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Quora: the Quality Solution to Blogger’s Block

This guest post is by Jeremy Brown of Varoonix.

Have you been using Quora as a tool to power your blogging efforts? No? You’re missing a boatload of content ideas.

In this post, we’ll discuss why you need to be using Quora as a blogger, and look at an example that shows the usefulness of Quora.

Are you ready to tap into a never-ending stream of content ideas? Awesome, here we go!

Why you need to use Quora

In case you’re not familiar with Quora, it’s a platform on which users can ask questions about any topic that’s on their mind.

For example, a blogger might ask a question like, What’s the best WordPress tool that optimizes SEO for a blog post?

Users who see your question can then answer it. This is where the social element comes into play. It’s not uncommon to see some great debates going on at Quora.

It’s important to mention that Quora is free and you can sign up using either your Twitter or Facebook account, or through the standard signup form.

So now that you have a basic understanding of what it’s all about, but why do you need to be using it? Well, most blogs have at least one of these three aims (some blogs hit all three effortlessly):

  1. to educate
  2. to inspire
  3. to entertain.

The majority of blogs aim to hit the first point: they seek to educate readers. Why? So they can build authority and trust.

An important part of educating people is listening to their pain points and crafting content that alleviates that pain. For example, if I run a fishing blog and notice people talking about how much of a pain it is when their lures get snagged on weeds, I can create a post that talks about the top ten weedless lures.

Quora allows you to see exactly what people are looking for in question form. Then it’s up to you to give it to them. It doesn’t get much easier than that.

Side note: other tools are out there for bloggers to listen in, including Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn groups, Yahoo answers. The list goes on. It’s time for you to start using them proactively.

But now, let’s see how you can use Quora to get content ideas for your blog.

Quora in action

Let’s say my niche blog covers freshwater fishing. I cover a range of topics using how-to and list formats, but I’ve hit blogger’s block. For the life of me I can’t seem to come up with anything fresh (no pun intended).

I don’t want to create content just for the sake of creating something. I want to craft something that will alleviate someone’s pain point.

Whatever shall I do?!

Quora to the rescue! First, I type “fishing lures for bass” into Quora’s search bar to see what questions people are asking, since I cover the topic:

Quora search

And the results pop up:

Quora results

Right off the bat, I have a spark for some new blog posts. For example, I can take these questions:

  • What is the best month for bass fishing in Florida?
  • What temperature range is best for largemouth bass fishing?
  • What is the best size hooks to use when worm fishing for largemouth bass?

And I can turn those ideas into these blog post headlines:

  • Want to catch more bass? Fish during this month
  • Why I fish in freezing water and catch more Bass
  • Worm Fishing for Bass 101: The Best Hooks, Weights, and Sizes

Get the idea?

The general rule of thumb is, if someone has a question, most likely someone else has the exact same problem. You’ve heard that before right? So it’s worth answering questions!

Here’s the best part: you can fuse Quora and your SEO strategy together to form a pretty efficient way of figuring out people’s pain points.

The result? Some killer blog posts that actually help people.

Now you have an understanding of Quora and how it can be weaved into your blogging strategy. All that’s left is for you to go and use it!

Now it’s your turn

Just like most digital platforms, Quora is a tool. What other tools have you used to find out people’s pain points to create new blog posts? Share your favorites with us in the comments.

Jeremy Brown is a self-proclaimed social media dissector and is the creator of the video game review site, Varoonix. Throughout his digital life, he’s been a blog starting, social media junkie. He may or may not need to go to a BA meeting (Blogaholic Anonymous). Connect with him on Twitter: @socialjeremy

Frustrated by Blogger’s Block? Try this Exercise!

Feeling frustrated today about a lack of ideas to write about on your blog? If so, you’re not alone. Here’s another technique that I use to overcome it.

A couple of weeks ago I wrote a post here on ProBlogger that gave a tip for fighting blogger’s block. It asked you to identify a problem that you had three years ago and to write a post that solved that problem for your readers.

