When you start your blog, you’re all fired up. You’re brimming with ideas for things you want to say. That’s why you started blogging, right? You had millions of messages you wanted to get out to the world.
Have You Hit the Wall?
That enthusiasm can carry you through the early days, weeks or months of blogging, but at some point, everyone hits the wall. That’s the wall that you can’t answer when it asks, “What do you have to say today?”
Remember that in order to create killer content you have to keep in mind you’re writing a blog, not a book. If you burn through several topics in long blog posts, there are two downsides. One, people don’t click on a blog anticipating to read 5’000 words and therefore even if it’s good you likely won’t keep their attention beyond a few paragraphs. And two, not only are some ideas going unread but those ideas can be used for other posts! (So you won’t run out of content as quickly)!
Still having trouble keeping the blogs going? Fear not. If you’re scrambling for blog topics lately, here are some ideas to get your brain moving in the right direction. These simple steps can fire up your creativity and generate new post ideas.
1. Catch Up on the News
A breaking news story that’s of importance to your industry or your local area can be lead to a discussion of your product or service.
Let’s say there’s a story in the local paper about a frozen Thanksgiving turkey that exploded in someone’s deep fryer. As we know, every Thanksgiving, there’s a story about a frozen turkey blowing up in a deep fryer. If your business happens to deal with fire safety or cooking, that’s an easy way to get the conversation with your readers going.
Did a local Girl Scout outdo all her cookie competitors? That might seem like ho-hum news, but it’s a great introduction to a post about sales techniques, sales training or the importance of setting goals. Most people in business can relate to those topics.
The point is that the news story doesn’t have to be of earth-shattering importance. In fact, it’s better if it’s local. That helps establish your image as a small, community-focused business.
2. Let Google Tell You
Previously known as Google’s “suggest”, Google Autocomplete is feature that gives you some idea of what people are looking for. If you open a browser and enter a few words of a topic, you’ll see a list of top SEO keywords and keyword phrases that people are already using. According to this article, the tool auto-fills based on factors like “popularity and freshness”. It’s a good tool to use because according to the same article it doesn’t necessarily show the most common asked questions of all time.
It shows questions that are gaining traction and growing in popularity right now. Meaning you don’t run the risk of writing the same article that’s been written a thousand times over. Meaning you don’t have as much competition.
For best results, you should search in a private browser because this eliminates Google using your own search habits as a factor.
Let’s say you just have a burning desire to write about plush unicorn toys today. If you enter “plush unicorn toys” into Google, you’ll get a whole row of suggested phrases that include:
- Plush unicorn toys for sale
- Plush unicorn toys in bulk
- Plush unicorn toys wholesale
- Unicorn plush toddler costume
- Unicorn plush template
- Unicorn plush toddler costume
- Unicorn plush throw
How can you use that?
If you’re a shipping business, write about what it would take to deliver a boatload of toy unicorns to a toy store or other location. If you sell sewing machines or supplies, write about what it would take to create a wonderful plush unicorn costume for a toddler. If you sell interior design services, talk about using items like unicorn throws to decorate kids’ rooms.
3. Let Your Readers Tell You
If you have time, let your readers make suggestions for blog topics they’re longing to read about. This only works if you have a solid number of readers already, but it’s a great way to make them feel like they’re a welcome part of your blogging presence.
There are two ways you can do this. You can send out a survey to your entire email list. Use a free survey service to do this. Make the survey quick and easy to answer by including two or three questions.
Ask your readers:
- What are some subjects you’d like this blog to cover in the future? Please tell me your top three.
- Do you have favorite resources you think our readers should know about?
Another way is to simply write an announcement that asks those questions and invite your readers to comment or email with their ideas.
A survey is a little more involved, but it’s also more engaging for your readers.
You’ll probably generate a lot of responses. Readers whose ideas get chosen will be thrilled. Make sure you give them credit for the suggestion. It’s a great way to build strong rapport with your readers.
If you don’t have the following for this, simply try thinking back to questions your clients, new employee’s or friends have asked you about your profession. Maybe there are questions you’ve been asked that slipped under your radar. Tell the people what they want to know!
4. Scan Some Cover Lines
If you’re stuck for ideas, jog your brain into gear by taking a look at the cover lines of an industry magazine.
Think about it. Most weekly and monthly magazines aren’t coming up with amazing new ideas all the time. They’re doing different takes on articles they’ve published many times before. They do it because research and experience tell them that those cover lines motivate readers to buy the issue.
Do you want to write something related to your yoga business? Let’s look at the current cover of a popular magazine aimed at yoga enthusiasts.
Here’s what the cover is advertising:
- Description of a yoga resort.
- Profile of a woman who used yoga to heal from past trauma.
- Best pillows for meditation.
- Poses that make you feel empowered.
- Best budget earpieces you can use during yoga.
These are clearly subjects that the magazine has found to reliably catch readers’ attention.
You don’t have to copy these titles, but you can provide your own spin on them. You could write about poses that make you feel self-confident or a profile of someone who used yoga to help their dog heal from an illness. Whatever your article though, make sure your title serves SEO.
5. Interview an Expert
A no-fail way to generate content is to interview an expert in your industry or a local business owner whose marketing, ideas or business ethics you admire.
Most people are more than happy to help you generate some copy in exchange for free publicity.
It’s also a good way to build your network of key contacts. It will expand your readership by bringing in your subjects’ customers.
Be sure to frame your questions around concerns your readers have. If they’re trying to come up with ways to retain good employees, interview someone who’s been able to do that. If they want ideas for low-cost office furniture, interview an expert in frugal design.
Some bloggers have found interviews so successful at capturing reader attention that they now make them a regular part of their content. Interviews add a new perspective that can be refreshing. You can do interviews by phone or by email. Including a photo of your interview subject is always a great idea.
Keep Generating Ideas
Always keep your eyes and ears tuned for great ideas that you can use. If you see or hear something that makes you think, “My readers need to know that,” write it down before you forget it.
Never Face an Empty Page Again
Now that you know how easy it is to jump-start your writing, you should never face the prospect of a cold, empty page again. Before long, generating new ideas will be a natural part of your day’s work.
For more information about content strategy or other related topics, please visit our blog. IntoClicks is a web design and digital marketing firm specializing in helping companies make the most of their corner of the internet. We provide marketing services to our local communities in Tucson and across the nation. Contact us to learn how we can help you grow and market your enterprise, starting today.