One of the best methods of content marketing is to publish valuable content on your business blog.
But how do you write about the same topic over and over again while keeping your articles fresh and original?
I discovered 98 ways after studying a handful of businesses that live or die by publishing regular, eye-catching content.
Reader, I’d like you to meet:
- Glamour Magazine – Britain’s Number 1 Women’s Magazine
- Yachting Monthly – Published since 1906
- Improve Your Coarse Fishing – Britain’s Best Selling Fishing Magazine
- Scootering – A Magazine all about Scooters!
When you have nearly 1 million readers a year (who pay to read your content) you learn a lot about getting people’s attention (and more importantly, keeping it).
I combed through 4 magazines to see the different ways they presented tutorials, industry news and encouraged community participation. The result is the following 98 publishing styles.
Focus on just one of these methods once a week and you’ve got a variety of business blogging styles to last nearly 2 years.
Bookmark this page, dip in and out for inspiration, and don’t forget to hit the Twitter button, sharing the content marketing love with others.
First up, Britain’s Number 1 Women’s Magazine
1. Reward customer participation – Glamour gives away smart phones and digital cameras for star letters or photos of readers in exotic locations holding up the magazine. You might not be able to give those kind of prizes away but could you offer recognition for comments, for the best ReTweet?
2. Make your Twitter followers famous – The magazine features tweets by their readers every month making their readers famous. Can you engage with your business social media and turn Tweets, or Facebook comments into a blog post for your business. You can set questions and work through the answers, or host a Twitter party and then group together the main “ah-ha moments” or questions raised.
3. Dos and don’ts – This magazine edition of “Dos and Don’ts” kindly educates us on the etiquette of how men should look on the beach (hot and buff) with illustrations of what is right and what is wrong. It may not be appropriate for you to feature handsome, half-dressed men on your business blog (shame), but you could offer other etiquette advice appropriate to your customer.
4. Opposing opinions – Rivalry between celebrities is a feature in this issue. You don’t have to be that controversial, instead take 2 experts in your industry with opposing views and have them discuss it on your business blog. People love to wade in on a good debate.
5. New industry launches – In this issue, Rhianna launches a new denim collection. Make sure you are up to speed with noteworthy launches in your own industry to let your readers stay up to date.
6. Big goals, budget cost – The magazine shows you how to do red-carpet fashion on a high-street budget. Can you write an article which lets readers achieve a Big-Budget effect on a shoe-string?
7. Tough love – Sometimes you just need to tell it to your readers straight. Think “just do it” and “suck it up.” In this issue MP Louise Mensch talks about achieving big dreams by taking big action. Your readers might benefit from a similar pep talk.
8. Polls – Ask your readers their opinions, publish the results and discuss.
9. Industry round up – This magazine gives readers a snapshot of celebrities wearing shorts. Can you profile entrepreneurs, businesses or organisations in your business and do a round –up of “who’s doing what”?
10. Reassurance – Sometimes your readers need to know that it’s fine to experience certain things. Glamour does this is with a regular feature called “Hey, it’s OK…” Can you make your own readers feel better about some of the worries they’re having?
11. Be a tour guide – The magazine frequently explains the baffling habits of men. Can you offer your own “translation” advice? “What your web designer really means when they say [X]” for example.
12. What no one tells you about… – Fill in the blanks relevant to your own industry and readers
13. Simple round up of overlooked tips – “6 sauces that love your body” takes Glamour Readers through Tabasco, wasabi, pesto and more. What about you? “6 apps that love your coaching / consulting / publishing business” perhaps? Or 25 awesome WordPress plugins you can get for free?
14. Health advice – Every interest or industry has an effect on health, from desk-job fitness to falling off your horse. How can you keep your readers healthy in their interests?
15. How to cope when… What situations might send your business blog readers into a panic? Hard drive crashing? Last minute client requests? Power cuts? Keep them calm and they will love you
16. Money saving tips – Every one can offer relevant money-saving tips. How can you let your readers know about discounts, exclusive offers, or cost-effective alternatives in your industry that they might not be aware of?
