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Do you ever sit down at your computer searching for an answer to one of your latest probs + feel instantly OVERWHELMED with all of the info that pops up in your search engine?
Don’t worry. You’re not alone. Your prospective clients feel the same way too. (Confession: It happens to me ALL. THE. TIME.)
So how do you make your copy, your content, what you have to say stand out from the crowd so that it doesn’t overwhelm your audience? How do you cut through all of the noise to write about topics or provide 4-1-1 that actually reaches your dream clients?
Discover how to find blog ideas.
The First Step in Finding Blog Topics
Be YOU when you write. By this, I mean being you when you write is one of the BEST + FIRST ways to cut through the noise that all of the others are making on a topic + finding blog topics.
My #1 tip that I love to share is to be you when you write.
It sounds so simple, right?
What makes you so different from all the others writing articles + sharing information online as a way to attract new clients?
YOU! That’s what makes you different. Your voice, your tone, your personality + your point of view are what make clients want to work with you (or not work with you) or buy from you (or not buy from you).
Now, If you are a poor speller or your grammar sucks, then you have some adjusting to make before you launch a bestseller, but…other than that, when you write, write using your own words, your own voice + voice your own opinion with your words (+ the facts that support what you think).
Take a moment to figure out your style.
- Do you write like you would talk if you were having a conversation with someone sitting in front of you (or on the phone)?
- Are you sarcastic?
- Do you like to make jokes or use puns when you’re writing?
- Are you serious and conservative?
- Are you formal + stiff?
Remember, there are no wrong answers. You can’t BE you the wrong way unless you’re acting like someone else + not like you at all!
Remember, too, that you are writing for other people to read + understand, so write like a human being talking to another human being.
The main point is that you give your content a voice, an opinion, a viewpoint that makes the content unique to you + isn’t just a regurgitation of what all the others are saying — even if it is the same topic.
So that’s that. If you have a topic to write about in the first place, then put it in your own words, use your own opinions + your own experiences to write about it.
Now let’s talk about Finding Engaging Topics when you don’t really know what to write about.
If you’re struggling with topics, here’s some secret sauce on how to come up with topics people want to know about, read + find the answers to.
Head on over to Buzzsumo.
I should mention here that there is a free +a paid version. You can decide for yourself which version is best for you. I use the free version + find that it suits my purposes. Again, only you can decide which one works for you.
Anywho, once you are at Buzzsumo, a search box appears at the top.
Type in a topic, keyword, or even a URL (of a site that is yours or covers similar topics to your site).
Buzzsumo then pulls up articles, blog posts + content that matches what you typed into the search box.
Alongside the content, it lists out each social networking site + how many times the content was shared. Buzzsumo covers the primary social media sites, so FB, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc.
These numbers are big clues on what people find interesting enough to share. If they find it interesting enough to share, then they find it interesting enough to read.
Example: Let’s say you search for wedding trends for 2019.
The top 12 wedding cake trends for 2019 has over 5k total shares – the majority of them being on FB at 4,600 shares.
The next line down shows spring 2019 wedding dress trends with almost 5k total shares – the majority on Pinterest at almost 5k shares.
Now, these are but a couple of examples, but…it should probably lead you to believe that cake trends + dress trends are huge topics to cover for the wedding industry.
My point is…Take a look at some of the articles. Read them. Pull out bits of info. Think about it.
Do you have an opinion on the article content?
Do you have a different viewpoint or experience from the author about this particular topic?
Can you expand on, condense it down, or embellish the info that is in this article?
If you can do all of these, then you can even come up with more than one article or piece of content. BAM! A whole content library from ONE. LITTLE. SEARCH.
OK, so that is Buzzsumo. Let’s move on to a second way to can conjure up some topics. Google Trends
Trends are trends…well, because they are popular and hot at the moment. You saw a little of this just from our search on Buzzsumo. Google Trends lists out the hottest topics of the moment and the day – the trends come from how many times people are Googling the listed topic, talking about it, sharing it, etc.
So, peruse the topics that show on Google trends + see if there is any way to tie your skills, knowledge + info in with something that is H-O-T. It can be far-fetched, but it can work.
I’ll give you an example. One of the most popular blog posts I wrote was something I tied in with a documentary I watched on Showtime called, My Date with Drew. I wrote an entire article on what this documentary reminded me about marketing. I tied everything the guy did in the documentary with marketing tactics you can (+ should) use.
Business owners loved it! Plus, it was fun to write. I notice when I really love what I’m writing about it shows in my writing + it shows in the enthusiasm people show in reading + commenting on the article, blog post, or whatever it is that I’m writing.
While I am not an SEO expert, I do know this, tying your content to hot topics + applying SEO rules to it can help couples find your articles + find you.
So that is Google Trends. Pretty simple in getting your creative juices flowing. Now, for a third way you can generate topics – a Swipe File.
Ahhhh……the good ole swipe file. A swipe file essentially is a document or list that you put together or that someone else put together that you can just pull up + “swipe” or grab an idea from it.
By the way, there are two different kinds of swipe files that I use.
- My own: When I come across info that I think I can use at some point, I “swipe” the link + the title into a spreadsheet or folder on my computer. Later when I’m looking for something to write about, I scan my swipe file for ideas or inspiration. This might be blog posts I read, social media updates, emails that land in my inbox, or content from a Google alert that I set up about a particular topic.
