Hey Coach Ponyling!
Have you ever sat down, and looked over your work, and realized “Wow, it shouldn’t be a surprise that after 8+ years I’ve written a lot of blogs and articles? But somehow it is?”
So many blog writing topics!
Long story short: Between this site, The Revolutionary Club, and what feels like an endless amount of guest posts out in the world…
…many things have been written.
I’ve had my work reach millions, and it’s been published in Forbes, Business Insider, Inc, Fast Company, Yahoo! and so on and so forth.
(I share this not to be annoying, but just so you know that I’m not some random person who has blogs only read by my mother and a variety of judgemental cats).
I bring this up because recently one of my Build a REAL Business students asked this question: “How do you do it? How do you consistently write good blog content week after week?”
It was a really interesting question, as I’ve never sat down and formalized my content creation process before.
So, let me share how I write blog content for coaches, the “blog writing topics,” if you will … in an interview with myself? This should be fun! *for me*
***But also for you, so if you are like “I need help with my blog” or just “blog. help. me…” you are in the right place.
First: What is great blog content?
Well, great blog content is content that is useful to your audience, that helps them in some actionable or tangible way.
That’s it, pretty simple. Blogs can be short or long, funny or formal, but they aren’t great if they don’t give something helpful – like an insight, a perspective, a tool or idea – to your client.
If someone finds your blogs great, that’s the first step to them getting to know you, and then if they get to know you, they might become a coaching client.
How do you start? Well…
Great blogs usually start with a good idea.
Second: How does your writing process work? And, where do you find good ideas?
Conventional wisdom would tell you that I create blog content ideas in batches, and then write a bunch of blogs all at once, since that’s an efficient way to work.
A look inside my blog writing process would tell you that I rarely write a bunch at once, though I *sometimes* brainstorm content ideas all at once. Honestly, I usually write blogs the same week they are published… so, a LOT happens in the moment.
And while I’d like to tell you I have an annual content calendar with emails and posts plotted out each week, I don’t have that either.
To be clear, I have program launches or other topics planned out in my calendar, and during those planned times I’ll often write themed blogs, where I have thought out the blog topics in advance. Recently we did a whole month on how to sell life coaching, so I brainstormed several ideas and wrote a blog on each of them. For example, see this blog on a terrible coaching sales pitch.
…what I’ve learned is that to write well I often have to be in the moment, and so it’s okay to be less efficient.
And so I see the question or get an idea, then I sit down and write on a blog topic.
This blog idea came from a student, as I already mentioned. I liked the topic, I noted it in my calendar for a time when I didn’t have a blog idea already in mind to be published, and here we are!
Okay….but, how do you really find these blog topic ideas?
I tend to get blog ideas from a few places:
- My students. I see what they struggle with, and if I explain something to them I might turn it into an in-depth article if I think it’s important beyond the BARB program.
- The greater community. I have a one-question survey that I ask people to fill out if they sign up to join the community, and the answers I see to my question prompt some blog ideas (the question is: “What made you sign up to learn more about Build a REAL Business today?“, but in the past I’ve also just asked “What are you struggling with most right now?“)
- My brain. I know coaches well, and I’ve been at all stages of the coaching game (the beginning with no clients, the middle with many clients, 6 figures, 7 figures etc), and sometimes just sit and think about my past struggles or something I wanted help with, and then I choose blog topics to write based on that.
- Mistakes. Sometimes I make a mistake, or I see someone else doing it outside of this community, and I write about why I think it’s a mistake and what I would do, or should have done, differently.
- My experience. Sometimes I do something or see something random (or someone writes me some hate mail) and I turn it into a blog.
My goal with ideas is that they are always useful to the Coach Pony community in some concrete way.
But how do you choose what to write once you have a list of good ideas in front of you?
Since I’m writing a lot of my content week to week (and I’ve really tried hard to batch, but for whatever reason I can’t do it for this so I’ve had to accept that my brain can’t be contained), I often base my decision on what to write on only two criteria.
Criteria 1: Am I interested in this right now?
Criteria 2: Is it relevant to what is happening now?
Criteria 1 is important, in that blogging takes time, and writing long and detailed blogs like I do takes *even more* time. So I have to be interested enough in the content to have the energy to write it.
Criteria 2 is important, in that some topics make more sense depending on the time of year. I might write a post about business gifts in December, rather than July, for instance. Or, if I know I have a theme month coming up and it’s on Marketing, I won’t write a blog on Marketing till I hit that month. Here’s a good blog on Marketing if you need help finding coaching clients, just as an FYI.
Then, once I have an idea in mind that is relevant and interesting to me, I draft up a few key points I want to make, and voila! That’s my blog outline. All I have to do next is fill in the outline.
How do you make yourself write consistently?
I put time on my calendar first, and I pick a time when my writing brain is working well. This is crucial, as it’s a micro-commitment to actually do it, and since it’s on my calendar I know I have the time. I never choose times that I know I’ll be tired or distracted, instead I always choose times I know are good for me creatively.
Then, when the time comes, I sit down and verbally throw up.
Sometimes I really REALLY don’t want to do it. I’ve mentioned blogging takes time and can be hard, right? But even though it’s hard, it IS a major part of how I market my business, so I do have to do write consistently.
Given that, in those reallllllly hard times I set a tomato timer, and just write for the 25 minutes that the countdown allows, and then when the buzzer goes off one of two things has happened:
Positive Thing 1: I’ve gotten interested and I ignore the buzzer and keep writing, or
Positive Thing 2: I’m desperate to be done, and I walk away and then come back later and edit. Editing is often so much easier than writing. I can turn something pretty terrible into decent content with enough editing, and repeating that over and over again when I’m struggling can be enough to get 1000 words out of me and on paper.
Bottom line: What I’ve learned over the years is that editing is magical.
Any last wisdom?
Yes, two things: 1) I give myself time to write and edit. So, this blog will take me 3 days all in. Two different days to write and edit it, and then a 3rd day to make pointless changes and upload some fun graphics and add links. My style is iterative, and I’ve learned to lean into it, rather than fight it. Go with whatever works for YOUR style.
And, if you have ever wondered to yourself: Can I use writing to *actually* sell coaching? My answer is YES. Here’s a great example of how I do it, and have done it for years, plus it’s also a useful in-depth article on why people don’t buy life coaching, so it’ll be helpful to you on multiple levels. WIN-WIN-WIN.
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