Another variation on that technique for overcoming blogger’s block is to write a post that taps into a “feeling” that your readers might typically have.

There are probably thousands of bloggers in your niche writing content to solve the problems of your readers, but I bet that in most niches, most of them don’t look after the feelings of their readers.

Acknowledge and work with those feelings, and you’ll be blogging with empathy—not only solving problems, but making emotional connections with your readers. You’ll also be connecting with different personality types than if you just write a dry how-to type post.

Which feelings should you concentrate on? While negative feelings might be the obvious choice I think there’s a case for writing about the whole gamut of feelings:

  • Feeling lost? Here’s a way forward.
  • Feeling paralyzed? Here’s how to get moving.
  • Feeling excited? Here’s how to capture that excitement and use it for good.
  • Feeling lonely? Here’s a place to connect with others.
  • Feeling overwhelmed? Here’s how to navigate that.
  • Feeling fearful? Here’s how to overcome your fear.

You’ll notice in the above examples I’ve taken each of the feelings and then written a how-to response, but there are other ways to tap into the feelings of your readers, too.

One great way to do it is to tell a story.

  • Feeling Lost? Here’s a time I felt that, and here’s what happened.

Another way to tap into feelings is to start a discussion.

  • What do you do when you’re feeling overwhelmed with your work.

So sit down today and think about what kinds of feelings and emotions your readers might have.

You might get some hints in the comments section of your blog. You may also want to think about your own feelings and emotions (past and present) as they pertain to your topic.

Once you’ve identified a feeling, write a post that starts with that feeling. Acknowledge it up front, then write something that helps your readers to move forward from that place.

I’d love to see links below to the posts you write after doing this exercise! Please do share them.

How to Complete Your Blog Posts to Make Them the Best They Can Be

How to Complete Your Blog Posts to Make Them the Best They Can Be

For some bloggers, it isn’t the lack of ideas holding them back, it’s finding the motivation to get them finished.

People leave blogs in draft mode for all kinds of reasons – they run out of things to say, they’re not sure how to end the post, they know it needs something added but don’t know what, the post needs more research, it needs an image, or maybe it’s just that attention just goes elsewhere.

I’m always amazed at how many bloggers have a stash of half-written posts, even though my own record is 93 unfinished posts sitting in my drafts folder!

Today’s episode of the ProBlogger podcast is the next in our series on blogger’s block, and tackles the issues we face when we just can’t finish our blog posts properly (you can find earlier posts here, here, and here).

One of the main reasons I couldn’t make it to the finish line on a blog post seemed to revolve around having too many ideas and getting distracted – I would sit down to write one post and have ideas for five more instead!

I also know that the quest for perfection holds many of us back. We don’t want to send our work out into the blogosphere if it isn’t the best work we can do right now.

Sometimes it’s that we’ve lost interest in the topic, we’re bored with what we’ve written, and we just want to move onto something else even though we’ve spent so much time trying to make this post work.

And on the flip side, some of us might be too casual with our approach – I’ve definitely seen posts published that need a little extra attention paid to proofreading, depth of information, providing value, and writing a suitable headline. If that is your problem, that you push posts out before they’re quite ready, then that really will limit the impact of your content and your ability to reach your blogging goals. There are a few things I think are non-negotiable in a post, and without them, your post just won’t really be complete.

If you’ve seen yourself in any of these familiar blogger’s block issues, then this episode is for you!

How to Complete Your Blog Posts to Make Them the Best They Can Be

I have a few solutions to provide that have helped me finally get those posts out of draft mode, and also for stopping me from collecting such a huge amount of half-done work to start with! Sometimes it does just mean knuckling down with willpower and determination to see it through, but I’ve got a few more tips up my sleeve to get you to the finish line.

I’d love to hear what you struggle with the most when it comes to getting your posts finished. Is it time? Is it overwhelm? Feel free to leave a comment, or reach out to me on Twitter.

You can find the show notes for today’s podcast here.

