In “How to get started with blogging”, I shared some reasons why blogging for is good for your freelance career.
That’s all very well, but have you held back from blogging because you’re not sure what to blog about?
Here are 6 nifty little tips on how to find inspiration for your blog posts.
1. Know your audience
The first step is to know your audience. Really know your audience. This isn’t “anyone who will hire me”, but for example, their gender, age group, likes or dislikes (closely linked to the service you provide), why they need you and so forth. The clearer you are on this, the easier it will be to visualise a person (or type of person) to write to.
2. Engage with your audience
Blogger’s (and writer’s) block often comes from worrying about what to write. Instead, think of your blog as having an opportunity to talk to your audience, to engage with them. What is it you want to say?
If you need help getting those creative juices flowing, imagine your best friend asked you to tell her everything about the service you provide. If she told you to take your time because she’s got all day…. you’d have a field day, wouldn’t you? You probably wouldn’t bore her to death by talking about the pesky little mundane tasks associated with the service you provide, but you would tell her about that new idea you got the other day for improving the way you work, or the latest roundup on what’s happening in your niche/sector, and so on.
Your blog is a brilliant opportunity to do just that, including any challenges you’ve overcome, milestones you’ve met and those all important third-party testimonials. You’d even ask for her opinion and feedback, wouldn’t you? Do the same with your blog, and do ask for comments – it’s a great way to engage directly with your audience.
3. Draw inspiration from around you
You don’t have to talk exclusively about the service you provide – you can draw inspiration from around you. Did you attend a trade show or conference recently? What did you learn? What tips can you share? Obviously, the whole point here is to share tips your audience can learn or benefit from.
Or what about queries from clients? This is probably the best way to show off your expertise. Simply start off your blog post with “The other day, a client of mine had the following question, so I thought I’d share it here, as it’s a common [misconception/complaint/dilemma/etc]….” and then go on to answer the query. It’s your area of expertise, so use it as an opportunity to shine.
4. Don’t be afraid to have fun
Blogging for business doesn’t have to be boring. In fact, it positively shouldn’t be. It’s an opportunity to show off your personality, to show people who you are, what you’re about and why you’re such a fab person to work with. So you absolutely can include topics that are not necessarily about the business itself, but closely related to your sector.
Take a look at Copywriter and Journalist Julie Lefebve’s blog, someone I have closely worked with on occasion and founder of Bowler Hat Media. You often see copywriters’ blogs stuffed to the brim with long, preachy, posts about the importance of well written copy, but here’s an interesting mix of the origin of phrases, her love of storytelling and common grammatical bloopers. Yes, they all show the importance of well written copy, but, they’re also an interesting read.
5. Reuse and Recycle
If you get really stuck, update old articles so that you effectively reuse and recycle them. Posts you’ve written in the past can usually be brought up to date by adding more relevant information.
Alternatively, take an old post and write it from a different perspective. So, an example of this might be to take an old article with the title:“10 Ways To Reuse Your Old Blog Posts” and turn it into: “10 Mistakes Bloggers Make When Reusing Old Blog Posts”. Neat huh?
If you decide to rewrite an old blog post with a new title, you ought to change the URL too. But, this will mean that you’ll have the old URL link out there on the Internet, resulting in a 401 error if anyone happens to click on the old link. The best way around this is to create a 301 redirect. If you use a self-hosted WordPress site, you should be able to find a suitable plugin.
It’s a nice idea to add something at the end of the blog post, purely for the sake of transparency, like: “this article was updated from the original article titled “10 Ways to Reuse Old Blog Posts”
6. It doesn’t matter if they’ve heard it all before
It’s true that there’s nothing entirely new and original out there, it’s all been done to death already – including the information in this blog post (wink). But frankly, that doesn’t matter, because (a) there’s always someone out there who likes to be reminded of something and (b) chances are, someone might be hearing this for the very first time.
If you’re making the service you provide a unique one, what you have to say about it should have a unique spin on it too. We won’t have heard that before!
Blogging for business is one of the best ways to keep your audience engaged with the service you provide. It doesn’t have to be a hard slog. Apply these 6 little tips and you should find blogging a whole lot easier.
This was originally published February 2014 and completely revamped and updated for comprehensiveness.