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The Most Important Skill for Long-term Blogging Success

This guest post is by Amy Parmenter of ParmFarm.com.

In the early stages of blogging, content is definitely king, but if you hope to be in it long-term, creativity must rule the day.

It’s easy to think of new ideas when you’ve only been blogging a few months, but what will you write about next year? How will you offer new ideas—or the same ideas from a fresh perspective?

In order to be a ProBlogger you must be a good writer and a creative thinker.

Do you have what it takes?

Here’s a test. If you were to win Darren’s free trip to Australia, how many blog posts could you generate?

That’s an easy one for travel or photography bloggers, but what about everyone else? Did you decide not to enter the contest because you didn’t think the trip would apply to your niche?

I challenge you now to think again. Only this time, think more creatively.

I’ll go first. Here are ten example posts to get your creative juices flowing:

1. Pet bloggers: Will your dog get along with your new kangaroo?

You just know you want one! Visiting Australia would be the perfect opportunity to remind your pet-loving readers of all the things they must consider when adopting new animals and introducing new pets to the household. Maybe the kangaroo isn’t such a good idea…

2. Art bloggers: The value of an artist’s community

I love this one because it took a little legwork. Queensland Tourism is offering a free trip, and a bit of research in advance should not be out of the question. I Googled “Queensland artists” and found a great community that has gathered online because its members have “limited opportunity to exhibit their works” in the state. Why not connect with them, enhance your own experience, and deliver a fabulous post to your readers?

3. Aging or senior bloggers: How old is too old to travel?

How old is the oldest person on the plane? 60s? 70s? Maybe you could interview him or her. That person would probably be flattered by the attention, it’d be an easy way to pass the time, and you’d get a terrific post and probably plenty of comments!

4. Religion bloggers: I had faith in Australia

For those who believe, there is no place on Earth where God is not present. No doubt the beauty of Queensland will deliver a spiritual experience to anyone who is open to it. Write about it. Then ask your readers to share their stories, too.

5. Finance bloggers: How to expense a “free” vacation

An important aspect of blogging is problem solving. If you’ve got a problem, chances are your readers have experienced it as well. Help them. Use the trip to detail the problem of expensing a free trip—and the solution.

6. Design bloggers: The outback out back

There’s nothing like traveling half way around the world to gather new ideas for your own back yard! This would be an easy post featuring patio or garden designs influenced by people, places, and things you discovered in Australia—complete with photos, of course.

7. Self-help bloggers: King for a day in Queensland

I’m sure the Australian getaway will include lots of sun, fun and pampering for those who so desire. As such, it is the perfect opportunity for self-help bloggers to remind readers about the value of a vacation, a change of scenery, and the importance of treating yourself when the time is right.

8. Fitness bloggers: 7 Exercises you can do on a plane

Without a doubt, the greatest obstacle for some in traveling to Australia is the extremely long flight. Blood clot issues are well documented and, frankly, exercise is a must. Running in the aisles would probably get you tackled by an air marshal, but a good fitness blogger should be able to offer at least seven exercises that can be done while seated or with very little room to move. More importantly, this is a post that would have broad appeal to anyone flying for more than a few hours.

9. Food bloggers: Raise your hand if you’ve had a Vegemite sandwich

I can’t imagine there will be any shortage of ideas for this niche but I included this example to make the point that, as a blogger, you want to write about something special, new, or different whenever possible. While Vegemite sandwiches may be nothing new in Australia, few people who live in the States have ever had one. Have one. Write about it. As a blogger correspondent, you need to take me where I cannot go.

10. Blogging bloggers: How to speak Australian

This is a topic I decided to add half way through this post when I was challenged with spelling “traveling” correctly. That’s because it has two l’s in Australia, but only one in the U.S.! In the course of your travels, take note of other differences and use them to illustrate the point that knowing your audience—and “speaking” their language—is critical to blogging success.

I think you get my point.

If you are struggling to come up with creative posts, you either need to change the way you think or change your niche.

As a longtime journalist, it is my daily challenge to cover the same stories others cover, but from a unique perspective. The same holds true for anyone who wants to be a ProBlogger.

Obviously, Queensland Tourism would like us all to write, “Australia is the most amazing place on Earth. Go there. Now.”
I think we can do better.

So, your turn. If you were selected as one of the ten Queensland blogging correspondents, what would you write about?

Amy Parmenter is a journalist, public speaker and blogger who writes (creatively!) about personal growth at the ParmFarm.com. Get her free ebook here.

