The fear of running out of “stuff to write about” haunts many who are getting their feet wet in the blogosphere. (Of course, the “pros” experience “writer’s block” too, they just developed the muscles to keep at it.)
How can I keep the ideas coming? If I write too frequently, wouldn’t I run out of stuff to talk about?
And when that happens, wouldn’t I look incompetent/unprofessional/like a fool to my audience?
As a result of these fears, many would toss everything and anything that comes to mind onto the page and hoping something will stick.
They feel under pressure to “produce” – maybe they learn from some training that they have to post every day to get the Google juice. Maybe they were told that they have to send out x emails a week to make “email marketing” work.
Truth is, it’s NOT all about quantity, or frequency.
Yes, posting and communicating regularly and consistently is important, but if you force yourself to regurgitate some canned content just for the sake of having a 300-word “keyword dense” post up every day, your content is not going to help you turn readers into clients.
When we get fixated on the “format” (e.g. posting x times a week),
we often lose sight of the real reason we are doing it (our WHY.)
When we get myopic and disconnected from what drives us to blog in the first place (e.g. to write, to share our message, to grow our business & help more people, to build an audience), blogging can easily turn into a chore we just check off the list with a sigh of relief… like folding laundry and finding matching socks (tip: put socks in mesh bags so they stay together!)
Blogging for business growth is not just a writing exercise in which you cough up 500 words and call it a day. It starts with having a complete understanding of what matters to you, your niche and your business.
When you understand the 3 components that make a blog post convert, you can use this 3-step process to generate article ideas, so you won’t be staring at a blinking cursor on a blank screen again:
1. Write down the various aspects of _____ (business, relationship, career etc.) that your ideal clients care about.
There are different ways to start this brainstorming: e.g. the “day-in-life” exercise, your own experience/life story, current events, seasonal topics, your opinions on something happening in your field, or what riles you up about your industry etc.
Don’t constrain yourself to problems directly related to your products or services. Focus on what frustrates your audience in the broader category, and what inspires them.
Make sure you get into their heads and understand what they think, how they act, and how they feel – this is the ticket to making your content personal and relatable.
2. Drill down and relate the solution they are looking for to the essential components of your process and expertise.
From step 1, you have a list of “challenges” “problems” “pains” and “desires.”
Now, we want to communicate why you are RELEVANT to your ideal clients by relating their challenges/desires to your process, skills, superpower, tools and expertise.
You can write the most epic article on the planet, but unless they understand why your content is relevant to them, they don’t care.
When working with clients, I often start with designing a signature system, which is a great way to articulate “what you do and how you do it” so you can confidently communicate your products’ or services’ relevance to your ideal clients.
From your signature system, you can break out one step, or one point within a step, and turn it into a post by first leading in with the problem it solves.
(If you have a 7-step system, and each system has 3 points, you can easily come up with 21 or more posts to write! Also, one step, or one point, may solve multiple symptoms, so you can write one post about each symptom that each point solves… do the math, it’s a goldmine!!)
Sometimes your solution may focus on the root cause of their problems, and the correlation may not be apparent to your readers. That’s why we want to cast a wider net in step 1, so we can drill down and relate their daily frustrations to your offering.
If there is a few steps between what they think their problem is, and the solution you offer (it happens often in the personal development space), you may have to start from the symptoms, educate your readers on the root cause and relate the root cause to the solution you provide.
Your content needs to articulate their “symptoms” – the thing that they are actively seeking a solution for – and how your process, tools, experiences, talents etc. can help solve their problem.
3. Look at your marketing plan holistically and orchestrate your content to support your marketing effort and sales cycle.
Now you have a long list of stuff to write about, we need to filter and prioritize.
Your marketing calendar and sales cycle can inform when you write what. You can also fold in seasonal topics, current events, personal experience or client stories to make the content timely, relevant and relatable.
E.g. if you are launching a program, the content leading up to the launch should build awareness, get those who are interested in that particular topic to engage, build trust and boost your expert status.
Using content to support your marketing effort also means more than just publishing a blog post. Promoting the post to reach the right audience is as important, if not more so, than writing it.
Promoting content on the various platform may mean writing them up slightly differently to suit the format and the audience.
Even with the variation, we need to ensure that the different pieces work synergistically with each other to communicate a cohesive message, an aligned narrative and your personality.
Here is the most important thing to know about the fear of “running out of ideas” – YOU WON’T!
The more you write the more ideas will be sparked.
Through the process of writing out your thoughts, you will gain a deeper understanding of your area of expertise. As you get more clarity, you will have more to share and develop a unique perspective that will attract the right clients to you.
This is the clarity-action upward spiral – you get enough clarity to take action, and when you take action, you are required to take a stand and make decisions, which help you gain more clarity.
When you dig deeper into your topic, when you see how your talent and experience relate to your ideal clients’ lives, you will be able to articulate your expertise and point of view from more angles.
The key is, you gotta start somewhere to build that momentum. It is about having the “Turning Pro” mindset, to sit down and do the work even if it’s not love and light all the time.
When you write more, you may feel like you are repeating yourself. You may find yourself talking about the same principles from two dozens angles. You may get bored. You may feel like you need to switch gear and talk about something else to “stay fresh.”
Don’t worry about that! Stick to your guns.
In fact, you are probably onto something when YOU are bored about the stuff you write about. That’s a sign of you honing in on your message and that a strong theme is emerging from your work.
Only you, your mother and your cat will read everything you have written. The rest of the world needs multiple exposures, explained from various perspectives (only one or two will really hit home for each individual), for your ideas and message to sink in.
By introducing your solution from different perspectives, or points of “entry,” you will be able to “get through” to more people who interpret their challenges, pains and problems in different ways.
You have to find your value and beliefs important enough for you to keep writing. Unless you are utterly connected to them (finding the right words is a great way to deepen that connection), show your passion and give a crap, your readers won’t.
Ready to use content marketing to get in front of a whole lot of ideal clients in a way that positions YOU as the expert? Grab this guide to turn blogging from weekly writing exercise to daily profit generator:
About the author: Ling Wong
Ling is an Intuitive Brainiac. Through her unique blend of Business + Marketing coaching with a Mindset + Psychic Twist, she helps the multi-talented and multi-passionate maverick solo-entrepreneurs distill ALL their big ideas into ONE cohesive Message, nail the WORDS that sell and design a Plan to cut the busywork and do what matters, through her intuitive yet rigorous iterative process born out of her Harvard Design School training and 10 years of experience in the online marketing industry.
Ling helps her clients optimize the space between individuality + originality vs. “tried-and-true” marketing so they can express their WHY unapologetically and profitably without reinventing the wheel.
Find Ling and grab her free “How to Find YOUR Winning Formula” Training Series here.
This article was first published by Ling Wong