Now, I’ll admit, I’m not always full of ideas myself. I’m sure everyone out there has felt the same from time to time. And it’s stressful, isn’t it? We know that, as personal brand entrepreneurs and content marketers, we need to be putting out valuable content on a regular basis to keep our communities coming back and staying engaged.
We all know the value of quality content, but that doesn’t make it any easier to stare at a blank screen and try to fill it up, week after week. So here’s a little strategy I use that will open the floodgates.
But First – Know Your Audience
But first, a caveat… Before you start churning out ideas, let me be 100% clear that you absolutely MUST know your audience first, before you sit down to brainstorm blog ideas. Know who you’re writing for before you write a word, and everything will go so much more smoothly.
Why do you need to know your audience? Because they’re the ones who are showing up to read it, of course. It’s a waste of time to create things that have no defined readership, but it’s one of the best investments you’ll ever make, to spend time getting to know your audience and what they need.
And for what it’s worth, know that 90% of people searching for solutions online are complete beginners to your topic of expertise. They’re Googling because they don’t know the first thing about the solutions that are available for their problems, so with good content… you’ll be in a prime position to turn them into loyal fans and ultimately… customers for life.
Resource: Content Inc., by Joe Pulizzi
Start with the 5 W’s
Now that we’ve got that out of the way, let’s do an idea-generating experiment. Because I’m in the personal branding space, let’s say I’m trying to come up with new blog post ideas about personal branding. Keeping in mind that my audience is made up of mostly beginners, I’m going to start with the 5 Ws to come up with 5 post ideas instantly:
What is a personal brand? Why do you need a personal brand? Who is your personal brand for? When is the right time to launch your personal brand? Where should you spend your personal brand-building budget?
That was pretty easy, but maybe you can see how… as soon as you frame blog posts as a question, more questions can’t help but crop up as well.
Quite frankly, this is one of the easiest ways to brainstorm blog ideas, and always will be.
What is a personal brand? What does everyone forget about personal brands? What should more entrepreneurs know before launching a personal brand? What are the best-kept secrets of successful personal brand builders?
Why do you need a personal brand? Why do some entrepreneurs fail with their personal brands? Why is this year the BEST year in history to launch your personal brand?
I think you can see where I’m going with this…., but basically, start with one of the 5 Ws to unleash a torrent of questions. This is like releasing your inner toddler who can’t stop asking questions all day long…….
Now – Bring on the ‘How’ Questions!
Here’s a look at what it might look like to start with HOW questions (which, if you haven’t noticed), are the primary focus of most of my content online!!!
How should personal brand entrepreneurs use social media? How to take every Friday off and still grow your business. How should you launch your first book? How can outsourcing help you double your income? How should you gauge success in the first year of business?
Now… some of these are subjects… rather than headlines. These are the questions you’re starting with that can inspire an entire blog post, or podcast episode, or whatever medium you’re working with, but headlines will need their own treatment, and for me… that means using the headline analyzer at CoSchedule (I’ll link to it below!) if you’re looking for a tool that can help you craft brilliant headlines that factor in things like SEO and power words, this is the way to go!
The best part about using the 5 Ws (and the H’s, haha!) to brainstorm blog ideas is that it’s a literally an ever expanding way to come up with ideas. People are curious, we have questions for ourselves and others all day long, and tapping into that is extremely powerful.