The most common reasons that people don’t blog (so they tell me) is that
a) they don’t know how to write, and
b) they don’t know what to write.
I have lots of ideas of how you can solve the
second problem, which often fixes the first one. When you are inspired to write about something, it’s much easier to figure out how to communicate it.
But before I give you my laundry list of 11 things to write about when the creative well is dry, let me put this in context. A few weeks back, I wrote about how to put yourself into your blog by finding your secret sauce. That’s great advice if you already know what kind of content to write. But what I’m hearing is that many of you are not there yet. You still need a few ideas on what kind of content to write.
I also want to congratulate you. If you’re reading this, you are finally starting to believe my constant declarations that to be successful in business as in life, you have to get yourself out there and engage with your community. How do you do this? I’ve put together a good list to get your wheels turning.
In general, what you need to write about depends on your audience. You have to know what they need, and give them something that they should care about. Here are some ideas.
1.) Expert interviews. You can interview the industry experts in your field. Ask them questions that would pique your audience’s curiosity. What were the lessons learned, especially from failure? What were other interesting angles? You can write up these interviews as blog posts or record them as podcasts.
2.) Solutions for clients’ problems. You can create a list of the top questions your clients have from the things they ask you about and the things they have the most difficulty with. Trust me, if one person has the question or problem, it is probably the case that they are not the only one. Writing posts that provide the answers for all your clients to see, helps everyone. Become a trusted resource and people will come back to hear your take on issues.
3.) News. No doubt you turn to news sources that are common knowledge to you in your industry, but are your clients privy to these, and do they keep up with this news? Curate the news of your industry and be sure to give your take on the topic while you are at it. Try and find things that are not blasted everywhere. People appreciate you bringing worthwhile, useful news to their attention. Everyone loves to feel smart.
4.) How-to lists. People love content that they can easily read, understand and share. This is why lists are so popular online, and why this content is in a list. So go and make your own list!
5.) Your experience. We always are curious about each other’s journeys, how others succeeded or not. We are curious about mistakes made along the way, especially so we can sidestep those pitfalls. Don’t take for granted your hard-won wisdom; it may be valuable for someone else.
6.) Your stories. You know I’m big on sharing experiences in business and life. I heard recently a caveat: Don’t reveal a painful or embarrassing situations until you have a resolution. Even if you get a lot of mail, the tell-all is not advised. You want to be the helper, not the victim.
7.) Video blog. Some people like to read and write, others like to watch and record. It’s all good. You can vlog with an iPad on a stand with a couple of lights and a microphone. Editing with iMovie for iPad is simple, as my how-to post described. Remember this isn’t the Academy Awards. Being real and getting it out there is far more important than fancy production.
8.) Photos. Photos are a must for sharing on Pinterest and Instagram; they are the top viewed content on Facebook and Twitter. Upgrading the office? Show your visitors. Have special clients or visitors? Do show and tell. Any event you have deserves pics and captions on your website.
9.) Inspirational quotes on a graphic. Do you have favorite sayings? Share with your clients and readers to inspire them and show them who you are. Quotes are some of the most retweeted content on Twitter and liked on Instagram. Use the hashtag #quote or #quotes at the end of your message to attract more attention. Beware: Sending out a steady stream of boring, recycled quotes from a book, may turn off your followers. Keep quotes fresh and authentic to your work.
10.) Product reviews. Write about products or productivity tools in your industry. Give your opinion on why you think they are the best. How about a meaty write-up comparing two industry-specific products or plugins? People appreciate hearing about your research for your own projects. You’ve done the work, so why not share it and get more out of it?
11.) Heroes and mentors. Tell a story about anyone who inspires you: a client, a colleague or a mentor. Explain how someone played a part in making you who you are today. Who inspires you to do what you are doing? Writing about them is a great way to say thanks and give credit.
What are your go-to ideas for creating content? For summoning the muse? I would love to hear your thoughts and ideas. Who knows, I may find a nugget to turn into my next post!