Further Reading:

How to Get into the Flow of Creating Great Content for Your Blog

Image credit: Jonno Witts

Image credit: Jonno Witts

Whether you’re just starting out or you’ve been blogging some time, you can almost always find yourself falling out of flow. One minute you have tons of ideas and are cranking out posts, the next something’s off and you’ve lost your mojo.

This episode of the ProBlogger podcast is continuing our series on Blogger’s Block (you can catch up on episode 83 Types of Blogger’s Block and episode 84 How to Come up With Fresh Ideas to Write About on Your Blog here), with my tips on how to finally get back on the content producing wagon, flexing your creative muscles once again.

I find that once you figure out what kind of blogger’s block you have – whether it be too many ideas and not enough time, or getting back into the swing of things after a brief break – you’re one step closer to figuring out how to beat it. The advice I’m sharing in this episode is from my own perspective, and include:

  • how to change your environment
  • tools to help you focus and minimise distractions
  • background noise
  • morning pages
  • answering questions to help formulate post ideas
  • using personas
  • getting personal – putting yourself in the shoes of your readers
  • deadlines, schedules and editorial calendars – what works, what doesn’t
  • rhythm and flow
  • inspiration
  • the types of post structures that engage my creativity and help keep me on track

And other practical ideas you can try at home to boost you out from the black hole of uninspiration and getting you back in the saddle again.

Tune in at the end of the week for the next Blogger’s Block installment, where I discuss what you should do before you publish every post to make it fully complete.

What do you do when your brain has taken a bit of a vacation? How do you bring it back to writing mode?

Further Reading:

How to Come up with Fresh Ideas to Write About On Your Blog

How to Come up with Fresh Ideas to Write About On Your Blog - on ProBlogger.net

There comes a time in the life of every blogger when they feel as though there’s nothing left to say – that they’ve said it all, and no new ideas are forthcoming.

It can strike when you have been blogging for some years and have spent a lot of time crafting posts on the important issues in your niche, and one day you realise you’ve written about every topic you care to write about and the tank is empty.

The newest episode of the ProBlogger podcast is the second in a mini-series on blogger’s block. In the previous episode I discussed the different types of blogger’s block you can experience, and what I’ve done over the years to help counteract it. Today, though, I want to tackle the issue of coming up with ideas to write about, and if you haven’t completed the task in episode 11 about what change you’re trying to bring to readers’ lives, that would be an excellent place to start.

While everyone is entitled to blog about what catches there interest, there is a strong record of blogs that change the lives of their readers in some tangible way are the ones that tend to be successful. Identifying this change (as mentioned in episode 11) is going to be a great foundation for you to then map out the journey you want to take your readers on, and can potentially then help you come up with tons of ideas to fulfil their needs.

I also discuss plenty of other options to help you break through blogger’s block and tap into that well of knowledge, inspiration and ideas to get your content rolling again. I can give you advice about how to identify these needs and problems, and all it will take is a few minutes of your time.

You can find the show notes for episode 84 of the ProBlogger Podcast How to Come up with Fresh Ideas to Write About On Your Blog here, and I’d love to get your comments below.

Further Reading:

Battling Bloggers Block – Where do you get Stuck?

Battling Blogger's Block - where do you get stuck?

Recently, I had a question from a listener:

“Darren do you have any tips for bloggers with bloggers block? I want to take my blog to the next level in 2016 but I’m stuck. Every time I sit down to write nothing comes and the more that happens the more stressed I feel and the less it seems to flow!”

And it gave me an idea – so today is the first in a mini-series of common problems that many bloggers face, and one of the biggest issues revolves around content. What happens when you run out of ideas? What happens when you feel as though nobody is hearing you? What happens when bloggers’ block strikes? It can happen to the best of us, and when it does it can be incredibly frustrating.

As I’ve given this topic much thought over the years, I’ve come to realise that there is not just one type of blogger’s block. To be more specific, there are different stages of the blog writing process that have tripped me up from time to time.

