If you have writer’s block, here are four questions you can use to get unstuck and build a blog that attracts clients to you.
1. What makes you mad?
Maybe you’ve heard ‘the future is mobile’ so many times, you’re going to explode.
Puncture conventional wisdom by finding a new angle. What’s the truth of the situation? Why are they wrong? What are they missing?
Here’s your chance to set the record straight and get your opinion into the mix. If you get annoyed when the same people pontificate about the same old things, you can leverage that frustration into creating a meaningful insight that shapes the public discourse.
2. What questions do people ask you?
What does everyone want to know about your field? When people ambush you at cocktail parties, what do they always ask?
Any question can be the spark for an interesting blog post — but especially if multiple people are asking, it shows there’s a demand for the answer. Don’t let the questions slip into the ether. When you get a new one, record it in the notes function of your smartphone so you can capture it and respond the next time you’re in ‘writing mode.’
3. What do you want to learn about?
My colleague, blogger and entrepreneur, Mark Fidelman, chooses blog topics based on what he’d like to learn about. If he thinks crowdfunding is an interesting phenomenon, he’ll assign himself a post on the topic and, as part of the process, will read up on the field and meet and interview leaders in it. For him, blogging is a self-guided curriculum.
Think about the people you’d like to meet or the trends and developments you want to follow. Maybe it’s angel investing, e-book publishing or the perfume industry. You can start with a question: What are five ways to break into the perfume industry?
Then treat the blog post as a form of reporting in order to learn the answer. Or you can dive in, meeting people and reading books and other blogs, and allow your own ideas for posts to emerge from that process. Either way, you’re likely to find great material.
4. Use Copyblogger’s ‘Cosmo Technique.’
In my book Reinventing You, I describe one of my favourite techniques for coming up with ideas for blog posts. Originally suggested by the Copyblogger website, a site focused on offering tips about writing online, the ‘Cosmo Headline Technique’ advises that you check out Cosmopolitan magazine.
The publication has honed its headline-writing into an attention-grabbing science, something bloggers can learn from. Find a few headlines that appeal to you (’10 Unbelievable Ways to Surprise Your Boyfriend’) and adapt them to your own needs (’10 Unbelievable Ways to Surprise Your Customers’). Voila! You’ve borrowed the sexy, curiosity-inducing structure of Cosmo headlines, while keeping the topic relevant to your own field.
What strategies have been effective for you in developing ideas for blog posts?
Related: 5 Steps to Digital Marketing Success