The other day, my friend Lucas reached out to me on Facebook. He appreciates me coaching him on helping him get ramped up on blogging but needs to find ways to get original ideas for blog posts. It’s hard not to just curate information from the web and find what I had described as ‘a juxtaposition of a couple seemingly unrelated things’ in his industry (fitness,) and create blog posts that will really serve his prime demographic.
Ask the clients you serve to give you the 3 biggest questions they have in regard to your expertise
What have you been struggling with while you’re [insert activity related to my expertise here.] Trying to get fit (fitness trainer,) doing online marketing? (designers, developers, internet marketers) getting started with your lawsuit? (lawyer) dealing with your laundry? (drycleaner) finding something fun to do around the town? (restaurant, or concert venue)
Even just asking yourself this question in regards to what your potential customers are dealing with, will help you get started, but I suggest you actually ask. Send 15 of your former clients/customers an e-mail. Be friendly, and be clear you’re not looking for business at the moment, just some questions that you will in turn try to answer in a detailed blog post. If this were you, would you pleased to receive that e-mail? Likely, yes, if the sender is really trying to be useful to you.
Take a good hard look at what’s already working for topics related to your industry
Tools such as BuzzSumo can give you a look into what’s been working for a particular key-word. For a fitness trainer, you might search variations on the theme. “Bodybuilding,” “working out,” and “fitness.” As you can see the top result here has 830.5k shares on Facebook. This is astronomical, and shows you that there is clearly a demand for any articles in this vein. Create one of your own with a bit of a different spin, and you already know there are people that want stuff like it.
Here is a list of tools for Blog Post Idea generation:
3. I Am On Demand – Type in your term and it will give you results by relevance, shares or popularity.
4. Topsy – Broader search results but more focused on Twitter.
5. Content Gems – I find this one good for finding articles to share, but could be used for content ideas as well.
7. Alltop – This one is built more around categorization than search, but list articles out in a very condensed way.
8. Twitter Search – You can always just search in Twitter, and they have been doing a better job at showing you top results first. You can use this to see what people are interacting with the most in your field and write blog posts based on that knowledge.
9. Social Mention – Another tool to find what’s being shared most. Adds comment, news and events info.
10. EpicBeat – Another big data aggregator, Search for influencers, formats, and it includes graphical representation of the data.
Tell an interesting story, of how you solved an important challenge
When I’m designing websites on WordPress in Minneapolis, I’m always faced with at least one curious challenge for telling a companies story online. Do they have more complex categorization of products? Is their service hard to show visually in a quick and visceral way? Do they have a ton of photos that we want people to be able to interact with quickly without the site loading too long?
Just like I face unique challenges, you do as well in your own industry or niche. Key in on those challenges and tell the story of how you solved them in a way that addresses future clients current concerns. If you’re in the fitness industry, perhaps you have a client who had a hard time getting results because of they couldn’t keep off the cake. How did you solve that? Tell the story in a way that doesn’t out your client; tell it in a constructive way that would help someone who was looking how to solve the same problem.
After you tell the story, give 10 tips or a clear ‘how to’ structure for making your life cake free and still enjoying it, or implementing your one ‘cake day’ a week. How do you suggest sticking to it? It’s really a matter of digging up the topics that encompass ways to be useful to your core demographic and help them solve their issues. When you help them solve their issues, you become the authority on topics related to your business. The idea is that when you become the expert in this, they will be more likely to come to you when they are serious about getting fit, or have a deeper need in the industry you are in.