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Content Week: An Interview with Chantelle Ellem of Fat Mum Slim – Where Does She Find Post Ideas?

Theme WeekChantelleFAT MUM SLIM (1)

Chantelle Ellem is a blogging powerhouse – if you’ve not read her blog Fat Mum Slim, then you’ve probably seen her pop up in your social media feeds with her Instagram Photo A Day challenge.

Over her five years of blogging, she’s not only come up with almost two thousand post ideas, but she has also written for leading Australian parenting websites, magazines and blogs. If that wasn’t enough content for you, she also creates most of the Photo A Day prompts each month that sparks the creativity of social media photographers everywhere. She has also written an eBook packed to the brim of topics to get inspired – “Let’s Give Them Something to Blog About” will no doubt knock that blogger’s block right out of you.

Choosing blog post topics

But coming up with thousands of blog post topics can’t be easy, can it? Chantelle says when she’s super-stumped, there are a couple of go-to inspiration sources that never fail:

  • getting out and about (people and places are great for prompting ideas)

  • scrolling through StumbleUpon or Pinterest,

  • reading favourite magazines Frankie,  Fete, or Red,

  • digging back through post archives to remind herself of the topics she really enjoyed writing about.

While having a niche is usually a good idea, sometimes personal blogging is hard to categorize. Chantelle says that over time, her post topics have been refined into: photography, family, “living life inspired”, and food. She says these are the themes that inspire her the most, and therefore form the backbone of her blog.

What do readers want?

A blog is nothing without its readers, and it doesn’t take long for a blogger to realise that writing reader-friendly material is the key to keep them coming back. But how does one know what will work and what won’t? Well that’s just a matter of trial and error.

“It’s hit-and-miss sometimes,” Chantelle says.

“Something I think will really connect can fizzle, and others that I’ve spent very little time on and think will be a dud, soars. I think if people can’t connect, then it just doesn’t work”.

Over time it gets easier to know intuitively what readers might connect with, and to provide it in an authentic way. Chantelle says she knows that if she is moved while writing the piece, it is likely to strike a chord with the reader.

“If I cry over my keyboard, I think others will too,” she says.

“The heartfelt, moving posts are always the ones that people connect most to, and they’re usually about life experience or family. It always overwhelms me the number of comments, and social media feedback I get on posts like that.

“I once wrote a post about a man I sat next to on a plane, and it was one of the most beautiful moments of my life. It’s still my favourite post, and the one most people remember on my blog.”

How she stays organized

But with all of these ideas, inspriations, chance encounters and motivating moments, how does Chantelle keep track of it all?

“I am a paper person, so I keep jot down post ideas onto Post-It notes and place them on my wall. I also have a big box that I add to when I’ve read a great article or jotted down lengthier notes so that I can delve in when I’m stumped for content ideas.

“I also have an editorial calendar that I try and plan a few months in advance. It’s not strict, because if I don’t feel like writing, I don’t but it gives me an idea of which direction I’m headed.”

After being asked daily how other bloggers can find ideas, an idea for the “Let’s Give Them Something to Blog About eBook was born.

Her advice to others

  • There are loads of things you can do; get out and about (go to a cafe, the beach, the shopping center)

  • Use images/video instead of traditional written content (I think it’s a great way to get inspired and find new content ideas. I’m a huge fan of photos, even bad ones, because they tell a story themselves. And short videos are great when done well, but they have to be short (I think under 2 minutes is key). I don’t think we should ever get stuck doing what we’ve always done. Trying new things is key to staying inspired.

  • Try something else new – buy a magazine you’ve never read before, or even just exercise.

  • Get a blank piece of paper, and vomit out your thoughts in a quick fashion onto the paper. It doesn’t matter if it’s a lame blog post idea, write it down… you never know what it might inspire.

You can find Chantelle at her blog Fat Mum Slim, on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter. She might be just the inspiration you’re looking for.

 

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Comments

  1. Alex Ivanovs says:

    Hi Chantelle,

    great to see you being featured on ProBlogger, congratulations to begin with!

    I’ve been so busy doing other things that I literally have no time for Pinterest, but I’ve heard only good things about it lately, I’ve got to find the time to squeeze it in my schedule.

    Definitely, writing down ideas on paper is one of the best ways to come up with content ideas. I can literally look at my notepad and find 2-3 blog post ideas straight away, good advice.

    Good luck!

    • I totally agree with you Alex, writing your ideas and thoughts in general on paper certainly help finding ideas for blog posts when needed. Most people and bloggers in particularly have many thoughts that could lead to great blog posts throughout the day but they simple don’t write them cause they don’t remember them when they need…

  2. Hi Chantelle,

    Just curious on how long you have been using an editorial calendar? I’ve thought about this myself, and read where other were using it too!!!!

    Thanks,

    Christopher Pontine

    • Chantelle says:

      Hey Christopher,

      A few years ago I worked for a big website and we used an online editorial calendar, and at the time, I’ll admit, I thought of it as a little bit uninspiring, but now I couldn’t live without one. I do mine all on paper {just print out a free printable calendar} and jot down a basic plan, and then I change it if required.

  3. Ally says:

    I find it hard to think of ideas for blog posts sometimes but I also find writing down ideas in advance helps, especially for the websites that I can sometimes lose motivation for.

  4. Such a useful guide for me and for the other as well. Well we all need to follow this step.

  5. Great to know that Problogger is hosting interview with bloggers. And, Chanetelle… glad to see ya here.

    Ryan Biddulph from “Cash With A True Conscience [dot]com” is another great guy who amazed me by writing 5 posts a day. I wonder how he could write that much of posts in a single day.

