At a networking event this morning I was talking to a fellow business owner who I've got to know pretty well. She is awesome at what she does, and simply needs to get more eyes on her business.
Naturally, she thought that blogging would be a great way of doing this. The problem is, though, that she struggles to come up with ideas for posts and often hides behind 'creative block' as a reason not to put pen to paper.
Can you relate to this? This used to happen to me ALL THE TIME.
That is until I got smart and created my 'content calendar'.
It might sound a bit fancy, but basically, it's a checklist on my Evernote app where I write down ideas for blog posts as and when I get them... Having a bank of ideas is the only way I am able to write every a new post every single day. And now, it doesn't even feel like a chore.
But where do I find things to write about every day?
Well, below are a few places I go to regularly to come up with subjects and themes to write about, I hope that you find them useful too.
1. Use google to find questions that your audience is asking.
For example, I would type 'Personal Branding Frequently Asked Questions' into Google and would look at the first few results that are brought up. A super-quick glance has brought up 'How do I establish a personal brand?' and 'How can personal branding lead to a successful career?'... Both of these would make great blog posts, so I'll add them to my list. You can do this too, but swap 'personal branding' for a subject that relates to your business.
Answering questions that your audience is asking is the best way to create content that people actually want to read. Looking for FAQ's (Frequently Asked Questions) is a powerful (and simple) way to do this.
2. Sneak over to Amazon and browse...
This is something I do pretty often with books that I own, but you can also do it with ones that you don't. Head over to Amazon and search for books on your related subject area. Then use the 'look inside' feature to navigate to the table of contents... This will almost certainly reveal some topics or themes that you can give your unique take on. Easy!
3. Look at Magazine covers
This is a great tip that I picked up from one of my favourite authors, Chris Brogan. Every time I walk past the magazines in a newsagent or a supermarket I take a photo of the covers of food, health and several women's magazines. They're all battling for our attention so they've got pretty good at writing headlines that will make us look twice.
Pay close attention to the structure of their feature titles and notice how they entice you to pick them up. Very often you can switch a word for one of your own specialist subjects and you have a ready-made blog post in the making.
These are just a few ways I use to have a growing bank of content ideas. The key is to develop a mind that is always looking for inspiration. Try to spot events in the news that you can use as metaphors or learn lessons from. Look at how big brands are leveraging celebrities to hijack attention... There's no reason why you can't do this too.
My one key takeaway would be to develop the habit of writing down ideas as soon as you have them. James Altucher says come up with at least 10 new ideas every morning, this is a great place to start.
Don't worry, you won't run out of ideas... This is a common fear. Your idea muscle will grow stronger over time and eventually you'll be more worried about not having enough time to actually write them all :)