17. Horoscopes – More common in women’s magazines but who says you can’t offer relevant advice for the star sign of the month? If no-one else is doing it maybe you should.
18. Share your other “Hang-Outs” – Got a mobile app? A Facebook page? An online community? A local event? Give readers a quick round-up of the discussions, conversations and questions raised by readers elsewhere.
19. Embarrassing fears – Glamour tackles the problem head-on in this issue of wondering “Is Everybody Kinky Now?” What embarrassing questions do your readers have that you can answer for them?
20. A peek behind the curtain – The magazine shows a day in the life of a celebrity. Can you do a “Day in the life of a successful public speaker / author / café-owner” and provide a glimpse of your reader’s dream life?
21. Embarrassing stories – “The Best Bad Dates EVER!” is what gets attention in this magazine. Can you share some of your own embarrassing stories, or those of readers to help your community bond?
22. Reader competitions – Generate valuable community content and activity through competitions. This magazine created pages of fashion photos by asking readers to submit for the “most fashionable couple.”
23. Confessions of a… – Eye-catching headline, now how do you finish it: Internet Troll? Struggling Entrepreneur? Not-so-Domestic Goddess?
24. Time travel – Take them into the future. How will your reader’s life change (relevant to your industry) in the next 5,10,20 years? (For part 2 see no. 89)
25. How to ace… – Bikini Season? Your next job interview? A meeting with a Venture Capitalist? Finish off the headline and help your reader master a challenge
26. Share secrets – Still popular, don’t underestimate the power of a headline that tells readers the “Secret to…”
27. Flip an idea around – This magazine challenges the idea you should just date one man. What common beliefs can you challenge? Defying common time management theories? Marketing advice like how to make more sales by actually revealing a weakness? Perhaps even something that (gasp!) Seth has said? (Tip: don’t do it for the sake of it, always be adding value)
28. Spot and explain trends – Makes sense for a fashion magazine but is just as relevant for any other industry. Tell your readers what’s hot and why. Explaining the latest Pinterest craze perhaps?
29. Hold voted awards – Sick of waiting for an award? Why not host your own? You think Michael Stelzner’s Top 10 Blogs for Writers gained his business exposure and built valuable relationships? Of course. You think he had to wait for someone to tell him to do it? Nope!
30. Survival guide to… – Tell your readers what equipment, preparation, training and advice they will need to survive a situation.
31. Pimp the numbers post – This magazine contains 645 fashion steals for under £10. This blog post is clocking in at 98 items. Can you take the number post to extremes?
32. Shortcut tools – Quick tips, fast tutorials, Just like saving money, there’s always way to help your readers save time.
33. Spotlight praise- Got a mentor, peer, colleague or inspirational person your readers should know about? Heap on the praise and let them shine
34. Mini master class – A little more involved than shortcut tools and how-tos. Think focused and in-depth. A Mini-Master class in submitting a guest post, creating a professional logo or preparing an invoice for example.
35. The facts behind the story – Your content marketing should serve as a guide to cut through industry overwhelm and confusion. Glamour magazine delivers the facts on diet pills. What can you deliver the facts on? Getting paid to blog? Tax issues for a freelancer? Be the go-to resource for no-nonsense advice.
36. Inspirational snapshots – Can you feature mini snapshots of success stories? Share how 7 freelancers found their first client? Or how small businesses got their first piece of PR?
37. Silly humour – Don’t be afraid to provide some light entertainment once in a while such as Glamour’s “18 things we wish were Olympic sports” (including toddler Pogo…)
Well that’s the first publication done, but as the Carpenters wisely advise, we’ve only just begun…
A monthly magazine dedicated to all things yachting.
Trust me when I say, these guys are good. I don’t know how I lived without knowing how to use a Kedge Anchor.
Let’s dive in. (Every pun intended)
38. Obituaries – Yachting monthly start their issue with notice of 2 sailors who have passed away. It might sound morbid, but your readers may learn something from a respectful tribute to a relevant industry figure.
