A blank canvas. A blinking cursor on a white screen. You start to ask yourself, “What will I write about?” “Do I have something to say that will be important to my audience?” “Is there anyone who even cares?” At this point, you may think that nothing is working, and that you should try again tomorrow. This is nothing new, every blogger has been here.
At times, pushing new content out can be a bit terrifying. Thinking of how your peers will judge what you post can be an unnerving experience. At the back of your mind, you think about whether the content you published is good, if it will be well received and whether you are likely to receive a negative response. What’s worse, you may even receive no response at all!
This kind of thinking is what makes many of us repress interesting ideas which we may have. This is a shame, because it stops you from being as creative as you can be. This is the reason you may often be left staring at your screen, knowing that you should post something, but you cannot decide exactly what it should be. In this article, we examine some time-tested tips for developing ideas for your blog posts, even at times when you are low on inspiration.
Keep All Your Ideas On File
The great thing about inspiration is that you can never know when it could strike. For this reason, you need to make hay while the sun shines. To a large extent, this relies on basic preparation. You should always keep a text document or spreadsheet handy at a place you can easily access any time that you like. Any time you get an interesting idea that would be great as a post on your blog, write it down in this file.
When you have a routine of doing this each and every time, you will soon have a large inventory that you can work from, even if you do not feel particularly creative.
Get Ideas from Other Bloggers
One way to quickly and consistently develop ideas for your blog posts is to gain constant exposure to the type of blogs that you aspire to. You could use a feed reader like Feedly and subscribe to various blogs. Check in to these blogs at least once a day and view what they publish.
Do not be afraid to steal some of the best ideas that have worked on other blogs. There is a lot that you can learn from those who have succeeded before you. If you read an inspiring post from one of your competitors, note it down in your ideas file. It may just prove to be the bit of inspiration that sparks a new idea in you.
Ask the audience
A foolish blogger will go out in search of inspiration, while efficient bloggers will let ideas come to them. It is easy to crowdsource ideas for your posts by studying the comments on your blog, checking the replies you get on Twitter and keenly listening when people talk about your subject matter.
When you understand the questions that people are asking, and know what gets people excited or confused and know their stories, you have gone a long way toward developing great post ideas. Talk to you readers and find out the things they would like to know more about and then give them this information. Although it sounds extremely simple, there are few people who actually take the time to do it.
When you are stuck for inspiration, it is important to remember that there are many other bloggers who have been there before but have managed to conquer this hurdle and have documented the process they went through. A great way to overcome writers’ block is to have a look at some of the excellent post ideas that your peers in the blogosphere have come up with.
When you ask and find out what great posts you have written in the past that still bring in loads of traffic in the weeks, months and even years after they were first published, you will know the kind of content that works.
You should then think of how to expand on this content. Is it possible to dissect one of these posts and provide its ideas in more detailed steps? Could you write a follow-up post? Is it possible to refresh the post by including newer ideas? Your readers and other bloggers can help you find the answers to these questions and more.
Ride On Trending Topics
Today, there are many ways to discover hot topics. An excellent way to come up with content that many people will want to read and share is finding out beforehand what it is that people are looking for in their searches. Some of these are:
- Google Trends
All the above sources will give you an idea of the type of content that is most popular at the moment.
Tell the Story So Far
There are times when the best posts are those that tell your entire story of your blog in a single, condensed version. No matter what you blog about, it is likely that you have been doing it for a while. What you need to tell your readers is:
- What have you managed to learn during this time?
- What is it that has changed during that time?
- If you could give yourself a piece of advice when you started out, what would this advice be?
Writing this kind of post is more than an exercise in narcissism; the posts could end up being incredibly useful to others in your niche. Everybody starts somewhere, and you could help someone else learn from the mistakes you made early in your career.
Give Something Back Through a Guide
Many bloggers ask: What kind of blog post is the best? The answer to this is surprisingly simple. The best blog post is one that makes people click through and read more of your posts. Surprisingly, few bloggers link the posts on their blog together adequately to capitalise on this fact.
You should take time to re-read your old posts, group posts that are related together and order them in a sort of mini-guide to enable visitors to your blog to read them in sequence, in a meaningful way. Always include an introduction, add a conclusion as well as some brief descriptions and links to the relevant posts. This will ensure that you have a guide that will lead visitors on a quest around your blog.
Every blogger gets great ideas for their posts every day. What proves difficult is organising these ideas in an actionable way. Hopefully, the ideas in this post will offer you useful guidelines that you can follow while allowing your creative juices to flow.