Copywriting

How to find 20+ blog ideas your audience can’t wait to read

I’d just gotten the biggest guest posting opportunity of my career – the chance to write for a site with more than 500,000 engaged subscribers.

Everything was at stake. A great post would take my business to an entirely new level. A bad one would make it tough to ever get that kind of opportunity again.

There was one catch, though. They wanted me to submit five to seven post ideas so they could pick their favorite.

In the past, I would have panicked. Oh my gosh! Five to seven ideas? It’s hard enough to come up with ONE!

That’s what I used to think.

Today, coming up with five blockbuster blog post ideas is a (yawn) simple and easy fix because now I have a list of more than 50 must-read ideas on hand at all times.


jp-email
Some of the pitches I had ready to go.

My secret is a simple system that I’ve taught every one of my clients. No matter your industry — coaching, wellness, fashion, you name it — this process works. In just 20 minutes, you can go from no ideas to having enough ideas to post on your blog for an entire year.

Even better, these posts will be ones that your audience loves, and they’re great for guest posts, too. They’ll turn readers into subscribers and subscribers into buyers.

The way you do this is with guided mind mapping.

Now, you may have heard about mind mapping before. And if you’re like me, you probably felt like it left you with a big mess. Maybe something like this:



How is THIS supposed to help you?

That is why I recommend using guided mind mapping.

You still end up with a diagram of ideas. However, this process is much easier and faster.

Rather than leaving you with an overwhelming spider web, you have a structured, organized chart of high-quality ideas. And every idea is a piece of irresistible content that your readers will want to read. These ideas will make them eager to join your list and buy your products.

Just follow my three simple steps, and “no idea” will never be a problem again.

Step 1: Know your readers’ problems better than anyone else does

When your readers feel like you “get” them and can help them solve their problems, they’ll be excited to read, comment on, and share your content. That means more blog readers, email subscribers, and, ultimately, customers.

In order to establish a close relationship like this with your readers, you need to identify the problems they face.

Ask yourself:

  • What does your audience struggle with?
  • What are their biggest frustrations?
  • What problems would they pay anything to solve?

Spend five minutes brainstorming this. Then boil these problems down to one phrase that sums them all up.

This problem holds the key to writing posts that make you money. And it will be the foundation of your mind map. Using either mind mapping software or some poster paper, put that in the center of the page. Like this:



This looks bare now, but it’ll be loaded with ideas by the end of this post.

The example above is from my business, Grammar Factory. We help entrepreneurs write and publish books so they can position themselves as leaders in their fields. In other words, we help with their business problems.

I coined this the “entrepreneur struggle zone” and put it on my map.

Step 2: Ask three questions to outshine your competitors

Now it’s time for the “guided” part of the process.

You’re going to use three simple questions to create an organized list of compelling ideas of content. These questions also make things much faster.

The questions are:

  1. What are your audience’s mistakes? What are they doing that’s causing their problems? What mistakes are they making when they try to implement a solution?
  2. What solutions can you offer to help them?
  3. Why does your audience want to change? Why is it important for them to address their problems?

Here is how this looks on your mind map:



Now start to answer these questions.

For example, the mistakes my readers make include having no clear niche and not differentiating themselves from their competitors:



Use short phrases on your mind map; no need for details.

As I turned to the solutions I can offer — and then why changing matters to my readers — I ended up with this:



In 5-10 minutes, your map will look like this.

Step 3: Double your number of ideas in minutes

You have some ideas on your map. Now you’re going to multiply them and end up with at least twice as many — maybe even five times as many — in about 10 minutes.

Plus, these ideas will be more specific, which means your readers will be more likely to:

  • Click
  • Read
  • Comment
  • Sign up for your emails
  • Make a purchase if you’re selling something in the post

Think about it. How many posts do you come across daily about “secrets of successful entrepreneurs”? It’s been overdone, so you ignore those headlines.

But if you see something like “How to Be the Entrepreneur Reporters Call First,” you’ll click.

That’s the power of digging deeper. Take your ideas to the next level so you stand out and get read.

This is easy to do. Simply repeat Step 2 for every bubble on your mind map. So for each item you just listed — every mistake, solution, and reason — ask those same three questions:

  1. What are your audience’s mistakes when it comes to this item?
  2. What solutions can you offer to help them with this?
  3. Why is it important for them to address this problem?

Returning to the Grammar Factory example, one of my solutions was publishing a book.

I then added my readers’ mistakes, which include not planning a budget and skimping on production costs.

Next I came up with some solutions or steps involved in publishing a book, which include writing, editing, design, printing, and more.

Lastly, some reasons they want to write a book because this gives them expert status and it helps them educate potential clients about the value they can provide.