39. Scandalous stories – Electronic compasses with huge degrees of error, yachtsman inns failing to make it into the Good Pub Guide, what other snippets of stories can you share that will have your readers shaking their heads, or their fists?
40. Rescue stories – On the flipside, a story about the rescue of a 71-year old pensioner was heart-warming. Can you share stories of your readers overcoming adversity with the help of someone else?
41. Prevention and protection – An in-depth feature on the experience and prevention of boat crime would be riveting to yachting enthusiasts. What would the equivalent be in your industry? Website hacking? Fraudulent orders? Security breaches?
42. “How to…” (in depth) – 8 pages dedicated to sailing the Atlantic including photos, costs, equipment needed and challenges. Can you take a specific problem and deal with it in great depth?
43. Personal lifestyle – Apparently finding love as a sailor can be tricky “too like-minded, and you’ll both want to be skipper, and that would never do.” What personal challenges do your readers face? Balancing their romance and building a business? Explaining to people in social settings what exactly it is they do for a living?
44. Community advice – You are the go-to resource, but your community can be a rich resource of tips and advice. Encourage them to share on social networks, collect them up and publish in a blog post.
45. Firsthand commentary pieces – In this issue, Tom Cunliffe writes a firsthand experience of sailing through the Sargasso Sea. What about your business? First hand commentary on a networking event? A conference? A new show? A new resource centre?
46. Essential equipment (readers don’t know they need) – it’s all too easy to take your own knowledge for granted. Explore the basics, is there anything your customer’s may be overlooking? Yachting Monthly explains: “Why every yacht needs a good kedge anchor.” Now it’s your turn: “Why every [X] needs a good [X]
47. Danger, Danger, Danger! – There used to be a program in the UK called ‘999’ which recounted happy scenarios turning into life or death situations. (Even everyday can now spark a Michael Buerk voiceover in my head. Damn you Michael!) In this magazine issue we see a “sunny weekend” turn into a “Forces 9 emergency.” So over to you, what close calls or unexpected events have caused drama in your industry or business?
48. “How to” (the photo version) – Of course your business blog lends itself to writing, but people love visual tutorials (here’s a simple example of a business blog post that uses screenshots for teaching readers about ‘content curation’). How you can give someone a visual tour of a new technique or method (Yachting Monthly show you step by step how to “scull your tender” – beat that!)
49. Quick tips from a featured expert – People love the short and snappy, but how many times can you write about useful tips and keep them fresh? Using a regularly featured expert who advises from personal experience is just one way.
50. What would you do? – Something I’ve not yet seen on a blog, instead of just telling your customers what to do, pose them a problem, conundrum or situation and ask how they would solve it. You can follow up the next day with an expert’s answer (see 49)
51. Useful books – Any expert has a number of classic books that helped them begin their journey, and beginner’s are often in need of the same resources. Share your favourite resources from classics to the latest releases.
52. Agony aunt – Instead of trying to pre-empt what information your customers need to know, have them write in with their problems and solve them on your blog.
53. Constant variables – In Yachting, the weather is a constant variable. It will always affect your journey and is always changing. Is there something comparative in your industry? Commodity prices? Political environment? Changing legislation? You could feature a regular section all about how to navigate dynamic environments.
54. Local matters – Another regular feature for Yachting Monthly is “Home Waters” – stories and advice on all things within the UK. Can you provide a local angle for your own company? Can you talk specifically about your home town, country or continent in relation to your business?
55. The adventures of… – Sometimes, ‘how-tos’ can be a bit dry. So shake them up into an adventure story. Search for stories of ideal customers who have been on an adventure in your industry. Feeling stuck? Try finding a story that follows this fairytale magic.
56. Journey abroad – The opposite of local matters at no. 54, instead hit Google and find out what’s happening in your industry around the world. Focus on a specific example from a country or location that might be new and exciting to your reader.
57. Case study (in depth) – Take a customer story and narrate it from start to finish showing original challenges, goals and how you helped your customer achieve them. It showcases the talents of your business, but makes your customer the real star.
