When you’re a freelance writer, you may need to brainstorm blog post ideas for clients. Some clients will provide you with a list of topics, and others will want you to pitch different topic ideas.
But some writers get stuck at this step. They have no problem writing content once they know what the topic is, but proposing a topic is a struggle.
To help you easily generate blog post ideas that your client will love, here is a five-step process you can follow. The first two steps are all about gathering information. They will ensure your post ideas match what your client wants. Then the final three steps will help you generate your ideas and prepare them to send to your client for approval.
The five steps are:
- Identify the target audience
- Review the goals
- Do a brain dump
- Refine your ideas
- Examine existing content
Are you ready to create an endless list of ideas that your freelance clients will love? Let’s dive deeper into each step.
But first, if you need a little help growing your freelance writing business, my book can help. Click below to purchase your own copy of Make Money as a Freelance Writer: Seven Simple Steps to Start Your Freelance Business and Earn Your First $1000.
1. Identify the Target Audience
Who reads your client’s blog? If you don’t know who you’re writing for, you can’t produce great content. Trying to write for everyone is a mistake that many writers make.
Before you start brainstorming, take a couple of minutes to review your client’s avatar. Think about their hopes and dreams. Think about their fears and problems. What keeps them up at night?
If you don’t know the answers to these questions, ask your client. See if they have a description of their ideal reader they can send your way.
Once you know the who, you can begin narrowing your train of thought on the what.
What does this reader need to know?
2. Review the Goals
Why does your client have a blog? Do they want to rank for certain keywords? Or are they trying to generate leads to sell a product or service?
Another way to ask this question is:
What is the outcome my client desires for this post?
When you know what your clients expects from your post, you can create content that matches. You can ensure your CTAs at the end point readers in the right direction. You can use language that encourages readers to take the next step. And you can make sure the format of the blog post is right. For instance, you don’t want to waste time writing a list post if your client wanted a step-by-step tutorial.
Here again, if you are just getting started with a client, you may need to directly ask what their goals are. There are several questions you should ask when you onboard a new client, so don’t feel bad about asking.
Find out what they want this post to accomplish, and what they want the post to look like. Your willingness to have this conversation will show that you are a freelancer who cares about your client and isn’t just looking for a pay day. Your interest can help set you apart from other freelance writers, and help you retain your current clients.
3. Do a Brain Dump
Now that you have some basic information, it’s time to get as many ideas as possible into written form.
Set a timer for ten minutes, and start writing. Jot down any thoughts that come into you head about your client’s audience or niche.
Don’t take time to evaluate these ideas right now. Don’t worry if they seem stupid or that they won’t make a good blog post. Just write down everything. You never know what word will trigger a great blog post idea for you.
Try to keep generating ideas until your timer beeps. You want to have lots of ideas to work with.
4. Refine Your Ideas
How many ideas did you write down? No matter the number, it’s time to take those rough ideas and begin refining them.
First, read your list aloud and take some notes. It’s best to have a hard copy for this step, so print out your list if you brainstormed on the computer.
As you read, listen carefully and do the following:
- Look for patterns
- Star or circle ideas that are your favorite
Looking for patterns can help you flesh out your blog post ideas. You may notice five ideas that really go together. These could work together as subheadings on a single post. Or you could dive deep into each of them, creating a series your client’s audience looks forward to reading.
To help with this refining stage, here are ten fill-in-the-blank headline ideas. See if any of your ideas would fit into these, and then use this list to help you brainstorm additional blog post ideas for your client.
- The Top X ______________________
- A Beginner’s Guide to _______________
- What You Need to Know About _________________ This Season
- The Number One Secret of _______________
- X Myths ________ Believe
- A X-Step Process to Help You _______ Better
- Don’t Make This Mistake When You’re ___________________
- X Tools Every ____________ Needs
- How to ____________
- Why Your ___________ Needs a ____________
As you continue to brainstorm blog post ideas for clients, you will come up with some additional headline formulas of your own. This will help you refine your ideas even faster.
I recommend taking time to flesh out your ideas a little more during this stage, while your mind is still focused on the topics. Otherwise you may not remember what five tools you wanted to talk about, or what steps you needed to touch on. Having more insight into the points you will cover can also be useful for your client. That way they can see where you are heading and provide any insight they think you may need.
5. Examine Existing Content to Check for Duplicates
Part of brainstorming blog post ideas for clients involves making sure they don’t already have a post about this topic. Take your list of ideas, and begin searching for them on your client’s blog. If you see a post that is similar, ask yourself how your post would be different.
Will you address another angle? Will you offer an update to an outdated post?
When you can explain how your content will provide readers with new information instead of just rehashing the same ideas over and over again, your clients will appreciate it. If you can’t think of a new idea, and this topic would be a duplicate, go ahead and cross it off your list.
As you examine existing content and take time to go through a couple of posts, you may brainstorm even more blog post ideas. So make sure you keep your pen and paper handy. You might notice that an article is missing an important concept. Or realize that there aren’t any articles about a particular topic that’d be a good fit.
Send Your Ideas to Your Client
Follow your client’s instructions for sending over blog post ideas that you’ve brainstormed. If they want five topic ideas, send them five. If they request some for one category and some for another, send them both.
Once you hear back which topics are approved, you can take those ideas and turn them into great blog posts.
Brainstorm Blog Post Ideas for Clients Again and Again
Now that you know the five steps, you can repeat them any time to brainstorm an endless supply of ideas for your clients.
However, you may have noticed that this process took some time. This is especially true if you’re coming up with content ideas for a new client.
Don’t worry. The more time you spend working with each client, the easier this process will become.
You will begin to internalize the steps, and find your own perfect process for doing them. You will become more familiar with each clients’ audience and goals, and need to spend less time on the first two steps. With practice you will streamline the process and it will go so much faster.
So give it a try and create some great content for your clients. You can do this!
If you’d like more support as you build your freelance writing business, then come check out the Work-At-Home Resource Library. You will get instant access to over 20 proven resources plus an invite to join the FREE Facebook community. We’d love to have you join us!