To be worth publishing, I need to think about what I have to say. Will anyone care? This isn’t going to work. Try again tomorrow.
Everyone has been there.
It can be scary, at times, to put new things out into the world. Peers can be a little unnerving to think about how they will think about what you say. It’s good. Is it going to be well-received, or will it make people angry? Is it even worse if there is no response at all?
When we think like this, we often hide or throw away ideas because we think they’re not good enough to share with the world. It’s sad because it stops people from being creative. This is why we often find ourselves staring at computer screens, knowing that we need to write something but not knowing what.
Blink. There is a flash of light.
Today, we’re going to look at some proven ways to come up with blog post ideas even when you don’t feel like you have any ideas left. You can use these tips whether you’re writing for a public blog, a weekly newsletter, or even a membership site!
1. Keep an ideas file
I think that the most important thing about inspiration is that you never know when it will hit. That’s why it’s important to set up a system that helps you with your creative work.
The ideas file is a place where many writers, bloggers, and publishers keep thoughts, opinions, questions, and prompts that they want to write about. You can add things to the file whenever you think of them.
When it’s time to plan a blog post, just look in the file and pick out any ideas that haven’t been written yet.
To use it, put your thoughts in the far left column. Moving them to the right as they grow from a simple idea to an article in progress, and then to an edited and published article on your website.
The most important thing is to start writing down your ideas so that you can build up a library of ideas.
2. Take content ideas from other people
A great way to come up with ideas for blog posts is to read a lot of the kind of content you want to write.
Check your favorite blogs every day with a feed reader like Feedly to see what new posts have been made.
It’s a good idea to sign up for the newsletters of your favorite writers so you never miss a post.
Set a time each week on your calendar to read blogs for inspiration and ideas.
Don’t be afraid to steal ideas that other people have found to be good. From the success of other people, you can learn a lot about how to do things well.
Just don’t steal their content. Repeat it. Make your version better, unique, and more valuable by making it better and more interesting.
3. Question your Audience
You can get ideas for new content from your readers by asking them to write back to your emails or tweets, setting up a private community on Discourse or Circle, or meeting up with them in person at events.
Reader participation and community-driven content are important parts of many successful blogs and membership businesses.
Foolish bloggers look for new ideas, but efficient bloggers let ideas come to them.
Ask your readers what they’d like to read more of, and then give it to them, too. It sounds easy, but very few people do it.
It’s great advice from Louis Grenier of Everyone Hates Marketers. He talks about how to listen for ideas and let them come up on their own.
4. Use specific searches to ask the internet about a specific subject
You aren’t the only one who has had trouble coming up with blog post ideas. Many other bloggers have had the same problem and have written about how they overcame it.
When you start, figure out what people are asking about your subject. There are forums and websites like Reddit and Quora that you can use to look for things like this. Another good thing about Twitter is that it lets you look at how other people are talking about a certain subject right now.
This is one time when going down internet rabbit holes can be good. You’ll have a lot of ideas to write about, questions to answer, and people to follow up with.
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5. Make changes to old blog posts
What are the most popular blog posts you’ve ever written? Look through your analytics history and figure out what those posts were. These are your big hits.
It doesn’t matter how long it’s been since the book was written or how old it is now, people keep coming to see it.
What could you do to make it even better? A follow-up? There is a lot of information in this post that needs to be changed or updated.
The best way to improve your SEO is to update your posts. This will help you get more people to read your post. You have already done most of the work. Check out this in-depth guide from AHREFs about how to do a content audit and make changes to the best posts on your site.
6. Find out what’s trending
Find out what people are talking about on the internet. There are many ways to do this, as well as tools for finding out what people search for about specific topics of interest.
Using these trends to come up with ideas for new articles is a great way to stay ahead of the game and get more traffic to your site. Here are some tools that can help you:
Google Trends – Find out what is popular over a certain period of time.
Use BuzzSumo to find out who is at the top and what they are writing about.
Answer The Public.com Enter any word and get a huge list of synonyms and other words that people actually look for when they search for them.
You can find out about niche ideas before they become popular trends.
7. Tell your story
Sometimes, the best idea for a post is one that tells the story of all the other posts. People who blog have probably been doing it for a long time now, no matter what they write about.
It has been a while now. What have you learned?
What has changed since you began?
As a young person, what piece of advice would you give yourself if you could?
These posts aren’t just a way for you to brag about yourself. They can be very useful to other people in your field. The next generation will be able to move even faster if they learn from your mistakes. Everyone has to start somewhere.
Give your audience something in return by giving them a glimpse into your journey and thought process.
8. Write a detailed guide on “how to”
What kind of blog post is the best? When people want to read 12 more.
A good way to take advantage of this is to link your old posts together (called internal linking), which is how you do this.
Sit down and look at your old posts. Group related posts together and see if you can arrange them in a way that makes sense as a mini-guide so that reading them in that order makes them more valuable.
This lets you use ideas you’ve already written about.
Each post should have an introduction, a conclusion, a few light descriptions, and new or changed links to it. You now have a sign that leads people around your blog.
9. Take another person’s brain for a spin
Is your mind tired? Borrow someone else’s own!
Who do you look up to in your field? Who might your readers be interested in? Then, send them an email and ask if they’d like to talk to you.
The real challenge is to come up with interesting questions that will get your subject to open up and talk to you about them. After that, they’ll do the hard work of coming up with great content for you.
The quality of your interview is very important.
A lot of “so tell us who you are and what you do” posts are on the web. They don’t add much value. Don’t do what they did.
Instead of asking someone else to write an introduction for you, write your own and do it yourself instead. Ask them questions that they want to answer and that they might not have answered before.
There is magic in that.
10. Spy on your competitors
Check out your competitors to see where your content needs to be added, then write your own content.
What works well for your friends and rivals might also work well for you, too. Make sure to do some research to find out what keywords your competitors rank for, and then check out their best-selling articles, too.
We like to use AHREFs to do this research. Check out their guide on how to do a good content gap analysis to see how they do it.
The key here is to look for opportunities with low enough keyword difficulty so that you can write unique content and get a piece of the pie.
Could you add to what has already been written and make it a lot better? Do you have a new and interesting way to look at the same subject? The data you have is your own, and you can use it to write a new and interesting blog post.
You can use your creativity, opinions, and niche to make yourself stand out by giving readers something they can’t get anywhere else.
11. Improve your ideas to work out your brain
People who are good at coming up with new ideas need to work them out. There is more strength in that muscle as you do it more and more often.
Every single day, come up with blog post ideas. Soon, you’ll start to notice that it’s becoming easier and easier to write about.
Spend a few minutes each day using these resources to come up with new ideas. Then move the best ones over to the “idea” column on your content calendar and write them down in that column (or whatever equivalent tool you use). This will keep your creative juices flowing and help you come up with new ideas.
Great content ideas are at the heart of a successful business that makes things for people to do. if you don’t have good ideas to put out there, promote, or make money from, you have nothing.
Find a system that works for you, from coming up with new ideas to putting them in a way that makes them easy to find. Then, build systems around them that make bringing them to life a breeze.
It’s time to get going:
Start writing down your ideas.
Learn from the best people in your field.
There is no need to be afraid to hit the “publish” button.
It’s possible that your blog could become bigger than even you could have ever dreamed. But only if you start.