4 Easy Strategies for Generating Content Ideas

4 Easy Strategies for Generating Content Ideas - The Cafe Wordsmith

One of the most common blogging questions I hear from business owners is “How do I get content ideas? I don’t know what to write about!” 

This is one of my favorite topics!

I’ve written about this before, but I wanted to share a few more quick tips for generating ideas for blog content. 

The best part is, these are tips for creating content your audience WANTS so you aren’t blogging just to blog (because that’s a big fat waste of time). 

So here ya go: 4 deceptively simple strategies for creating a TON of content. 

 

4 Easy Strategies for Generating Content Ideas

 

What does your audience respond to? 

Check your analytics regularly to see which posts get the most traffic, shares, and comments and write more on those topics, because they’re clearly getting some traction! 

Pay attention to what your social media followers respond to as well. 

If you don’t really have an audience yet, that’s okay. Think about the kind of person you want to reach and ask yourself what questions they might have about whatever you help people with. Then write about those topics! 

 

Try monthly themes

A lot of my clients like this strategy. This is a great way to get unstuck if you have no idea what to write, but be flexible. If you’re inspired to write a post that has nothing to do with your theme that month, go for it! The theme is just to get you started. 

For example, one of my clients is an online business manager, and one summer I wrote her a series of posts about how and why to take vacations as an entrepreneur to publish on her blog. Hiring a business manager is a big part of that “how”, so it worked well for her strategy!

Personally, I rarely use themes because I get a lot of random ideas I’m excited about that don’t always fit a theme. I also like to plan my strategy around specific goals. 

If themes fit into your content strategy and help you get ideas, go for it! 

Set a timer for 10-15 minutes and simply come up with 12 topics, one for each month for the next year. Get inspired by the seasons, holidays, and topics that tend to be relevant in certain months. 

Then you can break down those topics for blog posts. Ta-da! You just planned a year’s worth of content in less time than an episode of Friends

 

 

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Do SEO research

Find out which topics and keywords people are typing into Google, and write about those topics. Simply go to Google and type your general topic in the search bar.

The autofill feature will bring up some terms people have actually searched! You can also click one of those and then scroll down to the related searches section for more ideas. 

 

Answer reader questions

If your readers or social media followers ask you questions, answer them in a blog post! 

You can also ask your audience if they have questions for you in your emails, on social media, in your blog posts, or even in person! 

What does your audience want to know about your topic? What questions do they have about working with you or buying a product? If you don’t have an audience yet, what questions might your ideal reader have?

 

See? Simple! 

If you run into the “I don’t know what to write” issue a lot, I encourage you to check out my ebook, Caffeinate Your Content: The Newbie’s Guide to Blogging For Business. 

 

 

This is EVERYTHING I wish I’d known about content marketing when I’d gotten started, but you can learn it in a couple days instead of 4 years! 

And the best part is, it costs less than takeout for two. Check it out!

How Often Should YOU Blog?

HOW OFTEN SHOULD YOU BLOG - The Cafe Wordsmith

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Ah, the question that has mystified bloggers and business owners for years. The truth is, the “how often should you blog” question has a few different answers. 

You’ve probably heard that you should be blogging once or twice a month, every week, or even every day (which I think is totally bananas, btw).

There’s tons of advice out there about how often you should blog, and the problem is that this doesn’t work for everybody. 

Not all businesses need to blog frequently. 

So if you’ve been beating yourself up for not publishing blog posts every day, week, month, whatever, you can let yourself off the hook now. 

But okay, that still doesn’t answer your question, right? You’re here because you want to know how often YOU should blog. And I’m gonna tell you. 

 

How Often Should You Blog? (The Truth About Blogging for Business)

 

My answer to the blogging frequency question: It depends. 

Ultimately, your blogging habits need to be consistent with your goals. 

You probably don’t need to blog every day or even every week to get the results you want, which is kind of a relief, right?

For the first few years I was in business as a full-time writer and virtual assistant, I didn’t blog consistently because it WASN’T consistent with my goals. 

My blog functioned as an online portfolio where potential clients could take a look at my work and get a feel for my voice. It also boosted my SEO score so potential clients could find me through organic searches. 

I didn’t need to be consistent. 

Blogging all the time would have been a waste of time when I just wanted to fill up my client list. 

Now that my business goals are changing, my blogging goals are also changing. I’m publishing more often because I’m interested in building an audience, not just getting clients. 

 

 

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So you need to ask yourself: what is your goal for your blog? Are you trying to book a few clients or build an audience? 

Let’s look at blogging strategies for each. 

Goal #1: To get clients

This is for you if: you sell 1:1 services, VERY limited group services, or high-end custom products. You have CLIENTS rather than CUSTOMERS.

