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Content Week: 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.

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!

Stacey Roberts is the content ninja at ProBlogger.net, and the blogger behind Veggie Mama. 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.

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Comments

  1. Alex Ivanovs says:

    What a checklist, wow – Stacey!

    Thank you, and I’m excited to see what else we’ve got in store for the ‘content week’ :)

  2. Alex says:

    Of all the blogposts about blogging, this one will be hard to beat. Good job. I agree that going out of your way to attend real events outside of the house can result in very good blog content. Well, in my experience at least.

  3. Stacey,
    At starting of every month I used to come up with blog post ideas and list it into my Google Calendar. Guess what? So I don’t need to confuse like what to write but just gotta stick with those ideas.

    Another thing to be noted while planning post ideas is to check your overall goals and think how your content ideas will be helpful for achieving those goals. For e.g. if your plan is to double the traffic in a month or so you and if you are publishing like 2 posts a week, then better to increase the posting frequencies or try including other bloggers in your same niche like interviews etc.

  4. Shamsudeen says:

    Thanks Roberts,
    This is a brilliant piece of content, one that worth keeping close to heart. I have used my journey in blogging to come up with content idea many times over and I find it very useful and a very good way to write straight from the heart.
    The good part of this strategy is that I don’t have to think on what to write, the words just keep coming and flow with each other easily.Is like someone is sitting in front of me while am speaking to him.
    Another effective strategy I occasionally use to publish full length articles is looking into my email box. Those email newsletter I had subscribe to from Probloggers like Darren and others.
    There are valuable information in those weekly newsletters that one can easily turn to blog post.
    Thanks for sharing, Roberts.

  5. Mark says:

    I am working on my relatively new celebrity gossip blog and I always have to try to find the latest stories before anyone else does. It can definitely be quite tough to choose subjects to write about because it requires a creative mind to keep coming up with fresh and original content all of the time. A friend of mine writes about interesting facts on his blog and his idea was to go out to second hand stores and buy old books to find new content for his site, which has worked very well!

  6. Yoav says:

    A few more ideas:

    1. Your bookmarks – If you are bookmarking content for later use, it’s probably interesting. You can use your bookmarks to come up with ideas for posts

    2. TED – You can get seriously inspired by watching a clip on TED. My trick is to connect the content on the clip with the point I’m trying to make.

    3. LURK for a LONG TIME – Collect hundreds of links on a subject and then create one mega blog post. You might end up creating a wonderful resource that will collect many shares and links.

  7. LOTS of great suggestions. I like the comment route, but also the archives of other blogs you read.

  8. Galen says:

    Great post! I liked how you mentioned writing about something you’ve recently googled or a question you’ve been trying to answer. It’s likely that if you are interested in the answer, someone else is too.

    I research things on my own all the time and I really should remember to write more blog posts on the topics I am reading about.

    Galen

  9. Jen says:

    Thanks for the great tips. I haven’t yet run out of content ideas but I am sure I will at some point as you said. My ideas annoyingly seem to all come to me while I am lying in bed trying to get to sleep. So I keep a notepad and pen next to my bed now so I can jot them done.

  10. Jen says:

    A very comprehensive list of ideas here. I like the ‘what do you want to know’. This can help extend your area of knowledge.

  11. Amit Vikaram says:

    Hats off to you guys. You always put efforts in all your posts. You always come up with such new ideas and thought process. Internet is sea of information and we should always search for the information, ideas, and inspirations.

    I use MS-Excel workbook to keep myself organized.

  12. Stacy,

    Observing your life is an effective way to never run out of content ideas. Watch what is. Correlate between your experience and your niche to rock it out. All awesome tips.

  13. metz says:

    All are helpful to craft one post that is interesting and refreshing.

    Social media, you can use twitter, Facebook, instagram and Vine to know what’s trending and make a post out of it. I agree that Social media is a one-stop shop for finding what people are talking about online.

    Planning also, make a plan, a schedule.

    I found this post shared on Kingged.com, the Internet marketing social bookmarking site, and I “kingged” it and left this comment.

