How To Have More Blog Posts Than You Can Write
HELP—I must write an article today but I can’t generate new blog post ideas.
If so, you’re not alone.
Top bloggers make it look easy. They churn out post after blog post.
You can too!
Don’t look surprised.
I can tell you their secret in one word: Practice.
Like the showoff in your gym, they train regularly to keep their blog post ideas flowing.
Like the gym, you need a regular workout routine to build your blog idea muscles. With consistent practice, your post inspiration will start to breakthrough.
Take a deep breath.
If you’re too anxious about the blinking cursor on blank screen, you won’t pay attention to what I have to say. (BTW, I call this blank page syndrome.)
Want to take the shortcut to generate new blog post ideas?
It won’t build the muscles you need to keep your blog ideas flowing.
But it’s fast.
And better than nothing if you’re in a blog post idea desert. PHOTO OR GIF
Here are 300+ blog post ideas. Use them like Mad Libs. Substitute the words that apply to your blog.
- 125 Free Blog Post Ideas
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- 29 Places To Look For Brand-Related Post Ideas
Where to look to generate new blog post ideas
Blog post ideas are everywhere. You just have to learn how to see them.
No VR glasses needed.
Instead you just have to learn to pick out the useful subjects hiding in plain sight.
How To Generate New Blog Post Ideas – 3 Options Every Blogger Can Use
1. Read, read, read
Let other more experienced bloggers, content creators and authors be your blog post idea sherpas.
Read broadly. It’s not just me. Even Stephen King says:
There’s no way around these two things that I’m aware of, no shortcut. Here’s where to begin:
Blogs in your category and the top blogs across other areas:
- What are their top posts?
- What topics do they use?
- How do they build their series?
- What regular columns do they have?
- How do they continually come up with fresh content? Examine how it’s packaged.
- Spend time analyzing Cosmopolitan. It’s the go-to headline trainer.
- Try a quotes round up. My favorite is David Ogilvy.
Key Point: You have to Steal Like An Artist.
BUT: Don’t copy someone else’s work.
Rather take an idea and make it your own. Pablo Picasso kept his art fresh by continually trying other painters’ techniques.
Virginia Woolf’s Mrs. Dalloway used multiple voices to portray different points of view. William Faulkner used this device in his classic As I Lay Dying and Michael Cunningham did this with The Hours.
I’m not talking about a television set.
Rather, I mean a sense of place. LandsEnd did this extremely well with their email marketing in the early 2000s. They wrote about the small town where they were located.
What’s happening where you are that would interest your audience?
Look at your town with the eyes of a tourist.
- How do the people think?
- What’s the big local news?
- What would an out-of-towner find interesting?
Real Estate company Movoto uses this focus to generate new blog post ideas extremely well. My favorite examples is their estimate of the cost of Hogwarts, Harry Potter’s school.
Holiday themes should be good for at least one blog post a month.
In February, there’s Ground Hog’s Day and Valentine’s Day. It’s also Heart Health Month and Black History Month.
The catch: The holiday has to be relevant to your business.
When I was at The Economist, my boss wanted me to run a Valentine’s Day promotion for a gift subscription. I can tell you where that relationship is going and it’s not good.
Under the holiday category, include relevant industry conferences and company events. Lee Odden and his team, notably Ashley Zeckman, are the live blogging experts.
Ashley Zeckman Live Blogging At MarketingProfs B2B Conference
Generate new blog post ideas: 5 core types of blog posts
Every business has blog post ideas waiting to be written. They need these 5 types of core content.
1. Foundational content
These blog posts establishes thought leadership and attract inbound links. While most of this content is written when you first start your blog, it’s useful to have at least one blog post per year. With planning you should be able to get some quality blog posts.
Annual research. Take a page from Content Marketing Institute and Orbit Media. Answer the one question everyone asks and there’s no source for. (Need help? Read Andy Crestodina’s explanation of Orbit Media’s research.) Understand that this is a massive undertaking.
Internal data. Look inside your business to find information that other people would find useful. This is the core of Priceonomics’s blog posts.
BuzzSumo’s Steve Rayson uses this technique to continually write amazing guest posts across top ranked sites. My personal fav appeared on Moz.
“In a randomly selected sample of 100,000 posts over 50% had 2 or less Facebook interactions (shares, likes or comments) and over 75% had zero external links.”
2. Customer FAQs
This content removes the blocks to buying your product.
A. Product information
Many bloggers and businesses overlook this. Yet, LinkedIn research shows that this is a core type of information for B2B customers’ purchasing decisions.
