Where to find ideas for content when you’re just starting out (and don’t have any clients)
Last week we looked at where to find customer language when you don’t want to talk to customers. Or don’t have any customers to talk to… Or when you’re just an introvert and you’re done talking for a while.
This week, we’re gonna explore where to get content ideas – yay!
When you’re just getting started, creating weekly content (or biweekly or however often you choose to create content, honestly, as long as you’re being consistent with it) can be tough.
Not just because you have to write on the regular.
Not just because you have to figure out the whole process of posting to your blog and sending out a newsletter.
But also because…honestly, coming up with that many ideas can be kinda daunting.
Especially when you’re new, when you haven’t worked with many clients, when you’re not sure what people really want to hear about.
You can have all the passion in the world for your topic (ahem, we’ll be using meal planning yet again, just to be consistent, you know). But if your target client doesn’t give a fuck about meal planning…well, no one’s going to read your blog.
Or any of your other content. They’re not going to poke around your website. And they’re not going to be inspired to contact you or inquire about your awesome services.
They won’t even know your services are awesome because you’re not grabbing their attention with all your healthy meal planning content.
So, let’s talk about where you can find ideas for churning out consistent content, even if you’re brand new to business and haven’t booked a client yet.
I heard someone describe Pinterest as a search engine – not a social media platform – and I’m pretty sure that’s spot on.
People aren’t going on Pinterest to chat about their problems. They’re going there searching for solutions to their problems.
Isn’t that how you use it, too?
So head right up to that search bar and start typing in some terms related to your business.
As soon as I start typing in “meal,” Pinterest auto-populates some things people are currently searching for. Like, meal prep, meal prep for the week, meal prep recipes, meal planning, meal prepping for beginners.
If I keep going and start typing “meal planning,” Pinterest oh so kindly gives me EVEN more search terms. Meal planning on a budget, printable, for beginners, on a budget family.
And, if I keep going and search for “meal planning ideas for,” I get for kids, for two, for family, for a week, for lunch…
These are the actual things your clients are searching for. No joke.
Doesn’t it make sense that you might then create content around these exact ideas? Using these exact words? I think it makes perfect sense.
Do you remember when Google didn’t exist? Or when google wasn’t a verb?
Everyone’s favorite search engine (does anyone even use Yahoo or Bing anymore?!) also happens to be quite handy when you’re looking for some inspiration.
Kinda like Pinterest, all you’ve gotta do is start typing your search term and see what magically auto-populates.
Our example “meal planning” search brings up stuff like meal planning app, template, ideas, recipes, mommies, calendar, service, on a budget, website…
Just for funsies, I kept typing and changed my search term to “meal planning for” and some interesting suggestions popped up: for beginners, for the week, for weight loss, for diabetics, for two, for kids, for keto diet, for picky eaters, for dummies…
This gives us some insights into what people are actually searching for and the words they’re using to describe what it is they’re looking for.
There you have it: more ideas. More inspiration. And the exact phrases your clients are using that are gonna help your blog post about meal planning for picky eaters come up in search results.
Answer the Public
Answer the Public is like a search engine on steroids.
It takes what search engines are doing (giving you an overview of the questions and therefore what’s motivating your people and how your people are feeling about that topic) and puts it all together in one handy dandy report.
When I type in “meal planning,” I’m presented with hundreds of questions, prepositions, and comparisons, all related to my search.
Taking a look under the questions results, I can see people are saying things like:
I can’t afford a meal plan
I can’t meal plan
How meal planning saves money
How to meal plan on a budget
Meal planning when working out.
Scrolling on down to the alphabecticals shows that people are also expressing that “meal planning is overwhelming” and “meal planning is hard.”
How many different blog posts can you come up with to address these topics? I mean, at least seven right?
How about a whole series on making meal planning easy? Or an email course on making meal plans that helps your client save time and money? Maybe even specific meal plans for sale that address specific concerns, like meal plans for weightlifters, for runners, for swimmers, and on and on and on…
Another search engine hybrid, Soolve takes the top results from different sites (Google, Wikipedia, YouTube, Amazon, Bing, Yahoo, and answers.com) and displays them in one spot.
Sure, it’s not overly fancy, but it works.
All you’ve gotta do is type in your search terms (the ever-predictable “meal planning”) and see what pops up.
If you find a result you like, you can click on it and be whisked away to the search engine where the result lives. Then, you can dig through EVEN MORE search results!
Ubersuggest comes from Neil Patel’s genius mind and is a keyword research tool that can help you with keyword planning, SEO, and all the analytics you could possibly want or need.
For our purposes, we’ll take a peek at the keyword ideas section.
Popping “meal planning” into the search bar one more time, Ubersuggest lets me know it’s got 834 (!) keyword ideas for me.
What to make for dinner
Cheap healthy meals
Dinner ideas for two
Meal planning healthy
Putting my thinking cap on for just a moment, I’m tossing around the idea of creating an ebook full of cheap healthy meals that feed two people and can be on the table in under 30 minutes.
And all kinds of ideas are buzzing in my head for blog posts teaching people how to make dinner using what they have on hand, how to cook from scratch quickly, how to make a healthy meal plan easily…
Buzzsumo is another keyword research tool.
But this one’s a little different.
You see, it shows you what content is popular on other sites.
Say I’m doing some research on meal planning. (Original, I know. Stay on task, my friend.)
Buzzsumo brings up the most popular content on that topic within the past year. You can also filter it by date to get more recent or even older content.
It shows you how many times that piece of content has been shared on Twitter and Pinterest and how much engagement it got on Facebook. It shows you how many backlinks it has, who shared it on Twitter, and even how much Reddit engagement it got.
You can filter by total engagement, or you can check out the content that got tons of play of Pinterest.
But here’s what you’re not gonna do with all this information: Create the exact same piece of content.
You’re better than that.
What you ARE going to do? Think about what you can add to the conversation. What you disagree with. Where you have a different opinion. Where your perspective is new.
Take inspiration from all this knowledge at your fingertips and use it to create content that is EVEN better, that speaks to your audience, and that gives your audience exactly what they’re looking for.
Friends and family
You might not have any paying clients yet, but you’ve got friends and family, yes?
What are they asking you? What are they talking about?
I’m not a gambling gal, but if I were, I’d place some serious money on people asking you allll the health questions as soon as they find out you’re in the health and wellness industry.
People ask me all the time what ingredients they can substitute in recipes, why this has more calories than that, whether they’re eating enough.
Start paying attention to the things people are asking you. Or the things they’re talking about when you’re around.
It’s not creepy – it’s research.
Here’s a bonus tip for you: Every single one of the platforms we covered last week (check that post out if you haven’t already) can also be used for this same purpose. Mind-blowing, right? All you’ve gotta do is follow the same steps and – I tell ya – lightning strikes!
It gets even better. These tools can all be used together. Because, once you understand what people are searching for (like, you know, meal planning), you can dig deeper into the motivation and the emotions behind those searches.
Now it’s your turn. Pick a different topic than meal planning (please) and spend 15 minutes doing some research to see what content you can create. Come up with at least four ideas and pop in to the Facebook group to share your new content plan!