Coming up with a steady stream of topic ideas for your own newsletter or blog can be difficult.
And even when you have ideas, you wonder if they’re worth writing and publishing.
I mean … what could you possibly contribute that hasn’t already been said?
If this inner dialogue sounds familiar, you’re going to get a lot from this episode.
My guest is Pamela Wilson, the founder of Big Brand System. Pamela helps people build online businesses they love.
And in our discussion, she explains how you can create your own content faster, more consistently and with less stress.
Bonus: you can use this same process when you write for clients!
The notes that follow are a very basic, unedited summary of the show. There’s a lot more detail in the audio version. You can listen to the show using the audio player below. Or you can subscribe in iTunes to get this show delivered straight to the Podcasts app on your smart phone, tablet or iPod.
Tell us about your business
Pamela started out as a graphic designer. When she started Big Brand System, she learned content marketing by doing.
Since then, she’s written for Copyblogger, taught content marketing and written books on the topic.
Today, she considers herself an online educator.
Why is the task of creating content for their own blogs and newsletters so difficult for many writers?
We use different parts of our brain when we come up with content ideas, craft content and edit content.
If you try to generate ideas, write content and edit content all in one sitting, you’re not being fair to yourself.
Pamela has developed a four-day content creation system. It breaks down the process over several days so you can use the best part of your brain at every stage.
What about the concern that everything has already been said?
You need to get in touch with your own writing voice. The book Accidental Genius by Mark Levy can help you with freewriting. It’s a way to get in touch with your own thoughts and voice.
You have to write your way to your own voice. You can’t just pull it out of the air.
Your voice is unique — and it contributes something new to the conversation.
Everything probably has been written about already. But not by you in your unique voice.
Is storytelling a good way to add our own hook?
Absolutely! When you’re writing for clients, you can’t use your own anecdotes. But you can when you’re writing for yourself.
You should create a library of anecdotes. A place to note them down so you can draw from them later. This could be sticky notes, a notebook or Evernote.
The bigger your bank of ideas, the easier it is to come up with topics.
Can you walk us through your content creation system?
It’s better to break up your content and create it in smaller chunks.
Because if you wait until you have four or five hours available, it won’t happen.
If you wait until you have a big chunk of time to work on your own content, you’ll never get it done.
Pamela’s four-day content creation system:
Day 0: Come up with the topic (drawing from your idea library).
Day 1: Write a (draft) headline and think through your subheads.
Day 2: Write the first draft. Do NOT go back and edit. Just get the content out of your head.
Day 3: Come back to your content and edit it. Add at least one image.
Day 4: Publish and promote your content.
How can we help ourselves publish more consistently?
Pick a publication day and work backwards using the four-day system.
Say you publish on Thursdays. Pick your topic on the Friday before. On Monday, write your headline and subheads. Tuesday, write your draft. Wednesday, polish it up. Thursday, publish.
Follow this routine every week and build the process into your schedule.
Most of us try to cover way too much ground in each piece of content. The headline helps you narrow down your topic and makes the writing easier.
Also, think about your audience and their level of understanding.
Beginners have a lot of “What” questions.
Intermediates look for “How to” articles.
Advanced look for more advanced topics.
Therefore, you can cover the same topic but in three ways for three types of readers.
What other mistakes do you see writers make when it comes to choosing topics?
Think of the overarching topic of your website as the trunk of the tree. Everything you write about should branch out from the trunk. Large branches are categories. Small branches are more granular topics. They all connect to the trunk.
The big mistake Pamela sees is people writing about stuff that’s not related to the trunk. This confuses search engines and people.
Make sure all of the content on your website is related to the its overarching theme.
You can go a little more off topic with your email list.
But when publishing on your website, you want to be consistent so people can quickly understand what it is that you do.
Tell us about your latest book
Pamela’s latest book is Master Content Strategy: How to Maximize Your Reach and Boost Your Bottom Line Every Time You Hit Publish
This is the second book in her Master Content series.
It’s all about how to make the most out of the content you create.
Where can listeners learn more about you?
Discover Pamela’s free resources:
Plus … whenever you’re ready, here are 4 ways I can help you grow your freelance business:
1. Grab a free copy of my book for ESTABLISHED writers/copywriters.
You’ll discover how to quickly and predictably reawaken dead leads, generate new client opportunities and convert not-yet-ready prospects into freelance writing clients. — Click Here
2. Download a free copy of my new book for writers who are NEW to freelancing.
I’ll show you the 3 things you need to do to get your business off the ground safely and land your first paying client faster. — Click Here
3. Join my implementation program and be a case study.
I’m putting together a new implementation group this month. If you’d like to work with me to grow your income quickly with better clients (and become one of my new success stories). Just email me at [email protected] and put “Case Study” in the subject line.
4. Work with me privately.
If you’re a 6-figure writer who’s trying to earn more in less time, with less stress, I might be able to help you get there faster than you think. Email me at [email protected] … put “Breakthrough” in the subject line and I’ll get back to you with more details.