Unfortunately, I have a LOT going on this week so this post won’t be as long as some of my previous novellas. 😉 I am sure some of you are pumping your fists in excitement. I always set a goal to keep my blog posts around 500 words. Usually, I end up closer to 2,000. Which is ok as long as the content is good. (At least that’s what I tell myself.) Update – still clocked in at 1542!
Recent reports say that the search engines (aka Google) like the longer posts these days. But, with no further ado, here’s my simple 5 step system for coming up with my blog posts.
1) Figure Out Your Blog Topic/Main Idea
I know, this one is boring, so I’ll keep it short. Start off with figuring out the “big idea” for your blog. For me, it’s “Helping Business Owners Find Freedom.” Here are a few key points with me choosing that topic. Try to apply this to your blog.
First, it says who I am targeting. Business Owners. Why business owners? Because I am one myself. I know their wants and needs, and I believe I can help them. A little deeper psychology too. I could have chosen entrepreneurs. Instead, I went with the word business owner. I did this after much research. It turns out that Generation X prefers the term business owner more than the term entrepreneur.
And I don’t want to attract the young hip crowd looking to start the next Facebook. At least not through my blogging. So I picked the term that my target audience would most likely be interested in.
And the next part – find freedom. That’s a little vague I admit. But the reason for it is so I can talk about multiple topics within that one category. Financial freedom, time freedom, health freedom, freedom from worry, stress, doubt. The list goes on and on. It opens me up to talk about my weight loss journey, personal development, productivity, and so much more.
2) Find The Leaders In Your Industry And See What They’re Talking About
After you have found your main topic or big idea, it’s time to look for similar people who are already writing about what you’re writing. You can easily start with a google search for some of your main keywords. Find the people, read their blog posts, add them on Twitter. Get enough people added on Twitter and you’ll start getting suggestions to follow other people.
As you follow those people, visit their sites and read, read read. At this stage of the game, you are a sponge absorbing your industry. Getting everything you can from your niche transplanted into your brain. It’s like research on steroids.
Type in some keywords that you see over and over again into google. Use the google suggestions (found as you type in words and often times again at the bottom of the search results) to get more ideas. Keep digging, keep reading, keep learning.
Make a spreadsheet of all the people you find, and all their blog sites. If you want to get real smart, also make a list of their contact info. In the future, you can guest blog for them or they for you. It’s a big world wide web, but it’s truly a small place with a lot of interconnected people.
3) Create A MindMap Of Your Topic Ideas
Now that you’ve made yourself into a master of your topic by studying similar people, it’s time to start fleshing out some topics you can write about. I went over some of my topics, but I’ll walk you through how I came up with my list. Before we go through that, here’s some of the ideas of what I write about on this blog:
So, as you can see, there’s a lot there. What can help you is to make a mind map of all your sub-topics. I like using Mind Meister. It’s easy to use, and I believe pretty cheap. If you are looking for free, you can use Google Draw. Just start thinking and adding topics as they come to your mind. For ideas, think of what you’ve seen other people writing about. Think about what you know and think you MIGHT be able to write about. Don’t limit yourself because you THINK you can’t write about it.
The important thing at this stage is just to keep jotting things down as you. You can even dive in deeper. For example, you could make a sub-sub-category under copywriting. I could list out more topics like Writing Headlines, Making Eye-Catching Bullet Points, Writing Great Leads, How To Create A Killer Close, etc.
You can even go even further if you want to. Inside how to create a killer close you could write things like defining your products true value, how to create a riskless offer, laying out exactly how the product benefits the customer, etc.
Skies truly the limit. If you do this for about an hour (set a timer), you’ll be amazed how much you know and how much you can write about. Now, you have a list to return to if you are ever “stuck” for an idea. But, let’s continue and make it even easier…
4) Start Compiling A List Of Images, Quotes, And Topic Ideas
This is something that I have my Virtual Assistant do for me. I have him following a lot of thought leaders in my niche/area. When he sees a good post, he adds the links for me to check out. This means I’m always reading great posts and learning. I don’t ever copy from other people, so make sure you don’t take this as some chance to steal content from someone else’s hard work.
That is not cool.
Instead, I am looking for ideas, topics, and interesting stories that I can add my spin to. There’s so much content out there that you can just do this and have enough stuff to talk about for the rest of your life. Another thing you should do is to collect cool photos and images, and also quotes.
I love sharing quotes in my blog posts. Not all of them, of course. But I feel like it gives the post an extra oomph… like I put a little more thought and research into it. You can look for quotes and images being used on other blog posts to give you inspiration. You can also search for quotes about/on your topic.
It’s not rocket science, obviously. The key is to gather useful information and keep track of it. I use a Google Spreadsheet. If I get a topic idea, I add it to the spreadsheet. My VA sees it and goes to work finding related images, quotes, and blog posts.
If you don’t have a VA, then this is something that you can do on your own, obviously. I highly recommend it because you will learn so much by going through the process.
5) Start Writing. Solicit Feedback. Write More. Repeat.
This is where the rubber meets the road. It’s time to put your fingers where your mouth is. But not in a creepy way. Just start writing with your keyboard! Type away. Take a topic idea, a couple of quotes, a slick image… slap it all together and BAM!
You got a blog post!
And get ready for the uncomfortable truth that it will most likely be read by only a handful of people. In my experience, you’ve got to work pretty hard to build up a following on content alone. It takes time, but it does happen. There are shortcuts and things you can do, but I’ve just been focused on creating content more as a service to those who find me.
I’m busy running my other companies, so my blog isn’t a revenue focus for me at this time. If it were, I’d get a lot more active in promoting it. But, let’s continue…
Start writing. Commit to a posting schedule. For me, it’s every Thursday. Many times I write my post on Thursday and post it that day. Other times, I write it a few days early and schedule it to post. You’ve just got to pick a schedule and stick to it.
Get feedback on your posts. Read and reply to your comments. See what people are saying. Keep writing. If you get stuck, go back and look at your mind map or your Google spreadsheet. Look at other posts being written. There’s so much content out there you literally should never be stuck for something to write about.
Iterate. Improve. And keep writing.
You’ll get better and better, and your following will grow. I know this isn’t the easiest thing to do, but it’s what it takes. My process is not the only process. It’s just what works for me. I highly encourage you to start blogging and if you can use anything I’ve listed here to help you, AWESOME!
I wish you well on your blogging journey!
Question – Where do you tend to get stuck in the blogging process? Comment below and I’ll see if I can give you any feedback.
April Sherlock says
Hey Mike! My biggest issue tends to come with actually writing the blog! I have tons of ideas for posts but I tend to over complicate the process. I write and before I post convince myself that it’s not good enough and discard it. I also struggle because I don’t see growth quick enough, so I will stay on track for so long and then just quit over and over again (sadly this is the same for my weightloss journey as well). How do you just keep pushing through?
Hey April… great question! I’m actually going to answer it today as my blog post! I’ll update here with the link.