If you struggle to come up with content ideas or find it difficult to begin writing content, then this talk is for you. Loaded with blogging advice, I’m hoping you’ll leave this room having learned how to implement tools and techniques that’ll make managing and growing a blog easier.
In April I delivered my first talk at BrightonSEO in Auditorium 1 on “How to Incentivise Bloggers Without Spending Money”. The presentation focused on how to forge relationships with influencers, and how to build links without spending a penny. Throughout my session, I talked about my experience from a bloggers perspective, as opposed to my professional perspective as an SEO Consultant.
Ranked as ‘up and coming’ on Bloglovin’ and in the top 100 UK lifestyle blogs on FeedSpot. Strawberry Squeeze is a 4 y/o website targeting women between 18 and 44, located predominantly in the UK. One of the main things I was asked after my talk, was how my blog became so successful and how have I managed to publish over 700 posts without running out of ideas or going crazy.
To be honest, there’s no way I could have done it without using some of these tools…
There are so many blogging tools available but throughout this talk, we’ll only focus on the best ones so you can avoid wasting your time on the mediocre ones. I’ve also thrown in my secrets to being more productive, saving time and overcoming common blogging issues, such as content title suggestions and social media amplification.
Everybody put down your pens because we’re going to whizz through 23 tools and platforms at lightning speed, and the link to this presentation will be live over on my blog at very, very soon.
Productivity tools that’ll keep you in line and focused:
- I found myself losing hours to funny cat videos or tagging my friends in memes, so I needed something to help me stop procrastinating. I downloaded the SelfControl app that helps you avoid those distracting websites. There are some many alternatives online but this app blocks access to websites or mail servers for a pre-set length of time.(For windows and chrome users, try StayFocusd)
- This is the only ‘digital tool’ that perhaps my grandad will be able to understand in this presentation. The modest Egg Timer (in app form, of course) is one of the most important tools when I’m sitting down for a week of blogging. When I landed my first writing gig I had to write 500 words, proof and add images to an article in 30 minutes for it to be worthwhile. Sound daunting? It’s surprisingly easy when you put your mind to it and there’s a timer running. Don’t stop typing, just keep going until the timer goes off!
- Every morning before I begin working I refer to Trello board. Without this, I’d have no idea what content I’ve agreed to write, what my deadlines are or who owes me money. If you haven’t got a detailed Trello board full of opportunities or goals, you’ve already failed.
Content idea generation tools you don’t have to pay for:
I’m often baffled when I see content plans with titles that have been plucked out of thin-air. Why on earth would you do that when the internet is full of data to make your life easier and content more successful? It makes no sense.
- Ubersuggest otherwise known as ‘Google Suggest on steroids’ combines data keyword suggestion tools to give you a lot of long tail keyword phrases to play with.
- Ever want to know commonly asked questions about your topic? Head over to Quora and type your target keyphrase into the search box and you’ll find a list of title suggestions.
- Don’t fancy going through a list of topic ideas manually? Answer the Public provides potential blog post titles based on Google searches for ‘who, what, when and where’. It can be easily exported and serves for a great content plan.
- With content titles covered, what about insights and opinions from real people? Easy, post a question on Reddit and prepared to be bombarded with useful content.
Improve user experience and encourage more engagement:
- If you’re using WordPress, you need to implement Inline Related Posts today. It automatically adds similar posts based on your tags throughout your content to encourage users to navigate through your website.
- A quick way to promote a newsletter sign-up or a featured piece of content, install the Add Signature plugin on WordPress to quickly change the bottom of every single post on your blog without manually going through them all. Couple with tracking to begin A/B testing.
- Speaking of tracking, implement Hotjar to learn more about how people use your website. Use heat maps and recordings to better understand UX and design your website for users.
The best social media tools for bloggers to amplify content:
- This presentation was created on a platform called Canva; so was my media kit outlining my stats and fees, as well as my social media graphics to yield higher engagement on my posts. It’s also free!
- We know JetPack is a super useful plugin for WP users, but it baffles me how many bloggers or content managers forget to check the ‘auto published’ social box. Rookie mistake.
- Make sharing easy for your visitors, install Click to Tweet to your posts. Perfect for promoting competitions.
- Forget all your scheduling software, sign up to Buffer. Why is Buffer better than any other scheduling software? You can schedule images on a free account without upgrading. Its bulk import is super quick and easy, unlike clunky alternatives, and it’ll jumble them up for you.
Tools to save you from embarrassment when you’re speed typing:
- Grammarly is a free grammar checker instantly eliminates grammatical errors and enhances your writing that you can install into your Chrome.
- The Hemingway App highlights lengthy, complex sentences and common errors to make sure your writing can actually be understood, and you’re not just rambling!
Get ahead of your competitors with these content marketing tools:
- Enter a topic or a URL into the BuzzSumo search box, and you’ll get a wealth of information on the content that performs best for social media sharing. BuzzSumo can be super useful for fleshing out an existing idea to find the perfect angle or in taking a broad look at the content that does well (and the blogs who do it best) in your niche.
- Enter a URL into SEMRush to find the best-performing pages and keyphrases to find opportunities to create pieces of content that may perform well in search engines.
Wave goodbye to hideous stock images say hello to beautiful photography:
- Why use hideous stock images in your blog content when you can download beautiful photography for free from websites such as Pexels , Unsplash , and Pixabay? There are so many great websites that offer royalty free images, including Flickr. Nothing looks spammier than stock images from the 90’s, please stop using them.
Gmail plugins and extensions you shouldn’t live without:
Granted, this isn’t restricted to blogging, but without these two tools I’d have lost my mind a long time ago, and probably missed a lot of opportunities, too.
- In my last BrightonSEO presentation, I spoke about how I receive up to 50 emails a day from SEO’s and PR’s asking to advertise on my blog. I’d spend my entire life responding to emails if I created an individual reply to these messages; luckily I don’t have to thanks for Google labs Canned Responses. Instead of writing out the same message over and over or fishing through your Sent box to find a template, have them saved and easily accessible every time you begin writing an email.
- Most of us probably use Boomerang for emailing , but I found a great way to use it for blogging (other than hiding the fact that I write the majority of my emails at 4am). Each month I agree to a number of guest posts on my blog, when I schedule them to go live over the next 4 – 6 weeks, they automatically publish on social media (thanks, JetPack) and notify all my subscribers – great! Boomerang then emails the live link directly to the advertiser weeks later from my Gmail account, so I can truly take a step back from my blog and my inbox.