    I think he should be also featured here on Problogger in this content week.

  6. Ya @Ally when you write down the ideas for blog posts, it make easier to write post.
    It was a great post, keep sharing, thaks.

  7. Samuel says:

    Photo and images have a profound effect on your readers and will inspire many of your readers.

    They relate powerful messages and something mentioned in this post.

    I believe people with absolutely no idea for their next post aren’t reading around in their niche and writers who write way more often than they can handle.

    Chantelle adds passion and emotion into her writing and that’s a reason as to why she has such a successful blog to this point.

    Even when shit hits the fan, push out that one more rep and get at least one more idea out of your head.

    Remember, there doesn’t exist “no ideas in your head” but a blockage or wall to the large flow of ideas ready to come out.

    Thanks for the post.

    - Sam

  8. Jessica says:

    I definitely agree that going to other sources to read about things can inspire a blog post. I read a variety of things, not just topics surrounding the things that I enjoy blogging about, which helps since it’s easy to feel pigeon-holed by a certain topic. When I’m inspired by something and write it down immediately, I find that the piece reads better and the emotions that I have for it are much more evident.

    If I don’t have time to write the piece immediately, I use Any.do or Google Keep on my phone to remind me about the post or the topic.

  9. Lee Cole says:

    I love the idea of using StumbleUpon to generate new ideas. I used to be a big stumbler, then basically forgot out it. Lately, I’ve been on the site a lot. It’s really grown, and it’s a great way to get outside of one’s box creatively. Great idea! Thanks!

  10. Loved this interview Chantelle! So much useful advice. I have your ebook and love it for inspiration. I agree when you say you have to put your emotion into your writing if you want readers to connect. You do it so well x

  11. Demetria says:

    Great interview with Chantelle. I find that my Italki app helps me to jot down ideas while on the go. I also love Dragon Naturally Speaking. It’s amazing how many ideas we can find to write about if we just stay open for inspiration.

  12. Chantelle and Daren,

    Excellent. I am big on videos these days. What a quick and easy way to churn out scores of blog posts in little time. Be an observer. Practice watching to never run out of post ideas.

  13. Sunday says:

    Its cool learning from the inspiration ideas of Chantelle Ellem. The key takeaways for most bloggers would be that readers should get inspired in every post.

    The blogger must find a way to create a post that would CONNECT instantly to the readers.
    Once this connection is established, it becomes easy to generate good blogging ideas even from the oddest sources.

    Chantelle Ellem’s blogging style can be described as simple and impactful.

    I have left this same comment in kingged.com where this post was shared and bookmarked for Internet marketers.

    Sunday – kingged.com contributor

    http://kingged.com/content-week-an-interview-with-chantelle-ellem-of-fat-mum-slim-where-does-she-find-post-ideas/

  14. Michelle says:

    Hey Chantelle, I’ve recently it just discovered you on Instagram so am pumped to hear you blog too!

    Question, when you first started writing your blog did you simply write for your own benefit about things you like as opposed to targeting an audience?

    It’s something is like to do but not sure how to begin. I have an art blog but find I don’t always want to write about art so stopped writing altogether, which is a bit lame of me!

  15. Jenny Locke says:

    I find ideas tend to pop up at any time and as I have had to purposefully remind myself that a random thought or meeting or whatever could actually be the basis of a blog post. Thanks for the great ideas.

  16. Thad James says:

    Great article, Chantelle! I’m a paper person too. If I don’t write down an idea then it could disappear forever. I usually have half a dozen or so blog ideas that are nothing but titles. I’ll get to them when I can set aside the time to flesh out the thoughts. Its a great way to keep the ideas alive. I like the Pinterest plan. There are so many inspiring pictures. The best ideas come from talking to clients and colleagues. Those conversations are ripe with topic possibilities. Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

  17. Ayesha Jain says:

    Great post Stacey Roberts, I would love to follow these steps. Keep posting such useful post. Thanks

  18. hair jhon says:

    Hi Chantelle,

    i absolutly agree and love the idea. now i have insiration for build an ebook for my job..
    thanks for your article, keep post..

  19. I get almost all of my post ideas from photos. ;) Great inspiration here – thank you!

  20. Philips says:

    Nice to read such motivational interviews. Sometimes I run out of ideas as what to write next. Motivation should always be there in one form or another. By reading experience of great bloggers, I am learning fast.

  21. Goljar says:

    Hi Chantelle,

    great to see you being featured on ProBlogger.Congrats!

    I love your idea very, very much and I really appreciate you.I am approaching by learning good things from yo

    Thank you again.

  22. achin says:

    nice to hear how you plan your writing and making editorial calendar does give me idea about how i should plan prior to doing stuff this way i can do work which is important first and i more likely to forget or you can say i get distracted from my primary goal . this tip will always kepp me intact about what i should do on priority basis,

  23. Mike says:

    Several great points in your post Chantelle, I can relate to being a paper person… Sometimes I need to “process” material in my handwritten journal first, before including it into a post, it comes across as more meaningful and personal because I’ve not simply ‘produced’ it… I’ve ‘cultivated’ it. I like the idea of people watching as well… It temporarily gets the mind off of what you’re trying to produce and you can come back to it fresh, if only after a couple of minutes… Like doing a system reset on a computer. Finally, I like your video idea… I only did it once, to date, on my blog but it was a smashing hit…. 479 views on that post, on a blog that is less than 6-months old. Thanks for the food for thought!

  24. Kalen Bruce says:

    I personally read magazines and “get out” to come up with ideas like she mentioned. Especially getting out…that is really important after spending hours in front of a computer screen sometimes.

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