If you’re dipping your toe in the content marketing water, then you know that marketing online with killer free content is one of the most effective ways to up your business visibility, increase your search engine traffic, and establish yourself as the go-to person in your niche.
All of which, if done correctly, will result in more sales. And who doesn’t want that?
To make content marketing work for you, however, you have to commit to creating original content on a regular basis. Yet I see so many blogs and websites out there that I know must have started with the best of intentions, but at some point ran out of steam.
You know the ones – blogs that were posted to twice a week for a few months, then once every other week, then, oh, about once every other month, until the sad day when you visit the blog and you can see the blogger just gave up. Because all that’s left is the ghostly shadow of a blog that hasn’t been posted to in months.
Ahem . . . is that you?
Of course when you’re trying to run a business, creating killer content on a weekly basis can seem overwhelming. The complaint I hear most often is, “but I don’t have enough ideas to write about every week.”
If you can commit to an hour or so of brainstorming time each week, you can come up with plenty of ideas for blog posts. (Or, you can hire me to do it for you, if you truly do not have a minute to spare to do it yourself. See “Work with Me” page and scroll down to the first service listed there for information.)
Today I’m going to take you through the exact process I use when working with a client to brainstorm blog topic ideas and create a content plan, using a fictional Clothing and Accessories Boutique as an example.
**The examples below are somewhat generic; if this were a real client of mine, I would suggest much more specific blog topics based on their particular brand personality and target audience.**
Essentially the steps are:
1. Keep an “Ideas” file and set aside an hour or two each week to brainstorm topic ideas
2. During that time, go through the resources below and “idea gather,” adding the best ideas to your ideas file
3. At the beginning of each week/month/quarter or whatever time increment works best for you, review the ideas in your file and plan out your content for the week/month/quarter, etc. How you plan out your content will depend on your goals, products or services you’ll be rolling out in the coming weeks and months, and any sales, events, promos and so on you have planned.
The resources from which you will gather ideas are: magazine headlines, Alltop, Amazon, Google Alerts, blogs in your niche, and HARO queries, to start. (For more information on these resources and how to use them to generate blog topic ideas, read the blog posts linked up above.)
Let’s take this fictional Clothing and Accessories Boutique through the paces, using just two of the resources above:
From Magazine Headlines in the fashion industry, I noted these ideas for blog posts:
The Best _________ for Every Body Type (swimsuit, dress, etc.)
How to Look Like You Hired a Stylist (Even When You Didn’t)
Best Colors to Wear Now
Hot Trends and Amazing Accessories for Every Budget
5 Minute Styling Tricks
The One Accessory Every Woman Needs Right Now
How to Dress for Your Body Type/to Flatter Your Body Type
From Amazon Book Chapter Titles, these ideas surfaced:
How to Shop Like a Stylist
Top 5 Fashion Misconceptions
10 Glamour Essentials Under $100
How to Shop for Vintage/How to Wear Vintage
How to Go from Demure to Daring with a Signature Wow Piece
15 Must-Own Accessories
3/5/7 or 2/4/6: Guide to Understanding Clothing Sizes
How to Personalize Your Look with Vintage
How to Camouflage with Color
The One Must-Own Item That Complements Every Body Type
10 Wardrobe Staples Every Woman Should Own
(That’s 18 blog topic ideas, and that bit of brainstorming took me less than an hour to do. Once I used the magazine headlines and book chapter titles shortcuts, the ideas below also came to me. )
A series of Fashion 101 Posts would make a great category for a weekly blog post:
Why You Should Spend More on the Basics
5 Investment Pieces Every Woman Should Own
Steps to Developing Your Personal Style
How to Shop: Dept. Stores
How to Shop: Sample Sales
How to Shop: Vintage and Second-Hand and/or Consignment
How to Shop: The Internet
How to Shop: Catalogues
How to Decide if a Trend Works for You
A series of Definition Posts would also work well:
And how about a “Style Icons” category for this fashion blog?
The Grace Kelly Guide to Looking Sexy in Pearls
The Jackie O Guide to Finding the Perfect Pair of Sunglasses
The Marilyn Monroe Guide to Dressing Like a Bombshell
The Betsey Johnson Guide to Creating Your Own Signature Style
That’s 34 total ideas for blog posts; if our fashion blogger posts twice a week, that’s over 4 months worth of material. And I only used the Magazine Headlines and Book Chapter Titles shortcuts to come up with these 34 ideas — if I finished out the exercise using the 4 other resources mentioned above, I could come up with enough ideas for an entire year.
The same will happen for you: once you get into this process and let it flow, you are going to come up with many of your own killer ideas for blog posts, whatever your topic happens to be.
**I don’t suggest using the headlines you find on Amazon verbatim; instead, use them as writing prompts — you’ll want to tweak them for your specific business and target audience.
Now you try it. Go ahead, let your creative freak flag fly, baby!
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