Believe it or not, there was a time when I really struggled to come up with new blog post ideas. Like you, I would stare at a blank screen and think:
O for a Muse of fire, that would ascend
The brightest heaven of invention,
A kingdom for a stage, princes to act
And monarchs to behold the swelling scene!
Yet nothing nearly so brilliant every leaped onto my page. There was no muse. No swelling of scenes. Just the cold, emptiness of a digital notepad.
This is exactly why so many businesses and bloggers struggle to get started. You’re putting yourself at a disadvantage right from the start!
It’s like deciding that you want to be boxer, and then, before any training or preparation, you jump into the ring with Mayweather.
Good luck with that.
Instead, like any up-and-coming boxer, you need Preparation, Experience, and Inspiration. While the focus of today’s post is on helping you to discover your Inspiration for blog post ideas, we should probably cover the first two areas as well if that’s OK.
Maybe your familiarity with boxing starts and ends with Rocky, but even then, you likely have some idea of what it takes to train and prepare for career in the ring. And while rich with natural talent, Floyd Mayweather trains every day for every bout. This compilation may give you some idea:
Preparing for a long publishing calendar is no different. You will need to practice. Read. Write. Research. Compare notes. Write. Edit. Engage in discussions with people. And write some more. It’s a skill that must be honed and polished, and that takes time.
In addition to reading and studying articles with blogging tips like this one, which can provide essential knowledge and direction, be sure to read and study your contemporaries. Regardless of your blogging topic(s), there are surely others out there in the blogosphere who are also writing on the same or similar topics.
Subscribe to their blogs and read them as much as you’re able. If you can, reach to them on social media and develop relationships with them, as those friendships will help you tremendously in your own writing and career.
And did I mention that you need to write? Yeah, as Billy Crystal said in Throw Momma From The Train, “A writer writes, always.”
That means you need to blog, and blog regularly. And while you’ll be tempted to hold off on publishing blog posts until you feel like they’re “perfect” – don’t. Publish blog posts when they’re finished and move on to the next. This gives you and your posts the opportunity for feedback – even if it’s criticism – and that’s critical to your growth and development as a blogger. (I know publishing often requires that you’re able to come up with new blog post ideas to publish, and we’ll get to that!)
But if you never start publishing, you can never start growing an audience! And that audience will be essential for coming up with new blog post ideas, as we’ll soon see.
If you’re blogging consistently and publishing regularly, you will, of course, begin to gain experience with blogging.
But that’s not the kind of experience I’m talking about here.
When it comes to knowing what to write about, there’s no substitute for actual life experience. Well-researched articles are nice and sometimes, they’re downright awesome – but those take tremendous amounts of time, and can just as easily flop as a post that you wrote off the top of your head (like I’m doing with this article).
So writing from personal experience can save you time, and actually produce articles that resonate more with your audience.
This means that some of you, many of you, are already starting your blogging career off from a position of strength. You’ve probably started your blog or business with the idea of writing about something that you’re passionate about and have some knowledge or skill – that’s great! Build off that.
Whenever possible, center your blog posts around answering a question or sharing some bit of knowledge or experience that you’ve personally gained. And that means that one of the best ways for fueling your blog posts in the future is to keep putting yourself in a position to learn and gain more experience.
For example, any time there’s a new social network or social media management tool that shows promise, or a new feature for an existing network or tool, I look forward to giving it a try. If it seems helpful to me (or maybe even if it doesn’t), sharing my experience with that platform or tool is a style of blog post that I’ve found really resonates with my audience.
Being attentive to these kinds of experiences and opportunities are a perfect source for blog post ideas. But how do you keep an eye out for and get inspired by such developments? Let’s cover that next.
For many of us, inspiration may seem like a fleeting thing. A hint of a scent of summer that’s whisked away by the winter wind too soon to grasp. We’re left starting at the dead, leaf-less limb of our blog, wondering when, if ever, the buds of a warm idea will sprout.
But it doesn’t have to be that way.
Instead, what we’re going to do is adopt what I call, “The Blogger’s Mindset.” The Blogger’s Mindset is a frame of mind in which we’re not only open to post ideas and inspiration, but we’ve taken it a step further.
We’re mindful of the fact that blog post inspiration can come at any time, from anywhere. We’re also particularly attentive to the places where blog post ideas are most likely to come from.
Before we can explore this further, you need to make sure that you have a means for recording blog post ideas no matter where you are or when the idea surfaces. Personally, this is why I love Evernote. With a free account, I can use Evernote on my iPhone or iPad and sync immediately with my MacBook, ensuring that no matter what, I can capture that idea and whatever else I need to be able to blog about it later.