If you just want to book some clients, you don’t need to blog often or consistently, so you can take that pressure off right now. 

Your blog serves as a portfolio, demonstrates to potential clients that you know what you’re doing, and maybe brings in some search traffic. That’s it. 

Your strategy: Publish a few high-quality articles that show off your knowledge and remove the dates. Add new ones when you feel inspired or on an easy-to-follow schedule, like one article per month or every other month.

 

Goal #2: To build an audience

This is for you if: you sell products that require little work to deliver such as ebooks, ecourses, art prints, or books. This is also great if you offer large group experiences such as membership sites. It can also work for handmade products.

If you want to build an audience to sell your products, you should blog like clockwork. Once a week or every other week is ideal. 

You want to give readers a reason to visit your site often, and new, consistent content is the best way to do that. 

This will also boost your SEO score and make you highly searchable, which brings in new readers. If you publish high quality content often, search engines will see your site as highly valuable and send more traffic your way!

Your strategy: If this is you, I recommend publishing every week or even every other week (if you can) for the first year or until you have an audience and a good SEO score. 

That’s it! 

Reminder: It’s okay for your goals to change. 

You don’t have to pick one strategy and stick with it forever. 

You’re freaking busy as it is, especially if you’re doing client work on top of all your own business stuff (trust me, I get this!), so blogging can feel like a chore. 

Do what works for you right now. You can change your strategy along with your goals.

Did you like this article?

Check out my ebook, Caffeinate Your Content: The Newbie’s Guide to Blogging for Business, to get everything you need to know about winning clients and sales with amazing content. 

Caffeinate Your Content - The Cafe Wordsmith

Purchase here! 

How I Write a Blog Post in Under an Hour

HOW I WRITE A BLOG POST IN UNDER AN HOUR

I’ve written hundreds of blog posts over the past ten years for myself and clients, and by now, I’m pretty fast. Unless I have to do a lot of research, I can write an 800-word draft in 20 minutes.

Most of the time, I can write a blog post in under an hour with another quick edit right before I publish.

This comes from practice, of course, and from being a really fast typer, but I’ve also dialed in my process so that I minimize habits that slow me down.

It doesn’t have to take you forever to write a blog post! Here’s how I do it.

 

How I Write a Blog Post in under an hour

 

Step 1: The Dump Draft

This isn’t exactly a first draft, but a pre-draft. I call this a dump draft because I think of it like dumping all my material out so I can shape it later. Think of dumping clay on a table so you can start sculpting.

This step is the KEY to writing anything quickly. This immediately gets you past the blank page jitters, which can save you so much wasted time waffling about what to write!

The idea is to get all your ideas on paper, even if they’re out of order or misspelled or make no sense. No editing allowed! Just get it all out. Write anything you can think of about your topic, story, or ideas. Anything you want to mention in your post. Write it down now, even if it’s out of order. No room for perfectionism here.

“I’m writing a first draft and reminding myself that I’m simply shoveling sand into a box so that later I can build castles.”
― Shannon Hale

You might be freaking out right now because you’re probably a perfectionist and the idea of writing a messy draft is terrifying. Trust, me, I get it. It gets easier the more you do it.

Try these tips to get started if you’re just plain stuck.

Tips for writing your dump draft:

  • Try making a really loose outline of your article. It’s okay if the points are out of order. Edit later.
  • Freewrite on your topic for a few minutes.
  • Start in the middle or start with the steps. The hardest part of writing an article is just starting it, so skip that part! It’s a lot easier to write an intro and conclusion after you’ve written the bulk of the article, so jump right to the good stuff first.

After you’ve gotten the bulk of the post on paper, write a simple introduction and conclusion. Think of this like a school essay: the intro tells your reader what the post is about and what to expect. The conclusion just wraps things up. You can even reiterate the introduction and add a new thought to leave with your reader.

Remember, it’s okay if your dump draft sucks! It’s supposed to. You can edit later.

 

Step 2: Organize

So much of writing is just organization.

After I dump out all my thoughts, I start lumping them together in an order that makes sense.

To do this, read through your dump draft and move sentences or paragraphs around to group like topics with like topics. Ask yourself what your reader would need to learn first, second, and third, and put your thoughts in that order.

Chances are, your thoughts are already somewhat in order, but things might still need to get moved around. There will probably be holes in your thoughts and things might feel disconnected, but don’t worry. We’ll fix that in the next step.

 

Step 3: Edit and Revise

This could be two steps, but I tend to do them at the same time. Read through your text and continue organizing, but this is the part where you start filling in holes.

Do you need to explain something a bit more? Do need to cut any unnecessary or repetitive parts? Should you include more examples? Would something made more sense if you reworded it?

Flesh out and clean up any confusing or under-explained parts. When you think you’ve done a pretty good job, it’s a good idea to let someone else read it and make sure it makes sense.

