Help! I don't know what to write about
You know A TON about your specialty area. You’ve studied, and worked with clients, and done a bunch of research.
And yet. You sit down to write a blog post or newsletter and come up short. What should I write about this week? What do my readers want to know about? What topic will make them flock to my business and become clients?
Two hours and three cups of coffee later, you’re still staring at a blank screen and a blinking cursor. By the third hour, you toss in the towel and work on other aspects of your business. Better to be productive at something, you figure, than to spend one more second staring at that blank screen.
But that means yet another week without creating content that will reach your readers—and that's a big loss. Readers become paying clients after regular exposure to your name thanks to a phenomenon called the mere exposure effect. As Derek Thompson writes in The Atlantic, the mere exposure effect "is one of the sturdiest findings in modern psychology.”
What is the mere exposure effect? It means that humans prefer things they’re familiar with. If someone sees your name regularly—if someone is familiar with you and what you do—they are more likely to work with you.
Reach Your People
The importance of getting your name out there can’t be underestimated. But that very idea might bring you back to the original problem: what to write about. In fact, knowing about the importance of regular exposure might add pressure to your writing process, making it even more difficult. I’ve gotta write SOMETHING and I’ve gotta make it GOOD… Ack! I better just shop the spring sale at Zappos instead!
Don’t panic! There are ways to take the pressure off the writing process (like keeping it short) and there’s a surefire way to always pick a topic that will resonate with your readers: write about their most pressing problem.
What Does My Reader Struggle With The Most?
When you’re struggling with what to write, think about your readers' most pressing problem.
What is it that your reader needs help with the most? What is the problem (or problems) that it would be worth their money to solve right now?
Once you’ve zeroed in on your ideal client’s pressing problem—let’s say you’re a chiropractor and your client’s pressing problem is back pain—you can write about any of the various ways you help clients with back pain; you can offer simple exercises that s/he can do at home; you can write about stories of other clients who have found relief through your services; you can write about the value of taking care of back pain now before it gets worse.
Then, when you’ve written about all those things, you can repeat the cycle. Write another post about a different way you help clients, a different at-home exercise, a different client you helped, other benefits of treating back pain now.
There is no shortage of relevant, compelling, I-want-to-work-with-you topics when you focus on helping readers solve their most pressing problem.
Weekly writing affirmation: I will help my reader solve their most pressing problem.
Bonus! This song, a folk classic, embodies the spirit of this week’s affirmation. The music starts at the 0:50 second mark. Enjoy!