Do you struggle to come up with blog ideas?
Perhaps, you’ve been putting off even starting a blog, because you don’t know what you’d write about?
Or maybe you’re simply scared you’ll run out of steam at some point?
Sometimes, words don’t come easy, even when you know exactly what you want to talk about in your post. Add having to come up with topic ideas on a regular basis and blogging starts looking like an even more daunting proposition.
But just as you can defeat writers’ block, you can also overcome a dearth of ideas and create an awesome business blog that truly helps your brand. If, that is, you play your cards right.
Here’s my system for coming up with more blog ideas than I can handle. These tricks have saved my ass more than once. And, if you’re a business owner or someone entrusted with maintaining a business blog, I’m sure these strategies can help you too.
1. Take Notes
This is probably the single most reliable technique I’ve found, which is why it’s my first tip.
Personally, I get loads of ideas. Problem is, my ideas tend to come at the most inopportune moments. I’ll write an entire blog post in a matter of minutes. Only it’s in my head, as I’m trying to fall asleep at night. Or at the pub on Friday evening. Or that ever-annoying mainstay – the shower.
Unfortunately, these ideas tend to disappear just as fast as they appear. Sometimes, even if I sit in front of my laptop just minutes later, I’ll have completely forgotten what the hell I was on about.
So I take notes.
Note taking doesn’t have to be anything fancy. I use Evernote on my phone. But any other method can work just as well. You can use a physical notebook if you want. What matters is that it’s readily accessible and convenient for you.
What you write doesn’t have to make sense, either. That isn’t the point. The point is to have a written record. Then, when you’re short of ideas and a deadline is looming, you can refer back to your notes and look at what you’ve accumulated. Some of of it will be complete rubbish. That’s to be expected. But, more often than not, you’ll find some great stuff in there you can use.
2. Draw On Your Personal Experience
Of course, waiting around for ideas and writing them down in your notebook isn’t enough. At least not by itself. Inspiration is a very temperamental creature; and, more often than not, it’s going to need a swift kick in the ass to get going.
One surefire way to kickstart the process and find blog post ideas is to draw from your own personal experiences.
Unless you’ve been living in a bubble your entire life, you’ve probably gone through both positive and negative experiences. Whether you know it or not, these can have direct relevance to your blog. In fact, I’m not ashamed to say that a fair few ideas I’ve come up with for this blog stem from my own personal experiences.
Here are some examples of stuff that makes great fodder for blog posts:
Interactions with colleagues or clients.
Perhaps a client or colleague has asked you a question you feel merits an in-depth answer. Or maybe you have a strong opinion you haven’t had the opportunity to do justice to during a discussion.
Either way, this type of material can make for incredibly valuable blog posts because you’re addressing a topic which you specifically know your audience cares about. From a business standpoint, it also helps position you as an authority in your area (which is probably why you wanted to start a business blog in the first place. Remember?)
And if you’re expressing an opinion, you’ll also get to lay it all out in full without interruptions.
Are you observing a trend no-one seems to be picking up on? Or maybe you’ve noticed everyone in your industry does some really counter-productive stuff?
If so, you should use your blog to explain in detail what your thoughts are. Again, from a business standpoint this helps you establish yourself as a forward-thinking thought leader in your field. And it works especially well if your opinion differs significantly from the mainstream, because you’ll stand out just by being yourself and saying what you genuinely believe in.
Everyone loves reading about how others fucked up, because it makes them feel better about themselves. It’s also an opportunity to help your audience learn from your mistakes, which works especially well if your blog is addressed to your peers.
As a bonus, you’ll build a stronger bond with your audience, because you’ve shown them your human side.
3. Conduct Research
Doing research is a bit more time-intensive, but the pay-off – incredibly valuable blog post ideas – is well worth it.
It involves a three-step process.
First, you need to understand who your audience is. I’ve already written about using buyer personas to make your content more valuable, so I won’t repeat myself here. The concept is simple: before you can learn what your audience wants, you have to find out who they are.
Once you know who they are, you can carry out some targeted research into the type of issues your audience faces. There are several ways to do this, but I think the two most effective ones are Facebook groups and LinkedIn groups. These groups are where your audience congregates to discuss the issues they face. Simply following discussions should give you loads of highly relevant blog post ideas you can use.
As an added bonus, once you’re in you can also participate in the conversation, which will drive traffic to your blog.
What strategies do you use to come up with ideas for your blog? Sound off in the comments below.