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Comments

  1. Mel says:

    True Blood’s Australian Connection

    :)

  2. Hi Georgina,

    This is a great post for bloggers especially new ones who are still finding their niche, writing 2-5 posts per-week is harder than it looks and it is important to know your topic inside out.

    Thanks
    David

    • David! Keeping up with 2-5 posts a week is a tall order, especially if you are the only author. Don’t be so sure that you have to produce at that level. Maybe. But maybe not. Burning out serves no one…especially if you are a talented blogger that hopes to be in it over time. Just something to consider!

      Amy

      • Vionna says:

        Wow! I blog every single day, but the thought of burning out didn’t actually even enter my mind when I made my NY resolution 4 months ago to blog every day! Yes, something to consider!!! Blogging is so new to me, so I’m happy for any and all advice!

      • Marc Ensign says:

        I’m there too…blogging everyday in order to build up content, experience, value, sep ranking, etc. It’s tough constantly coming up with a new view on a topic but worth the challenge. I think if you are REALLY committed, you don’t get burned out…it’s not an option…you see a much bigger picture ahead of you that is worth all of the struggle to get there.

  3. Eric says:

    Thanks for this article!

    I’m one of those who’s niche probably doesn’t seem like it would be a fit for this contest. My site is dedicated to PC gamers. However, I did think of some good ideas so I did enter. :-) Here are some of the things I would write about:

    1. Razer just released a new laptop called the Razer Blade. I would get one and do a review of how well it travels on a long trip like this. This would actually include several posts over the course of the whole trip.
    2. Along those same lines, I would write a post about what hardware you need and what you can do without on a trip like this.
    3. Also, I would write a post about what games are good to have installed and why.
    4. There is a group called Queensland Games that is made up of, “almost 700 people already employed across more than 18 local games companies.” They state, “Brisbane, the capital of Queensland is now home to more than 40% of Australia’s electronic games developers.” I would try to get an interview with some of those developers to talk about why Queensland is a great place for developers to live and work.
    5. I would look into the availability of the internet at the different tourist attractions to see how conducive they are to playing while taking in the sites.

    That’s just 5 off the top of my head. And I will probably be exploring the first 3 whether I win or not.

    • Eric! This is really really great. Spot on. I especially like #5 because, obviously, that would really serve your audience…should they ever be in Queensland. Good luck!!

  4. Molly Messer says:

    This blog hits home with me. A friend in Australia sent me the link to Darren’s blog contest literally less than 12 hours before the deadline. My first reaction was that there was that my blog niche wouldn’t fit with the task at hand and that I wasn’t an experienced blogger and therefore, I should not enter. Nevertheless, in “Hail Mary” style from the outer edges of the blogging universe, I threw my hat in the ring. I hope that my aim was close enough, but even if I don’t “score”, my attempt has opened a whole new “world” of blogging information on the other side of the literal world. Funny how things work out like that. I’m so glad my friend thought enough of me to get me connected with ProBlogger; many lessons to be learned here.

    • Molly! You are a winner just for having discovered ProBlogger. There is as much information as you can possibly digest here! I feel honored just to guest post on occasion. Please let me know if I can ever be of help.

      Amy Parmenter

      • Molly Messer says:

        Amy, I checked out your blog and now I feel like I won the Lotto! If neither of us win, I think we should save up our pennies and meet up for a dive on the Great Barrier Reef (followed by a blogging blog). I will definitely be visiting the Farm to continue my growth! G’day!

  5. Murtaza says:

    As a Creative Online Marketer I will write..

    - How Did I win that ‘Queensland Contest’- So Can You Next Time!

    - Yehhhh! I found amazing opportunities in Queensland…!

    - Why should You Go For a Vacation Once In Your Life Time to Queensland?

    - Earn and Learn When You Won The Contest. Like This….

    - How to Become a King of Marketing in Queensland?

    - Cast Away in Queensland

    - How Did I Remove my barriers at The Great Barrier Reef ?

    • Kate says:

      I think the “- How Did I win that ‘Queensland Contest’- So Can You Next Time!’ would be a great success.

  6. Chihuahua0 says:

    Writing bloggers: Being an observer in a whole new world. How different does it feel in Australia than in America? What conversations are the locals having?

    Or alternatively: How many stories are lurking in your surroundings, ready to be written down?

