So, last week I wrote about all the benefits of blogging for businesses: blogging drives traffic to your website; increases credibility with potential and actual clients; and gives you a chance to enhance the story you are telling with your whole website.
Now, you’re convinced you need a blog and because you’re a savvy businessperson you understand that to really reap the rewards, blogging on a consistent basis is key. Blogging is a commitment, as one of my readers commented. I couldn’t agree more.
The trouble is that lots of entrepreneurs, who reach this point of understanding, then…STOP.
Blogging is a commitment and I’m already overcommitted…STOP.
Solution #1: Find a great copywriter
If you find yourself stuck here, one way (which I wholeheartedly endorse) to break free of the STOP is to hire a great copywriter who can provide content with input from you. The level of input I receive from my clients varies a lot. Some clients simply send a list of topics or titles and I return fully formed drafts after doing a bit of research. Other clients prefer to send notes and I come up with a structure that makes sense, connect the dots, and fill-in the blanks. As a client, your level of input depends on what feels most comfortable to you.
Solution #2: Get those blog ideas flowing
Suppose you enjoy blogging and are blogging, but only about once a month or every other month or twice a year. Maybe that’s all you feel you have time for. Maybe your writing muse only visits you every so often. Or maybe you are having trouble coming up with content to blog about more often.
Well, I’ve got a few tricks up my sleeve to help with this last one. And just like magic, once those blog ideas are flowing, you’ll find more time to blog, and I bet your muse will start visiting you more often too. The more regularly you write, the more the ideas will come. It’s strikingly cyclical.
When you can’t think of something to write, here are some tricks to get the ball rolling:
- Get into the mind of your ideal client: Picture your target audience, or better yet, your ideal customer. (You might even create an avatar. Don’t worry if you start talking to her. You only need to worry when she starts talking back.) Ask yourself what problem she is having today. Then write a blog post about solving her problem. Keeping a list of questions you get from actual clients also provides you with a ready-made list of potential blog topics.
- Mine other blogs for ideas: No, I’m not talking about plagiarizing other blog posts! Enough about the plagiarism already! But do read some posts on the popular blogs in your industry to see what people are talking about. This will help generate blog ideas and probably boost your confidence when you realize you have as much or more good stuff to say than lots of others in your field. This is especially true if you’ve been in business for a while. You have lots of wisdom to share with others. Don’t forget to read the comments to see what ideas most resonate with readers.
- Consider what inspires you: Think about the last thing you read, heard, or watched that you found really inspiring. It doesn’t matter whether it’s directly related to your business. It could be a podcast teaching you a new CrossFit workout. Chances are good that if you found it interesting enough to share, others will find it inspiring too. Of course, if you can show how it relates to doing business, then your audience will be even more likely to engage with it (Here’s a possible title: How CrossFit taught me that success in business is all about the grind). Keep in mind that the best blog posts tell an interesting story.
Solution #3: Worst-case scenario
If all else fails, challenge yourself by picking some random object and coming up with a blog post about it. It might seem like a silly exercise, but if you can get beyond the silliness, I promise you it will get the words flowing.
Allow me to demonstrate. Suppose I want to challenge myself to write a post on most boring thing I can think of—watching paint dry:
Title: Calming your mind is as simple as watching paint dry
Your mind is racing. Your head is full. “I have to remember to pick-up Lacy from dance class this afternoon…What am I going to make for dinner? Are we out of milk? Tomorrow I need to get to the post office to send that mailer by 11am, which means I need to stop at the printer by 10, which means I need to move that meeting with Paul from Paul & Co, which means I need to stay up tonight after the kids go to bed and finish this proposal.”
Ack. You need a break.
When your mind starts racing like this, you’re less productive. It’s a good idea to take 10 minutes out to slow things down and give yourself a mental break with a meditation session.
If you’ve never meditated before, it can be hard to know where to start. Here’s a simple meditation exercise that anyone can do. The actual wet paint is optional. This exercise will work just as well with dry paint:
– Sit in a chair facing the wall.
– Get as close to the wall as possible.
– Make sure there is nothing distracting in your periphery.
– Stare straight ahead at the wall, focus, and imagine yourself becoming one with the wall.
Okay, so maybe I cheated a little bit. But that’s not the point. The point is that just because you don’t have a blog topic in mind when you sit down to write, doesn’t mean you don’t have anything to write about. Waiting for inspiration before writing a blog post is like waiting to get in shape before you start going to the gym. The ideas will come when you start writing.
Breaking free of the STOP is just a matter of starting to write. If you want help brainstorming blog ideas, I’m around. Contact me anytime!
Photo credit: sifotography / 123RF Stock Photo