Don’t publish regurgitated catalog information. Rather inspire your audience.
B. Answer your prospect and customer questions
Collect the questions and answers from your sales and customer service personnel. Then edit them into quality content and add alluring visuals.
Don’t avoid the tough questions including pricing. Marcus Sheridan made $2 million for his River Pools and Spas by answering this question without you knowing how much it’ll cost.
Also include a “Who’s not a good fit for us” post. According to Sheridan this is a great lead converter. Why? Everyone wants to belong.
C. Teach me how posts
Show readers and customers how to use your products. This includes patterns and recipes. Use photographs and videos of your product in use. Don’t forget to link to your products. Add a printable shopping list.
D. Behind the Scenes
Give readers a peak at how you make the sauce. Include photographs and videos of your employees. Into the Gloss is all about the beauty regimes of models and readers.
Put a customer or employee into the spotlight. This is a variation on Behind The Scenes. This content makes your customers feel special. You can get real people wearing your clothes. It’s also good for not-for-profits to write stories from the heart with a heart.
E. Product reviews
Of course no merchant is going to give their own product a bad review. But even bad reviews can attract customers. For example: a hotel with a jumping after hours bar is great for a hipster and hell for the granny set.
I love Mason-Dixon Knits’s Ann Shayne’s product review of a 12 year old knitting project.
3. Cyclical Content
Every blog must publish content on a regular basis.
You need to build reader expectations for your articles. To accomplish this, write at least one on-going column post every week.
This can be a long form with one person or a shorter set of questions to a few people. The challenge for newer bloggers is finding a fresh approach. The Actionable Marketing Guide has a weekly author interview.
B. Letter Bag
This is a blog spin on newspaper “Letters to the Editor” or “Dear Abby”. What issues does your audience face?
C. Weekly Curation
D. Report the News
Social Media Examiner does a good job of this. Every Saturday, one of the editors examines the changes in the social media landscape over the past week.
4. Crowd Pleaser Content
The objective of this Crowd Pleaser Content is to expand your reach. It takes a lot of work to create and promote. Include one of these posts every month to maximize your reach.
Take care that your content is fresh and continues to pull readers through.
A. Round up. Get a people to answer the same question or show multiple examples of how to do something. But avoid listicles. They look and feel like me-too content. Actionable Marketing Guide’s 72 Marketing Definitions is a prime example of this.
B. In-depth post. Go beyond beginner stuff. Get into the 201, 301 and 401 level meat your audience needs. Actionable Marketing Guide’s Influencer Co-Created Content is a good example of this.
5. Long Playing Content
Keep your best content center stage. Do this by updating the information, consolidating thinner pieces, or curating related articles. The best part about this content is that it already exists so that there’s less work involved.
Brainstorm and Vet Your New Blog Post Ideas
Not every blog post idea should be published on your blog. To this end, brainstorm and vet your blog post ideas with co-workers and blog buddies.
Based on research, brainstorming blog post ideas works best when (Hat tip: Jay Acunza):
- Set parameters: Keeps team members focused.
- Brainstorm ideas independently: Allows everyone to list their ideas without fear of other people’s opinions.
- Vet them in a group: Selects the best ideas.
Restrict your thinking in these 2 ways:
- Subject. Your blog posts must focus on your subject to support search and findability. Otherwise visitors will bounce. (Check out what Bruce Clay says about siloing your content.)
- Time limit. You can’t spend all morning staring into space hoping ideas will appear. Set the timer on your phone for a half hour. See how many ideas you can generate in that time. Once you put blinders on, you suddenly get filled with lots of ideas. Not all of them are useable. Don’t edit the ideas. That’s what you have a group for.
The blog post idea bottom line
Blog post ideas are all around you.
But you must be able to recognize them.
As Stephen King said,
To do so, test proven ideas. Tap into the best blog posts other bloggers have proven work and make them your own.
Of course this doesn’t mean copying someone else’s work and changing a few words here and there.
Instead apply the idea to your blog.
Make them fresh and new. For example, Social Triggers’s Derek Halpern tailors his content to different audiences by using specifics of different markets.
Conquer Blank Blog Post Anxiety.
Fill your blog editorial calendar with quality post ideas.
Go on—I dare you to write at least 3 blog posts based on this list of blog ideas.
Once you give yourself permission, you can keep the blog post ideas flowing.
PS: I’m a guest on #ContentChat on Monday, January 23, 2017 at 3:00pm NY time. Please join me.
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