58. Technical expertise – Every business uses technology, and not everyone is a fan of technology. What do your customers uses? Computers? Design software? Lathes or band saws? Help them get the best from their machines by sharing your expert know-how.
59. The test drive – Common for cars and bikes, and in this issue, yachts, but when a new product or resource comes on the scene, people love to see it in action. Just think how popular iPhone demonstration videos are, often made by fans within minutes of the latest launch. If you can get your hands on the latest equipment in your industry, take it for a spin and let your readers know.
60. The Which…? Test – Take a number of similar products that your customer might consider using, test them vigorously to compare performance and let your readers know which excels in your opinion (disclose any affiliations). It might take time, but you’ll be saving time for 100s if not 1000s of people who are helped by your article.
61. Readers confessions – I’ll be honest, I couldn’t quite understand the embarrassing significane of cleats, pontoons or bowlines that featured in the back page of the Yacthing Monthly feature, but it demonstrates a robust community that people have stories they want to share. Can you encourage your readers to do the same?
Alright, if you’re reading these from top to bottom, take a quick pause and catch your breath. We are heading from the open waters to the river banks.
Improve Your Coarse Fishing – Britain’s Best Selling Fishing Magazine
(On a side note, there does appear to be a through theme in improve Your Coarse Fishing where men must lie on the ground holding a fish, or being surrounded by fish. I have no idea why these men don’t sit or stand with their fish…)
62. Your month in numbers – The Magazine features their month in numbers: 1,655 = the number of miles covered to put together the issues, 16 = the size in millimetres of a pellet featured in one of the articles, 11lb = the biggest bream caught by the fisherman on page 60, 4 = the inches of rig a fisherman used to catch carp on the pole. Numbers are eye-catching. Can you do something similar?
63. League tables – This issue does a round-up of the best small rivers and streams. Could you hold a regular review of the best (or worst) elements in your industry? Best schools, best cafes with Wi-Fi, best local organisations for small businesses?
64. Beginner to pro stories – Your business blog readers are on a journey. They may be starting out, or further down the line, but there’s somewhere they want to be that they haven’t yet reached. Perhaps it’s having a bigger business, working less, finding a career they love. Pick someone who has achieved what your customer wants. Ask them to go back to the beginning of their journey and talk about how they overcame some of those first challenges.
65. The profile – In this magazine it is the Chub fish that is profiled. From what it eats, to where to find it, including a double-page spread photo (saucy). What could you profile? Holding the perfect webinar? Dealing with corporate clients? Catching elusive National PR exposure for your reader’s business?
66. 10 steps to mastery (more numbers) – “10 steps to mastering the pole” is not actually as exotic as it sounds in this Coarse Fishing edition. But no matter which way you look at it, 10 steps to mastering anything is always going to be an attention-getting blog post.
67. Beginner’s tips – Probably the most overlooked source of fresh advice. Start at the very beginning. Don’t underestimate the power of the simple. It may seem old-hat to you but could be the most enticing read to your blog audience.
68. Been there, done that – Take a credible expert who has had repeated success in one particular area and ask for their view point on what works best. In this issue Les Thompson is a £50,000 fishing match winner (credible) and shares his theories on fishing in 4 inch deep water. Who do you know who’s “been there, done that” who can share tried and tested methods with your audience?
69. Essential gear for specific situations – This magazine covers the tackle you need for small rivers. Think about the equipment your readers need for specific situations? Apps for running a business away from the office perhaps? 5 must have internet marketing tools? Lighting equipment needed for dark indoor photo shoots?
70. New ways to overcome old problems – Fishing problem : soft baits are effective, but fall off the hook when cast. The solution? Using a “paste pot” to hold it in place on the pole. Whether or not that makes sense to you, the magazine shows a new way to deal with an old problem. What old problems can you help your readers overcome with new techniques or tools?