In today’s episode of the ProBlogger podcast I want to help you through this common stumbling block by talking about the three types of blogger’s block I’ve suffered from, and what I did to break out of those ruts. Whether it’s at the ideas level, the productivity level or falling down before the finish line, if you’re feeling it, chances are I’ve been there too.

You can find the show notes here, and if you have any questions I’d be happy to answer them in the comments or on Twitter, where I’m @problogger.

 

Have you ever suffered from blogger’s block? What did you do about it?

Further Reading:

9 Hurdles I’ve Faced as a Blogger and How I Got Over Them

9 hurdles I've faced as a blogger, and how I got over them :: problogger.netI was speaking at a small event here in Melbourne recently and I was asked about the common hurdles bloggers face when building profitable blogs. It’s a difficult question to answer, as everyone’s hurdles are different – as are their coping strategies.

In today’s podcast I thought going through the hurdles I’ve faced personally in blogging and the strategies I used to get over them might be useful. You might recognise some or all of them, or you might know someone struggling with one of these (in which case, feel free to share this post with them!). I’ve also included links in the show notes for you to get more information.

The obstacles in my journey I’ve faced to get to where I am today first started with technical know-how – or rather, lack thereof. As a result I made a huge amount of mistakes that meant it was a slow and painful beginning. I’ve learned so much over the years, and as I did I made better and better choices so there are six tips in the podcast that should ensure you avoid or at least minimise the hurdles along your own path.

I also talk about fear: fear of looking stupid, fear of being criticised and even personally attacked (and how I dealt with a particularly frightening encounter when it was happening to me). There’s a section on building readership, which is incredibly frustrating when you’re writing good content but nobody is reading it, and a section on finding the right monetization model, blogger’s block, blogger’s burnout, narrowing your niche, and getting your time management balance right. All things I’ve struggled with but eventually found a way out of.

You can listen to the podcast here, or over at the show notes of episode 57.

9 Hurdles I've Faced as a Blogger and How I Got Over Them - on ProBloggerWhat do you struggle with as a blogger? Have you found an effective strategy of getting around it?

Further Reading:

Content Week: Let’s Chat! Where do you get your blog ideas from?

Theme WeekThis past week, we’ve been talking about all things content – where can we get it? What inspires us? What works with our audience? What are some out-of-the-box ideas that will set us apart from the regular blogging crowd? We spoke with Chantelle Ellem, of Fat Mum Slim, who encouraged us to write what we love, and Carly Heitlinger of The College Prepster, who told us to take a topic and make it personal. We wrote a mega-list of places to go when we’re fresh out of ideas to inspire us again, and we heard from Darren on the topic.

Now it’s over to you – where do you find your ideas? Do you have any sure-fire sources of inspiration? What do you do when you’re hit hard with blogger’s block? We’ll also be chatting about this over on Darren’s Facebook page – we’d love to hear from you all.

How to Consistently Come up With Great Post Ideas for Your Blog

Theme WeekContent. Where to find it, how to get it, what’s going to resonate with our readers? They are questions most bloggers ask ourselves pretty regularly. Some of us have ideas coming out our ears with not enough hours in the day to turn them all into posts, and some of us have times where we’re scratching around the bottom of the barrel trying to come up with useful, interesting, engaging content on our blogs day after day, year after year.

This week we’re going to focus on all the ways you can be inspired to write great posts for your readers. Today we start with some ideas on generating content, and across the week, we will be chatting to bloggers who consistently come up with great ideas. We’ll have a bit of inspiration, and some discussion points to get you all thinking. There will also be a “homework” challenge at the end of the week to take you from all talk to total action. You’ll find all the links to this week’s content at the end of this post.

So content – where can we look for inspiration?

Other bloggers

If you’re a blogger, it’s likely you read other blogs. While there are millions out there, we tend to return to a handful that we know and love and always enjoy reading. Have a look at why that is – what keeps you coming back? And how can you write similarly for your own readers? Maybe it’s their tone, their sense of humour, the way they provide interesting information in an easy-to-read fashion. Could this work for you too? What are the topics that resonate with you? What are the topics that garner the most engagement? How can you put your own spin on something similar?

