In self-defense, I had to learn how to generate ideas for blog posts when the creative well is bone dry. I know you’ve been right there with me.
Staring at a blank laptop screen with that blinking cursor taunting me is pure hell!
As niche bloggers, we know how important it is to add fresh content to our sites continually. And for the most part, that’s not a problem for me. Inspiration comes from somewhere, and I’m off and running with it. But there are those days when you hit that proverbial brick wall.
Have you ever felt like there’s absolutely nothing left to say?
Both novice and more experienced bloggers alike seem to face this hurdle periodically. I knew some time ago that I had to take proactive steps to resolve this critical problem. I just couldn’t take another staredown contest with the cursor. So, I set out on a research mission to find a solution.
I invested countless hours devouring guidance on this topic because I felt the success of my online business hung in the balance. As a blogger for more than 3 years, with over 200 thousand written words, that’s not a fear that I take lightly.
After all that reading and generous input, I can’t make a claim to coming up with totally unique techniques. But here’s the value in this post. The tips that follow are those that met my exacting standards because they work. They’re also free to use and implement.
Much of the guidance I read involved subscribing to pricey services or even farming out the task of blogging to others. Those things don’t work for me. Many ideas were also discarded along the way because I didn’t see results.
So, let’s dive into a discussion of the super useful approaches that made my list, shall we?
5 Wildly Effective Tips for How to Generate Ideas for Blog Posts
I hope you have a notepad and pencil handy for this epic brainstorming session because these are all actionable methods. Feeling like you can’t write can be paralyzing, but you have to just push through it. So give these suggestions a shot. And, let me know in the comment section which one worked best for you.
Listen to Your Prospective Customers
We spend a lot of time first choosing our niche and then proceeding with website development. The goal is to be helpful and provide solutions. But do you know your targeted readers intimately? If you haven’t spent enough time envisioning your ideal reader, your customer persona, that can inhibit communication.
Here’s a fatal mistake that many novices and not so new bloggers make. They write about topics that interest them or that seem easy to draft. When the hoped-for engagement or conversions don’t occur, disappointment follows, and discouragement can take over.
To combat this problem, dig into the comments that readers leave and take every question seriously. If your blog doesn’t get many comments yet, scour the comments left on competing websites in your niche, The items that still weigh on readers minds after a post is read can be a treasure trove for new articles.
And, don’t neglect the forums where your prospective readers hang out. Dozens of questions are asked and answered on Quora every day. But you won’t always agree with the answer. Some responses will fall flat and miss the mark. Make that your cue to address the question more comprehensively.
Finally, tune-in to those offline conversations, you know those dinner time or happy hour interactions, where family and friends voice their concerns.
Observe and Learn From Those You Wish to Emulate
To put it succinctly, stealing from the work of others is a centuries-old practice that all successful bloggers shamelessly advocate. The blogosphere is a crowded space.
Regardless of the topical focus of your blog, you have competitors. If you’re hanging back waiting for some totally novel concept to fall in your lap, well…
Good luck with that one!
If you don’t have a list of 8 – 10 bloggers in your field that you regularly follow, you need to change that!
Competitors’ blogs are a fabulous source of ideas, concepts, and inspiration. To begin with, you get a sense of trending topics that you may not have considered yet. If their work is ranking highly in the search engines, you’ll want to note the depth and breadth of their content. They’ve set the bar!
But more importantly, you can read publications with a critical eye and spot the things that you would change or approach differently. In other words, you can “steal” a seed and grow your own post. Your perspectives, style, and personality are different.
The concepts you grab are no less valuable. But you’re going to make them your own!
Let me make this a bit more concrete with some personal examples. I have some heady competition in the MMO niche. Unquestionably, there are numerous individuals whose success I would love to emulate.
But that doesn’t necessarily mean that I agree with all of their advice. Nor am I naive enough to think I can take them head-on. As one example, consider this evergreen topic in the make money online category:
“How to Start a Blog”
Google that phrase and your head may explode with all the hopeful contributions. You can’t even begin to read them all. But, as with any relevant topic, you can and should devour the offerings that rank on page one if you’re an MMO contender. After performing that exercise, Here are a couple of key things I’ve noted.
I would never send a reader off to Bluehost (or any other hosting provider) to launch a blog on their own. Yes, I could potentially earn a commission. But I believe with all my heart that I’m setting my reader up for failure. Instead, I promote this top-notch online platform where a community of thousands has your back.