Here is my full mind map for this section:



30+ ideas in just minutes.

Just by drilling down on publishing a book, I came up with more than 14 ideas. That means that if I drill down on the 20 other ideas I have above in Step 2, I’ll end up with more than 200 ideas! That’s enough to blog three to four times a week for a year.

As you continue to do this with your map, you will come up with tons of ideas, too.

3 proven ways to turn your ideas into must-read content

Ideas are great, but they’re only the beginning. You need to turn your ideas into content that engages your audience so they:

  • Share them with their networks
  • Subscribe to your email list
  • And, in the future, buy your products

Every single item on your mind map is an idea for a piece of content. That could be a blog post, a guest post, or you could even combine several items to create a 5,000-word “ultimate guide” that teaches readers everything about one bigger issue.

I like to use some easy formulas to come up with these ideas.

1. Blog post ideas about one item





I combined a mistake with a solution for this post.

Roundup post ideas on several items



Ultimate guides
You can combine a mistake, solution, and reason into “The ultimate guide to [implementing solution].” This guide would include:






Ramit Sethi’s Ultimate Guide has 6 parts.

You can use these formulas over and over to generate almost endless ideas.

How to write profitable blog posts on autopilot

Now you don’t need to waste your time searching for your next great idea. You already have more than 20 to choose from and start writing.

This is especially great for guest posts. You simply pick the best ideas to pitch for each website’s audience.

And when you’re planning the email series to sell your next product launch, you’ll never struggle to think, “What else can I say about [the problem your product solves]?”

Now I consistently blog at least twice a month on my site, and I’m doing two to three guest posts every month.

At the same time, while my subscriber list is still small, it’s nearly doubled in just four months thanks to my guest posts.



I grew from 178 subscribers in December 2015 to 345+ today.

YOUR TURN: Take 20 minutes right now and get started on your mind map. Then in the comments, share which idea you’re most excited to write about. What would you love to write 500 words on right now?

And if you want help, ask me a specific question in the comments, and I’ll get back to you.

There Are 34 Comments

Join The Conversation

“Find 20” is an undersell!! My team and I sat down this morning and came up with 50+ ideas. And all three of us left the meeting energized. Not only do we have a plan for the next 3-6 months, the structure helped us clarify who are clients are and how we can really help them. Thanks a ton for the great and effective article.

Wonderful tips, Jacqui.

I am currently working on a guest blogging campaign and whipping out GREAT content and doing it fast are paramount for my success. With these ‘hacks’ I can clearly make a lot more progress.

Glad you enjoyed it, Leif! The truth is that if you keep asking the same questions of each of the new bubbles, the number of ideas you can come up with is limitless – 20’s just a starting point :)

Glad you found it useful, Ramona! Guest posting has had a huge impact on my website traffic and subscriber numbers over the past few months, but the challenge was always trying to think of more to write about. Once you have a framework for generating those ideas, it gets so much easier!

Great post! I have lots of ideas, but this challenges me to shape them and structure them in a more meaningful way to my audience. Posting this way could also be a “series” that will keep them (hopefully) coming back for the next installment.

Absolutely, Jana! Post series are great ideas, because they create far more engagement than a single post – most potential customers won’t buy the first time they get to know you, so providing free content gives them a low-risk way to get to know you and the value you can provide. Creating a series takes it up a level – because they’ve shown their interest in one post, they’re more likely to be interested in related ones, which means repeat visits to your work, more engagement and higher conversions.

Wow, This is epic new-perspective-taking-value-add-client-focused-problem-solving at its best. Starred, bookedmarked and shared, thank you! Jen

Chloe BUrroughs

Just wow! I’ve been keeping a very rough Evernote notebook of blog ideas for awhile. But this system will make sure I’m not missing valuable content areas and sections in those areas! Can’t wait to try it out! Chloe :)

You’ve hit the nail on the head, Chloe – I know so many people who have an Evernote notebook or Word doc or Post-it note where they list ideas as they think of them, but it’s a little unreliable as far as continuing to generate ideas in the future goes. Then what happens once you’ve worked your way through them? Once you’ve got an idea generation system, on the other hand, you’ll not only learn how to turn one idea into 10 or 20, but find the smaller, in-between ideas too. Good luck with your blog!

Wow! I’m about to start blogging and I was worried about getting ideas together and having enough to write about… Not anymore! Really insightful, great stuff!

Like Ramit often says, just follow the system – keep asking the questions, and you’ll always have plenty to write about 😉

Wow! I’m about to start blogging and I was worried about getting ideas together and having enough to write… Not anymore! Really insightful, great stuff!