 

Step 4: Final Proofread

When you feel like your article is almost ready, do at least one more read-through to check for misspellings, grammatical errors, punctuation or capitalization mistakes, or usage errors.

I suggest taking some time away from your post before doing your final proofread because after you’ve read something 576 times, you stop seeing errors like typos. (Trust me, I’ve learned this one the hard way.)

I usually proofread after editing, but I ALWAYS do another pass right before publishing or sending off a client piece, and I almost always catch something I missed on the first pass.

 

Writing a Blog Post Doesn’t Have to be Hard

If this process seems intimidating, that’s okay. Writing, like everything else, gets easier with practice.

Final tips:

  • Don’t edit while you draft.
  • Don’t skip the dump draft.
  • If the post doesn’t flow right, try moving sentences or paragraphs around.
  • Do a final proofread before publishing.

Lastly, have fun with it. I know that sounds super corny, but it’s true. If you let yourself enjoy the process, your words will flow more freely. Blogging is a marketing tool, but it can also be a beautiful creative outlet!

 

 

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What should your first blog post be about?

What should your first blog post be about? - The Cafe Wordsmith

You’ve decided to start a blog to market your products and services. You’ve created your site with Squarespace, Wix, WordPress, or some other program, and now it’s time to actually publish something.

You stare at the blank page with the default “Hello world!” title, wondering what the heck to write.

You might wonder, does your first blog post even matter?

How can you start things off on the right foot?

My answer: Your first post DOES matter, but it’s nothing to stress about. Chances are, not many people will even read your first post, at least not at first. Blogging is meant to build an audience, and if you have no audience, that first post might not get much love right away.

I don’t say this to discourage you, but to liberate you! This is your time to experiment. You don’t have to get it perfect right off the bat, and you can always update that post later.

But you have to start somewhere. I’ll walk you through it.

 

Before you start your blog, make sure you have a few other things in place.

Before we get into your first post, I want to make sure you have your two things first:

Your about page. I’ve seen bloggers treat their first post like an about page while their actual about page is pretty sparse. The problem with that is that your first post gets buried in your site pretty quickly and your about page lives on your main menu bar (at least it should!). This is the most visited page on your site, and it serves as an introduction to your readers and tells them what you’re about and how you can help them.

A goal for your first post. If you want to show potential clients that you know what you’re doing, point to your opt-in, or start educating your audience, that’s great! If your goal is just to publish something to get over the first post jitters, that’s totally fine too. When you know the purpose of your first post, it’s so much easier to write.

We’ll talk about your about page in another post, so let’s talk about your goal for your first post and how you can accomplish that.

 

Here’s What Your First Blog Post Should Be About

So what is your goal? What do you want your first post to accomplish? Write that down first. It usually comes down to three things:

You want to get clients

You want to point readers to an opt-in or paid product.

You just want to get it over with so you can stop freaking out about it.

If you’re looking for clients:

If your blog is serving as a portfolio, just jump right out of the gate with a post that shows off your knowledge and why your audience should work with you.

When I first started my business, this was my goal, so one of my first blog posts was 6 Blogging Tasks You Can Outsource. It’s general enough to educate my audience but also specific enough that I can be like “Hey, I can handle all these tasks for you!”

If you want sales or signups:

Your first post can point people to a product, service,  email list opt-in.

This might be your reader’s very first step in their journey with you, so talk about something that would logically lead to your opt-in or product. Ideally, your reader will read/love your post and want to learn more, so the next logical step should be to sign up for your list and get your freebie!

To get ideas, ask yourself what your reader might need to know before they can use your offering. You can also blog about the same topic that your offering covers.

For example, you’re probably here because you want to learn about blogging. One of my early posts was called 5 Types of Blog Posts That Get You Sales because I knew my ideal reader (that’s you!) is interested in blogging. So at the end of the post, I included a link to my blog post checklist to help them use what they learned in that post.

If you just want to post SOMETHING so you can stop losing sleep:

Another great approach is to write about a pillar of what you do. This could mean writing about why your topic is important and how it can help your audience (i.e. Why Your Business Needs a Blog.)

So what is the basis of what you do? Are you a virtual assistant? A social media manager? An OBM? A health coach? Do you make personalized, handmade jewelry?

Write about what you do and how it can help your audience.

Examples: 

“Why personalized jewelry is the perfect gift.”

“Why hiring a health coach is the next step in your fitness journey.”

“How an OBM can take your business to the next level.”

Think something basic and powerful that teaches your audience what you do and how you can help them, but also educates them. That way, they can walk away with something of value even if they’re not ready to click “buy” yet.

The nice part about having a strong foundational article like this is that you can always refer back to it and link to it in other posts!

