Sometimes blogging can be a challenge – what do you write about when you can truly choose to write about anything? The infinite options can create a paradox of choice, where so many ideas sound good that you don’t know where to start.
To get around that problem, you need to decide on the point of your blog. What do you want it to accomplish? What’s the “Most Important Outcome” that you want to happen for the visitors (and repeat visitors!) that are going to come your way?
In a vacuum, it can be hard to figure that out – so here are a handful of options that can help you make the choice with confidence.
1. Establishing Yourself As A Thought Leader
If your Most Important Outcome is to be a thought leader in your space, then you’re going to have to take an approach with your blog’s content that’s different than most.
Thought leaders are all about thoughts rather than tactics, provocative questions rather than helpful instruction. A thought leader’s content makes us stop and think, either about something brand-new, or a fresh angle on some piece of conventional wisdom.
So rather than teaching, instructing, advising or demonstrating, a thought leader’s content is going to be more in line with thinking, philosophizing, exploring, or creative exercises. These kinds of posts allow the reader to come to their own conclusions based on the thoughts you present – and you get the credit for sparking the thoughts in the first place.
(An example of this is What If You Tried Really Hard?)
2. Selling Products.
If your Most Important Outcome from your blog is selling products – whether they are your products, or someone else’s – then you can choose three specific types of content to publish.
First, content about the products themselves. Things like reviews, inside looks, how to use them, features and benefits, excerpts – all of these draw attention to the products themselves, and give ample opportunity for linking out.
Second, content that’s topical. In a post like this, which is about blogging in general, we can link to Plug & Play Blog Posts and The 1-Hour Content Plan (both available in the Karma Store on pay-what-you-want pricing).
Third, customer stories. If you can lay your hands on any customer stories about how they’re using the product, or what kinds of outcomes they’ve experienced, then you’ll have a line on content that can easily (and frequently) link to the product itself.
3. Selling Services, Coaching or Consulting.
If selling services, coaching or consulting is your Most Important Outcome, then your content is going to be less general than the content you’d use for selling products, and much more in line with the real-time needs of your clients.
Good content for this angle would be topics that fall within the “before-during-after” categories – the topics your clients care about just before they hire you, while they work with you, and immediately after they work with you.
(You can even make gateway products for topics in the before-during-after arenas using Product In A Weekend – so you can still generate revenue from people who don't come on as clients.)
Case studies are also good. “What to look for in a service provider” content is good. How to navigate parts of the process of working together is also a rich mine of topics for your blog.
This is also a good place to demonstrate specific expertise on how you do the things you do. On the surface it would look like you’re giving away the “how” – which would lose you clients – but in reality, people who hire service providers don’t WANT to do the work themselves. But they do want to see a demonstration of credibility from someone they might hire.
4. Approachability / Accessibility
If what you’re looking for is to brand yourself as approachable and/or accessible, then what you want to do is create content that adds a human touch (or separates you off the “guru” or “academic” categories of people.)
If this is your Most Important Outcome, you’ll benefit by adding a few key elements into your content.
First, choose some level of “casual” that’s appropriate for your audience.
People or brands who aren’t approachable take the “polished expert” angle for their content. They’re speaking to the masses, and they’re trying to be perfectly polished in every way.
To reverse that, be more conversational in your content. Instead of writing like you would for a magazine or book, write like you’d talk to someone over lunch, or like you’re sitting next to them on a plane.
Second, choose some level of personal window into you that your audience can connect with.
Personal stories, personal examples, little windows into your world all help here. You don’t have to be fully transparent and air all the details of your life, but you can talk about yourself, your experiences, and how you do things.
You can also answer reader questions, show more photographs of yourself, your office, your work materials, etc.. Again, you don’t have to go overboard – you can treat it like the difference between formal business attire and “casual Fridays”.
If your Most Important Outcome is to demonstrate a generalist approach, then you’re going to want to cover as many categories of topics as you can, instead of just a small subset of 2 or 3, like a specialist would.
If you’re using The 1-Hour Content Plan, when you get to the Categories worksheet, choose categories that don’t have overlap or duplication – cover all the bases, so to speak.
But if you’re taking a specialist approach, drill down. Pick 3 core topics and create sub-categories for each one.
Many ittybiz owners want the flexibility of being generalists, so if this sounds like you, make sure you’re not writing about the same things all the time – and post frequently, because you’re going to need a lot of content to cover all those topics!
6. Keeping top of mind.
This is a Most Important Outcome of choice for people whose customers buy from them because of a catalyst rather than a decision.
By “catalyst”, we mean the customer doesn’t decide to buy because of something scheduled (like tax accounting, or back-to-school).
Catalyst customers are the people who go to a personal trainers because they made a new year’s resolution, or decided to get married and need to fit into a dress, or they got divorced and decided to get in shape.
For these customers, you just have to keep top-of-mind so that when they decide to buy from someone, that someone is YOU. Like the real estate agents who put all their billboards up everywhere – they don’t expect you to call them now, but they want you to remember that they sell houses when you do come around to the decision.
The best content for this is essentially info-snacks. Light, informative content that’s not too deep, but still makes you look like you know what you’re talking about. Just enough to make you stick in their mind for later.
Knowing the point of your blog makes blogging much easier – and more likely to happen.
As you’re building your ittybiz, you don’t want to get stuck figuring out what to write about – especially since you can write about anything under the sun.
So, take another look at these options and think about which one you want feels like the Most Important Outcome to you. Or, pick something entirely different. It doesn’t matter what the point of your blog is – but it does matter that you know it!