The Most Powerful Blogging and Content Marketing Image I’ve Ever Seen

by Marcus Sheridan

I think there are always moments in the life of a blogger when, regardless of how many comments, tweets, and shares you’re getting, you wonder whether or not your stuff is really making an impact to change lives and businesses.

Personally, I’m no different. Yes, all the social media “mentions” are nice, but action is what gets me worked up. Movement. Results.

Such was the case when I received this recent email from a reader and new friend Des Williams, who was kind enough to talk about the impact TSL and the eBook had on his developing business. When I read his email, I responded with a question I often ask– “I’m thrilled to hear it Des! Tell me, have you got that list of blog articles ready to go yet?? ;-)”

As most of you know by now, since the moment The Sales Lion was born I’ve been preaching one essential blogging strategy– Write down every question you’ve received from a prospect/client and make each a title of a blog post.

More than anything I’ve ever taught, this one piece of advice has had a profound influence on businesses all over the world. When done right, it leads to a mountain of blog topics and ideas, no matter the industry or niche.

This is also why I couldn’t help but smile from ear to ear when I read Des’ response:

All 69 topics:)……. just remember sometimes, when you’re tired of writing and researching, neglecting your family, or missing out on something fun and you wonder if what you are doing really matters, you do have a huge impact on people like me and who knows the countless others who you will never even know.

Warmest Regards,
Des

If you have a moment, click on the photo above to get a closer look, as I feel it represents everything we’re all going through as bloggers and content marketers in a perfect nutshell—a box of business cards, an invoice, a family photo, many notes, files, and of course– 69 future blog titles.

Even cooler, the first one talks about cost and the last group talks about “vs.” related topics, subjects I’ve chatted a little about in the past.

Anyway, I hope you can relate to this image as much as I did, as everything about it truly hit home.

And I’d also like to wish Des and his lighting/landscaping company well with all their inbound and content marketing efforts, as he clearly has the goods to be one of the absolute best in his industry, and I know his business and brand are soon going to explode.

Your Turn:

A simple question for you my friends: If we were to take a photo of your “blogging station,” what would it look like? And where do your ideas come from?

Note*** I recently came across a profoundly powerful free eBook , The Art of Breaking Out, written by Craig McBreen that I thought was exceptional. If you’re looking to be  moved and energized, get it here. Like I said, it’s free and it’s awesome.

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{ 44 comments… read them below or add one }

Adarsh Thampy July 19, 2012 at 12:43 pm

Marcus,

My ideas generally come from questions people have asked, problems I myself have faced, as well as inspirations from other articles I read online.

My blogging image would be a real messy one. I dont have any planned strategy as of now (since I am not blogging full time). Working in a startup really gives you so less time to do anything else.

But that’s not really an excuse- not for creating content that impacts business owners positively.

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Marcus Sheridan July 20, 2012 at 8:48 am

Maybe you need to start a blog about working in a startup then Adarsh! ;-)

Love your style man and appreciate, as always, you stoppingy by.

Best,

Marcus

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Adarsh Thampy July 20, 2012 at 9:53 am

Haha… So one more source of inspiration. Interacting with a vibrant community such as one in TSL. I have also had post inspiration from debates that usually happen via blog comments!

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ameena falchetto July 19, 2012 at 1:04 pm

I have an ongoing list of questions all with illustration ideas. My desk is full of large sheets of paper with notes, drawings and content to do lists! I also try to make sure I run on a theme for a while to gain momentum!

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Marcus Sheridan July 20, 2012 at 8:43 am

Drawings Ameena? You have drawings at your desk??? ;-)

(Somehow I had the feeling!)

Appreciate you stopping by,

Marcus

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Rob Skidmore July 19, 2012 at 2:39 pm

Awesome story. My work station is pretty clean but my Evernote and Mindjet accounts are super cluttered.

Also I really appreciate Des’s response. As someone who works full time, has a new baby, and is trying to start a blog based business, my greatest hope is to get a similar message in the future.

I know I am missing out on a lot of things. Every other night my wife says something about how she wants more time with me. Luckily she is a wonderful and beautiful woman who is willing to make sacrifices that will hopefully pay off in the future.

I would echo that message to you Marcus.

Thank you for being a great example. I have learned a great deal from you. I am looking forward to hearing you speak at Content Marketing World.

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Rob Skidmore July 19, 2012 at 2:43 pm

Forgot to mention where my ideas come from. My degree is in English heavy on the creative writing. I’ve learned that if you keep a story concept on your mind you can find ideas fro it everywhere in life. the same is true of blog posts.

I’m about halfway through Jonah Lehrer’s book Imagine. It is a great read especially when you apply the concepts to blogging.

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Rob Skidmore July 19, 2012 at 2:45 pm

Sorry for the typos. :-)

Guess I should have learned from your podcast Marcus. Looks like I am a victim too.