The main thing with a first blog post is to get over the fear of the blank page. It doesn’t have to win a Pulitzer. Do your best, but don’t get so stuck in your head that you don’t publish anything. And remember, you can always edit it later!

 

INCLUDE THESE THINGS IN EVERY POST!



A Copywriter’s Top Writing Tips for Bloggers

WRITING TIPS FOR BLOGGERS

Blogging and copywriting have a lot in common.

They’re both meant to grab readers’ attention, entertain, educate, and, at some point, convert readers into fans.

Sometimes we talk so much about blogging strategy and techy stuff that we forget that the foundation of blogging is actually writing!

I’m a writer who learned to blog and write sales copy, so I want to share some of my favorite writing tips for bloggers. Some of these will work whether you’re writing fiction, non-fiction, or blog posts, and others are more specific to blogging and copywriting.

Here we go!

My Favorite Writing Tips for Bloggers

Speak directly to your reader

Take one: If we use the words “we” or “us” a lot, it’s easy for our readers to disconnect from our writing. We want our readers to feel like we’re talking to them!

Let’s try that again.

Take two: If you use the words “we” or “us” a lot, it’s easy for your readers to disconnect from your writing. You want your readers to feel like you’re talking to them!

See the difference? That second one felt like I was talking to you, right?

If it makes sense, use “you” and “your” instead of “you guys,” “you all,” “we,” “us,” or the super formal/pretentious “one,” as in, “If one uses the words ‘we’ and ‘us’….” see what I mean?

Change the order

If you’re writing something that just isn’t flowing or making sense, try moving sentences or paragraphs around. So much of writing and editing is just organization!

Even if it doesn’t make sense, try switching up the order just to see if it flows better.

Embrace the crap draft

That’s what I call the very first draft of anything, because, let’s be honest, that’s what it usually is.

I also call the very first draft the “dump draft” because you’re just dumping ideas onto the page. Worry about organization and mechanics and stuff later.

I recently wrote a post about this. Spoiler: editing while you’re drafting will only slow you down, and I promise it won’t make your writing any better.

In fact, it might make your writing WORSE because you’re writing with lots of inhibitions, which can block some good stuff.

Have you ever heard the saying “Write drunk, edit sober?”

This quote is often misattributed to Ernest Hemingway, and I’m not sure where it actually came from, but there’s a little truth to that.

I’m not saying you should down a few margaritas before drafting your posts, (I’ve tried it and doesn’t actually work that well. Shocker, right?), but the point is, don’t censor yourself while you’re drafting.

Trust me, the first draft of this post was a mess. I set a timer for 15 minutes and dumped the whole thing in one go, and I think it’s a lot more interesting because of it.

Keep everything

When you’re editing, you’re going to have to cut some sentences, paragraphs, and even whole sections from your post.

When you’re drafting, you’ll probably go off on tangents and write some stuff that just doesn’t make sense for the final post. And that’s okay!

But that doesn’t mean that stuff is bad. It just means it didn’t fit the post.

When I’m editing, I keep another document open to paste anything I delete from my draft. (I do this for non-fiction, blogging, and fiction writing, by the way.)

Those other bits might be great kick-off points for a new post, a social media update, or to include somewhere else.

Knowing that you’re not losing anything will also sharpen your editing skills because you won’t be so attached to those bits. They’re not gone forever, they’re just getting recycled!

The passive voice is to be avoided

That heading was super lame, right? It just sounded…weak and floppy.

How about this: Avoid the passive voice.

Better, right?

You probably learned about passive voice in your school English classes, but here’s a quick refresher: Passive voice is boring, stiff, and formal. Active voice gets our attention.

In active voice, the thing that does the action (AKA the subject) is named or at least implied, and it comes BEFORE the verb (the action) in the sentence. In “Avoid the passive voice,” you’re the one doing the action. I could also say “You avoid the passive voice.”

In “The passive voice is to be avoided,” we don’t know who the doer is. Who is to avoid the passive voice?

Here’s another example: 

The dog ate my homework.

This is active voice because we know who or what is performing the action in this sentence (the dog) and the subject (also the dog) comes BEFORE the verb (ate) in the sentence.

Let’s switch that to passive voice: 

My homework was eaten by the dog.

The subject comes after the verb. Not as punchy, right?

Passive voice can come in handy if we don’t know who or what is performing the action (As in “The door was painted red”). Otherwise, it’s just flimsy writing.

Only use the passive voice if the doer is unknown or unnecessary.

Here’s an in-depth lesson on passive voice and when not to use it.

I hope this was helpful!

 

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How (and Why) to Refresh Your Old Blog Posts

How (and why) to refresh your old BLOG POSTS

You write a blog post, edit and revise it until it sparkles, and hit publish. Then you promote it all over the internet and watch the traffic roll in.

