Even the most experienced writers occasionally come up against writer’s block. Sometimes it feels like every topic under the sun has already been written about! The good news is that it’s impossible to run out of blog ideas — you just need to learn how to tap into your inner creativity. Once those creative juices start flowing, you’ll be able to plan out a content schedule for weeks.
Everyone finds inspiration in different places. Find out what works for you, and experiment with new methods. The following are some suggestions for coming up with an endless supply of blog topics!
Read, a lot
Drawing inspiration from other sources is the best way to come up with new blog post topics. If you’re not already doing so, find a number of blogs or websites related to what your business is all about — whether it’s marketing, travel, fitness, etc. Load all these blogs or publications into a Feedly account (an RSS feed reader, where you can keep all your favourite blogs in one place) so you can check in with them daily. What content seems to be most popular? What are people talking about?
If you have a blog or two already in mind, check out what they’re reading — what kind of content are they sharing on social media? Do they collaborate with others? You’ll discover new sources of inspiration, and learn a thing or two in the process.
Read beyond your niche
Having said all that, don’t just read the websites and blogs of your competitors. You’ll find that most well known bloggers actually have a very diverse reading list — often on topics that aren’t related to their business at all. There’s nothing wrong with taking an idea and reshaping it to suit your own business. Inspiration comes from everywhere!
But reading numerous blogs from all genres is also all about learning. How do these people write their headlines? What posts are most commented on? What do people care about?
Answer your customers’ questions
If your customers and clients often ask the same questions over and over again, turn your responses into full-blown blog posts. For example, if you’re a personal trainer who often gets inquiries from people who feel too self-conscious to jump into physical training classes, write a blog post about overcoming those insecurities.
Keep track of your most frequently asked questions, and figure out how you can develop content based on those questions. Chances are, someone out there is searching for that content.
Try some negative ideas
Some of the most attention grabbing headlines are negative ones, like “What NOT to do in Paris” or “The Five Things You’ve Been Doing Wrong On Instagram.” Sure, they might be a little clickbait-y, but it works. The title is compelling, and people love a good debate. They’ll be prepared to dive right into your blog post.
However, the key is to balance the negatives with positives. If you’re telling someone to NOT visit the Louvre, suggest a more intimate, smaller scale art museum instead. Outline why they should go there. If you’re telling someone to not flood their Instagram with a million images all at once, tell them why they should only post 1-2 times a day instead.
Bring in some interviewees and guest bloggers
Fact: people love talking about themselves. Inviting someone to take centre stage on your blog is a great way to gain new content without actually doing a ton of work. Find a business leader or personality that fits your business niche, and invite them to pitch a few ideas. You get to pick and choose what content goes up on your site, and they’ll likely have ideas you never thought of! An interview is another great way to publish fresh content, especially since the blog post will naturally take on a more conversational, upbeat tone.
Not only is this a good way to spread awareness of your brand, it’s also a great tactic for boosting your online authority. You’ll get a chance to meet new people, and with any luck, your post will be shared far and wide on social media.
Go through your old content
If you’ve been blogging for awhile, go through some of your older content to see how you can repurpose it for a more updated post. For example, if a few years ago you wrote a blog post titled “15 New Digital Market Tactics for 2015,” now you can rewrite the entire post for 2018. It’s quick and easy.
If you’d like to knock out some other quick posts, a round-up of current trends in your field is always a good idea. Plus it’s the kind of idea you can update and recycle again year after year.
Put it to pen and paper
Writing by hand can be a peaceful, meditative experience — and one that will help you to clear your mind. Set aside some quiet time to sit down at your desk (or kitchen table) with a notepad and pen, and start writing out the things that interest you. Handwriting is a nice way to slow down and to separate yourself from the online world’s ceaseless stimulation.
Even if you don’t come up with any usable ideas for this brainstorming round, try again later. At the very least, enjoy the experience of just sitting and writing. Journaling works for a reason.
Call in a colleague (or friend)
Don’t hesitate to bounce ideas off your colleagues or friends. Sometimes all it takes is a fresh perspective to get you thinking about things in a different light. A brainstorming lunch with a colleague will allow you to toss around new ideas, while bringing in a friend gives you an opportunity to gain new insight on your product/service.
Dig into online communities
Go where the people hang out online — communities like Reddit and Quora are a veritable feast for new ideas. On Reddit you can search for a topic that relates to your business, and you’ll unlock a whole new world of ideas.
For example, if you’re a financial advisor, search for “finance” on Reddit. When you see a list of subreddits (more focused topics), click it (for example: “financial planning”). Then search “how do I… within the subreddit, and you’ll get a whole slew of topics. A quick search within this subreddit came back with some fresh ideas: “Getting married, how do I merge finances?” “How do I make up for not planning for retirement until I turned 30?”
Quora works in the same way. Real people are asking these questions, meaning they’re probably searching this content online. You need to provide the answer.
Do some keyword research
Keyword research works much the same way as digging into Reddit or Quora — you’re identifying a need that people have, based on a specific search. Using a tool like https://keywordtool.io/google allows you to figure out what keywords are being searched in relation to your business or niche.
For example, if you offer small fishing tours in Newfoundland, you can search “fishing Newfoundland” and come back with bountiful results about fishing for trout, or Newfoundland fishing areas. Now you can write about the best places to fish for trout.
Schedule some time into your busy week to sit down and actively think (and research) about new blog post ideas. It will only take 30 minutes (or much less) out of your busy week. Sometimes the hardest part is just getting started!