    • Chihuahua – both of these posts are about making observations, which I love…and it’s such a critical part of the creative process. Great ideas! Amy

  7. Amandah says:

    I believe the other important skill for long-term blogging success is to be interested in your blog after five years or more. What if you began a personal development blog because you were experiencing a rough patch? You start you blog, thinking it would be a good idea to share your ‘expertise’ with others. But now you’ve grown as a person and may have outgrown your blog. What do you do? Stay with the niche, redevelop it, or begin a new blog?

    What happens if you’re a parenting blogger? Kids grow up. They don’t stay little forever. Before you know it, they’ll be off to college or getting married. Do you have the stamina to continue the blog? Do you want to keep writing about poo, toddlers, and teens?

    What happens if you’re a blogger with many interests? How do you select just one blog niche? Selecting one niche can be difficult for some people. Tell them they have to think creatively for one niche, and it could drive them insane.

    I think bloggers get stuck creatively because they outgrow their niche or become bored with the topic. It makes me wonder, what is the record for the most blogs held by a blogger? Anyone know what it is?

    • Amandah! This is definitely one of the greatest challenges. Some blogs, I believe, are simply meant to get you from one thing to another. Some people open stores or start businesses involving things about which they are passionate…and then lose interest or find that it becomes less of a passion and more of a chore. My blog …just by chance…is about just this subject…’growing’…as it is definitely a life-long process. But I have often wondered myself about what the mommy bloggers do when being a mommy is no longer their focus every day. There is a link at the bottom of the above post, just below #10…that says ‘change your niche’…it links to a great article by jon morrow – a ‘test’ to see if you’re in a niche that will work for you longterm. Might want to check that out!

      Best of luck!

    • Janae Wise says:

      Yes, I could not agree more. Blogging is an endurance sport & you absolutely have to love what you’re talking about or you will not last. I don’t consider myself a mommy blogger, because first of all, I don’t love talking about diapers, potty training, or things like that, & second, as you pointed out, being a mom to young kids doesn’t last forever. With my blogging, I’ve been in it for 3 years before I decided to commit, finally getting a design & new site w/ a domain name because I feel like I do have enough to talk about, but it took me 3 years to know that! Also, I don’t limit myself to just one interest. I discuss a few different topics, in hopes that I (and more importantly) my readers won’t get bored!

  8. Jim Clawson says:

    Thank you Darron for again expanding my mind. When you mentioned #9 Raise your hand if you have had a vegemite sandwich. That really opened up my mind of possibilities. Several years ago spent some time in Australia and came across that awful stuff in a small bottle. Kind of like taking cod a liver oil when you were a kid.
    Interesting post!

  9. Nice list!

  10. Aziza says:

    I blog about creativity and productivity for writers and artists so I’d write about the importance of rest and fun in keeping creative people refreshed and ultimately more productive. I could write about exploring and drawing inspiration from unfamiliar surroundings. I’d definitely explore the arts and culture scene and line up interviews with creative folk doing interesting things in QLD.

  11. Emily says:

    To take a greater value on the tips in this blog, a traffic generating technique would be to take the day’s Google Trending Keyword and write a blog on it with a spin to make it relevant to your niche. I have done this a few times with traffic coming in for years after. This post reminded me I should probably do it again and more often.

    Thanks.

    • This is a great great tip – but if you could take the trending keyword…AND tie it in to your experience in Australia….now THAT would be impressive, especially if ‘Afghanistan’ is trending!!

      Great tip though…thx for the reminder.

      Thank you!

  12. Peyton says:

    I’d blog about how exciting it would be to go to the Sydney Opera House and see one of the operas there. And then I’d describe what it would be like going on a tour through the house and seeing all its 1000 rooms. I would love to see the Concert Hall and its large organ, too. I really wish I could go see it. … Maybe someday I will.

  13. Michelle says:

    I’m a photo blogger, but I also love creating crazy lists. For instance, “How to Pet a Koala in 37 Fairly Easy Steps” or “How to Bandage Your Hand After the Cute Koala Bit It”. {Obviously, I probably won’t be blogging these specific topics, but you get the idea!}.

  14. Hi Amy,

    Great to see/read you again, it’s been a while :)

    Spending time in silence helps me. By relaxing, I dissolve blocks to creativity, and churn out more interesting posts.

    Getting off a set sked helps too, because if you write a post because you are *supposed to post daily*, you are losing the point. You are posting to help people, to provide service, and if you hold this intent, naturally you move into more creative acts, for the betterment of the whole.