Social media

Social media is a one-stop shop for finding what people are talking about online. Search the Facebook and Twitter hashtags, watch the trending topics, and use them to inspire what you write about. Then you can promote your posts using the trends and hashtags while they’re still popular. Join LinkedIn groups if you haven’t already and see what are the hot topics being discussed. Scroll your Facebook newsfeed and see what jumps out at you – strike while the iron is hot!

Your own content

Every month, Darren does a “deep dive” into his analytics to see what posts did well and what might be useful to revisit. It can be a goldmine of content ideas, particularly as you know that your readers will already be interested in those topics because they have been before. What can you update, repackage, or build on?

The news/current affairs

You’re sure to have a reaction to some kind of news or current affairs issue – why not capitalise on that? It’s a issue already in the media, so there’s interest there. Post your take on the topic, your opinion, or where people might be able to find more information on your blog about the issue. There’s always something happening somewhere, and if it’s relevant to your audience, you can add to the conversation.

Ask your readers

Who best to ask for content inspiration than the people who will actually be reading it? What do they want to see more of? What are they interested in? What do they wish you would cover? You can ask in a blog post, on social media, host a Google Plus hangout, a Twitter chat, or even run a reader survey. Can you help answer their questions? Or maybe even run a series? Darren uses this technique with great effect, and a bonus is that it helps to increase community engagement around your blog.

Brainstorm

Grab a cup of coffee and find a nice place to sit. Bring a notepad and pen, or your laptop. Sit for five minutes and write down all the ideas that come into your mind. Don’t worry about editing them, or being clever, just write. You’re guaranteed to come up with a couple of gold nuggets that you can turn into posts.

Check your comment section

One of the best pieces of advice I ever read was to “hang out in your comments section”. It was initially advice to help grow readership, but it is useful for so much more than that. What are the stories your readers share with you? What questions are they asking? What do their comments make you think of that you can then expand upon? Do they have a blog? What do they write about? Is that interesting to you, and can you be inspired by what they do?

Mine your idea lists

Sit down and go through all of the places you’ve written down ideas. Workshop what might be useful to you now, and get a few intros or ideas jotted down for a handful of the topics you want to explore.

Find other bloggers’ lists

You are not the first person to be stuck for content ideas – not by a long shot. Over the years, plenty of bloggers have found themselves in the same situation, written a bunch of ideas down, and shared them with the blogosphere. Google them, or see if your favourite bloggers have written similar lists and see if any of the topics resonate with you. You can get started with this list from The Blog Stylist, this one from Fat Mum Slim, or the one on this post Pip Lincolne wrote for JustB. If you’ve found others online, do please share them in the comment section.

Visit your favourite blogging resource site (like ProBlogger!) and search their archives

Chances are the blogging greats have touched on this topic before. They might have a list like the ones mentioned above, or general tips that will get you out of your slump and onto your keyboard. Content can be an elusive soul, and even the best of the best have still struggled with it from time to time. Learn from their lessons!

Your niche’s top Google searches

Head over to Google and check out what search terms people have been using and see if you can’t create a post based around some of the information you find. If you’ve got a food blog, maybe check out the top 10 most-searched-for recipes and put your own spin on them? You’re sure to come up with some inspiration for future posts (or even a series), and you have the value of it already being a hot topic.

What do YOU want to know?

Have you asked a question lately? Has there been something on your mind that you’ve Googled? Why not write that post yourself? Fill in knowledge gaps with what you want to know, and what you have found in your research. What do you think people want to know that isn’t being written about? Don’t wait for someone else to write it – do it yourself.

Think visual

Sometimes we have tunnel-vision when it comes to posts, and concentrate solely on the written word. Stretch your creative muscle with a short video or a slideshow. You might have a DIY or tutorial that will work a thousand times better in visual form than it would as a list of written steps, or something funny you want to share. Don’t forget to check out what’s cool on YouTube and maybe try to make your own version.