Suppose I’m at dinner, or in a meeting, and someone says something that sparks an idea in my mind for a blog post. I can open Evernote, open my Blog notebook, and add a quick note that may be just a temporary title, or perhaps more, if I have the time.
Having this notebook full of ideas is what will ensure that you never have to sit and face a blank screen again. Anytime you want to write, if you don’t already have a topic in mind, you need only skim through all of the ideas you’ve had recently and choose one that tickles your fancy.
And then write.
Where To Get Blog Post Ideas
Now that you’re ready to record all of these ideas that are going to begin flooding your mind, let’s talk about where they’re going to come from.
You can blog about:
- Questions from Clients
- Questions from Readers
- Questions from YOU (these are often the best!)
- News & Developments in your industry
- Targeted Keyword Phrases
- Questions from Clients
This is really important for businesses since it’s likely that if one client has a question, there are many other potential clients who may have been wondering the same thing. Answering such questions through your blog positions you as an expert and authority, as well as a problem-solver.
If you find yourself writing a lengthy email to client, train your mind to set off an alarm. After you’ve answered their question, consider going back into your Sent folder, reviewing the email, and copying it into Evernote for a future blog post. There’ll no doubt be some extensive editing required to make it more general and remove personal references – but the overall topic and information may prove to be very valuable.
Questions from Readers
This is why it’s so important to begin blogging even if you feel you aren’t ready. You’ll never be able to start engaging with your growing readership if you don’t start publishing!
Make sure you have comments enabled on your blog, and that you’re mindful of comments and mentions on social media. As you begin to get more and more comments on each post and discussion, listen for questions. Sometimes they’re not as boldly stated as, “How do I…” Sometimes they’re more subtle, like someone saying, “I wish I could keep track of the blog post ideas in my head.” Once I read that, I knew I needed to share the system that I’d developed for myself, particularly since it was a question I’d run into as well.
Just as with the email to that client I mentioned earlier, if you find yourself typing more than a sentence or two in a comment, train your brain to begin thinking about how that response and the time you’ve put into it might be repurposed as a blog post.
Questions from YOU
Which leads to me to one of the most important and valuable sources of blog post ideas. Your own questions! As you’re building your blog and business, you’re no doubt facing questions every day. Some of them, of course, won’t be appropriate to blog about, but many will!
Each time you find yourself researching or experimenting within your own industry, take notes, and consider blogging about it at some point. You may just journal what you’ve been doing, or you may find that you’ve stumbled on a problem that many others have, and which you can now “solve” by sharing your findings.
Today, whenever I begin to evaluate a new tool or platform, it’s become second nature for me to open a new Note and begin jotting down observations and the steps I took. Trust me, it’s far easier to do that from the beginning, than to try and retrace your steps days or weeks later!
News & Developments in Your Industry
Finally, put systems and processes in place to make it easy for you to monitor developments in your industry, and related news items. Your readers will appreciate being informed, and will appreciate it even more when you help them connect the dots.
It’s one thing to be told that there’s a new Google algorithm. It’s another thing entirely to have it explained that the algorithm only affects sites when users are performing a Google search from their mobile device, and that businesses who aren’t dependent on mobile traffic have less to be concerned about.
Such posts offer you the opportunity to educate your readers on the developments, as well as offer your own opinion and expertise, further developing your authority in that niche.
Targeted Keyword Phrases
Blogging about keywords may seem at first to be a bit too mechanical, but that’s only if it’s done poorly.
The right way to do it is to use a tool like SBI! for WP to brainstorm keywords and topics. You can provide a basic “seed” idea and let the tool return dozens and dozens of related keywords. You can then review those that are in high demand, meaning people are actively searching and looking for information regarding those keywords, and be inspired to write about those that stand out.
Using a tool like this can generate hundreds of blog post ideas in a matter of minutes. So be prepared to give yourself a years worth of writing!
Other Blog Post Ideas
This was by no means an exhaustive list of sources for blog post ideas. Rather, what I’ve tried to do is get you to focus on the specific areas and sources that are most likely to yield the greatest fruit for you.
But everyone’s different. You may find that there’s another source out there that’s better suited to you, your blog, your audience and your writing style. And that’s great! What I want to do is encourage you to be aware of the fact that there will be a small number of ideal sources, and to focus on those.
Here are a few others to consider:
- YouTube Videos
- Pinterest Pins
- Other people’s blog posts (curated or inspiring – never copying!)
- Trending movies or television shows, or other pop culture
- Survey your readers / clients
- Revisit and improve / expand old blog posts
- Analogies and Metaphors
- Roundup of other experts
These are just a sample of some ideas for blog topics. An area we’ll get into in another post will be how to cultivate and encourage these ideas.
Until then, get back to blogging!