Blogging sounds easy, doesn’t it? The premise is pretty simple: write a post and publish it.
Well anyone who’s been in the blogging world for awhile, knows that’s not the case. There are so many things that go into publishing a blog post, from brainstorming content, to creating graphics, to scheduling social media. But besides writing the actual post, the one thing that takes up the most time is coming up with ideas. After all, nothing’s worst than staring at a blank screen hoping to come up with a brilliant idea.
However, with a little planning, you can have a steady stream of post ideas at the ready, so that the next time you sit down to write, coming up with an idea is as easy as choosing one from a list. But in order to get there, you have to start collecting ideas.
Before we begin, it’s important to have a system in place that will allow you to keep all of those blog post ideas organized. That way, when the time comes to write a post, you’ll have a collection of ideas ready to go and you won’t have to rack your brain trying to remember that amazing idea you thought of earlier in the week.
Once you have a system in place, it’s time to get started!
Have a Brainstorming Session
Right off the bat, I’m sure you can think of a few ideas for posts. Set a timer for 10 to 15 minutes, grab a piece of paper, and think. Write down everything that comes to mind. Even if the ideas aren’t complete or they don’t seem feasible at the moment, write them down! You never know what ideas might one day spawn other ideas.
If you’re having trouble coming up with ideas, write down the categories you blog about. Can you think of one or two ideas for each of them? Sometimes just reminding yourself about what you blog about is enough to stir up some ideas.
Be Aware of Your Readers’ Needs
One of the best ways to come up with ideas for your blog is to listen to your readers. People are constantly saying what they need, you just have to listen. Spend some time each day on Twitter and Facebook. What are people saying? Take note of the problems people are having. Not only does this provide you with tons of post ideas, but they’re ideas that will actually help someone.
When in doubt, ask! Your readers probably have some great ideas for blog posts, but you won’t know until you ask them. Send out a tweet asking what they want to know more about. Or add a line to your email newsletters asking them about their struggles. Not everyone will answer, but you’re bound to get a few topics this way.
Search for Blog Post Ideas
If you’re really struggling for blog post ideas, there are plenty of idea lists out there. Some might not necessarily be geared towards your niche, but with a little creativity, you could put a fun spin on them to make them work for you. Sometimes just seeing a list of ideas will get your brain flowing and allow you to come up with other ideas.
Browse Your Archives
Believe it or not, your archives are full of ideas for future blog posts. Look through your posts. Are there any ways you can expand on them to create a new post? Another option is to create a roundup post. Do you have a ton of posts on a particular topic? Create a new post listing them. Odds are not everyone will have seen your older posts, so putting them together in one easy to share post is a great way to provide value to your readers.
There’s probably a ton of things that you want to learn within your niche, am I right? The fact that you want to learn more about a particular topic means that there are others out there who feel the same way. And while you may not be qualified to write about those topics now, one day you might be. Whenever you find yourself researching something, take note. If you’ve finally mastered something after reading 20 articles on the topic, how can you teach others with one blog post? Everyone learns differently and you might have a helpful tip that’ll help others.
Don’t feel qualified to write a post on a particular topic? Know someone who would be perfect for it? Reach out and ask a fellow blogger to write a guest post. Not only will it allow you to post quality content, but it’ll also free up time so you can focus on other posts.
Continue the Conversation
While stealing ideas from other blogs is a bad idea, there are times when you can utilize other blogs to your advantage. If you came across a great post, but have a different point of view on the topic at hand, by all means write up a post from your perspective. Don’t forget to shout out the author that inspired you and be sure to share your post with them. Blogging is a community, and creating conversation is a great way to foster that.
Keep Up With It
Collecting blog post ideas isn’t a one and done activity. At some point you will exhaust all of your ideas and then you’ll be back at square one, so it’s important to remember to continuously curate ideas. The next time you’re browsing your Facebook groups and someone asks a question that relates to your niche, write the question down. Ask a question weekly on Twitter. The key is to have a constant stream of ideas coming. In my day to day blogging, designing, and business activities I’m always coming across something that inspires a new blog post. The ideas are everywhere, but you have to learn how to recognize them and write them down as soon as they hit you.
How do you come up with ideas for new blog posts?