Learn First. Blog Second. How to Turn “On the Job” Lessons into Posts that Appeal.

Consistently pinning down blog topics that will provide value to readers presents a challenge to busy solo professionals. In fact, it’s one of the main reasons why many of the solopreneurs and small business owners I know haven’t started to blog.

We put a lot of pressure on ourselves. We think that unless we’ve got something monumental or expertly detailed to share, we won’t be providing anything worth reading. Fortunately, most readers aren’t looking for us to leap over tall buildings and solve all of the world’s – or their businesses’ – problems in a single post. What most are looking for is genuine advice, guidance, and information garnered from walking the walk and lessons learned.

As a solopreneur, does a day go by when you haven’t learned – or realize that you need to learn – something new or something more? Of course not! So, if you’re struggling to come up with compelling topics for your blog, start thinking about…

  • What you’ve learned “on the job” as a small business owner in your industry.
  • What you’re continually learning and the skills you’re developing every single day.
  • What you need to learn to run your business better or provide better services or products.

Keep in mind that you probably won’t need to go into great technical detail (unless your audience is very technically adept), and you don’t have to make your posts all-encompassing to include anything and everything on a topic. The key is to stay on point and inform, educate and even entertain by sharing what you know through your own efforts to learn more and do business better.

So what types of stuff might you focus on?

  • Trends in customer preferences and demand for the types of services or goods you sell.
  • Rules and regulations that affect your industry and their impact on what you sell, how you sell it, and what they mean to the consumer.
  • Technology tools that you’re using to improve the quality of your services & products.
  • Technology tools that you’re exploring to help build customer relationships.
  • Up and coming developments in products and services within your industry.
  • Services and products that are complementary to yours – and that will enhance the customer experience.
  • Upcoming events where prospects and customers can learn more about products & services in your industry (and ideally where they can connect with you one-on-one).
  • Credentials and expertise that customers should look for in a business within your industry.
  • Ways that customers can maximize the value of the products and services that they buy from you.

Basically, if you want or need more information about an industry topic, provided there’s a customer angle in there somewhere, you’ll have the makings of a blog post that can attract readers and give them a worthwhile takeaway. Just be sure that while you’re sharing what you’ve learned, you make the post about them. The “What’s in it for them?” needs to shine through in the finished product each and every post.

What types of things have you learned “on the job” that translate well into blog post topics? Please share your ideas!

8 comments on “Learn First. Blog Second. How to Turn “On the Job” Lessons into Posts that Appeal.
  1. Okay Dawn, I am going to stop lurking. I dig your blog and am a regular reader.

    That said, understanding what your audience is into is pretty key I think and then finding some intersection between that and what you/one does.

    My most popular posts have been my buy local posts because that seems to be of interest between consumers and business people. And those posts are actually the easiest to write.

    When you’re teaching something you always wonder who finds this useful? But you are right on in saying that you have to teach what you have done. That seems to resonate with peeps the most.

    • dawnmentzer says:

      Well, I’m glad you’re no longer a lurker, Charles! 😉 Thank you for your kind comment and your support of my blog!

      You made some really great points centered on how important it is to know what your audience interests are and finding a way to position what you write about so that it will resonate with them. You have a great handle on that, and it’s definitely something everyone should keep in mind when writing their blog content.

      Great to hear from you!

  2. Spot on! I find that many of my clients are stopping themselves because they think “oh that’s just a little thing” and don’t post. in fact, that ‘little thing’ could be a great tip for someone else. never underestimate yourself. We have to address that again and again in our workshops. You are a professional; you know stuff others do not; blogging about it is both helpful to your readers and you.

    • dawnmentzer says:

      Very, very well said, Yoram! It really does seem that a lot of small business professionals assume that what they know is either common knowledge or that people won’t care – not realizing how much others can benefit from their experiences and insight. I also agree that blogging can help the blogger, too. It’s a great way to put your thoughts in order and showcase that you’re in tune with your industry – and your customers. Thanks for taking the time to comment here! I’m looking forward to checking out your Decisive Action Workshops website!

      • Thanks Dawn for your very kind response! There is actually one more aspect to it and that is – by the time you collect a few dozen blog entries and responses that’s enough material to make a book out of! Re-purposing your thoughts and integrating with the collective wizdom of those who leave comments for the blogger can produce a quality book that the solopreneur can then use to create credibility in the marketplace.

        • dawnmentzer says:

          You’re welcome, Yoram! And thanks for sharing that FABULOUS idea! A great one to help solopreneurs get more mileage from their blogs – and to deliver even more value to their audiences. 🙂

  3. Well said, Dawn. I think posts that make us look “human” appeal to our customers. Nothing wrong with admitting our mistakes and the lessons learned either.

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