Now you’re done, right?

Nope!

You could leave it alone and never look at that post again, but your blog is a living, breathing entity. Don’t let your old posts get crusty and stale, or just sit there without living up to their potential.

 

Why update your old blog posts?

readers like relevant content (and so do search engines)

The internet is getting older, search engines have changed, and readers are looking for current, relevant content.

There’s a lot, and I mean a LOT of content on the internet, and much of it is obsolete, poorly-written, or otherwise useless.

Readers now have to wade through a lot of old junk to get to the new, useful content they’re looking for. Search engines are changing to help them with that search, favoring newer content that has a lot of recent interaction (like social media shares).

This doesn’t mean your web content has to age badly, it just means you’ll need to change your strategy and regularly update your content.

 

Get more mileage from your old posts

This is a huge timesaver because it means (for most industries) you can post higher-quality content less often, which is good news if you’ve been killing yourself trying to post something every single day or even every week.

Readers and search engines want quality, not necessarily quantity. The internet has plenty of quantity.

 

Get ideas for new content

One of my favorite places to get ideas for new content, for my own business and for my clients, is old blog posts.

There might be an interesting point in there you can build on. Maybe you have more to say on that topic.

Or maybe that content has even more current information you can write about. This is especially true if you blog about things that change frequently like social media, technology, business strategy, etc.

 

It’ll show you what your audience wants so you can give it to them

When you review your old posts to see which are the most popular, that says a lot about what your audience is looking for. That way, you can create posts, products, and optins that meet their needs.

 

How to update old content

 

Clean out your blog every year

About once a year, go through your blog to do a blog audit. I like to do this in the spring as kind of a spring cleaning.

Update titles if necessary, but don’t mess with the URLs unless you do a 301 redirect. (A 301 redirect sends your readers to a new link if they click an old one that doesn’t work anymore. That way, they don’t get 404ed if they happen to land on the old URL. Here’s how to do this.)

Make sure all links work and that images are still there. Make sure you’ve done SEO on every post. Give everything a quick proofread and fact check.

Bonus tip: While you go, pick apart old posts to save the bits that are still useful and combine into new posts. Or you can use those as captions for social media posts! (Repurposing content is just as important as refreshing it!)

 

Update and republish old posts

Make sure your old posts are still relevant. If they aren’t, update them.

If they’re totally off base and just don’t fit with your brand anymore, or if they concern something that doesn’t exist anymore and aren’t bringing in traffic, I think it’s okay to delete them. It’s up to you whether you want to do this, but if you can do a 301 redirect to a more relevant post, deleting that old post can really help your readers out and build your credibility.

 

Add links to your newer content

Go through your old posts and add links to your newer content in the same vein. You can get a plugin to do this, or just add regular ol’ link to the bottom or even middle of your articles, or link in relevant places in the text.

 

Update your formatting

Make your posts scannable and easy to read! If your old posts are just big blocks of text, add headings, bullet points, numbered lists, etc. I’ve actually got a handy free checklist to help you do this, which you can grab here.

 

Add a call to action

If your old posts don’t have a call to action that tells the reader where to go next (or if the calls to action are outdated) add new ones! Add a signup form for your optin, a link to your products, or at least point them to other relevant blog posts so your readers can continue their journey with you.

 

Focus on your most popular posts

Every once in a while, take a peek at your analytics to see which blog posts are bringing in the most traffic. Those are the posts you really want to focus on updating.

Add to them, include links to products, optins, and other relevant posts, and really make them the most useful bits on content on your blog. Those popular articles are your front line, so keep them in shape!

I recommend checking on these guys at least twice a year to make sure they’re performing at their best.

 

Your blog isn’t a slow cooker. You don’t just set it and forget it. Revisit your old posts regularly to make sure everything is updated and still relevant. This will help you get found, serve your readers, AND help you get a lot more mileage from those posts you worked so hard on!

 

INCLUDE THESE THINGS IN EVERY POST!



The Writing Mistake That’s Slowing You Down

THE WRITING MISTAKE THAT'S SLOWING YOU DOWN

I’ve got a super juicy writing tip for you today.

Juicy. I kinda hate that word, but that’s an interesting adjective I don’t use very often, and sometimes it’s good to branch out, ya know?

Anyway, it’s a simple tip that will help you write soooo much faster. It’s not always easy, because it requires you to fight a very natural impulse.

Let’s back up for a second:

One of the biggest complaints I hear from entrepreneurs about writing blog content is that it takes forever. They might spend hours drafting a single post. They’ve got other stuff to do and no everyone likes writing. I get it.

When I ask about their writing process and what slows them down, they usually say something like “I’m just such a perfectionist. I have to rewrite every sentence 8 times, then I’ll delete half the post and start over, and before I know it, a day’s gone and I have 3 paragraphs.”

