As business owners, we need to take action on a consistent basis. That includes creating content, as the more content we create regularly, the more traffic Google tends to send our way.
We’ve come up with a 4 step process that helps me generate more ideas than I have time to write about. Hopefully it will work for you too so let’s get to it.
Step 1: Identify your audience
Who are you writing for?
Answering this single question alone can make all the difference. Knowing our audience – in reality our customers – is important because it allows us to tailor the experience for THEM. Our goal is to help others; knowing them is the best way to create content they care about and want to read.
We need to be particular about who our audience is because we are engaged in niche marketing – focussing on a precise segment of a market. We can’t be all things to all people because we won’t be able to help anybody like that. As we focus our businesses on a specific market, we should also focus our content on a specific audience
We can do this by creating a profile of a customer – a short description of who they are, what are their needs are and what problems they have that we can help solve.
Then when you write a blog, you can have this person in mind and write as if you are talking directly to them.
I recommend making 3-5 profiles of different people to fully identify your audience. Writing with one reader in mind can stagnate the creative juices. With multiple profiles, you can write “to” a different person every day – which may lead to thoughts & ideas you hadn’t considered.
Just be sure that all of the profiles relate to your niche so that there is an overall theme to your blog. This will keep your content focused and relevant to your entire audience.
Step 2: Solve problems for them
Once you have defined your audience, consider how you can help them. Now ‘help’ is pretty vague so look at it this way instead:
What problems do they have? And how can you can help solve them?
It’s that simple – your readers are seeking information to help themselves in one way or another.
For example: If your niche is playing guitar, a reader probably wants learn how to play guitar or become a better player. Write blogs focussed on those issues – how does one learn how to play? How does one become a better player? The answers to those questions are blog posts that the guitar-playing audience will want to read.
The best way to help somebody is to solve a problem for them. So think about your reader profiles and what problems they have – you’ll get ideas for blog posts in no time.
Bonus tip: You may get inspiration from readers who comment and ask questions on your blog, as well as people you meet in real life. That’s a way to really help a specific person and make a connection. How nice is it to tell someone Hey – I remembered you asked about ____. I wrote a blog post to help you out. I can guarantee that person would be thankful – and would become an engaged reader.
Step 3: Read other niche blogs regularly
Other blogs – especially ones that are focussed on helping or teaching people – are great places to get blog ideas. Blogs that are in the same niche(s) as you are great too, because you might read something and have an opinion on it.
If you read a post and think to yourself Hey, there’s a better way of doing that or Hey – I disagree with that – that’s material for a new post.
To be clear, I don’t mean that you should rip off a whole blog post. But some aspect of another post may spark a great new idea. It could be the title; it could be a couple of lines; it could be a whole section.
Think of reading other blogs as a launch pad for ideas. Other ideas may help a blog post ‘take off’ but where you go with it will depend completely on you and your audience’s needs.
Step 4: Write down your ideas – every single one of them
Every time I have a blog idea, I write it down, bookmark it or save it in some fashion. Once you have a list, you have something to fall back on those days when your creative juices aren’t flowing. Here are some ideas on keeping track of all of them:
- write them down in a small, pocket-sized notebook
- use a notepad app on your smartphone
- Pocket (bookmarking service, can be used in Google Chrome, Feedly and Facebook’s Paper app)
- Asana (project management tool)
- Trello (collaboration tool)
- WordPress mobile app (I save ideas as ‘draft’ blog posts)
I’m sure there are plenty more services and options – this is just a quick & dirty list. I actually use 5 out of the 6 options – if I have an idea, I put it down in whatever is fastest, be it notebook, phone or laptop.
There you have it – my 4 step process on generating blog post ideas.