For the moment, we’ll gloss over the fact that I don’t have a prayer in hell of ranking for a phrase as broad as “how to start a blog.” One thing that I concluded after absorbing the information in these high-level posts is that most people will struggle with how to apply the knowledge.
Because they need more guidance about what to blog about. Readers want to know how they can take an interest they’re excited about to make money using a blog as a vehicle. My readers have specific passions and hobbies like home decor, gardening, or knitting
So, I finetune the blogging guidance I write about to turn a generic post into something that my readers can relate to more easily. In the process, I can offer suggestions for content that readers can picture themselves being able to create. Can I rank for this narrower guidance?
Here are some page-one ranking examples:
When creativity fails you, check-in on the competition. Analyze what they have to say, give it your own spin, and run with it. Pablo Picasso talked about stealing artistic inspiration by moving elements to the left or right or enhancing the lighting. What can you enhance?
Try a Mind Map
Mind maps are a way to diagram and organize information visually. Studies show they’re more effective than text-based notes or passages because you can “see” the relationships between what might otherwise be isolated concepts.
I used mind maps frequently in an earlier life as an educator. The pictorial approach helped students quickly follow a train of thought and capture a bunch of thoughts in a pretty concise format. You can use colors or add images to make it more stimulating.
One simple example is brainstorming significant categories for your website content.
My niche is making money online, but I can further break that down into identifiable facets like niche ideas, blogging tips & resources, affiliate marketing, SEO. Keyword Research, Rebate & Rewards Programs, and so on. The advantage is that I can then hone in on a category and identify a pertinent subtopic for each individual article.
Each category stems from a focal point, and I don’t want to stray too far afield. The same technique works for any post you choose to create. It’s nothing more than a way to organize the multiple elements you want to include in each piece of content you author.
Use the Tried and True 5W’s + 1H Framework
I know we’re all familiar with this journalistic tool that’s been around forever and can be used to frame almost anything. Jot down the relevant question prompts, including who, what, when, where, why, and how. Then try to develop questions around whatever subject matter you’re tackling today.
Here are some of the idea generation benefits I see to this technique:
- When words won’t flow, it’s imperative that you start writing something. These prompts will get the ball rolling with any subject.
- A question and answer approach is systematic and can lead to details or even tantalizing tangents you may never have considered otherwise.
- The beginnings of an outline will take form as you frame relevant questions.
- You are forced to look at the issue from the perspective of people other than yourself. Or at least that’s what I find when I craft questions like, “who can derive the most benefit from this article?”
- This method encourages you to be thorough.
- By definition, you approach a subject from a variety of different angles. One of those angles is likely to take root. And just like that, you’re “unstuck” with fingers dancing across the keyboard.
Generate a “Wheel of Ideas” Using Answer the Public
If you’re not familiar with Answer the Public, this is a tool you have to try! Go to AnswerThePublic.com and enter a one or two-word seed term. In seconds, the tool will generate long-tail questions by scraping data from Google auto-suggest results. As a free user, you can type in 3 seed terms per day.
I chose “content marketing” as my seed, and here are the results:
Clicking on the green icon that precedes a question will take you to Google search results for that phrase. So. a lot of information is rapidly at your fingertips.
As with many things, there are some best practices that make Answer The Public even more effective. Learn to use it like a Pro by watching the video below.
All Paths Lead to Keyword Research
I guarantee that these tips will get you past any maddening dry spells when it comes to content creation. But we’re not entirely done yet. Gather your topical gems and dive into a keyword research tool like Jaaxy.
The best way to get the right eyes viewing your exceptional content is to find a long-tail keyword that sums up your theme. Then apply SEO best practices to optimize your keyword for the search engines. We want to encourage Google to send free organic traffic our way.
For all of us who settled on blogging as a means of earning money online, the need to write regularly is undeniable. I sincerely hope that one or more of these powerful strategies for how to generate ideas for blog posts become your “go-to” technique.
You may be thinking that none of these methods are earth-shattering and you’ve heard them expressed before. Fair enough! But when’s the last time you sat down and used one of these techniques with focus and determination?
For me, writer’s block was a real dilemma in need of a solution. As I stated at the outset, these are tips that work for me. Maybe they’ll work for you also!
Over to You
Where do you find blogging inspiration? Please share your valuable tips below!
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