And here’s what I tell them: Nothing will slow down your writing more than editing as you go.

This goes for any type of writing, not just blogging.

The other day, I saw an Instagram story from one of my favorite entrepreneurs and self-made millionaires who was working on a book, and she said “It takes me SO LONG to write a book because I have to rewrite each sentence a dozen times before I’m satisfied with it.”

And I was like “No, no, nooooooo.”

If you’re of the “I can write, but it takes me FOREVER” types, listen up.

DO NOT self-edit while you’re drafting. Just don’t. Pretty please.

Back when I was tutoring high school English students full-time, I told them all the same thing.

The drafting phase is your chance to get your thoughts out, judgement-free. Drafts are supposed to suck. You’re just dumping clay on a table so you can sculpt it into a beautiful piece later, but you have to start with raw material. Don’t interrupt that flow.

Trust me, drafting without judgement is powerful stuff. Just write your thoughts without editing and clean them up later. (Or send to a content writer/editor to clean up.)

 

How to Make This Work for YOUR Business

 

I have one client who hates grammar and spelling, but she actually writes well and her voice comes through strongly in her words.

She sets a timer for about ten minutes, types a bunch of stuff on a topic as fast as she can, then sends me her messy notes. I take care of the spelling, grammar, and then organize and fill in the gaps in her thoughts. Super simple.

And she used to spend hours on a single draft.

Yes, there are people out there who can do that for you. (If this sounds like a blogging match made in heaven, here’s how I can help!)

 

If blogging usually takes your forever, here’s a challenge.

 

I double dog dare you to set a timer for ten or fifteen minutes and just write. It’s okay if it sucks. Just think of a topic you want to write about, set the timer, and go. Don’t worry about spelling, grammar, organization, or typos.

You are unauthorized to edit or change a thing until that timer goes off.

You might be surprised with how much you can write in a short amount of time!

You can also make an outline if organizing your thoughts takes too long.

After that, walk away, do something else, maybe even leave that writing to simmer overnight before you go back and edit. Then, try moving things around, fill in some gaps in your thoughts, cut out the unnecessary stuff, and fix the spelling and grammar.

This process will save you a ton of time. I promise.

Speed comes with repetition. I can chug out a 500 word blog post in 15 minutes if it’s a topic I’m familiar with, but I’ve had LOTS of practice. (Full disclosure: I drafted this post in eleven and a half minutes . Yes, I timed myself.)

You can also outsource the bulk of your writing and just come up with topics and outlines. If you like to talk but don’t want to do videos, some content writers will have a conversation with you over the phone or web chat and turn that into a post for you.

Whether you think blogging is dead or if you want to do it but just have obstacles, you need to publish content regularly.

Your blog is a great place to do it because you own the platform, and it makes it very easy to grow your list and get people into your sales funnel because you’re already on your site.

So what are you waiting for? What are your biggest obstacles to blogging?

Want to speed up your blogging process even more? Get your free checklist so you’ll have a list of things every blog posts need to turn readers into customers.

 

INCLUDE THESE THINGS IN EVERY POST!



“But I’m not a writer!” How to Blog When Writing Isn’t Your Thing

“But I’m not a writer!” How to blog regularly when writing isn’t your thing

 

One of the biggest obstacles I hear from entrepreneurs who want to blog to sell their products and services is “I just don’t like writing, and I’m not good at it.”

Have you ever said this?

Trust me, you aren’t alone.

I want you to know that there’s a big difference between “I’m not good at writing” and “I don’t THINK I’m good at writing.”

I’ve met lots of business owners who are actually good writers. They know how to clearly communicate through writing and their voice comes through in their words.

The problem is when they hate writing, or when it takes them two solid work days to write a 500 word blog post. (NOT a good use of their time!)

Then there are other entrepreneurs who really do struggle with communicating in writing, and that’s okay too. We aren’t all writers, and we don’t all have to be.

The good news is, there are plenty of workarounds.

 

Do I even need to blog?

The short answer is yes. I think regularly publishing content is crucial for building a relationship with your audience and growing a customer base.

You need to communicate with your audience if you want to sell your products and services.

Now that doesn’t necessarily mean you HAVE to write articles. You could post video content on Youtube or do Facebook lives, and that’s great! But not everyone watches videos. Honestly, I rarely do.

Some members of your audience are like me. They’re readers who prefer to get information through text, and we find it more convenient to silently read a blog post than to dig out headphones or find a quiet spot to watch a video.

Also, your blog lives on your site, so you own it. You don’t own Youtube or social media, so if those sites go down or change their rules, bye-bye content.

You don’t have to blog, but it’s always a good idea to cover your bases, cater to different kinds of learners, and have control over where your content is published.

