Recently I was in a conversation about how to know what to write about when I didn’t know what to write. It hit me when I was asked, “you have a content strategy, right?” I did not and that was my aha moment. While I could sit down and write about any topic at random, it wasn’t what my audience was searching for.
So today, I am going to share with you some simple steps on how to research and plan out your writing strategies so that your content marketing efforts are not done in vain but with key precision.
Give Your Blog A Voice
The first step to creating a writing strategy is understanding that people do business with people. Blogging is personal, therefore people should get to know you through your writing style and the topics you write about. Now I am not referring to you simply sitting down and writing out rants at random. No, once you have identified the persona of the targeted audience you are writing for is when you bring a post about a related subject to life.
For example, a sentence with no voice may go something like this, “The repairman is here to fix our copier.”
I can take the same sentence and bring it to life by making it personal, “We have one of those multifunctional copy machines in our office. I like to say that it does everything except make coffee. Maybe that’s what happened this time because right its out of service and the technician is here to fix it.”
You see how easy it is to take a boring matter of fact statement and bring it to life. If you are blogging, you can and you should be doing this. It will help your readers know that you are a real person and not a machine.
Study Current Trends
When you have the task to be the content writer, the good news is that you don’t always have to come up with the topics to write about. You can use what I like to call keyword hacks to research what is trending within your industry. There are two ways that you can do this.
1. You can use free keyword research tools such as Google Trends to see what the latest buzz is. However, this information will not be specific to your business necessarily. You could also plug your own keywords into the Google Keyword Planner tool to see what other keywords are relevant to your topic and the estimated search volume associated with them.
2. Eavesdrop with social listening. This another very effective method for checking up on topics that are trending. You can easily take the pulse of the market by using the search function on Twitter. For example, I just typed in the term “Pepsi” and Twitter returned recent tweets that had the word Pepsi in it.
I could take those results and write about sports or politics. You can also easily reach out and follow people on Twitter. Ask them what topics they are interested in or better yet, if they have a website you could follow their website.
LinkedIn is also another great way to research trending topics. While LinkedIn does not have the same search functionality as Google or Twitter, there are ways to research industries and groups that you can join. You can engage with other group members to see what hot topics are or challenges that others are facing.
It’s easy to join, listen, or follow conversations. You are bound to learn a great deal of information just from these three resources and will come away with what topics make sense to write about.
How to keep motivated and avoid writers block
It happens to the best of us. We finally come up with our topics to write about, create headlines, create sub-headlines, and then lose motivation or at a loss for words with what to write. I have found that using the Pomodoro technique works best to keep me creative juices flowing all the time, not just during dry times.
The Pomodoro technique is basically a technique of creating small timed bursts of work and giving yourself a reward for accomplishing the task. For example, take your kitchen timer and set it for 20 minutes. Work for 20 minutes straight and when the timer goes off you take a 5 minute break. After the fourth time, you take an extended break for 15-20 minutes.
There’s more to the actual method but that’s it in a nutshell. You can make up your time segments however you want, but by splitting up your work into small segments it keeps you focused and you are training your mind to naturally be hungry for work. It’s a behavior changer.
So far we have talked about making your blog personal by giving it your voice, how to research topics using free tools and by joining groups, and also how to teach our brains to be motivated to write. If you are still struggling with coming up with an ongoing list of products, there’s still one more thing you can do.
Teach What You Already Know
Whatever method you use to come up with content topics will be fine. The motivating factor here though is to help your audience solve their problems. What does your audience need to hear? What is their number one thing they are struggling with? Have you learned anything new lately that you can teach to your audience through a blog post?
We are learning new things everyday regardless of our backgrounds, skills, and experience. The way that we create authority is by teaching what we have learned to others and you can do this through your blog.
To expand on this subject further I want you to take a minute to think about people who you know are well-known in your industry.
Who are they? Are they considered talented? Sometimes, but most of times not.
What we miss is that they are not well-known for their talents, but notably for what they teach. When they learn a new statistic, innovative technology, or cutting edge news they share it with others.
In any industry, the people that get put in the spotlights are the ones that teach. They write books, they create tutorials, they publish videos on YouTube, and they write posts on their blogs.
They aren’t perfect or the most talented, but because they took the time and effort to teach or share what they have learned with their audience – they love them for it. The end result for them is that they gain authority.
Thanks for showing me how to find topics to write about. Now what?
Take action and get started today. If you are looking to change the world and make great things happen you need to start somewhere. Right now, I want you to do a twitter search on something specific to your industry and brainstorm on it for a minute.
Next, set your timer for 20 minutes and see what you come up with. Then take a 5 minute break and set the timer again for 20 minutes and this time I want you to just write about it. I promise you that it gets easier and better the more you do it.