The universe must be looking after me lately!
I keep coming across info and shared skills, like this blog that are so timely that it is spooky!
I am well down the path of creating an essential B2B tool, ( my first) and this step by step system, gives me clarity about how to use blogs , how to structure them, to educate my current customers, who will be my “beta testers” and then customers at large. Last weekend I did a flow chart to help my developers, so “mapping” as you have shown us is a natural progression. I’ve been told I can “write”, but now I have a structure to effectively take it to the next level of targetted, informative and valuable content. Iam excited because while I believe I have a very useful idea, that well put together, will benefit every business, they need to see the ROI in implementation and an educational and supportive blog series would play an important role in creating a win-win situation.
Thank you again .

So glad you found it helpful, Tony! It sounds like you have a ton of value to share, and I’m excited to see how this framework helps you get it out into the world.

Thanks Jacqui,
It is so refreshing to engage with someone that reads and answers the comments that your readers make.
So many say “post a comment”, with no intention of making themselves available, so hats off to you …
I will keep you posted re my progress and program development.

This is great, Jacqui! I’ll be filing this post straight into my “Good Marketing Links” swipe file especially since my wife and I are working on a content roadmap for our podcast. Thanks for sharing this framework!

Thank you so much Jacqui. This information has really helped me to sharpen up the thoughts in my mind and to have a system that can not only bring clarity, but enable me to develop and expand. I am confident the result of applying your teachings will be many more beautiful people being helped in their grief journeys.

This is an amazing process! I just scratched the surface last night and pounded out two wicked blog posts before I could even put myself to bed. Thanks for sharing! This can be used in so many areas of work and life too. Extremely valuable!!

Hi Jacqui

Awesome post, thanks so much. This is really good because its very detailed, some posts promise but fail to deliver. I cant wait to try these out.

Good take on running a site. To tip the table will just say that when it comes to a website monetization have had unexpected success with the so called AccountLess Panels from Ads1k:
http://ads1k.com/become_pub.php
Needless to say that the daily earnings were not much because of the low traffic from my website but still the payments were about every week and always on time.

I used this post to produce 96 different ideas for blog posts in 30 minutes. This is more than I’ve thought of in the past 15 months combined. THANK YOU for helping me produce tangible results!

Thank you so much, Jacqui! Not to be melodramatic, but I love this post so much it brought tears to my eyes. Yesterday I was lamenting the fact that I have notes jotted down everywhere about different blog topic ideas, different ideas for the content of information products, different ideas for the content of classes. Not only did you provide me a much-needed way to organize all of my ideas so it’s easy to grab them when I need them, what unlocked for me is the fact that I really need to untangle content and packaging. I knew that was something I would want to do, but this hack helps me understand how to structure it so nothing gets lost. And of course, I can let go of that last bit of scarcity mentality because I have a way to ensure I never run out of ideas. Thanks again.

Hi Jacqui. Loved this post. It gave me a new structure to create valuable content and reduced my stress around creating value for my readers. Awesome stuff!!! I can feel the doors opening;)

Hi Jacqui,
This is simple, yet genius!
A few months ago I started my personal blog, however, I made a mistake in a sense that I didn’t plan ahead and prepare at least 24 articles in advance. As you know, being regular with blog posts is important. Thanks to your article, though, I am going to take half an hour to create a guided mind map and just have ideas ready for my future posts.
Thanks for taking your time to deliver such a wonderful information to us!
Zarina

Hi Jaqui,
I have been struggling to understand how to write a blog post or “remarkable content” for 8 months now, with no results. Nada. I have seen other people go ahead in ZTLA posting a lot of material and I wondered how to find an idea. Again. Nothing came to mind. I haven’t got a website or an email list there are tons of expressions completely unknown to me like: mailchimp, landing page… But after reading your piece I start to see a tiny light at the end of the tunnel I am in. Thank you for sharing this clear, understandable and insightful piece. Maybe tomorrow morning I will come up with at least two ideas, just two! Adriana

Tony hilsden
May 6th, 2016 .

The universe must be looking after me lately!
I keep coming across info and shared skills, like this blog that are so timely that it is spooky!
I am well down the path of creating an essential B2B tool, ( my first) and this step by step system, gives me clarity about how to use blogs , how to structure them, to educate my current customers, who will be my “beta testers” and then customers at large. Last weekend I did a flow chart to help my developers, so “mapping” as you have shown us is a natural progression. I’ve been told I can “write”, but now I have a structure to effectively take it to the next level of targetted, informative and valuable content. Iam excited because while I believe I have a very useful idea, that well put together, will benefit every business, they need to see the ROI in implementation and an educational and supportive blog series would play an important role in creating a win-win situation.
Thank you again .

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