Tag Archives: creativity

5 Blog Post Ideas You Can Use Today

5 Blog Post Ideas You Can Use Today

When I work with clients on their blogs, I make lists of blog post ideas they can use if they wish. By the time they work through the list, they know how to generate their own ideas.

Ideas are everywhere. For inspiration, check your email, and the news, and ask your colleagues to help you to brainstorm.

If you’ve still got nothing, try these ideas.

1. Create a list post

List posts are super-easy. Choose a topic, and think: why, what, why, when, where and how.

Examples:

  • 5 Reasons Yoghurt Is Good For You
  • 5 Simple And Trendy Yoghurt Desserts
  • 2 Ways To Make Yoghurt At Home
  • Simple Good Health: 4 Super-Foods To Include In Your Diet

You can often turn posts in your archives into list posts.

2. Post an image from your location

You’ll see these kinds of posts on social media: an image of what someone saw on his way to work, or the view from a poster’s living room window.

Make this theme your own. If you’ve got a bricks and mortar shop, you’ve got endless opportunities to snap images.

They don’t need to be pretty — they just need to be a slice of life.

If you’re a writer, post an image of your desk, or the cover of your book, or the unboxing of something or other. YouTube’s full of unboxing videos, because they’re popular.

3. Post the answer to a question (include WHY)

You get questions every day. If you’re stumped for a blog post idea, scroll through your email.

Tell your readers why you responded as you did. The reason will be evident to you, but for someone who’s new to your topic, it’s a mystery.

4. Create a post in a format you’ve never used before

Most bloggers get stuck using the same couple of formats. However, there are many different blog post formats. If you’re using WordPress, check your theme.

Here’s a selection of formats.

Blog post formats
Blog post formats

5. Just for giggles, use an idea generator

Sometimes your brain feels like mush, and ideas won’t come. Make yourself laugh. Humor makes you more creative.

Idea generators can come up with some weird ideas.

Here’s Hubspot’s. Enter three nouns.

Here’s what happened when I used it.

Blog post idea generator
Blog post idea generator

Collect blog post ideas

I’m a big Evernote user. I’ve got a notebook called Drafts, in which I collect ideas.

Here’s the key to collecting ideas so that they’re useable: jot down a couple of paragraphs, rather then just a phrase, an URL, or a title. The more you write about your idea now, the easier the blog post will be to write later.

, on Twitter: @angee, and find Angela on Pinterest, too.

Get coaching, and build your skills at Angela’s online store.

Writer’s Block: 5 Ways to Write Anyway

Writer's Block: 5 Ways to Write Anyway

A student asked about writer’s block. I’m tempted to say that there’s no such thing, but writers do burn out. If that happens, you’ll eventually get back on track, much wiser for the experience.

Let’s assume that your block isn’t burnout. You’ve simply lost your writer’s mojo. Here are five ways to get it back.

1. Get Input: Learn Something, or Do Something

You write, write, write… and then you stop. You have nothing to say. This happens to bloggers. It’s easy to feel that you’ve said all you have to say on a subject. You just don’t want to think about the topic again.

You need input. Learn something new. It doesn’t matter much what that something is. Anything you’re learning will kick your brain cells awake.

If you’re writing fiction, at some stage (for me it’s page 100), you’ll hit the wall. You decide your plot is ridiculous, your characters are worthless cardboard and you’d rather be dead. Break out the champagne, and have a few celebratory sips. When you hit the wall, salvation is on the other side of it. Take three days off. Refuse to think about your fiction.

Take yourself off somewhere on a short break. You’ll come back revitalized. Your subconscious works hard. It will deliver a solution, and your block will be just a memory.

2. Describe Your Pen

You don’t want to write, so you don’t. Grab a pen, or a pencil, and study it. Then describe it, in as much detail as you can. What material is it made of? Color? When did you buy it? Keep writing.

I’ve no idea why this simple description process breaks through blocks, but it does. It’s probably because after a few minutes of battering your brain about a stupid pen, any other topic sounds good to you.

3. Write a Letter (You Don’t Need to Send It)

Occasionally you’re blocked because of what you’re not saying. If you’re annoyed at someone or something, write a letter. Release your anger, or fear, or whatever it is. The letter’s just for you. Delete the computer file, or rip up the paper when you’re done.

4. Start Something New

You have things you need to write: sales material, your blog, emails… All these “musts” can dry up your creativity. Start something new. It doesn’t matter what it is.

5. Rewrite Something Old

If you’re stuck on a project, and can’t face it, here’s how to get going on it again. Rewrite it — that is, retype it.

I started writing back in the days of typewriters. I’m a horrible typist, so my typescripts always looked ridiculous, with smudges of Tipp-Ex all over the paper. I needed to retype pages often. Here’s the thing. Once you start retyping, your brain gets into the act. You’ll find yourself rewriting, and getting interested in the material. Then, just like magic, you’re writing again, and your block is gone.

Try these methods of breaking through your writer’s block. One will work for you, and you’ll be happily writing again.

If writing is challenging…

The Easy-Write Process will help. Write anytime, about anything. You’ll become a confident writer.

, on Twitter: @angee, and find Angela on Pinterest, too.

Get coaching, and build your skills at Angela’s online store.

5 Best David Ogilvy Copywriting Tips to Improve Your Marketing

 Best David Ogilvy Copywriting Tips to Improve Your Marketing

As you may know, I do a lot of writing, only some of which is copywriting. However, I find that insights I’ve developed from copywriting inform all my other writing. On the whiteboard next to my desk, I’ve always got some copywriting tips. Usually they’re quotes from David Ogilvy.