 

How to blog when you’re not a writer

 

Tip #1: Get your videos transcribed

 

If you’re posting videos, you can reuse that content for blog posts and social media updates. All you have to do is get the video transcribed and clean it up so it reads well as text.

 

Tip #2: Compile social media content into blog posts

 

Of course, this only works if you share on social media regularly. I’ve seen entrepreneurs publish “snapshots” or “recaps” of their week by just republishing videos, photos, and captions they shared on social media that week, with a little extra content thrown in.

I don’t think these take the place of well-written articles, especially for reader-types like me, but they’re a hell of a lot better than nothing, and they can be a lot of fun for your audience.

These posts also put that content on a platform you own, so you have more control AND you can get a lot more mileage out of your social media content!

 

Tip # 3: Outsource it

 

If you don’t want to write OR do video content, you can outsource all aspects of blogging, including the actual researching and writing posts.

You don’t have to be any more involved than you want to.

In fact, you can even be almost completely hands off and focus only on your products and services.

I have clients who pretty much set me loose to research topics their audience is looking for, write the posts, and they just do a quick review of the content before giving me the thumbs up to publish on their site.

I have other clients who send me “brain dumps” of their thoughts that I can organize, flesh out, and smooth into high-quality content.

I’ve also worked with clients who send me voice messages, or verbal brain dumps, that I take notes on and then turn into blog posts.

It’s all about finding a writer who can work with your process.

Blogging doesn’t have to be a major obstacle, and it doesn’t have to eat up a ton of time you’d rather spend on something else.

Figure out how you like to communicate with your audience and use that to your advantage!

If you want to make sure your posts are easy to read, easy to share, and turn casual readers into customers, grab your free blog post checklist!

 

INCLUDE THESE THINGS IN EVERY POST!



5 Types Of Blog Posts That Get You Sales

5 TYPES OF BLOG POSTS THAT GET YOU SALES - The Cafe Wordsmith

Okay, it’s time to get strategic with blogging.

We know that blogging is super-duper important for your business. That’s how your audience learns about your business, your products and services, and the solutions you provide. Your blog content is often where you start building a relationship with your audience, what inspires your audience to sign up for your mailing list and eventually become a paying customer and raving fan. Read more about sales funnels and how your blog fits in.

But what do you actually write to make that happen? How do you blog about your products and services without just droning on about features and benefits? What kinds of posts take your readers from simply curious to “OMG, where do I sign up?!”

 

Here Are 5 Types of Blog Posts That Inspire Readers to Buy

#1: The Case Study

What it is: How your products/services have helped other people
Why it works: Provides social proof that your stuff WORKS

The case study spotlights customers and clients who experienced amazing results from your services. This could be an interview, a guest post, an article written about them, or any other post that shows the amazing results your customer achieved. This type of post can also be a win-win if the client has a business to promote because you get an advocate for your business, and you can promote hers in return!

 

#2: The Q & A 

What it is: Answers questions your audience might have about working with you
Why it works: Addresses potential objections to working with you

You probably have at least a few visitors who have read a few of your posts, maybe signed up for your list, and have looked over your sales page a few times. So why haven’t they hit the “buy” button?

One reason might be that they have questions that your posts and sales pages didn’t answer. Now’s the time to address those in a blog post! It doesn’t have to be FAQ style (though you might want to make an FAQ on your sales pages, just sayin’).

For example, price is a common sticking point for a lot of would-be clients. I once saw a business coach publish a post called something like “How to Afford Anything You Want,” and it was all about manifesting money to invest in yourself.

Think of the obstacles that might prevent a client from working with you. Are they queasy about the price? Not sure they’ll get the results they want? Pay attention to any questions or concerns you’ve heard from your audience. If you’re in Facebook groups, ask someone to look over your sales pages and let you know what questions they have.

Once you’ve got an idea of what’s stopping your audience from buying, you can address those issues.

 

#3: The story post

What it is: Tell the story of your business and how you came to do what you do.
Why it works: It connects readers with you as a person and the story of your business.

If you’ve ever bought anything online (a service, an ecourse, a handmade item), there’s a good chance you read some blog posts and looked at that person’s about page.

Why?

You wanted to see who they are and how they can help you. I learned this when I was selling my art. The people who bought my art were often people who already knew me, who read my blog, or who followed me on social media. They had an idea of where my inspiration came from, which connected them with my art.

If you provide a service, your story explains how you came to know what you know. It gives you credibility and shows that you’re a real human being, not just some online marketer in a power suit with shoulder pads. (If power suits and shoulder pads are your thing, that’s cool too!)

Telling your story shows the reader how your methods worked for you, and therefore how they can work for THEM.

