“Ouch!” you squeal as you run your tongue over the bottom lip you just accidentally bit.
Racking your brain for a suitable topic for this week’s blog post literally has you turning into a lip-chewing predator, and as you stare at the blank screen in front of you, you’re still no closer to figuring out what to write about. Sound familiar?
Don’t despair. I feel ya. I’ve been blogging for years and some days, my idea tank sits squarely on “E.” Hence, this post. Following are four ways to fill up your idea tank with things to blog about, so the next time you sit down to write, it’ll be your keyboard you attack, instead of your lovely lips.
I. Type in Keywords
Yep, it’s just that simple. Go to your favorite search engine (Google, Yahoo!, Bing, etc.) and type in a keyword in your niche. For example, I blog abut freelance writing. As of this writing, when I typed it in, following is what popped up on the third page of results.
What do I find? A story by a freelance writer about how he landed a gig to write for Playboy magazine – just by making an unsolicited phone call.
What?! This isn’t on Page 1 of Google search results!
Told ya some good stuff doesn’t make the first page, didn’t I? Anyway, as I sat there reading the story, an idea for a post came to me: Simple Ways to Pitch Editors. And it all started because I googled a keyword when my brain refused to come up with fresh ideas for blog topics.
II. Use the News
Right now here in the states, we’re in the middle of a presidential election. Among the leading contenders are a woman, a Jewish socialist (self-described Senator Sanders), and a kooky (crazy?) billionaire. Somewhere, somehow in that mix is a good blog post you can tie to your niche.
As a freelance writer, I come up with, 5 Things I Learned as a Freelance Writer Watching the Presidential Debates. One is how to spin a story; another is why it’s important to cite sources to build credibility; three is how to inject personality into a story – these just popped into my head. I’d have to think or conduct some research to come up with two more, but I have no doubt that I could.
III. Use Answer Sites
One of my favorite ways to come up with blog topic is to use answer sites like Quora and Yahoo! Answers.
Real people ask real questions on these sites. There’s search engine gold in that because when you choose answer, it means you’re not writing in a vacuum. Someone out there really wants to know the answer to that question. And if some “one” does, then you can bet that others do too.
Tip: When you run across questions on these sites that you answer on your blog, use the exact question the way it was phrased on the site (where possible). For example, one question about freelance writing posed on Quora was phrased like this: What is the best way to start a freelance writing career? It had 9 responses.
Below the question you clicked on, you’ll find related questions. One related to the question posed just above is: How to start a career as a freelance writer with no experiences? As this is grammatically incorrect, I wouldn’t use it in a headline; I’d just lop the “s” off the end of the word “experiences” and use that instead.
FYI, this question has even more responses that the other one (15), so it’s probably a popular question because there are many who want to start a freelance writing career who don’t have experience.
IV. What Would I Want to Know about This Subject
Have you ever wanted to know something, but couldn’t find an answer that quite suited you? I know it may be rare in the Googlesphere these days, but it does happen.
Sometimes you may find part of an answer on this blog, another relevant piece on that blog and another piece of info you just happened to run across after looking at what seems like 50 blogs on the topic.
If you’ve wondered about something, then someone else has too. And if you can’t find the information in one place that answers your questions, then that’s a sound idea for a comprehensive blog post right there.
Your piece could become the authoritative post on the topic – bringing in a tsunami of traffic, earn you thousands of dollars and allow you to travel the world and eat in fancy restaurants, shop ‘til you drop, and ….
Ok ok, I got a little carried away. But you get what I mean, right?