His quotes always inspire me. Let’s have a look at five gems.

“The best ideas come as jokes. Make your thinking as funny as possible.”

You can’t be creative if you’re not having fun:

“Creative people have apparently mastered the art of turning off this part of their brains to let their ideas flow more smoothly, unleashing their imagination,” she writes.

Before I write advertising copy, or a sales page, I spend ten minutes reading P.G. Wodehouse. Lord Emsworth and the Empress of Blandings (the earl’s prize-winning fat pig) always make me smile.

You know what makes you laugh, so do it, read it, or watch it, before you settle down to write advertising copy.

“What really decides consumers to buy or not to buy is the content of your advertising, not its form.”

Know what you want your advertising to do; the form doesn’t matter.

Although I love words, sometimes an image needs to take the stage. Look at Apple’s advertisement for the iMac. Click on the first image, and scroll. Amazing, right?

Click off the primary image, and scroll down the page. See how how the images of iMacs frame the words? Apple knows its market: Mac users. They look at the iMac on the screen, then the Mac on their desk, and consider upgrading.

“What you say in advertising is more important than how you say it.”

Content again. Know your audience, what you want your audience to do, and decide what you want to say. Then find the most effective way of saying it. Getting back to Apple’s iMac ad, the ad’s brilliant, because you don’t need to do more than glance at the words.

The words aren’t a sales pitch; that isn’t needed. Good copywriting is good writing: have something to say, and say it.

“Good copy can’t be written with tongue in cheek, written just for a living. You’ve got to believe in the product.”

Emotion comes through in your words. Your audience senses how you feel, and if you don’t value the product, and don’t believe what you’re saying, that comes across.

“There is no need for advertisements to look like advertisements. If you make them look like editorial pages, you will attract about 50 per cent more readers.”

Content marketing’s hot because we’re exposed to so much advertising all day, every day, that we just tune it out. Our challenge is to write editorial content which sells. Is it easy? No. Is it effective? Yes, if it’s done well.

Here’s what I love about quotes from David Ogilvy: no matter how many times you read the quotes, and even if you know them by heart, they get you thinking. And writing better copy.

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, on Twitter: @angee, and find Angela on Pinterest, too.

Get coaching, and build your skills at Angela’s online store.

5 Pain-Free Tips to Write Your Book

5 Pain-Free Tips to Write Your Book

You’ve started to write your book. Relax. Writing is fun, if you just focus on the words. You do it day by day, and word by word. You’ll be amazed at how soon all those words turn into a book.

These tips will help.

1. Stop Thinking, Start Writing — and Keep Going

You have doubts. Do you have the time to write? What if... you think. Stop thinking! A book is just a book, a collection of words. It’s no big deal. In my ghostwriting life, I write books for clients, and the writing is pain-free, because I’ve learned to ignore my doubts. You can too.

Your doubts arise from your inner editor. He usually sounds like someone in your life who told you you couldn’t do something or other. He’s not only an idiot, most of his kvetches are recordings. They play over and over, until you give up the mad idea of writing a book.

Some writers picture the inner editor, then imagine locking him inside a box, or a bottle. Don’t worry, you can’t kill him, and once you’ve got a book, he comes in handy during editing.

2. Schedule Your Writing: It’s an Appointment

Here’s the solution if you have “no time.” Schedule the time, even if it’s only 20 minutes. If you write 250 words in 20 minutes, your book will be done in eight months. A timer’s useful too.

Try this. Write your book on your phone. Writers do it for various reasons, the primary one being that your phone is non-threatening. Try Drafts.

3. Write to Yourself: You’re Just Thinking on the Screen

“Writing a book”is scary. Don’t think about it. Instead, write to yourself. Just write down whatever you’re thinking — even if you’re whining: “I’ve got no time. I need to finish the presentation and rehearse it, and if we don’t get the contract I’ll get fired. This is a stupid idea…”

I’m serious. Write your whining — the exact words. Why? Because you’ll get sick of it. Whining isn’t pretty, and when it’s in your head, it tends to play on an endless loop of worries. One of the big benefits of journaling is that it gets all that junk out of your head: it’s healthy. So is writing what you’re thinking. You’ll delete it later of course, but writing it down externalizes it, and as we’ve said, you’ll get sick of it. Which means you can write your book.

I teach this trick in my book coaching practice; it works.

4. Map It: Create Lots of Circles

Early in your writing process, you’re exploring possibilities. Try grabbing a large sheet of paper, A2 size. I like Levenger Oasis pads. Brown paper’s fine, if that’a all you can find. Now grab some marker pens, and make a largish circle in the middle. Write “my book” in the circle. Make smaller circles and ovals all over the paper. Your creative self thinks in images; this is why you’re creating all the circles.

Write words in the circles and ovals — any words which occur to you. Write first thoughts, don’t think about it. Pin the paper onto a board or to a wall.

5. Outline It as Soon as You Can

Outlining a book too early has pitfalls, the big one being that you can choke off your creativity. Your paper-with-circles helps to avoid that.

With both fiction and nonfiction, I like to write a few thousand words just to get into the book. Then I create my “circles” diagram. Shortly after that I draft a preliminary outline.

You don’t have to outline, but it helps you to see where you’re headed at a glance. If an outline makes you uncomfortable, don’t bother with it. All that counts is that you keep writing.

The Easiest Writing Process Ever

Do you struggle with writing? The Easy-Write Process makes it EASY. You’ll discover just how doable, and enjoyable, writing can be.

, on Twitter: @angee, and find Angela on Pinterest, too.

Get coaching, and build your skills at Angela’s online store.