Coming up with blog post ideas can make you feel like an old poet in search of his long gone muse. Everything you come up with can seem trite, overdone and simply irrelevant. The difference between you and the unfortunate poet in this example is that your efforts are hampered by having another monkey on your back: the pressure to create content as a means of keeping your audience engaged and, consequently, your website alive.
However, you are not alone in this nor without any source of help – the following article will give you an overview of tried and tested methods for reigniting your inner creative spark and stop making blank stares at the computer screen a remote memory.
The Funnel Method
Approaching the internet as the source of blog post ideas can seem like looking for a particular grain of sand on a beach. However, you can take the strategic approach and make the web your ally, with just a sprinkle or two of carefully selected topics. So, let’s say that you have a germ of a general idea that you want to cover. The next thing is to put it on paper, fire up your web browser and do initial general research on the concept. Do not forget to include news sections, Google Trends, Twitter or Reddit.com in your search, as these can provide you with new insights or angles on the topic you want to cover.
So, let’s imagine that you want to write about SEO – the web will provide you with a ton of sources whose most interesting pieces you can put on paper as a starting point. This will be the foundation from which you can branch into more specific ideas stemming from the first item you put on paper. In no time, your “SEO” circle from the example will expand into “meta-tags” or “content” components which can be broken down further into even smaller topics. Eventually, you’ll come up with a specific blog post idea such as “5 reasons you need to focus on meta tags as conversion instead of ranking factors”. Arriving at specific blog post idea thus resembles the process of going through the funnel and shedding initial “layers” of general ideas in favor of extracting a specific topic idea at the end of the process.
Keeping Idea Scrapbook
So, we already referenced the use of pen and paper as material “keepers” of your thoughts. You can go beyond using this for specific occasions and make it your habit to keep at hand a special file which will act as a scrapbook of various ideas you can come up at any moment. Remember that ideas will hardly come to you obediently if you try to force them into your head!
You can find inspiration at any time or on any occasion that may serve as their trigger, which is why you need to keep a Word document or spreadsheet ready to make a note of these ideas for future use. Do not worry about their current relevance, as these can be safely stored in your Dropbox as a sort of treasure you can always refer to afterward. Think of this as a spare inventory of your creative ideas you can always tap into when you do not feel creative at any given moment.
Putting Your Spin on Other People’s Ideas
All of these methods presuppose the existence of at least a vague idea about what you want to write about, you can say. But, what about moments in which you either have no concept at all, or you want to start covering a previously unexplored area on your website? Do not worry about this, as the solution involves looking into other people’s backyard, not as a copycat, but as an author who puts a personal spin on a known topic!
You should not treat this as a professional defect – the entire corpus of knowledge on any topic is finite, and there is nothing wrong with having someone’s blog as a role model for your own website. You can use feed readers to easily subscribe to the blogs whose success you want to emulate. They can be an excellent source not only of blog post ideas but an inspiration for visual presentation, site layout, monetization choices, etc. Remember that you can always take someone’s topic and give it your personal touch or look at it from another angle.
Remember the idea scrapbook we talked about? You can put their ideas for future use on a rainy or slow news day. Just remember that borrowing ideas from others does not mean that you can steal other people’s content and present it as yours. There is a clear line between inspiration and development of ideas and taking credit for other people’s hard work!
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Update Old Posts and Ask the Audience
Finally, looking for blog post ideas may surprise you in unexpected ways, like showing you that you have already covered a topic you need to write about. Producing content does not always entail breaking new frontiers in terms of the relevance of issues you look for. In reality, taking a previously written post and updating it in the light of a new development or trend can be equally valuable to your audience!
This is good news, as it gives you a huge pool of post ideas based on what you already know much about. Let’s say that you have written a post on SEO from our earlier example and made a mental (or written) note about it. After some time, you can revisit this post and try to find if any new trends have emerged in the field of SEO in the past six months or a year. In this manner, you’ll keep a permanent inventory of ideas that you can occasionally update with new insights or knowledge. Your audience will respect your desire to keep up to date with the topic that has already captured their attention.
Talking about your audience, make sure not to miss this final piece of advice: ask your crowd what they want you to write about - finding blog post ideas does not have to be a solitary affair! Instead, you can turn it into a collaborative effort by going through your comments section and check which aspects of the topic you covered interest them the most or which areas you can explore more or avoid altogether.
Looking for blog post ideas can seem like a big deal for bloggers who approach it as something of a hit-or-miss affair. Actually, this process can be streamlined with the use of tried and tested techniques that can help you tap into your creative resources easier.
These methods include narrowing down the scope of general topics, putting a personal spin on other blogger’s posts and keeping a scrapbook of ideas for the future use. Plus, you can always resort to updating the earlier content you produced in the light of new trends or insights while looking for sources of inspiration among your audience’s comments as well.