71. The ultimate goal – This magazine has a whole series of articles title: “Catch More Fish” with subsections for “Rig School, Underwater Angling” etc. So think about the ultimate goal of your audience. Do they want more customers? More blog readers? More traffic? Run a regular series with the ultimate goal as the title, and a subsection which narrows down into a specific area or techniques: “Catch More Customers – Webinar Techniques” for example.
72. Insider secrets (with results)– Another way of displaying a ‘how to’ is to actually show experts using their own tips and tactics, and sharing the results they got. In this issue, Warren Fenn shows you how to tie a combi rig for snag fishing, and proudly poses with the carp he caught with this technique. Other possibilities? Sharing launch tactics and revealing how many sales / sign ups were achieved is just one example.
73. Tips from other industries – Sometimes you can find an interesting story outside your own industry. In this issue, the magazine looks at unexpected fishing catches available from the waters of an old coal mine. Look outside your own industry. If you’re an accountant, can you find inspiration in sports? If you’re in software can you find inspiration in pop music? Varying the sources of books you read or TV you watch might just give you an idea for a fresh business blog post.
74. Free gifts – A £60 bait package and a cap is available when you subscribe to this magazine. Can you feature any gifts or resources at the end of a relevant blog post?
75. Price range tools on review – High-end Equipment, Shoe-String Resources; just 2 ways you can group together your review of new equipment or products your audience might be interested in.
76. Exclusive reader offers – The magazine teamed up with a reel supplier to give away free reels (readers paid postage and package). No doubt a popular offer that engaged them closely with their readers. Can you make an exclusive offer to your audience? Or team up with someone to make an offer like this?
77. The “Disneyworld” review – We’ve already talked about reviewing equipment, technology and tools that your readers will love, but what about reviews of the places that stock those things. I call this the “Disneyworld Review.” Most industries have places that light up your customer’s professional lives with the excitement of the Magic Kingdom. For example, as a content marketer and copywriter, I love stationery. My Disneyworld is Staples, for a tradesman in the UK, it might be Axminster Tools, for a work at home mum it might be the new Creche Facility within a local bookstore / café chain. In Coarse fishing Monthly it’s Manor Farm Fishing, a kit shop and lake. What is your customer’s Disneyworld that you could review?
78. Historic know-how – Apparently anglers were using poles more than 400 years ago which no doubt makes for an interesting read. Even content-marketing has historic tips still relevant today
79. Advanced Techniques – You’ve catered for beginner tips (no. 67) but don’t forget to offer more advanced techniques for a more seasoned reader.
One last publication to go!
This magazine writes about the lovable scooter each and every month in a way that engages new and old readers alike:
80. Seasonal tips – The weather naturally affects the scooter community so it makes sense to reflect on how the summer months have been or the repairs readers might need to know about in the colder months. What seasonal events affect your own readers?
81. Workshop essentials – Another way of keeping the “tool / equipment” review fresh: Find an expert and ask them a few questions about their own Workshop Essential. Is it their iPad? Their Moleskin notebook? Find out and report back to your audience.
82. Latest releases – Can you do a latest round up of relevant products new on the scene? Scootering features a Mod based calendar, a new DVD as well as the latest in lube and disc cables. What newsworthy products can you do a round-up of in your industry?
83. Misery of the month – Some industries lend themselves to battle scars, does yours? In a regular feature in this magazine “scooter-related disasters” are catalogued. This particular feature involved drinking too much, falling asleep near a fire and melting his boot. You may not have anything that extreme in your line of business, but funny little mishaps do make a good read!
84. Breaking news technology – The latest electric Scooter from BMW showcasing new technology is certainly newsworthy. Can you keep your eye on similar progresses in your industry?
85. Essential sounds – Scooters are closely related to the popular music of the Mod scene so it makes sense to feature music that is evocative of the Mod culture. But think about your readers, can you list the top 10 albums to listen to while designing a website? Or the best relaxing music after one of those days? You can even get your audience involved in sharing some of their favourite picks.