  14. Dhruv Bhagat says:

    Newspapers and Magazines are great way to know what’s trending! Also, you must look at NewsMap.jp once before finding new ideas before starting to write on a particular topic :D

  15. Aminah says:

    This is a great article, it can always be a challenge to find great content so any ideas on how to generate more content is wonderful. I will bookmark this list, and refer to it often.

  16. Hey Stacey…

    As a novice blogger, I am always thinking about new ideas for my blog. Your list is comprehensive – thank you.

    I would add ‘Reading’ as another idea-generation machine ;) An authoritative book in your niche or relating to your niche (or personality) can trigger some wonderful ideas in your brain.

    Thanks *BIG smile*
    Kitto

  17. Great post :)

    One other unique way I use of getting new blogging ideas is ‘life events’! Basically, I am a details person, I pay attention to the details. When different events happen in my life, whether usual or unusual, I try to compare and associate them with my niche and see what sort of topic idea I can come up with. For example, while riding my road bike one day, an angry driver passed me and yelled out some negative comments. I took that unusual event and compared it to my blogging tips niche and ended up writing an article about dealing with negative comment readers – so you can pretty much turn anything that happens in your life into a blog post if you really put your creative mind to it. :)

  18. LivingVintageCountry (Christina Woodcock) says:

    Wow for a first time blogger this was so helpful! One of my main concerns was running out of blogging ideas! This article gave me some hope! Thank you :-)

  19. I always find that ideas come at the oddest times – like brushing your teeth.
    The trick I have learnt is to write them down straight away, then when you are looking for a fresh idea – go to the list for inspiration.

  20. I must say that this is an awesome post.

    From the other day I have been finding it hard to come up with blog posts ideas and sometimes facing writers block.

    All these points will help me to start writing articles again. Thanks for the great article.

  21. Sigit P says:

    My constraints for being a blogger is that sometimes there is no idea to write, I usually buy articles on freelance writers.

  22. very interesting post and awesome ideas .
    I’m definitely going to bookmark you!
    Thank you for your info……..

  23. may be social media is very work because i already try that

  24. Sujon says:

    Great job!!! Really Helpful for all Blogger. I am a new Blogger, good wish for me :)

  25. andri says:

    I am working on my relatively new celebrity gossip blog and I always have to try to find the latest stories before anyone else does. It can definitely be quite tough to choose subjects to write about because it requires a creative mind to keep coming up with fresh and original content all of the time. A friend of mine writes about interesting facts on his blog and his idea was to go out to second hand stores and buy old books to find new content for his site, which has worked very well!

  26. Low Sze Hau says:

    Thanks for the great tips. I always running out of idea for my blogs. Now I got some!

  27. Sudip says:

    Thanks sir for letting us know about these content creation ideas. I have faced some problems in my initial days and the problem was – I had nothing to write.

  28. Roy says:

    Hi, Stacey: Thank you for this idea-sizzling post. As a noob, it’s particularly encouraging to know that common curiosity is at the heart of a successful blogging career. Sounds like a post, no? Thanks again.

  29. Thomas says:

    Coming up with the new ideas is probably the most difficult part of blogging for me. I often check Google top searches around my blog’s niche,

  30. Another great post on Problogger! I love all the idea generation suggestions above. I come up with my ideas using a mind map and apps like Feedly and Google Trends. Sitting down quietly with a pen and paper and shutting out all the noise caused by technology usually works for me.

  31. Kalen Bruce says:

    These are great tips! When I was going through 31DBBB, I figured out that mind-mapping was extremely helpful to me. Starting with one idea or topic and turning it into 100s of ideas sometimes!

  32. Mohi Shafee says:

    It is such a great piece of content on blogging ideas. I really agree with you.

    Ideas for what the bloggers are really struggling. Writing again and again sometimes we face that their seems no idea on our mind. At this situation, it is very tough to select a topic.

    Thanks for your tips. Using this we can easily find out some trending topics.

  33. Damien says:

    Some great ideas here, Stacy. i recently wrote a similar post with some tools for finding ideas in your niche. I love the idea of using interviews!

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