The next time you sit down to write a blog post and your brain is playing hide-and-seek with ideas, bring up this (bookmarked) post. You did bookmark it, didn’t ya? And remember, no chewing on your bottom lip. It’s a bad, bad habit. 🙂
Cheapies Never Go Far in Blogging
Someone wrote me a few moments ago. I quoted my sponsored post price. He replied asking for my best price. I told him all prices are final. Literally, I told him kindly but clearly to take it or leave it. He replied, asking me to accept his offer for $10, which is absurdly lower than my $11 sponsored post rate. I am joking; just seeing if you pay attention LOL 🙂 Anyway, his $10 offer is MUCH lower than my sponsored post fixed price. PLUS I already told him twice my fixed price, and to take the price or to leave the price. I *also* mentioned how all prices are final. Of course, I immediately labeled his email “spam” so all future emails, barterings and silly cheap-ness flow directly to my spam folder. I will never see him or his emails again. Nothing personal. But I have no time or energy for cheapies because if you are so filled with the fear of poverty that you completely ignore my emails, I cannot respect you as a blogging business partner.
This is why cheapies never go far in blogging. Imagine this lost blogging soul. He ignores my emails to ask for a ridiculous price on a sponsored post. I label his email “spam”. After 10 or 20 more pro bloggers label his email as “spam”, every single email he sends to bloggers winds up in the blogger’s spam folder. Almost all bloggers never check their spam. Most delete all spam emails without checking the emails. Imagine sending 500 emails to spam folders daily? That marks 499 to 500 emails no blogger will ever see, only to be deleted immediately.
Pay Up to Play Up
Moving up in blogging circles requires you to invest more money into your blog. From paying for your domain and hosting, to paying for your theme, to paying for your blogging education, to investing in sponsored posts advertising your business, the bigger money and greater traffic awaits in higher blogging circles, where money flows freely. Prospering people who buy your products and services without hesitating meet you through friends in higher blogging circles. Same thing happens offline. Jeff Bezos does not do business with someone who cannot afford my $7 eBooks. He does business with serious entrepreneurs who freely invest money in mutually beneficial ventures. Life works that way. Birds of a blogging feather flock together. Imagine if the $10 sponsored post cheapie paid my full price instead? I place the post, his business gets greater exposure in front of prospering eyes and he nets more sales and profits. He makes $100, or $1000 or more, earning more money to boost his sponsored post budget and to move him out of poverty. But the mental illness of poverty prevents him from seeing beyond “I HAVE NO MONEY! I NEED TO ***ONLY*** PAY $10 FOR EVERY SPONSORED POST I PLACE!!!”
He may place a few $10 sponsored post on terrible quality blogs with broke readerships. Truthfully, he should just donate the $10 to bloggers who place his sponsored post for $10 because said bloggers have either 5 daily readers or readers who cannot afford to spend $1, let alone, $100 or $1,000…or perhaps, both. Yikes. Pay up. Play up.
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How Much Confidence Do You REALLY Have in Your Blog?
Watch this video I recorded in Brooklyn Heights today:
Sweet view, eh? I made a powerful point too. Bloggers sometimes boast of their confidence and clarity. Puffing themselves up, they believe deeply in themselves and in their blog. Critics? Who cares? These dynamos seem unstoppable. Belief! Success is on the way, right? Awesome. Then, after mentioning their blog in front of a parent or sibling or cousin, their loved ones make fun of “blogging”, telling these idiots to “get a real job”. OUCH! Like a balloon being popped, your loved ones took a pin to your ego, deflating you. AND showing how you genuinely have little confidence in your blog. Turns out, you feel filled with doubt and pure uncertainty about your blog AND in yourself, blogging-wise. This is a good thing. Critics trigger and unearth deep fears you need to face, feel and release, to reach the next stage of your blogging career. So…how much confidence do you REALLY have in your blog? Talk about your blog to friends and family members, or to strangers. You will find out. Fast. Because these folks are non-targeted and often highly NOT interested in blogging.
I recall mentioning my blog to my fam about 10 years ago. Before doing this, I believed I felt super confident about my blog and self. I BELIEVED in myself! Wild-eyed, ignorant, deluded newbie blogging excitement covered up the fact I doubted myself and my blogging abilities, horribly. After that little chat – even though no family member seemed terribly critical – I felt like crap. Awkward, and lost, my family’s questions triggered deep fears in me. I doubted myself. I doubted my blog. In truth, I had no idea what I was doing because I refused to learn from pros. Bad idea. Naturally, I gained confidence after this session – eventually – because I faced and felt doubts eating into my blogging confidence.
