“So how do I come up with ideas for my blogs?”
Give me a pound for every time someone asks me this question and I’d have a kitchen to rival Nigella’s by now.
I’ve compiled a list of how I do it, tips I’ve got from other writers and I’ve thrown in links to a few of my favourite posts on the subject for good measure.
1. What are your clients asking you?
What are the frequently asked questions for your business or service? For example: I’m writing this blog post because people often ask me how to come up with ideas. And one of the most popular blog posts on my fitness site is how long it takes to recover after pregnancy and birth. Perhaps you could keep a journal of your FAQs.
2. What’s in your class or course plan?
Assuming you plan your classes and client programmes in chunks, use the programmes to come up with ideas for posts. You can link your blog content to your classes. Just go into a little more depth on an exercise or aim of the programme. What can your client do at home to progress? Every week you’ll have a pre-packaged programme of exercise and accompanying information.
3. What’s in the news?
If a health or fitness news item links well with something you do, respond in a blog. Perhaps you want the chance to ‘answer back’ or offer an alternative argument. Maybe a new discovery backs up the service you provide. Yvonne Radley shares top health news stories daily on her Big Me Up Media Facebook page. You could also use Google Alerts, read the news, listen to news radio stations like LBC or, I don’t know, talk to people!
4. Go with seasons or trends
Think ‘winter warmer’ recipes as the nights draw in; back to school workouts for September months; or ski fit advice as the season approaches. You could also check out awareness days or weeks, or tie something like a running advice post during Race For Life season. And it doesn’t all have to be serious. My Mince Pie Workout was first written for Sweaty Betty and later updated for my own site.
5. What are YOU doing?
Your clients have bought into YOU as a business and a person. They like what you are doing. So share your news. Tell them a little about you. If your customer is reading about you via a blog post on your website they can easily click over to find out about your services. If they’ve bought in to something about you, you already have their trust. Here’s one of my most popular blogs, inspired by Dax Moy: 25 Things You May Not Know About Me.
Industry magazines, newspaper health pages or the latest fitness books are all great sources for blog ideas. I’m not suggesting you copy ideas but let your imagination wander and you’ll be surprised.
7. Does it pass the social media test?
This is a great tip from top PR for small businesses expert Janet Murray. Janet recommends using the social media test to see if an idea is popular. So if you post a question or an idea as a status update, how much interaction does it get. Lots? Then it’s probably going to be a popular post.
8. Think of the PR potential
A blog post can give you great reach for your business, so if you want to attract new customers think of a PR angle. Sometimes looking for the PR first can generate brilliant ideas. What’s controversial? What’s topical at the moment? Is there a popular TV show, celebrity or film out which you could work into your top line (title) and get some accidental search engine hits? My the Princess, The Bump, Your Body blog post frequently gets hits across the US because they seem to love Princess Kate.
9. Workout or get back to nature
Like all things creative, you need time and space to think of ideas. Go for a run or a swim. Take your kids for a walk in the park or the dog for stroll. Just let your thoughts wander or ruminate on conversations of the day. I sometimes find car journeys are also great opportunities to let my thoughts connect the dots.
With all of the above sorted, give yourself a time challenge and a hot drink. Get out your favourite pen and your business journal and scribble out all of your ideas. Remember not to worry about spelling, structure or getting the titles right just yet. This is creative time, so go create!