“Ugh… I have no idea what to write! Guess I’ll go make another pot of coffee and stuff my face with second breakfast.” (No, I’m not speaking from experience or anything…)
Blogging regularly can do wonders for your business (if you don’t believe me, click here). If not for your audience, then at least do it for the almighty Google search results.
Coming up with content ideas is seriously tedious and can easily overwhelm you if you haven’t figured out a system yet. Here’s my system for you to steal to generate a crazy amount of content and blog posts in the next hour.
1. Open your calendar and block off time for a one-hour brainstorming session.
If you can’t block off one hour of time for your business, it’s not a business: it’s a hobby. For this hour, your business is your client, and you are not allowed to work on anything else.
2. When the time comes, walk away (from your computer).
Technology is awesome, and it’s great that we can run our businesses from our smartphones these days, but computers have a way of stifling your creativity (namely, those annoying notifications constantly coming in). Move to an environment that feels spacious and safe. Grab some markers, posterboard or anything else that will help you feel removed from your day-to-day operations.
3. Write down the 3-5 focus areas of your business.
These focus areas are the overarching topics that directly relate to the services you provide or a closely related topic that attracts clients to you. For example, you might be a designer focused on branding, logo creation, and web design. Or, a wedding photographer focused on client experience, wedding days and engagement sessions.
4. Spend 5-10 minutes brainstorming related sub-topics.
What subjects are commonly related to the larger categories you’ve written down? Continuing our earlier example, branding could include color theory, font choices, copywriting style, etc. For the wedding photographer example, it might look something like this:
– welcome gift
– in-person consults
– how to work with you
– timeline creation
– how to stress less
– what makes you different
– what to wear
– trendy vs. classic poses
– fun props to bring
If you’re drawing a blank, some of my favorite places to gather inspiration are my frequently asked questions, recent podcast episodes I’ve listened to, Pinterest searches on related topics, and articles I’ve read that have knocked my socks off.
5. Use your remaining time to run through the 5W1H for each of your topic ideas.
Not-so-fancy acronym alert: 5W1H is simply a quicker way to say “who, what, where, when, why, and how”. It’s a particularly handy exercise when you’re feeling stuck. If you’re writing about web design, you can ask: What platforms are commonly used and who should they be used by? When should someone hire a web designer? Where should they look? Why is it a good investment? How do they determine which designer will meet their needs? Write all these ideas down as separate items.
The important thing to remember during this exercise is that your goal is to get the idea machine rolling and to simply generate the ideas. While you may end up discarding a few of them when all is said and done, try not to get caught up in evaluating your ideas while you’re writing them down. Vetting ideas, researching, and writing your blog posts comes later.
6. Congratulations, you now have a generous list of blog ideas!
Make this a quarterly exercise and you’ll never run out of ideas for your blog.
TLDR? The secret to generating 60 blog posts in an hour is to get away from your computer for a structured brainstorming session.