When. Not if.
It will happen.
The question is: Are you ready?
Unfortunately, like all other bloggers, you are going to suffer from writer’s block. You will have sprinted out of the blocks after finding your perfect niche and picking your perfect domain.
And, if you followed the Exercises A+B from my article on choosing a blog niche, then, you should have stacked up, at least, six months worth of blog posts to start off with.
But, what then?
All blogged out? Hopefully not.
There is a way to keep a continuous supply of blog posts up your sleeve and today I’m going to show you how to do just that.
I’ll give you ideas, sources and tools to keep your blog post ideas topped up forever!
Note: Not started your blog yet? Check out our step-by-step tutorial to find out how. Plenty of bonus tips inside.
Keep a swipe file
The first thing you are going to need is a swipe file in which to store your ideas.
Choose a method to suit how you work.
I like to keep an Excel sheet with a list of ideas:
Here’s a few more tools that you might like to try:
We often get flashes of inspiration when we’re doing something completely different to blogging. For instance, Adam Connell has been known to get his ideas when making a ham sandwich! For others, it might be while working out at the gym, or walking, or gardening.
The point is you need to capture your idea when you have it else you’ll forget.
Note: Do you ever have those lightbulb moments in the middle of the night? Keep a pen and notebook handy to scribble down your idea. Or leave yourself a voice memo. Then switch off and get your sleep.
As a blogger, you are automatically enrolled into the blogosphere. You are surrounded by countless bloggers sharing their content.
Use their blogs for inspiration.
That doesn’t mean ‘copy and paste’ their content.
Read their blog posts and look for ways to put your spin on it.
You have a unique way of writing plus you have your experiences to share.
As Dustin W. Stout said:
You may not be saying anything new, but nobody has ever said it just like you.
- Pocket: My favourite tool for capturing blog posts is Pocket. It’s so easy to save to Pocket for reading later on. Available as Google Chrome Extension and iOS app.
- Feedly: I also recommend subscribing to other blogs and website using an RSS reader like Feedly. Again, you can build a catalogue of your favourite items for reference.
People are always asking questions.
There are a few places where you can track these:
- Quora: Probably the greatest source of questions on the web.
- Blog Comments: Check the comments on your blog and those you visit and you’ll often find people asking related questions that could be a new blog post idea.
- Emails: People often ask questions in emails to you. Make a note of possible blog posts when the email lands.
- Forums/Groups: A natural place for people to ask questions is in Forums and Facebook Groups. Join a few that are related to your niche and you’ll soon see blog post ideas appearing.
You don’t always have to reinvent the wheel.
Remember that blog post you published three months ago that took off like gangbusters?
Why not build on that momentum and repurpose the content into an infographic or something else?
Use your Analytics Reports to determine which are your most popular posts.
Here’s how you can do it in Google Analytics.
To check your reader engagement, navigate to:
Behaviour > Site Content > All Pages
And sort the data by Average Time On Page by clicking on that column header.
Note: I’ve also applied an advanced filter =>
=> Included ‘Page Views’ greater than 100 to filter out unwanted data.
This list will show you what your best performing posts/pages are from an engagement point of view. Use this data along with ‘Most Shares’ and ‘Most Comments’ from your blog to get an overall result.
Depending on your niche you could take advantage of current trending topics to grab a few blog post ideas. Here are some places to look:
- Twitter: On the left-hand side of your Twitter screen you’ll see the current trending topics:
- Facebook: On the right-hand side of Facebook you can see their trending topics:
- Hashtagify: You can use this tool to find related topics/hashtags to your main topic:
- BuzzSumo: Use BuzzSumo to check for current trending topics or enter a topic name, e.g. WordPress, to find recent popular content.
Blog post generator tools
If you’re still not feeling inspired, don’t panic!
Some useful tools have been created specifically to come up with blog post ideas.
Here are three tools to try:
Enter your noun and let Portent do its business. The answers from here are often ‘whacky’ and you need to refresh the answer a few times to get one that might fit.
Here’s one I did for ‘wordpress plugin’:
This tool from Build Your Own Blog suggests blog post titles rather than content ideas.
Do this one thing to find success with…
7 Reasons Why __________ Always Work
Why I am a huge fan of…
Now you have to fill in the blanks, like:
Do this one thing to find success with Facebook
7 Reasons Why Blog Topic Generators Always Work
Why I am a huge fan of list building plugins
Keyword research tools
The Auto Suggest results provided by Google can be a goldmine.
It’s possibly one of the most underutilised sources of research for content ideas.
There are some excellent alternative keyword research tools like Keyword Tool that automate the gathering of suggestions by appending every letter of the alphabet to a keyword you enter.
- Answer The Public: This is my favourite tool at the moment. Ask the Seeker and he’ll return content ideas in seconds, either in the form of a visual mind map or a list. Take a look at the amount of ideas generated just by entering the keyword ‘wordpress’:
154 Questions – An extract from the visualisation in a list
1010 Alphabetical – An example of appending WordPress + A
- Google Auto Suggest: Start typing your keyword and Google automatically suggests some popular phrases. Try ‘wordpress’ and see the terms appended by Google.
Don’t sweat it!
You’ll never have to worry about writer’s block again if you keep your eyes and ears open.
Simply remember to keep your swipe file topped up with ideas using the sources of inspiration and the tools I have highlighted above.
You’ll have enough blog post ideas to keep you going year after year.