Start a blogging notebook is one of the recommendations I make to people who would like to start blogging for business (or indeed pleasure). Keeping a notebook is a fantastic way to capture your ideas. It’s also a really useful tool when your ideas dry up and you need to kick-start your blog schedule.
A blogging notebook doesn’t need to be a physical notebook, although in my case it definitely does! I love my stationery and an excuse for a trip to Paperchase is a dream come true. But if paper isn’t your thing start a notebook on your phone or tablet, just make sure you have it handy at all times. Creative ideas can arrive when you least expect it.
What to write in your blogging notebook – Stage one
To begin with, you’ve got to train your brain to start thinking more creatively. I think the best way to do this is to challenge yourself once a week to write down the following in your blogging notebook:
A story you’ve read in the news
A highlight from your working life
A memorable personal moment or event
Once you’ve written these down, start to think about:
A. How you can relate each story to what you do in your business.
B. What angle you might take in writing a blog on this subject for your audience.
For example, I read a story this week about a potential increase in the plastic bag charge from 5p to 10p and the impact this might have on small retailers. There are several different angles I might take on this story for a client:
Recycling and the war on plastics
Pressures on small businesses
Introducing a price increase
Changing consumer behaviours
The idea is to start using current affairs and life events as a hook for your blog. Writing about topics that people are already talking about and interested in will help to get your blog found, particularly on social media. Plus when you’re starting out, it’s much easier to build on an idea that’s already out there, rather than invent your own.
What to write in your blogging notebook – Stage two
Once you commit to writing in your blogging notebook on a regular basis, it will develop into a habit. This is when you can really crank up the creativity! Stage two is where having a portable blogging notebook is essential. If you create it on a PC or laptop, save it in the cloud so you can access it on the go. Chances are, you’ll start to come up with potential blog ideas at the strangest of times.
I tend to have most of my great ideas when I can’t sleep or when I’m in the shower. The latter, I’m told by my hypnotherapist client, is due to me being in a state of mild hypnosis! These are some other situations in which you might find yourself digging out your blogging notebook.
We all do it. Sometimes you don’t have a choice. Next time you’re on public transport, ditch your mobile phone, take your ear buds out and listen to a few conversations. A few weeks ago, waiting on a bench in a shopping centre I overheard a girl saying to her boyfriend “I’d really like some personalised pyjamas, but not right now.” I was so bemused by her comment I wrote it down in my blogging notebook. There’s definitely a blog in there somewhere - if you have any ideas, let me know!
I love nothing more than a spot of people watching. Sitting in a coffee shop window observing body language and quite possibly earwigging their conversations, you can learn so much about human behaviour. Write down what you see, then use these to inspire your blog posts.
Start to document your experiences, thoughts and feelings on a daily basis. Write a journal (another excuse for a trip to Paperchase?) and log who you meet/speak to, what you achieve, and what you learn from it. Retelling your own stories and learning experiences in your blog makes very powerful and relatable content. People love honesty and honesty will build trust in you and your business.
I hope I’ve inspired you to take up the blogging notebook challenge! If you’re ready to put yourself to the test, let me know how you get on in the comments below. If you still need some convincing that blogging is right for you, read Why I love blogging – and you should too.