The biggest hurdle to writing blog posts is getting started.
It’s incredibly daunting to sit down, stare at a blank page on your screen and come up with something to write. The cursor mocks you with its incessant blinking just daring you to come up with something to say.
And the longer you try to force it, the harder it is to produce the words.
That’s why I recommend never starting with a blank page.
Your key to content marketing success is to always have ideas at the ready. That’s why we preach the virtue of the editorial calendar. That way, you’ve got a queue of ideas at the ready and you just have to sit down and start writing.
How To Quickly Generate Blog Post
But, before you build that content calendar, you actually need an arsenal of topics to tackle.
That’s where this exercise can be incredibly helpful to you.
After reading this post, simply set a timer for 15 minutes and walk through the questions here. You should be easily able to come up with at least 50 blog topics in that amount of time.
Now, the idea here is to not make the headlines perfect or to edit yourself as you go. This is an ideation exercise to come up with as much as you can in a short amount of time.
Ready to get started? Here we go!
1. What are the top questions you get?
Perhaps the best way to generate blog content ideas is to look to the questions you get from your clients, prospects and peers.
What kind of information are they looking for? What problems do they face? What questions do they want answered?
To give you an idea, let’s look at the questions people have for lawyers. Here are some ideas I quickly came up with:
- How much do lawyers charge?
- What is my personal injury case worth?
- What are my chances of winning my case?
- What should I look for when choosing an attorney?
- How long will it take to resolve my case?
Get the idea?
These are fairly generic, but you can easily make them more specific based on your particular practice area.
If you’re stuck, look back and your emails and see what kind of questions you get from customers. Or, turn to Google and start typing in questions. The auto fill will give you a clue to the kinds of questions people are asking.
Once you start coming up with questions, I bet you can easily come up with 20-25 questions in no time.
2. How can you help people choose?
People like to weigh their options when searching for a solution. Looking at the pros and cons of an issue or writing “versus” content ranks well with search and helps you fully explain information in a way people search.
Think about it for a minute. Whether you’re buying a product or looking for a service provider, how often do you compare your options?
Should I buy an iPhone or an Android?
Should I hire a plumber or fix the faucet myself?
Which is better — Airbnb vs VRBO?
Writing this kind of content can be extremely valuable and help buyers make informed decisions. And when it comes time to choose a provider, they will be more likely to choose you because you provided valuable information people can trust.
Sticking with the law firm example, here are some examples of comparisons that could work well:
- Hiring a solo attorney vs. a large firm
- Hiring a lawyer vs. representing yourself
- Settling a case vs. going to trial
- Pros and cons of settling my case out of court
For my business, I wrote about the difference between PR and marketing. It’s a question I get a lot and as a result, it has become one of my most popular blog posts.
In another example, I profiled the different options when hiring someone to build your company website.
Each of these posts explains the different options and the benefits to each approach.
How can you showcase the different options to help people make a buying decision?
Try coming up with at least 10 comparison questions.
3. What news do people need to know about?
If you want to be a go-to resource for your audience, it helps to share information about current events and industry news.
What is happening in your industry that you can talk about? Or, is there a larger national story that you can relate to your community or industry?
If you’re a lawyer, for example, you could talk about the new laws that have been passed and what that means for clients. Or, you could talk about the top trends you are seeing when addressing a particular issue.
You might be able to come up with these ideas pretty quickly on your own. But, if you need help, turn to industry publications for ideas.
Try to come up with at least 5-10 ideas.
4. What do you believe?
If you want to build thought leadership, you have to be willing to stand up for what you believe in.
For instance, is there a particular topic you take issue with?
Is there a problem you see in your industry?
What common misconception or perception do you want to change for your business or industry?
Or, I love how Dorie Clark puts it — “what makes you mad?”
If you’re an attorney, you might take issue with all the lawyer stereotypes and you could set the record straight.
For me, I got sick of people thinking social media should be cheap. So, I wrote about the problems that come with bargain-basement consultancies managing your social media program.
Having the courage to share your opinions on hot button issues is a great way to stand out. Try to come up with at least five ideas here.
5. What is your story?
People like to do business with those they know, like and trust. That’s why it pays to share your story and what makes your company different.
With one law firm we worked with, we often talked about their practice to return all phone calls and emails within 24 hours. Because other firms don’t do this well, this made the firm stand out.
In my business, we don’t write marketing proposals or respond to RFPs. We sell marketing strategy instead, which is different than how a lot of agencies work.
Here are some ideas:
- What makes your business different.
- Why you started your business or how you got started.
- Share what’s unique about your clients and customers.
- Introduce members of your team and what makes them special.
- Share case studies of your success.
- Share a time you failed and what you learned.
Because this is your story, you should have tons of ideas here. I bet you can easily come up with 10 ideas here.
What To Do With Your Blog Topic Ideas
Once you’ve got through this exercise, you can begin to refine your blog topic ideas and plug them into an editorial calendar. Then, you can begin refining your ideas and do additional planning for each topic.
But, for now, you should have plenty of ideas to fuel your content marketing efforts for the next few months. And, if you’re looking for even more ideas, here are 32 free blog topics you can use.
And, this means you won’t have the problem of staring at a blank screen again!
I’d love to know how this exercise works for you. Just leave a comment below and let me know how many blog post ideas you were able to create!