    Thanks Amy!

    RB

  15. This post got my mind outside of my box, thanks!

    Even on a travel blog, there are so many ways to take a well covered topic and put a different spin on it. I really like to take a unique historical event or figure and make it come to life in order to use it as a different lens to view a place.

    Outside of blogging, I am also a massage therapist. I like to use my experience in massage and the unique perspective that it gives me to write about the indigenous healing practices of a place. I am excited about the great opportunity to write a blog post like this in Queensland. Each of us has other interests and experiences outside of blogging…look at how that other experience can add substance and a unique perspective to your posts.

    I also have some experience and training in Shamanism and Native American spiritual practices, so I am very interested when we travel to learn and write about the indigenous people of the lands that we visit. I am looking forward to writing a number of posts about Aboriginal Australians.

    It is hard for me to pin down ahead of time which unique posts I will write on a trip, because I get the best ideas for my “outside of the box” posts as we travel. It might come from a memorable historical snippet on a tour, or a tip from a local that we talk to that turns into an off the beaten path experience. I like to go in with some general ideas about posts that I want to write to get me started, but I try to keep an open mind as we travel and not get too boxed in by preconceived ideas.

    Some other ideas that came from the storm in my head:
    * Australia’s unique food culture (apple pie is to America as _________ is to Australia?)
    * Where do Australians like to go on vacation?
    * Asking Australians “If you could go anywhere in the United States, where would you go?”
    * Traditional Aboriginal foods
    * The Great Barrier Reef from the eyes of a fish
    * The Great Barrier Reef seen through the Aboriginal legends that are associated with it
    * Aboriginal creation stories/other legends
    * Using my unique perspective as the employee of another airline to give a review of Quantas (or whatever Australian airline we fly on) and my experience on the flight between Sydney and Queensland.
    * A collection of recipes for favorite foods that I ate in Australia
    * Current environmental concerns in Queensland/Australia and what can be done to help

  16. Shanna! This is exactly what I’m talking about! Sooooo many possibilities. My mind has been exploding. Love the Australian recipes idea – always a big hit. I also find the whole aboriginal thing intriguing. And…love the question about asking Australians where they’d like to go in the U.S. Thx for adding to the creative stream!!

    Amy

  17. Art blogs are especially helpful for artists who have limited venues for their work, as well as those who need to encourage each other to keep producing work.

  18. Mo Mastafa says:

    Great post Amy,

    This is a mindset block most of us experience at some point in time, but can be overcome by looking at things from a different angle.

    Often, people fall into the trap of thinking & writing purely from their products/businesses perspective, and not from the customers perspective.

    You’ve clearly demonstrated how you can use this type of creative thinking, to constantly come up with new and fresh ideas, as well as tie it back to whatever niche you happen to find yourself in.

    This is also great for those involved in article marketing, who need to find new ways to engage readers, without stuffing article titles with keywords.

    Thanks for sharing.

  19. Greg Friese says:

    I applied to write posts and record podcasts with a focus on the paramedics that care for the visitors that come to Queensland from around the world. Every great tourist destination is supported by a safety net of emergency responders that work in near anonymity. But the first question nearly every traveller asks when choosing a destination is, “will I be safe?” with a certain follow up of “what if I get sick or hurt?” my posts will answer those questions for Queensland visitors.

    • Greg!!! This is such a unique niche! Also maybe ‘how to safely enjoy one of the most spectacular places on earth’…because, of course, the best medicine is prevention! Interesting niche though…

      Amy

  20. I’d write about the power of blogging, where it can take you, how it can heal you, how it can challenge you and help you grow. I’d write about having a voice and being heard. I’d take lots of beautiful photos and talk about my own challenges with travel and new experiences.

    I’m not entering though. Unless someone can provide me with a full time nanny for a week :)

  21. Ivy says:

    Australia has been a bucket list item of mine since I was five years old. I would begin blogging about it before I even got on the plane. I would write about what it feels like to have a 25-year-old dream come true. I would recall the stories my grandfather told me about “the place on the other side of the globe” as we looking through the Encyclopedia.

    I would write about what attracted me to Australia when I was five as I came face to face with Australia’s wildlife. I would write about what made dream about Australia when I was 10 years old as I stood on the beaches of Great Barrier Reef. I would recall all the things I learned about Australia as a child and what it was like to finally be there.

