Does staring at a blank page with a blinking cursor drive you crazy? It does for me, and I know I’m not alone. It can be really hard to come up with enough blog post ideas to keep your content fresh. As one of VIEO’s Content Marketers, I’ve learned a few tricks about blogging. If you’re having a hard time coming up with good blog topics—you’ll want to keep reading.
Blogging is important for your company because it brings people to your website. Good blog posts can help turn your company’s web traffic into leads. For some of us, writing content for our company may be the easiest part. But coming up with good ideas for content when we've already written everything we can think of is a different story.
When it comes to content marketing, you're writing to influence your readers. You need to produce blog posts that readers can actually relate to, learn from, and enjoy. Trust me—if it’s boring to you, then it’s boring to them. That’s why you should have an effective (and totally awesome) brainstorming strategy. Actually, make that…strategies.
Below, I've listed mine for you to use. No need to thank me, they’re on the house.
Be a Journalist
As a former journalist, I have to put this on my list, right? Well, journalists always get to ask the important questions. One way you can brainstorm blog ideas is to interview yourself or someone else about their expertise. Be a journalist for a day. Ask who, what, when, where, how, and why questions.
This is a great start for coming up with blog post ideas. If you’re writing for a casting agency, you could ask “What should you wear to your audition” or “When should you get an agent?” or even “How to study your character.” This strategy will simplify your brainstorming process AND help you create content that benefits your readers and addresses their most pressing questions directly. It’s a win/win situation.
I know what you’re thinking: “I’m already online. That’s why we’re talking about blogging.” What I meant to say is go online and be active, engage, and read—a lot. By joining in discussions that relate to your business, you can get lots of blog post material.
Remember, thread those brows! No wait…browse those threads. Finding a forum thread you like and interacting with others will always encourage the exchange of ideas. Developing fresh, valuable content is a group effort. Don’t be afraid to include everyone on your team to get their input. When it comes to creativity, the more the merrier.
Keep an eye on what’s happening in the news and the hot topics that are trending on Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest. One thing I like to do is tune in to Google Plus hangouts or YouTube interviews. You can write down your experience, note what the guests talk about, what you learned, and what was said in the comments to get ideas for your blog posts.
What are people typing into search engines? Doing keyword research can also help you come up with ideas for your next blog post, especially when you dig in to long-tail keywords that relate to your industry. Use the Google Keyword Planner tool to see how often your blog post idea is searched and how it stands up against competition or other suggested keyword phrases. Just remember to try and use the phrases that have LOW competition and HIGH monthly searches.
If you want people to notice your content, it helps to listen to the people you want to attract and notice how they act online. So play around with it and I’m sure you’ll come up with some fantastic ideas!
Find a Hobby
One time in graduate school I was asked what I do to brainstorm or get inspired. All content writers have different techniques they use to come up with ideas. For me, it just happens to be thrifting, which is a hobby of mine.
When I thrift shop, I black out everything around me. It’s a treasure hunt. Finding the perfect item is like finding the perfect blog post idea. You pick up random items and think about how you can turn them into something creative and genius!
Finding a hobby that stimulates your mind and body can help with any brainstorming process; it makes you step outside of your normal process and give your mind new material to mull over. Writer A.J. Jacobs walks on a treadmill to get his creative juices flowing. Hey, it may work for you too!
Get a Journal
When I was little, I couldn’t remember what my dreams were to look up their meaning, so I put a diary next to my bed. As soon as I woke up, I would write my dream down. You can do the same for your blog post ideas.
Whether you get a brainstorming journal or just a notes app on your smartphone, the most important thing is that you write your ideas down as soon as you think of them. If you’re out last minute Christmas shopping and a blog idea pops in your head, don't assume you'll remember it - you probably won't! Just take a second to write it down. This will save you tons of time later trying to come up with new content. Our best ideas are sometimes the ones that aren’t forced, so trust in yourself and find the confidence you need to start strategizing.
I mean, who wouldn’t want jaw-dropping content that has the entire world applauding and chanting your name?
Okay—so maybe that’s just my fantasy.