 

#4: The solution post

What it is: Offer actionable solutions to a problem your reader is having
Why it works: This post positions you as the expert and gives your readers a look at how awesome you are at what you do.

When you solve a problem for them in your free content (this goes for optin offers too), they’re more likely to think “Wow, if the free stuff is this great, I wonder what the paid stuff is like!”

 

#5: The Showcase

What it is: Educate your audience about your products and services
Why it works: Gives them a good look at what you’re offering and helps them decide whether it’s right for them.

If you make handmade purses, show your process. Demonstrate how sturdy and long-lasting they are. Open them up and show how many pockets they have inside.

 

What EVERY post needs to build your business:

A call to action. 

Include an invitation of some sort at the end of EVERY. SINGLE. POST.

Tell your audience where they can go next to continue building your business relationship, either by taking the next step in working with you or continuing to receive your awesome content.

Examples of calls to action:

You can invite your audience to…

  • comment or share the post on social media
  • sign up for your optin freebie 
  • follow you on social media
  • view your sales page for your product or service
  • sign up for your webinar/free coaching call/upcoming event of some kind
  • email you with questions

These are just a few ideas!

I know there’s a ton to remember when you’re crafting blog posts for your business. So I made you this handy-dandy blog checklist to help you keep track of everything you need to make your posts helpful, readable, and effective in your business!

 

INCLUDE THESE THINGS IN EVERY POST!



What Is A Sales Funnel And How Does My Blog Fit In?

What is a Sales Funnel and How Does My Blog Fit In? - The Cafe Wordsmith

You’ve probably heard of sales funnels before, and you probably have an idea of how they work. You know it has something to do with building your list and conversion rates, and you know your blog fits in somehow.

Here’s a quick rundown of the all-important sales funnel.

 

What is a sales funnel? Sales Funnel 101

Your sales funnel is system that guides your audience take from being a casual visitor to paying customer.

You’ve probably seen those big funnel things charities sometime put in malls, where you put a coin in the slot and it rolls around and around the funnel until it finally falls in the hole at the bottom.

Your sales funnel is like this. There’s a wide space for the coin (your potential customer) to enter, and as they explore your content and your offering, they get closer and closer to becoming a paying customer (when the coin drops in the hole).

Top of the Funnel:

Your free content (that require no email address or payment) like your blog and social media posts are at the top of the funnel. That’s where the journey starts.

Middle of the Funnel:

Your optin offer or your lower priced offers are the middle of the funnel, when customers are exploring the waters of working with you, but aren’t ready for the higher-priced services yet.

Bottom of the Funnel (The Goal):

When a customer purchases your main item like your ecourse, your handcrafted items, your high-end coaching package, that’s the bottom of the funnel.

This journey from visitor to raving fan looks different for every business, but the basic structure is the same. It looks like this:

Visitor enters funnel → visitor engages further → visitor makes a purchase and is now a customer

 

Here are some examples of what this might look like for different businesses:

Etsy Shop:

Someone searches for leather cuff bracelets and finds your Etsy listing or a blog post about your products → Customer favorites your listing → Customer buys your bracelet

Life Coaching Business:

Someone searches for solution to a problem their having and lands on your blog post → they love what they read, so they sign up for your mailing list → they love your mailing list freebie, so they sign up for a lower priced course you offer → customer loves the course and invests in your super fancy high end coaching package.

Entrepreneur Training Company with Membership Site:

Someone sees your targeted Facebook ad for your membership site → They visit your website, look around, read some blog posts → They love what they read and sign up for your mailing list, or they might even jump right into a membership!

You probably see a pattern here.

There’s plenty of room for variation here because people are going to find you in different ways (social media, Google, a guest post you wrote, etc.) and some might skip steps in the middle (like jumping straight to your high-end offer or skipping the mailing list signup), but for the most part, a customer will first try out your free content before moving into the higher-commitment content that requires their email address or a payment.

And this is where your blog comes in. That’s where it starts.

Your blog is the top of the funnel where the penny starts rolling toward the hole at the bottom. This is where people get to know you, where they read about what you can do and how you can solve their problem.

Your blog is what gets people interested in your work. It connects them to you and the story of your business, to the solutions you provide, it positions you as an expert, answers questions they might have about working with you, and entertains them.

This is where they get the information that will influence their decision about whether to buy from you or not.

If readers love your blog, they’re more likely to become subscribers and then customers.

This is why it’s so important that your blog content is awesome. Your blog posts should be helpful, entertaining, easy to read, and they should tell your reader exactly where to go next.

 

That’s a lot to keep track of when you’re writing a blog post, but I’ve got you covered!

 

I made you this handy blog post checklist to make sure your post has everything you need to make things easy for your reader and guide them to the next step in your sales funnel.

 

INCLUDE THESE THINGS IN EVERY POST!