Probably the biggest question I get asked about blogging for business is how to come up with ideas for blog posts. Here's my method:
Creating Content for a Business Blog: Getting Ideas
It all starts with building deep understanding of your ideal clients.
Do research and surveys. Ask new subscribers questions. Spend a day in their life doing what they do. Draw up “pen pictures” of typical clients.
Get inside their head somehow.
Then brainstorm their goals and aspirations (in the areas where you can help). What they'd like to achieve. Who they look up to and admire, who they'd like to be like.
And then move on to where they are today: their problems and issues (again, in the areas where you can help). The day to day challenges they face.
Then take a piece of paper and in the top right hand corner write in a little summary of the goals and aspirations you identified. In the bottom left do the same for the problems and challenges they currently face.
Then draw an arrow joining the two.
That's the journey you're going to take your potential client on should they hire you.
Now look at that journey. Think about all the steps your client is going to have to make to successfully achieve their goals. And think about all the potential barriers they're going to have to overcome to get there.
Write those steps above the line on the map, and write the barriers below the line. Try to brainstorm as many as you can. It doesn't matter if all your clients will have to do all the steps, or will hit all the barriers – try to make the list as comprehensive as possible.
That things on those lists of steps and barriers are going to be what you write about on your business blog.
The first big barrier they face (or “speedump” as I like to call it, as the goal is that they get past it!) will form the core of the lead magnet you use to motivate readers to subscribe to your newsletter or other communications. But the other steps and barriers are perfect candidates for blog posts and newsletters.
So it could be that – to take leadership development as the field – a potential client for leadership coaching might have barriers like a lack of confidence, they might not know what their team needs from them, they might not have a clear picture of where they want to take their organisation. All these can make great topics for a business blog.
Next, I add to the mix what I believe the potential client will need to know and feel before they're ready to hire me. As well as providing ideas for blog posts, the “know and feel” factors can guide me to how I should write the post.
For example, If I decide that potential clients need to know and feel I've worked with people just like them before they'll be ready to hire me, then I'll try to cover many of the points using client case studies. And I'll make sure they get to see who they client was so they know whether someone in their situation was able to achieve great results by working with me.
I keep this “masterplan” for the blog near at hand when I'm writing or trying to come up with ideas. I don't use it every time. Much of the time I'm just inspired to write on a specific topic,
But having it nearby and reviewing it whenever I'm stuck for ideas is really helpful. It gives me the confidence to know that if I can write good content in these areas, then my business blog will work to help me bring in clients.
And don't forget: to learn how to turn those ideas for business blog posts into valuable content fast – tune in to my webinar with Danny Iny on Fast Easy Blog Writing.
Photo Credit: Andy Piper