With so many distractions hitting you from every direction, and, let’s be realistic, thousands of other blog posts written on the same topic as yours, it can be hard to keep things fresh. Content can often go stale lacking the life, and energy it once had. While you can continue writing as your normally would, there are a few ways to fire things up so to speak, potentially bringing more value to your readers.
Google+ Hangouts On Air
Getting on video can be difficult if you’re a first timer. It’s something that takes practice, and as with anything, you get better over time. As a very visual species, video is a welcome medium, especially when it comes to learning. Chances are, you’re familiar with Google+, and may even use it yourself. Contrary to popular belief, it has hundreds of millions of users.
One of the most underrated features of Google+, and really of all social networks, are Hangouts On Air. What are they? Group video chats that are streamed live, and recorded directly to YouTube. Whatever YouTube account tied to your Google+ account is the one that streams, and records your video chat for later viewing.
Since a Hangout On Air can hold up to 10 participants, you can easily hold group discussions without any extra software. All you need is a decent webcam, and solid internet connection. Talk about a latest trend in your industry, get thoughts on certain topics, or hold a Q&A session for example.
The possibilities are endless, and you could also use them one-on-one to interview experts or people specializing in a certain area that could help your readers. With just a few clicks of a button, and some time, you instantly have a quick way to enhance your blog posts.
Over the past several years, podcasts have absolutely exploded. Essentially, they are recorded shows you can typically listen to on a variety of different mediums: on the web, via iTunes, or on your mobile phone. Being audio, they can be anywhere from a few minutes to several hours.
You could start a weekly segment on a specific topic, or interview different guests. Now, if you’ve seen any podcast setups before, you’re all too familiar with the fancy stand, and microphone that probably cost a small fortune. The good news is you don’t need a fancy, high dollar setup. It’s nice to have, but not necessary. In fact, I’ve used a microphone that you can currently grab off of eBay for under $50. Also, with webcams getting better and better, many come with a good built-in microphone. I have a Logitech C910 which originally cost $99, and is not only capable of recording 1080p video, but has dual-stereo microphones for great audio.
Combine Video AND Text
Some people prefer watching a video, while others prefer reading text. Why not appeal to both crowds, killing two birds with one stone? A great tip I learned from Darren Rowse of ProBlogger fame is having your videos transcribed, and within your blog posts, pasting the transcription below the video. It’s a brilliant, yet super simple method.
As far as cost is concerned, it’s very minimal. Pricing depends on the service you use, but it’s not surprising to see around $2 per minute. Many charge extra if the audio is lower quality/harder to hear, so make sure you have a decent setup.
Since it takes 2-3 business days on average to transcribe, you’ll need to plan ahead. However, for a small cost, your blog posts will differentiate yourself from the competition.
Photo credit: Kat on Flickr
Mike Stenger is a writer with a love of all things technology.