One of the biggest complaints I hear from my clients is that it's hard to come up with fresh content for their blogs and articles week after week, or to develop their ideas into workable content. To help, I've put together some strategies designed to help you write smarter!
In addition to giving your creative muse a break, these strategies will help you foster rapport with potential clients, keeping your name at the top of their minds when they find themselves in need of the products or services you offer. The best part is that, with these strategies, you won't need to search for new topics every time you sit down to write. In fact, you may even find yourself having fun with your writing!
Let's get started.
Content Strategy # 1: Layer up
In Strategy # 1, you will brainstorm one topic that can be layered throughout your marketing or networking vehicles.
On Twitter, Facebook and / or LinkedIn
One idea is to ask your followers on Twitter or other social networking platforms to tell you their stories. For instance, if you're a dating coach, find out the worst thing that's ever happened on your prospects' dates. Career coaches can ask the most embarrassing thing that's happened to your prospects at work. Financial coaches can ask people to share a financial crisis that they lived through and maybe learned a few lessons from.
People love to talk about themselves and tell their funny stories, and you're also giving them the therapeutic benefits of venting about their challenging experiences.
On your blog
Next, pick one story to talk about in a blog post and offer any personal reflections about the topic, including your own experience with the issue at hand (if applicable).
Ask your readers if they've ever been in a similar situation and what they did to resolve it. Even if they haven't found themselves in such a predicament, they can still share possible resolutions that spring to mind.
At the end of the post, tell readers that you'll offer your suggestions in a few days so they should be sure to check back (or, better yet, subscribe to your blog).
In your follow-up post a few days later, recap the situation in one sentence, such as, "The story we talked about on Tuesday was shared by Mary, who (insert brief synopsis of problem here) …" Then, summarize the best suggestions or comments received from other readers, followed by your own professional tips or suggestions as promised. Not sure what to write? Just respond as if you were advising one of your own clients who presented a similar situation and asked for your help.
In an article
Your next step is to pull the story, reader comments, and your own suggestions into an article that can be submitted to Ezine Articles and posted to your website.
Simply continue this process with the best story submissions you receive, and before you know it, you've got a few months' worth of blog posts and several articles that can help position you as an expert in your field.
The articles can then be developed into free reports to be given away on your website in exchange for your potential clients' contact information. Eventually, you can combine these articles and reports into an e-book that will further establish your credibility as an expert (more on that in strategy # 2).
Content Strategy # 2: Spin off
In Content Strategy # 2, you'll build your flagship product and expand on it.
Consider the main message you want to get through to your coaching clients and the core products that you already have in place to deliver that message, such as your curriculum, success plan, articles, emails, etc.
For example, as a health coach, you might have a 3-month plan to help clients start an exercise routine. In a series of articles, briefly discuss the steps that you typically take your clients through. Provide enough information to whet your potential clients' appetites and get them interested in learning more.
From there, you can branch into offering e-books, teleclasses, speaking presentations, live events or other spin-off products – the possibilities are endless. Just keep developing your main message further and further as you progressively lead your prospects along the path to eventually purchasing your coaching services. The best part about this strategy is that people can sample your services in a low-risk, low-cost way by reading your free articles or purchasing an inexpensive e-book. If they like what they see, they can delve deeper into one of your teleclasses, speaking presentations, or another product until they've built up enough trust in your expertise to hire you as their coach.
Content Strategy # 3: Plan ahead
In Content Strategy # 3, you'll use an editorial calendar to set up your discussion topics for the year.
Start with a blank calendar – use a standard printed calendar, create one on the computer or sign-up for an online calendar service (many are free). Then, sit down and set up your topics for the year, using the holidays and seasons to guide you. In February, for instance, you could talk about relationships (family or business).
You don't have to stick to the traditional holidays, either. Search the Internet for lists of unique and bizarre holidays that you can discuss. For example, did you know that January 13th is Make Your Dream Come True Day? You can easily tailor this topic to your area of expertise and advise your readers to take one step in the direction of their goals and dreams. You might even have a special offer that could be their first step.
Another online resource for topic ideas is Quote Garden, where you can easily find quotes to share with your readers. Be sure to include your own reflections on the quotes and offer insights into how your prospects can solve their problems.
Aside from specific topics, you might also create an editorial schedule for the types of blog posts you want to write. Having this kind of structure in place takes away some of the anxiety of sitting down in front of a blank screen or page.
Here's a sample weekly blogging schedule:
- Week 1: Share your thoughts on a meaningful quote or an interesting holiday.
- Week 2: Ask readers to share a story (see strategy # 1).
- Week 3: Follow up on the story by sharing other readers' comments and your own suggestions.
- Week 4: Give an update on what's going on with you to give readers a personal glimpse into your life. Readers are more likely to work with and refer people who they know, like and trust, so help them get to know you.
In the following month, during weeks 2 and 3, you could discuss another story that you received in your first month. In fact, it you get several quality stories, you could easily have a few months' worth of blogs. Once you run out, simply ask for more stories. Chances are, you'll catch some people that did not see your request the first time around, and you'll have a whole new batch of fresh material.
Do you want to write smarter? If you use these three simple strategies, you'll discover that there are endless topics out there just waiting to be covered by you, and your struggles to find fresh content will be gone for good.