- Other people’s swipe file (OPSF): Bloggers, writers, marketers + people (in general) share swipe files all the time. Some are free. Some try to sell them. When I receive these, I keep them in a folder on my computer or I keep the link. Generally, these are not SPECIFIC topics, but contain a list, such as, “___ Ways _______ Taught Me How to _________.
You have to fill in the blanks.
Mine might be 7 Ways My Former Life as a Wedding Planner Taught Me How to Write Bangin’ Headlines.
Yours might be 10 Ways Working with Florists Taught Me How to Find Innovative Ideas for Centerpieces.
Even if the swipe file is specific, find a way to tie it in with the topics you cover. Say it is about personal finance topics, but you are a lifestyle blogger, you can still use these as idea generators.
Obviously, it is much easier if it is a swipe file that covers the topics you cover, but all I’m saying is it doesn’t have to.
Swipe files are idea generators. In a way, though, you can pretty much copy + paste with some revisions + additions on your part.
Again, you want to give it your own voice, tone, opinion, etc. You want to avoid simply regurgitating what someone else is already saying.
So a swipe file title of 7 Ways to Green Your Wedding might morph into The top 7 Ways to Serve Up an Eco-Conscious Menu at Your Reception (or something like that).
I think you probably get the idea.
OK. Moving on to Competitive Shopping (OK, Browsing).
Take a tour of your competitors’ websites + blogs. Check out what others are talking about.
Again, go back to the questions that we talked about when using Buzzsumo. Figure out what they are saying + what you have to say about it too. You can even copy + paste their article link into Buzzsumo to see just how popular that article is in the world of social sharing.
You don’t want to say the same exact thing they are. You want to put your own twist on the same old, same old.
Sometimes, reading these articles generates an idea of a totally different topic. You might read a blog post about the 7 alternatives to throwing rice at a wedding + decide to write about the 7 types of getaway “vehicles” couples can consider for their wedding.
Again, it is simply a jumping-off point that might spur up a totally different topic in your head. Then, it’s a matter of getting it down on paper.
OK. Another way to find great topics is Inspired Reading.
I read articles +blogs all the time. I’m often inspired while reading. I voice an opinion or put my own take on the same or similar topic.
Am I saying copy someone else’s idea or work? NO WAY!
All I’m saying is that it can get your creative juices flowing by doing some research, looking around + reading what you normally read. Whether you jump on the Wall Street Journal site or People Magazine site every morning while you’re sipping your morning cup of Joe, it doesn’t matter.
It might not even be an industry blog that inspires you. Like I said before, a simple documentary about landing a date with Drew Barrymore inspired a very popular post about marketing. At the time, all I was doing was my morning ritual of walking on the treadmill + watching a little TV while I did it.
Reading a financial blog post about financial planning for the future can inspire you to write an article about ways couples can finance their wedding.
The possibilities are literally endless.
Ask your readers, clients, and followers. Trust me, they are more than willing to share this info with, to pick your brain + to hear what you have to say.
Also, listen to what they are saying to you during your conversations. Listening more + talking less can really fill the pool with ideas.
Your clients tell you ALL.THE. TIME. what their problems are, what their issues are – essentially what they are looking for from you.
Yes, these are opps to insert your services (or products) BUT they are also HUGE opportunities to position yourself as the expert that you are by creating content pieces that speak to their burning needs or desires.
Because if these are hot topics for the people you’re talking to then don’t you think other potential clients have the same or similar issues that they’re searching for solutions?
Answer yes to that question.
Talk to others in your industry. They are often a wealth of info on what people are asking them. While you can set up a formal face-to-face coffee meeting or a virtual Skype meeting, you can also just listen to what they are saying when you do happen upon each other and have a convo.
When I was a wedding planner, I took courses, learned from hands-on work, but I learned THE most from talking to fellow wedding planners.
Ditto on other wedding pros.
I learned the most about their part of the planning process by talking with them, working with them + listening to what they said to me, to their employees + to their couples.
Trust me, it’s a fabulous way get in on topics that are hot so you can bank on it.
Finally, Think of Your FAQs.
Think about the questions that clients ask you all the time. They are asking these questions because they want the answers. You can easily turn one question/answer topic into a piece of content.
It is easy peasy.
If they are always asking you about how to create a budget, write a piece that details how to create a budget.
Go line item by line item if you wish.
Again, this is but one of an infinity of examples…
OK, so now you have all of these ideas. Now what. Well, you actually have to Write It.
Once you find a topic, it’s time to write it with your own twist. Don’t write about the same old crap, in the same old way that everyone else is!
Be you when you write it! It really and truly is what cuts through the noise – setting you apart from all of those other wedding planners in your area – all of your competitors.
Your dream clients relate to you in a way that they might not relate to another. When your words, your story, your background, your credentials, resonate with them they want to hire you or buy from you because of your tone, personality, or character, or viewpoint on a common topic.
Whatever it is, it is something that connects your words to their hearts + BAM! They realize you are the pro they have been searching for all this time.
I cannot count how many times my client convos start with, “I’ve been following you for a while…” + this is all about sharing content that my people care about.
The same applies to you + your biz.
So here is my challenge for you…
Come up with five fab pieces/topics/headlines of content you want to create for your business.
Bang out the headline or topic (make it yummy, please) for each piece.
Then, of course, you have to write the copy.