Get outside

Get right out into the land of the living and take your inspiration from your environment. What are people doing? What are stores selling? What are the interactions you see? What’s changed since you were a kid? What great food have you eaten lately? The topics from this kind of observation are literally endless.

Your journey

Look back over a journey you have taken and use that as inspiration. It could be a literal journey, like a trip you’ve taken, or a metaphorical journey, like your experiences blogging over the years. How far have you come? What’s changed? Compare yourself now to your teenage self. Compare the start of your business to now. Where do you want to go from here? What kind of journey will you be taking in the future? Everyone has a story.

Write a cornerstone post

Have a think about the kinds of topics on which you write, and see if you can come up with some “evergreen” content. What is always going to be useful to your readers, no matter the current trend? Can you do a mega-post where you pull together all the posts you’ve written and all the resources you can find on a genre or niche that your readers want? Much like Darren’s “Sneeze Pages“, you can send your audience down the rabbit hole of your blog’s current content, or you can write a post of brand new information that will always provide value for the people who read your blog. Brainstorm some topics to use as a pillar post on your site, and you shouldn’t be stuck for ideas.

Curate content

Check out the internet as it is today – what are other people doing that you really like? What are some sites or articles you want to share with your readers? Put them all together in one post for them to read. You might want to do something like “five articles I’ve loved lately” or “15 new ideas for your kitchen”. Not only have you been inspired, but you’ve given your readers interesting content while also linking to sites and blogs you like (which is great karma in blogland!).

Write a list post

These may be abundant on the World Wide Web, but they are for good reason – they work. People are time-poor and they want useful info in bite-size chunks that they can skim if need be. Fulfil a need of theirs by providing a list of useful things, or just entertain them with a list of things you like/don’t like and why. Write a list of memories you have, or 10 tech tips you’ve used recently. There are a multitude of topics to choose from, you just need to funnel them into a coherent (and numbered!) order.

Write a post containing affiliate links

This is a post that does double duty of providing you with content while also helping you to make a little money. As Darren says, “contextual promoting is king” (in his post “The Ultimate Guide to Making Money with the Amazon Affiliate Program” – it’s PACKED with useful info!), so even if you have sidebar advertising or a banner/widget somewhere, you’re still more likely to make conversions if you write a post and have affiliate links in it (appropriately disclosed, of course). These sorts of posts pop up around Christmastime as “gift guides” or what have you, but there’s no reason you can’t do one at other times during the year. What products have you found useful lately? What’s a wishlist you have? Have a look through your affiliate programs and see what you can come up with.

Interviews

Who is someone you really admire? They don’t have to be another blogger, just anyone you’d like to get to know a little more. If you find them interesting, chances are others will too. Work in finance, but always wanted to be a chef? Hunt one down and peek inside their brain a little. Or find a mentor or someone you look up to and ask them about their road to where they are and what kind of advice they can give. Ask your mother for advice. Interview a musician. Whatever captures your attention.

So now you have a thousand brilliant ideas running through your mind, right? You might find this post useful on capturing ideas and keeping notes.

You might also like this post if you want to consistently get creative about your content, and break through blogger’s block for good with this one.

I bet you’ve come up with at least one blog post idea from this list – care to share it? You might help someone else!

You can find the other posts in this week-long series here:

Where does power-blogger Fat Mum Slim find her ideas (and get her idea-packed eBook “Let’s Give Them Something to Blog About”)
How to deal with your blogging inner critic
Content Week Case Study: Carly Heitlinger of College Prepster
Where do you get your blog ideas?

Stacey Roberts is the content ninja at ProBlogger.net, and the blogger behind Veggie Mama. Writer and word-lover, she can be found making play-dough, reading The Cat in the Hat for the eleventh time, and avoiding the laundry. See evidence on Instagram here, on Facebook here, and twitter @veggie_mama.