So you’re a translator, and you have a blog for your site, or you’ve been meaning to start one. Because you know that a blog is fantastic for SEO, and for showing your clients you know your stuff.
But one of the main problems you’ve been having is figuring out what to actually write about.
After all, it’s all already been written, right? How can you come up with anything original to say?
And if it’s not groundbreaking, then is there really any point in writing it?
During the free copy reviews I offered back in April, a few people said they were struggling with this.
So I thought I’d share a few tips for how to come up with blog topics.
Sit down with a pen and paper
The best starting point for a blog is to come up with a big pool of ideas that you can keep adding to and fishing from.
Sit down and brainstorm plenty of ideas for blog titles.
That way, you can just look over your list of titles every time you want to post and don’t have to worry about coming up with a new idea every week or month.
Read other blogs
Now, the last thing you should be doing is copying other people’s blogs.
But you should be reading plenty of them, as topics that other people cover might serve as inspiration.
You could come at the same topic that they’ve looked at from a different angle, or something they just mention in passing might inspire you to write an entire blog post.
Cover keywords you want to target
Blogs are great for SEO for lots of reasons, but they also give you a chance to hit relevant keywords that you can’t squeeze into your main site.
Rather than the two-word phrases you might be targeting with your home page or services pages, your blogs might be focused on slightly longer (known as long-tail) key phrases that aren’t searched for as much (have lower search volumes) but your potential customers might be searching for.
If you find the world of SEO and keywords a bit confusing, then this blog by Kate Toon is a good starting point.
I learned everything I know about SEO from Kate in her big Recipe for SEO Success course, which I highly recommend. But she also has vast amounts of highly educational free content in the form of blog posts and podcasts.
Think about your FAQS
What are the questions you most often get asked by prospective clients?
Would an explanatory blog about any of them be useful?
Your FAQS page can be a great source of inspiration for blog posts.
Aim for a good variety of blogs
The key to keeping things interesting (both for your readers and for you) is to have a mix of different blog types and topics, whilst always keeping things relevant to you, your business and your target audience.
Experiment with blogging about different niches in different formats. If you post a top-tips blog aimed at your fellow translators one week, then you might want to follow it with a client-focused post about working with a translator, and round things off with a more reflective, journal-style post.
When I first brainstormed ideas for my weekly blogs, I hadn’t the foggiest idea what was waiting around the corner. Just like we all were, I was planning a hectic 2020 of getting things done and seeing people and places.
Because one of my main niches is sustainable travel, I had lots of plans for travel-themed pieces to show prospective clients that I know my stuff.
But then this hit us all like a freight train, and the vast majority of those blog titles have been firmly put in the ‘maybe one-day’ category.
I did publish an interview on sustainable travel and what it might look like after all this a few weeks ago, but that felt appropriate, whereas posts on location independence could not be more irrelevant right now.
The moral of the story is that it’s great to plan and have plenty of ideas up your sleeve for content.
But you need to keep reassessing those ideas and consider whether they’re still relevant or appropriate, and whether they should be binned or saved for later.
Set yourself a schedule
At the beginning of 2020, I decided that the only way I’d ever get off the starting blocks with my blog was by joining the wonderful #Write52 initiative. That meant committing to blogging weekly for a year.
Now, that’s a big ask and isn’t right for everyone. Having a blogging schedule is really important, but what’s even more important is some kind of accountability.
If you don’t feel accountable to someone there will almost definitely be weeks or months when your planned publishing date goes up in smoke as you just can’t find the time, motivation or inspiration.
Perhaps you could find a blogging buddy in the form of a fellow freelancer, to bounce ideas off and have to explain yourself to if you don’t hit a deadline.
If it’s not flowing, mix things up
It’s great to have a plan. To decide in advance when to post what. But the truth is, that you won’t always feel inspired to write about every topic.
One week, you might have planned to write a how-to article, but when you get to it it’s like wading through treacle. But you do feel inspired to write a more journal-like piece.
Or, one week you might have suddenly come up with a new idea based on something that you’ve seen on the news or in social media, and that’s the only thing you feel compelled to write.
Don’t be afraid to switch things up a bit and write about whatever flows.