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Marcus Sheridan July 20, 2012 at 8:37 am

“Imagine” huh?? Glad you mention it Rob, I’ve got a long flight ahead of me today so I’ll have to give it a read. But love your thoughts here man and thanks so much for jumping in the conversation!!

Best,

Marcus

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Marcus Sheridan July 20, 2012 at 8:40 am

You’re incredibly kind Rob and your wife seems like an amazing lady. Do me a favor and bring her to a conference in the future, I’d love to meet the anchor that keeps the boat in the right place ;-)

Cheers,

Marcus

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Rob Skidmore July 20, 2012 at 10:41 am

I will have to bring her sometime. We don’t have the money this year.

And you should definitely read “Imagine.” It’s a great read on creating an environment that will unleash your creativity.

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Paul Onwueme July 19, 2012 at 2:39 pm

It is questions that generate ideas for most blog posts I’ve ever written before both those I ask myself and the ones I see as comments on other blogs or in blog posts!

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Marcus Sheridan July 20, 2012 at 8:39 am

Yep, the person that listens for those questions certainly has a wealth of new ideas always coming his/her way.

Good stuff Paul!

Marcus

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Derek J. Maak July 19, 2012 at 4:27 pm

Hey Marcus,

Questions definitely make some of the very best blog posts. I like to spend some time researching my topics in forums and places like Yahoo Answers. Go to where your customers are. They’ll tell you what they’re looking for and the information that matters to them.

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Marcus Sheridan July 20, 2012 at 8:36 am

I think the Forums/Yahoo Answers is one of the least utilized yet most effective idea generation methods Derek. Well said!!

And thanks so much for stopping by,

Marcus

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Craig McBreen July 19, 2012 at 7:29 pm

Great story, Marcus.

Like Ameena, I have many sheets of paper floating around with ideas, and like Rob, my Evernote account is full … ;) My best ideas usually come to me when I’m driving (not good), so I’m glad you can record audio snippets in Evernote.

Also, some of the best ideas have come from questions / comments on posts. Talk about a wonderful idea generator.

Oh … and THANKS for the eBook mention too. You Rock, Mr. Sheridan! So glad you enjoyed.

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Marcus Sheridan July 20, 2012 at 8:35 am

It’s interesting how some folks LOVE Evernote and others not so much Craig. As for me, I haven’t gotten too into it yet, but it’s true there is nothing worse than driving down the road, coming up with “the greatest blog idea ever” and then *poof*….you can’t remember it late. Ouch!

And you’re welcome buddy. Great art deserves praise, and you’ve done just that with your words in that eBook.

Marcus

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Rebecca July 19, 2012 at 7:46 pm

Marcus,

First off, I for one can say with certainty that you make a difference.

Second, my blogging station is a mix of stuff — though I use my computer, I can’t live without pen and paper. And sticky notes. And my favorite coffee mug. And a couple of binders. And books. (It’s not as bad as it sounds!) I’ll send you a pic sometime.

My ideas come mostly from questions, for sure, but I find a ton of inspiration from the things I read. That can be a book, blog post, email, even a tweet. Conversations with great people do it for me, too.

The bottom line is that ideas are everywhere, so I generally don’t have any trouble coming up with ideas. Now having said that, I don’t plan too far in advance. Maybe a week. Maybe 30 seconds. I probably need to work on that a little. :)

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Marcus Sheridan July 20, 2012 at 8:33 am

You know Rebecca, it’s funny how some folks are planners and others not so much. As you know, I’ve got zero blog articles “in the bank.” But I think that also leads to writing about life’s inspirations as they come, and the push of the writer (as you’ve so well discussed here) to be looking for those opportunities at every turn.

You’re awesome…and we’ll have to exchange those photos at some point. :-)

Marcus

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Ryan Hanley July 19, 2012 at 9:15 pm

Marcus,

You are an amazing inspiration bro…

You inspired my 100 Insurance Questions in 100 Days campaign and it’s changed my career.

You deserve to bask in the love of the people you impacted dude.

All the best,

Hanley

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Marcus Sheridan July 20, 2012 at 8:30 am

Hey bud, thanks man, and what you did with your insurance company is kinda off the chain awesome my man.

It is incredibly rewarding to see people taking action. If feel it’s the true definition of value.

Stay thirsty my friend,

Marcus

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Anton Koekemoer July 20, 2012 at 5:37 am

Hi Marcus,

Yes – I do agree with the statement from Des. Having a good balance not only in work but in personal life is an important part of generating good ideas and content. Being social with friends and letting your business efforts go can be a great source of inspiration and topics as well. When I speak to people (online and offline) they often times give me ideas on what to write about. This is great for producing unique and viable content to offer to your followers.

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Marcus Sheridan July 20, 2012 at 8:29 am

Absolutely Anton. In fact, I think when we’re too overzealous about work stuff and forget the rest that’s when the inspiration will often dry up and then….nothing.

Balance is key.

Thanks so much for dropping by bud.

