Curating content for your blog

Planning posts

HelloHas anyone ever said, “You should blog as a way to market your business and/or writing,” and your head starts to spin at the amount of work it would take to write something meaningful once or twice a week? Curating content for a blog is exhausting if you expect to come up with something unique and original day in and day out.

The good news is that with a content curation plan, you can have a continuous supply of blog posts ready to go at a moment’s notice. Think it’s impossible? Try this method.

1.  Plan your posting schedule.

How much you post isn’t as important as your consistency in posting. A good average is twice a week, but there are successful blogs that put out content seven days a week and those that only post once every month. If you’re new to the blog scene, twice a week is a great goal.

2. Make a list of types of posts.

A good blog has several different types of content, from longer tutorials and/or essays, mixed in with shorter lists, image-based posts, and newsworthy posts. Some topics will do better than others in a particular category. It’s important to keep your content varied because certain types of posts are better for SEO (search engine optimization) and others are better for social sharing. Check off all that apply to your niche.

  1. Tutorials
  2. Opinion
  3. Top ten lists
  4. Challenges
  5. Reviews
  6. Question and answer
  7. Interviews
  8. Behind the scenes
  9. Roundups
  10. Photo/Video
  11. Newsworthy
  12. Resource

3. Create a giant pile of keywords.

I like to use pen and paper for this exercise. Get a big notebook and write one word in the center of each piece of paper; circle it. If your niche is home ownership, you might write keywords like:

  • Bedroom
  • Bathroom
  • Living Room
  • Dining Room
  • Garden
  • Garage
  • Cleaning
  • Finances
  • Purchasing a home
  • Selling a home
  • Building a home

Then, page by page, create a web. Start on the first page (with the word “bedroom”) and write all the words associated with that topic. Don’t be afraid to branch off those words and continue to go more and more detailed.

web

When you’re finished, you’ll have a notebook full of keywords. Keep the notebook handy because you never know when you might think of something new.

NOTE: This exercise can also help you get your categories and tags organized on WordPress.

4. Brainstorm titles.

Here’s where you can use help. Grab some newspapers and magazines (or another online site). Look at the titles and use the format to give you a headstart. For example, after searching the front page of BuzzFeed, I found the following titles:

Simply swap out the keywords with your own. Using the example above, here’s happened to the titles:

  • A Rare Look Inside the Mortgage Process and What it Means for Your Loan
  • 15 Reasons Your Bedroom Isn’t Relaxing and What to Do About It
  • 7 Amazing Things You Need to Do to Your Garage That Are Really Satisfying
  • Cleaning Magic Tricks You Need to Try Before a Showing

6. Organize your titles by type of post.

Take all your titles and organize them by type of post (in step two). Two of the titles above are going to be lists, one is a behind the scenes, and another is a tutorial. Try to get a good blend of blog post types and sort the titles accordingly.

7. Now write!

If you aren’t sure how to start writing posts to match all these titles, go ahead and Google your title to see what comes up. Read some blog posts and try to make your post better, or if you can’t, zero in on one part of it and make that your entire blog post.

As far as length, it really depends on what you want to accomplish. Some posts are fine at 500 to 800 words. Others will need to be longer. It’ll become clear as you write which ones need more. Google typically likes posts that are a minimum of 1,000 words.

6 other ways to curate content for your blog

  1. Feedly is a great blog reader that you should fill with all your competition. Subscribe to them and read them consistently. It will help spark new ideas.
  2. Ask a blogger to guest post for you. If you read something of theirs that is really good, write up a proposal asking them to write a follow-up or more detailed post on one aspect of it.
  3. Use the news. If there is something noteworthy going on in the media and it’s related to your topic, write an opinion piece. These are time-sensitive so last minute is the way to go.
  4. Resource posts are a great option if you’re not feeling very creative. Simply write a list of helpful online sites on a particular topic and link to them with a small blurb about how they work or what they offer.
  5. Recycle old posts with new content and images, and then republish by changing the date. You’d be amazed how quickly certain content gets stale.
  6. Ask your readers on social media for ideas or questions they might have. Or, you can create a weekly challenge where a reader picks a topic and you MUST write about it.

When you can’t write…

If life gets in the way and writing is just not an option, use your Feedly list to share other peoples’ great content on your social streams. Not only is it a great “karma” in the blogging world, but it shows your followers that you are willing to share helpful information, even if it’s not your own. The other bloggers will notice, your readers will be satisfied, and your following will grow.

Julie Deneen
Julie DeNeen is a full-time web designer and blogger, making her mark on the Internet with a tech blog called Fabulous Blogging. An award winning lifestyle blogger as well, she was chosen as Anderson Cooper's blogger of the day in 2012 and appeared on Anderson Live several times, as well as BBC World Have Your Say. Off the Internet, she is a mom of three, a musician, foodie and theater buff. Connect with her on Twitter, Google+, and Pinterest!