The quickest way to gain blogging confidence is to discuss your blog and what you do with anybody on earth, from friends, to fam, to strangers. Never try to convince or influence or convert folks, because doing so shows your lack of confidence. Let people live their lives and make their choices. Your job is to see how shy or clear you feel discussing your blog. Shy bloggers feeling awkward chatting blogging with folks simply feel filled with fear. Blogging fears need to go for you to succeed. Speak about blogging in public. Broadcast live in a public spot. Record videos in busy spots with heavy foot traffic, as I did above, in Brooklyn. Face, feel and release self-conscious fears that need to go for you to reach the next stage of blogging growth.
One way to be a smarter and richer blogger is by facing your blogging fears routinely. Speaking to or in front of fam or strangers about your blog certainly unearths some of those deep fears. Do it. See where you are at, confidence-wise. Being straight with yourself is hands down one of the quickest ways to accelerate your blogging success. Relax, share your blogging exploits and honestly assess how you feel, to increase your blogging success.
Writing: Your Best Blogging Friend
Writing helps you succeed with blogging. Because writing gives you credibility. Credible bloggers land clients, sell eBooks, place sponsored posts and drive steady traffic, too. Write your rear end off. Write 500-1000 words daily. Write to be confident. Write to be clear. Write to gain credibility in your blogging niche. Of course, most bloggers struggle because few bloggers practice writing offline, daily. Bloggers only write when they publish a blog post or guest post. BIG mistake. Most bloggers publish posts infrequently, meaning you get in little writing practice. Not good.
Why do you believe you can just show up, write and publish a post and become successful quickly? If blogger were this easy, guys like me could have gone pro within weeks of buying my domain and hosting. Alas, it took me thousands of hours and years to go full time because I had to practice writing, creating and connecting to be REALLY good at blogging. Skills, exposure and credibility flow to bloggers who tirelessly practice all aspects of blogging. Everybody else fails and quits.
All money you make through blogging flows to you because people trust you and your blog. Writing skillfully – with confidence and clarity – is the only way people trust you and your blog. The more you write, the more skilled a writer you become. The formula is genuinely simple. But quite uncomfortable to put into action, sometimes. Few bloggers want to practice writing with nobody watching. Some bloggers foolishly skip writing practice because they believe writing offline for practice wastes their time. This is like saying you waste your time practicing shooting hoops in a lonely, empty gym if you aspire to make it to the NBA. NBA stars practiced 10,000 hours or more, often times in quiet, lonely gyms, and always *in private, out of the public eye, with nobody watching*, to become skilled enough to go pro. Expect to take a similar journey in order to become a professional blogger.
Writing is your core skill. If you write well, you make money online. If you write poorly, you do not make money online.
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Every way to profit – out of these 15 strategies – can work quite nicely if you practice writing offline daily. Practice to become confident. Practice to become clear on your writing. Confident, clear writers write with authority. Writing with authority inspires trust in your readers. Again; this is a simple process. But sometimes, this process feels uncomfortable. Nudge through discomfort. Write, write and write some more. People who trust you based on your writing skills tend to buy your eBooks, hire you to coach them, hire you to freelance write for them and buy sponsored posts on your blog. Be diligent in writing. The money flows to you based on how much you practice writing. Plus, practicing your writing makes you prolific. Being prolific increase your blog traffic and blogging profits, too. No downsides exist to writing offline daily. Only upsides. So….write!
Practice in private. Shine in public.
Any successful blogger you envy now practiced writing so diligently that you would never envy their writing practice. After having written millions of words both online and offline, nobody envies the work I put into going pro. But being free to circle the globe? Worth it!
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