Most people think the hardest part of blogging is actually writing posts. However, what they miss is that once you know the area you are going to focus on, the writing can actually feel relatively easy.
Depending on your niche you may at one time or another have felt overwhelmed by the seemingly unlimited amount of content you could create for your readers. I’ve certainly felt this way before…
If there’s one thing I’ve learned from my experience in business it’s the importance of mentors. This point became totally clear one day when reading Russel Brand’s book Mentors. Here’s the basic message of his book:
If you don’t know how to do something then the slowest way to find out is by trial and error by yourself; and the fastest way is to find someone who already knows how and ask them.
Upon having the realisation that I’d been trying to find out how to do everything alone I began researching all the top bloggers and writers out there and the tactics they use for inspiration. Here’s a snapshot of the top 4 tips from leading entrepreneurs, gurus and bloggers for content creation inspiration I learned from my research.
Tip #1: Point A – B
Darren Rowse from Pro Blogger developed a strategy for content inspiration when blogging that helps visualize the journey you’ll be taking your readers on. Firstly, he takes a blank piece of paper and writes ‘point A’ on the left side and ‘point B’ on the right. Under point A he defines who his ideal first-time readers are and for point B who they’ll be once they finish reading his blog.
He uses an example from one of his blogs – Digital Photography School – where he defines his ideal first-time readers as people who own a digital camera but are always stuck in auto mode. Whereas, when they finish reading his blog they should be able to fully customize the settings on their digital camera and never need the auto mode again.
Once the two points are established he starts writing down all the pieces of content he could create that would help his audience on their way from point A-B.
You can use this strategy to break free from the grasp of writer’s block and break down your reader’s journey in a way that makes content inspiration easy!
Tip #2: Breaking Down the Journey into Directions
Pat Flynn from Smart Passive Income has a similar tactic to Darren Rowse’, however, he came at it from a different perspective which you might find helpful for solidifying the point in your mind.
Pat states that much like the maps systems we all use on our phones and in our cars to get us from A – B, a blog is a medium of transport to take people from a start point to a desired destination.
What does your GPS do to make journeys easier for you?
It breaks down the journey into steps because that’s the best way of making sure you get there. In the same way the list of steps helps break down the journey into the different stages needed to reach your destination; your blog should do the same for your readers by subdividing the journey you want to take them on into manageable and digestible chunks.
For example, you may have a blog that aims to help other bloggers monetize their channels. You may know the journey they need to take like the back of your hands, but for those who don’t know it like you do, they need to take it one step at a time if they’ve got a hope in hell of getting there.
When it comes to your content creation think of each list as a step, direction or instruction leading your reader further down the road towards their end goal. By breaking down the overwhelming task of inspiring the change you want from your readers into small, manageable steps they need to take you can start to view the individual content pieces you can provide to your readers to achieve this goal.
Tip #3: De-Risking
Leo Widrich a co-founder of Buffer and avid blogger and guest blogger wrote an incredible 170 guest posts in the first 9 months of launching their social media scheduler. Anyone who can write a guest post every other day clearly has a trick or two up their sleeve when it comes to coming up with content pieces.
Leo is full of bright ideas for content creation, however the one I’ve used time and time again is what he calls “de-risking” content. This involves finding the top ranked blogs in your niche and then using an SEO tool, like Moz, to research which posts performed the best.
Once you’ve got a list of the best performing blog posts in your niche you can start to “de-risk” the content.
What does this mean?
“De-risking” is essentially back engineering top performing posts to find out what was so successful about them. It’s very similar to modelling in Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP) which speaks to the power of imitating those who are extremely successful in your industry in order to try to reach the same level as them.
Some people may call this copying and to those people I ask this question: “Is anything we write, talk about or come up with really unique?” No, almost everything we know or learn has first been discovered by someone else. Therefore, Leo’s idea of trying to break down the top blog posts out there is not to “copy others” but to do your best to follow the paths to success they previously forged.
De-risking poses a simple and easy to follow strategy for anyone looking to create content which is less risky and more likely to draw a load of eyes, clicks and shares.
Tip #4: Heading Away from the Competition
Gary Dek is an entrepreneur who has a blog over at StartaBlog123 where he helps other bloggers achieve their goals. He proposes the exact opposite to Leo’s “de-risking” point; that instead of focusing on what the best writers and bloggers are reporting on, you should focus on what they aren’t talking about.
Of course, Gary’s point is not to find what your competitors are saying and start advising your reader to do the exact opposite. His point actually refers to creating content that is unique. He advises taking 15 – 30 minutes a day to go over the strategies, techniques and business solutions that are on trend in your industry and try to find something that’s been ignored or missed.
This tactic won’t necessarily lead to a flood of ideas right away but the awesome thing is that each time you do have an idea it’s going to be unique and more likely to lead to a higher number of shares, views and engagement.
Tip #5: Make your Readers your Hero
To finish off I wanted to share a tip from a mentor and idol of mine, Russel Brunson, Co-founder of ClickFunnels. Whilst this isn’t necessarily a content inspiration tip, I’ve certainly found it useful for getting in the right frame of mind when brainstorming content ideas.
Russel says we are all on a journey in life and we are all the heroes of our own story. However, the problem with this when it comes to business, he argues, is that entrepreneurs tend to focus on the benefits of their product or service in their marketing instead of the changes it’ll bring to their customers lives.
As we are all more concerned with our own lives and the hero of our story (ourselves) it is counterintuitive to start shouting from the rooftops about why you are the best. To get people to listen you need to talk about the benefits in terms of their lives.
You can use this when it comes to your content creation to delve into the minds of your readers and get closer to producing content that resonates and instils a belief that you care about them and not just the money going into your pocket.
Shifting focus from you and your product/service to your readers and helping them to achieve their goals will enable you to see the content you need to produce and better understand what your reader’s need, want and desire.
Content creation can be hard. Especially when it comes to knowing where to start. Luckily, through the magic of the internet, we have access to tips from the people at the top of their games when it comes to content creation so you don’t need to worry about working it out yourself.
Use these tips to drastically improve the way you plan future content to make it all about helping your readers reach their goals by providing a practical and manageable list of directions to help them reach their desired destination.