARO is an email list you sign up for to receive daily queries from reporters who need sources for their stories; it stands for “Help A Reporter Out.”

There’s a whole other blog post waiting to be written about how to mine HARO for sharing your expertise and getting publicity for your business, but today I simply want point out what a great tool it is for generating blog post ideas.

Why is this a such a great short cut for getting content ideas?  Because each HARO email alert will have several queries in multiple categories, and since journalists are looking for sources for these stories on a deadline, you already know they are super hot, timely topics.  Just a little tip from me to you.  ; )

Sign up for your own HARO email alerts here.

 

There you have it, 3 more excellent resources to add to your blog post idea generating toolkit.  And for still more idea gathering, you might want to check out forums in your niche, Tweetmeme for trending Twitter topics, Google Trends, or simply address questions your customers frequently ask .

So tell me, what are your go-to tips for coming up with blog post and newsletter topic ideas?  Please share in the comments, I’d love to know your tricks!

[Hey there, gorgeous. Did you know you can get my FREE weekly newsletter, with actionable tips, techniques, and how-to’s for marketing your business online, delivered straight to your email inbox each Tuesday? You betcha! Go ahead and enter your name and email address at the top right hand side of the blog now, and let’s get you glowing online.]

Getting Your Small Business Found Online: Local Business Directories

Biznik Local Business Online Directory

If you’ve been paying attention to what’s new in local marketing, then you’re likely already using online directories to get the name of your small business out there.  You may be using Google Places, Yelp, and Merchant Circle, etc., but did you know there are a slew of other online directories you can add your business listing to as well?

With more and more people going online to seek out business recommendations, it makes sense to be in as many places as possible to up your chances of being found online when someone searches for that thing you do.

At the end of this article I’ll share a link to where you can find 50 more online business directories, but first I want to focus on one in particular that I find pretty impressive.

It’s called “Biznik,” and it bills itself as “an award-winning community of entrepreneurs and small businesses dedicated to helping each other succeed,” whose motto is “Business Networking that Doesn’t Suck.”

What I love about this particular online directory is that it feels much more like an actual community than it does a straight up directory.  Created specifically for indie business people, solopreneurs, and micropreneurs, Biznik’s overall feel is collaborative and helpful, with a strong whiff of “we’re all in this together, so let’s be supportive of one another.”

Biznik Local Business Online Directory

What’s different – and cool – about this community of independent business owners is that it blends online social networking with local member-driven in-person events.  And yes, there’s a Biznik community right here in Wilmington, NC!  (This is a big deal, because we didn’t even have Yelp here a couple of years ago.  Being at the very end of the road and all that . . . )

Basic membership at Biznik is free, pro membership is $10 per month, and ProVIP is $24 per month.  It couldn’t hurt to sign up for a free basic membership to get a feel for the community and what it has to offer, then upgrade to enhanced membership if basic membership gets you results.

Go to Biznik’s About page here to find out more.

Check out Hubspot’s list of 50 local business directories here.

[Hey there, gorgeous. Did you know you can get my FREE weekly newsletter, with actionable tips, techniques, and how-to’s for marketing your business online, delivered straight to your email inbox each Tuesday? You betcha! Go ahead and enter your name and email address at the top right hand side of the blog now, and let’s get you glowing online.]