You know you should write about something. You haven’t posted to your blog in days. You’re not too proud of that fact. But, what do you write about?
So, you rack your brain. You come up with a few ideas, but perhaps you stall because you’ve kinda written about it before, or you’re not sure anybody but you will even care.
You might look at other bloggers and wonder, “How the hell do they keep getting all those great ideas for posts?”
Well, I don’t know. But, I’ll tell you how I go about it…
First, A Few Assumptions Revisited
It is easy to fall into the blogger hamster wheel. You know, the one where you are constantly pressured to keep writing, writing and writing some more… but it feels like nothing is happening.
Usually, the solution is to revisit some of your basic assumptions.
One assumption is that you have to write every day. The truth is… you don’t. I used to write for this very blog 5 days per week, Monday through Friday. A few months back, I decided that was unnecessary and that I could use more of my time doing something to grow my business. So, I reduced it to 2-3 times per week.
Guess what? There was NO negative impact on my traffic.
The key is… when you do write something, make it awesome.
Now, in a news driven niche, maybe this isn’t possible. And, quite frankly, if you’re in a news driven niche, you should have thought about what you’re getting into beforehand. You can always consider hiring some writers to ease the load. But, in most niches, there is no need to post every day.
So, reducing post frequency is one way to ease up the pressure. Quality over quantity.
The other assumption to re-visit would be that you can’t repeat something you’ve already written about. See, YOU know you wrote about it before. But, there’s a REALLY good chance that your reader is completely unaware of that fact. In fact, blogs are traditionally very poorly set up when it comes to featuring archived content. They’re really good at featuring your latest stuff, but once your post cycles into the archives, it is lost except for SEO traffic and related post listings.
So, you have a couple options here:
- Go ahead and write about it again, perhaps with a new twist.
- Find ways to re-feature old content on your site and stop depending on the forced chronology of the typical blog.
There are posts on this site which repeat themselves. Not word-for-word, but in idea. I doubt even my long-time readers notice. 🙂
Getting New Topic Ideas
OK, now that we’ve eased up the pressure, let’s talk about developing new ideas. Where do you get the ideas for blog posts?
- Your Own Experience. Obviously. Sometimes you just think up ideas.
- Blog Comments. Watch the comments on your site. What questions are they asking?
- New Email Subscribers. I recommend that you set up an autoresponder message on your list so that they are surveyed shortly after they subscribe to your list. You can either point them to an actual survey or simply ask them to reply to the email. What you want to ask them is how you can help them, what they want to learn from you, and what are their frustrations. When you set this up in your autoresponder sequence, then you’ll have an ongoing source of new content ideas, right from the very people who landed on your blog.
- Social Media. Directly ASK people on Facebook and Twitter what they want to know about related to your niche. Record each idea – and WHO said it – then you can write up a post and feature the person who asked the question. Great way to get post ideas as well as involve your followers. Another idea is to monitor the big keywords of your niche on Twitter search. You can both chime in with answers as well as use the input for post ideas. Little hint: Pay attention to HOW they ask the question, because that’s probably close to what they’d type into Google. SEO, baby.
- Forums. Forums are whole websites based on nothing but conversation, in their own words, and people getting help. In terms of getting blog post ideas for a related niche, it really doesn’t get any better than that.
- Social Bookmarking. If you check out the top stories in your niche on the major social bookmarking sites, it gives you an idea what is getting attention. You can twist that into a post idea for your site.
- Wordtracker Questions. I picked this one up from Shane inside our Inner Circle program (some cool things happening in there). Go to Wordtracker Keyword Questions. Type in a niche keyword and see what kinds of questions people are asking. Just beautiful. You can use the tool a few times publicly, but after that, they’ll hit you up for a free account to keep using it.
Now, when you’re doing this, I encourage you to plan ahead by collecting many post ideas at once. Put them into your idea file. You shouldn’t have to resort to research like this every time you want to write something.
I hope this helps. And, if you’ve already found ways to deal with this that perhaps I forgot to post above, please share in the comments below. This way, we all learn. 🙂