I remember a time when writing was one of the least respected or valued skills. With the rise of the fourth industrial revolution and with self-education becoming the new learning method in South Africa as we face a failing education system, niche writing has become a sought-after skill. Content developers are finally getting the recognition they deserve.
There are many benefits to starting a blog, whether it be for your business or personal branding. Blogging is a concrete way to prove your expert skills and knowledge in your industry and to sell your services or products. The benefits are endless.
However, to succeed in blogging, you must be consistent, and that’s why so few people have monetised their efforts versus the myriad who have attempted.
To have a successful blog that helps you establish yourself as an authority in your field and most importantly, produces revenue, you need to produce content consistently. No professional blogger wants to write just for the sake of writing. You want to create content that is unique and provides an unfamiliar perspective to a topical issue. Your unique perspective is what makes you stand out as a blogger.
Delivering tailored and unique content is essential for your professional reputation; you want to write an article that the reader reads for the first time. People must know you for your unique perspective, as someone who helps them see things differently. If you can achieve differentiation, then people will return to your site repeatedly.
In this blog post, I will share how you can keep content ideas flowing to build a content bank for your blog.
1. Read other popular blogs
When I started my business more than two years ago, I made it my mission to search for sites that provide valuable insights. It was quite a process to find the best websites. My first point of call was to type in google “top PR blogs.” I found various articles that gave me lists; I visited each suggested list of top websites. I read their content and I shortlisted my top 10 websites with the best content. I then only shared the best content from those sites on my business’s social media accounts. By reading content from some of the best websites, I learnt what the thinking was of some of the top influencers in the public relations industry. Some ideas I agreed with, others I didn’t, and with some, I had a different perspective. Since I had worked extensively in the industry, I could confidently agree or disagree, and that’s where I got the idea for my next blog post. You need to know what is already being said about a topic, to give a unique perspective. Remember, your topic will mostly never be unique, but your angle can be.
2. Experience a lot
You must be in the game to change the game. No one wants to take advice from someone who hasn’t experienced the issue. If you write about events, you need to be organising events. If you write about nightlife in South Africa, you need to be a partygoer. When you write about fashion, you better look fashionable. People will only trust you if they know that you have experience in the subject matter.
3. Make mistakes
There are two parts to this piece of advice. Number one is that your best content often comes from things you’ve messed up. That event that didn’t turn out as planned, you learnt a big lesson on what to do and what not to do the next time, because if you’re like any other event manager I know, then you probably agonised about that mistake for days on end, about how you should have done it. There’s your idea; write about how it should be done. Mistakes give you ideas that you can translate into blog content. That mistake you made now, and which feels like the world is on your shoulders, someone else out there still needs to make. Tell them about that mistake. Your mistake makes you human, relatable and experienced. That brings me to my second part of this advice about making mistakes. Mistakes make you experienced. The biggest failures in life are those who never tried. That business that went bankrupt, that campaign you created that turned into a social media crisis, or that store promotion that just fell flat, that is called work experience. Experience is gold. Wear your mistakes like a crown, because that’s what it is. Only people who have dared greatly have remarkable stories to tell, even if they are stories of failures. Where your crown and own it. When you speak about your mistakes, you show how much you have experienced in life and your career.
4. Welcome problems
We celebrate when things go our way; when we give the best pitch and win that big contract. We celebrate when we implement impressive internal initiatives that improve the morale in teams and when a client signs off on our campaign ideas. However, we learn when our pitch falls flat. We learn when our client chooses our competitor. We learn coping mechanisms when we deal with demanding clients, or we learn to set boundaries when we turn down a contract because the client is too difficult. We learn when our internal initiatives don’t work because we’re dealing with a management team that is resistant to change and staff who don’t want to adopt new initiatives because they’ve lost hope that there will be any changes. It is never easy to face these problems, but these problems offer teachable moments. They teach us how to get through it and it shows us what it takes to excel against all the odds. Those problems, those teachable moments are all golden ideas for blog posts.
These are just some of the things that have worked for me. My biggest problem is that I have too many thoughts in my head and I must learn to slow down so that I have time to write them down. I am always busy with my next project, throwing myself into the deep-end and looking for that next big challenge. Even though I complain about the challenges I face as we brainstorm our way out of it, my colleagues know that I am excited, excited to find out how I cam going to solve it. If you’re working in your field, and you make time to find a few hours of silence every week, then you should be able to build a solid content bank for your blog and enjoy the long term and monetary reward from it.