    As a woman, I would talk about the preparation I made for the trip (which I sure would include toning up and losing a few pounds). As a mom, I would write about the things I’d love to do here with my son. As a musician, I would plug into the music scene and feature the artists.

    And most of all, I would write about what inspires me while I’m there and why I can’t wait to come back. My blog is all about finding inspiration in every day life, so I would hunt out inspiration in the nooks and crannies of Australia. When I became an adult and started to connect online with people in Australia, it made me what to come there even more. Every conversation I’ve had with an Australia has made me love the country more. I would talk to people, write about who they are. The real Australia tucked into the beauty of the country I’ve been dreaming about my whole life.

    • Ivy – obviously you write from your heart. I think that is the key to creativity. Sometimes we get so up in our heads that we discount a lot of opportunity to grow and share.

      Thx for adding to the stream.

      Amy

  22. Ivy says:

    And I work in social media, so I would want to bring back inspiration for my biggest clients: a hair salon, a clothing design company and a hardware store. I’d write for them about the fashion, the hair trends, the salon environment “down under.” I’d find garden designs and DIY projects that would bring “down under” to the U.S. After writing all this, I realize that when hopefully I win this trip I better sleep now because I’m not sleeping when I get there! :)

    • Ivy — I hear ya on the sleep thing! It should be fun, work, fun, work, fun, work… actually, just like it is for me here in the US!

      Amy

  23. Hi Georgina,

    This is a great post for bloggers especially new ones who are still finding their niche, writing 2-5 posts per-week is harder than it looks and it is important to know your topic inside out.

    Thanks

  24. Great post, Amy!

    As it happens, I wrote a post for aish.com once about a small Friday-night Shabbat service I went to aboard a cruise ship.

    Generating story ideas is one of the best ways to keep your own blog fresh, and to get paying gigs, too. I have so many I can never get to them all…and that’s how you want it, where you have a list, and you keep choosing the best one off it. Rather than only having one idea and having to write it… ;-)

    • Carol – this is so true. I was really thinking a lot about this subject after Jon Morrown’s ‘niche test’ (which I actually link to in this post. Because, like you, my head is constantly exploding with ideas…and almost every new experience (and even older ones, like shabbat!) generates more and more. Unfortunately, I think this is NOT the experience of many bloggers which is why I wrote the post. For many, I don’t think they necessarily need to change their niche…as much as they need to think differently about it…! I’m hoping it helped.

      Thx for joining in the conversation…

      Amy

  25. I loved reading this post since I entered as a faith-based blogger. I even dreamt about the trip last night after rereading the itinerary. I even did a chicken dance of excitement before my 14 yr. old daughter. She thinks I’ve lost it. Well, maybe I have, but so be it. :)

    • Tiffany… even though I myself did not do a chicken dance…I certainly would be equally excited about the spiritual aspects of visiting what is, by all accounts, one of the most beautiful places on earth. I can’t get excited about the possibility though… I’m just trying to have faith. :0)

  26. Both of my blogs would easily provide great blog topics for the Down Under Tour. For my ActiveTravelTour blog, the Queensland trip would provide lots of great scuba-diving, hiking, biking, sea kayaking, and other fun topics. My trailsnet blog seems to present a great challenge on the surface, but would actually fit in nicely with a Queensland tour. This is especially true since trailsnet covers water trails, bike trails, hiking trails, running trails, rail trails, and many more. From what I’ve seen, Queensland has lots of those. They could just use a little help spreading the good word about their wonderful Aussie byways. I’ll be glad to help!! (-:

  27. I love the idea of taking little things that are different than I know and blogging about them. Thank you for the post, inspiration is everywhere.

    • Kathleen… I so agree. It is the little things – noticing them…and then writing about their importance or influence that serves as the fuel for a lot of what I do. Thx for the reminder!

      Amy Parmenter

  28. What about the travel bloggers?? :)

  29. What about the travel bloggers?? :)

  30. Good advice. It makes sense to not over-saturate a target audience by re-blogging the same idea over and over, but to change the ideas/approach by targeting different audiences. Thanks!

  31. Megumi says:

    Will be tricky to choose what to write about and what to leave out:
    as a healthy lifestyle blogger,
    there is the connection to nature, animals and the wonderful food ….

    Seems my problem is the other way round, in 2 years of creating an income
    with blogging I rather have accumulated too many drafts in my wordpress dashboard.

  32. Wayne says:

    I’m based in Aus and definatelt get the correlations you made, especially with vegemite!