Marcus

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Lana Waller July 20, 2012 at 9:18 am

Hi Marcus,
I don’t think my list is quite at 69 yet, but it is growing. The more I think the more topics I come up with. All the topics you bring up seem to really add to the list. I need to get them in some sort of order and start writing. Right now I have them on smaller lists and post its. I need to get them all in one place.

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Jason Diller July 20, 2012 at 9:25 am

I use producteev (an amazing task management / project management web app) to organize my content strategy for clients.

It allows me to group the blog posts / pages into categories and then rank them in order of importance / ROI.

If you’re not using producteev, basecamp, or asana to manage the hundreds of blog posts you haven’t written yet…Your focus needs more focus.

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Lana Waller July 20, 2012 at 10:03 am

Thanks Jason,
I am going to check those out. I do have evenote but have not really used it either.

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Jason Diller July 20, 2012 at 10:11 am

Evernote is great for a lot of things, but content creation and execution is not one of them.

I use evernote to revisit competition, tutorials, etc. It’s basically like my bookmarks on steroids…but yeah, it’s not a task manager and doesn’t help with prioritizing all of these great content ideas.

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Terry Conti July 20, 2012 at 7:26 pm

Hi Marcus,

There sure is no better time than now! Now is it! The past is the past and now can bring many good things into the future.

Also so simple yet so powerful when you say to write down every question a client or prospect asks and convert it into a blog title.

What an awesome idea. Thank you so much for sharing this great post!

Terry Conti

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Marcus Sheridan July 23, 2012 at 2:10 pm

You’re very welcome Terry, now go and crush it my friend! ;-)

Marcus

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Wade Balsdon July 21, 2012 at 5:52 am

Marcus, having just completed your book I too have implemented your advice. I have created a list of titles for blogs and have asked my wife to do the same. I work virtually so my list is on a Google spreadsheet. I have not written a post yet as I am little overwhelmed with all the ideas racing about in my head about what to write. After reading your book, I pretty much feel like a kid at Christmas :-) Thanks for getting me revved up to make this happen.

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Marcus Sheridan July 23, 2012 at 2:08 pm

Wade, I’m all smiles bud. Just keep it up!!!

Marcus

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Matthew Stock July 21, 2012 at 10:21 pm

The photo would have been me chillin’ in my boxers on my couch at midnight, but now, thanks to your urging, it would now be a photo of our Chief Content Officer.

And best of luck to Des.

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Ralph Quintero July 22, 2012 at 6:49 pm

Thanks for sharing Marcus! This is very inspiring. I am a digital kind of guy and use Evernote and Mindmeister for my blog planning and prepping. I keep a notebook with the questions that I get asked both on the blog or through our magazine for future articles.

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Marcus Sheridan July 23, 2012 at 2:04 pm

Sounds like you’ve touched just about every base Ralph. ;-)

Thanks for commenting bud and keep those ideas coming!

Marcus

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Greg Taylor July 24, 2012 at 2:34 am

Great Article, and for opening my ideas to a new idea. I can see how blog posts based on readers questions can be very effective for original content. It would create a very interactive and personal blog experience for the readers. As bloggers, we should all shoot for this. My question is, how do you encourage readers to ask questions? Any ideas?

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BarryCrow July 26, 2012 at 4:48 am

I’m in the process of learning what internet marketing is all about as I am new to this kind of industry. I enjoyed reading your article and I appreciate you for sharing it.

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Stanley Rao July 27, 2012 at 1:44 am

Great and very subjective post.. the points are useful enough.. thank you for sharing them with us

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Ann Cotilard July 27, 2012 at 6:32 am

I really want to learn internet marketing and this post helps me to understand more about internet marketing. Perhaps, this could be able to help on my business a lot…

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Michael Pingree July 28, 2012 at 7:46 pm

That image was powerful. It inspired me to sit down and write out my first 41 questions. It only took a few minutes. Amazing how wonderful it feels to have all that content just waiting to be blogged.

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Marcus Sheridan July 29, 2012 at 5:58 pm

41 questions Michael? Really? That’s awesome!!! I’m stoked buddy :-)

Now get writing ;-)

Marcus

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Vanessa Worth August 15, 2012 at 3:18 am

Blogging is by far one of the most powerful tools for Internet marketing. One thing about having a blog is you are going to have to commit yourself to posting regularly. If you wan tto be noticed then posting once a month isn’t going to do it

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Marcus Sheridan August 16, 2012 at 10:46 pm

Yep, consistency is a major part of the blogging success strategy Vanessa, good point!

Marcus

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Desi Cobrev August 23, 2012 at 2:19 am

If you have a business and if you are looking out for ways to reach out to the public or to corporate customers and if you would want to differentiate your product offering from the rest, content marketing is the key to your success in an information era.

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ヴィヴィアンウエストウッド バッグ 2014 August 24, 2014 at 6:46 am

I do accept as true with all the concepts you’ve offered for your post.
They’re really convincing and will certainly work. Nonetheless, the posts are
very short for beginners. May you please lengthen them a little from next time?
Thanks for the post.

Reply

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