86. Super snaps – Images can catch the eye and capture the imagination. This magazine includes many quick snaps of their readers in the “Show us your Scoots” section. It works because we like to see people just like us. So why not feature some snaps on your blog of happy customers using your product? Another great way to promote you without the hard sell (see no. 57)
87. A backstage pass – All these magazines start with an Editor’s letter. A way to show what’s been happening behind the scenes. These types of stories can make your customer feel closer to you and more involved in your business.
88. Extraordinary stories – The magazine features the remarkable paintwork and design on a Vespa scooter to celebrate an RAF Fighter Pilot Ginger Lacey. A fascinating stories accompanied by stunning imagery of the design. Sometimes you have to dig a little deeper to find a breath-taking story, but it’s worth it to keep things fresh.
89. Time travel (part 2.) – In no. 24 we travelled into the future, now we’re travelling back in time. This magazine sums up what was happening around the world 50 years ago and then shares clips and articles from scooter publications from 1962. How can you share that same nostalgia with your business or industry?
90. Busting myths – If you’ve been online for a while you’ll know that blogs love to debunk theories and bust popular myths. And it’s not just an Internet fad. Offline publications are writing attention-grabbing articles with the same approach, in this instance the various mythology surrounding the extravagant paint jobs of Lambretta scooters.
91. Where are they now? – Can you track down or research an iconic figure within your industry? A trail-blazer from 10,15, 20+ years ago? This magazine tracks down a popstar who featured a scooter on his 1979 album and compared the ‘then’ and ‘now’ of their scooter habits. Can you do something similar? If not a popstar, a well known expert?
92. Subscription feature – Whether your newsletter opt-in form is in your sidebar or homepage, sometimes we can assume our regular readers know the benefits of signing up. Magazines ask for subscriptions and list the benefits of subscribing in every issue. Can you create a blog post about the relevant benefits of being a subscriber?
93. Industry calendar of events – Owning a scooter is a social affair with a calendar full of festivals and events. Is your industry the same? Items like calendars that list useful information are excellent anchors for content marketing – the kind of pieces people refer to again and again.
94. Famous connections – Every now and then a celebrity story will overlap into your industry. In this magazine, 60s Mod band Small Faces held their annual convention. Representative of the Mod era, and the scooters that went with this, it makes an interesting read. However, don’t think you need a direct connection between someone famous and your industry. You can always take charge and keep your eyes out for a famous or notorious figure to feature with your own industry angle on it.
95. A buyer’s guide – In this magazine, readers are walked through buying a Lambretta drum front hub. Think about your product. Can you provide an independent buying guide that is useful to customers (rather than blatant advertising). Think about Copyblogger’s free SEO guide. Is it useful on its own? Yes. Does it build brand credibility? Yes. Is it persuasive in making you aware of their SEO product without the hard sell? Absolutely
96. Community networking – We’ve looked at community generated content through competitions (No. 22) and community tips (No. 44) but what about community networking? The Scootering magazine has plenty of bulletin board areas where people can trade, swap and sell. Is that applicable to your audience? Let’s say you offer business building advice. Could you ask for submissions of what people can offer and what people need then write a post featuring the different profiles to encourage skill swaps and connections?
97. Interviews with up-and comers – This magazine features some of the youngsters making a name in scooter racing. We all know featuring experienced experts makes for great content, but what about showing some rising stars? Reading stories about someone who is only 2-3 years in front of your readers is sometimes more inspiring and less intimidating than reading about an expert who seems to have everything all figured out.
98. DIY projects – Apparently scooter enthusiasts love nothing more than tinkering in their shed. What do your customer’s tinker with in their relative sheds? On a serious note, why not ask your readers to write in with projects they’re working on, successes they’ve had and challenges they’re facing. Then you could write an article featuring them, but offering the God-like advice that makes you the expert you are. (see no.s 57 and 86.)
98 different ways you can create an original, fresh blog post to market your business taken from real life examples of successful magazines.
If this is useful and you think other people who are blogging for business would benefit from this list, take it up with the Twitter bird at the top of this article. (Click him…)
Now… did I miss anything?
Let me know below