You sit down, log into WordPress, start a new post, and…nothing. Your mind is blank.
Raise your hand if that’s ever happened to you.
If you can say you’ve never had trouble coming up with something to blog about, well…I don’t believe you. We’ve all been there.
I’m extremely meticulous about keeping a backlog of ideas, and even that doesn’t always do the trick. There are times where nothing on the list inspires me – and if I’m not feeling the topic, the post won’t be as good. There are also times where I look at the list and the ideas don’t mean anything to me (but that’s a blog post for another day).
I’ve finally found my groove – there are still times when I’m uninspired or nearing burnout, and my idea bucket can’t help. But the other times? At any given moment, I can go to my idea bucket and choose from 50+ topics to write about.
And they’re not just any topics – they’re ones I’ve already researched, validated, and know I’ll be able to write a good post for.
My idea bucket for this blog has gotten kind of scattered between a few different lists, but here’s a sampling of my idea bucket for Bumblings Blog Tips:
And that’s just for one feature! I have another list for BABB challenges, which also has sub-lists for blog posts to go along with the challenges (like this one). Then there’s one for future #BookBlogWriMo prompts, and one for a few series and features I haven’t started yet…so I don’t want to say too much about those. 😉
I have a lot of different methods – most of which are covered in this post, some are too hard to explain because they’re completely random. But about once a month, I’ll sit down for 30 minutes to an hour and just have a brainstorming session that results in at least 10 new ideas (I don’t stop until I hit 10).
Want to build out a list like this? (PS – this one’s in Trello, but we’ll have a whole post talking about options for organizing your ideas)
Document All Passing Ideas
You know when you’re doing something completely random like eating some popcorn and the perfect idea comes to you? And you figure you’ll write it next time you get a chance, and keep going about your day?
Whenever you get an idea for a blog post in passing, make sure to write it down right away, wherever you can. You can organize them later.
This is the one part of David Allen’s GTD organization method that’s worked really well for me. As soon as you think of something, write it down to get it out of your mind. I’ll jot it anywhere I can – a post-it thrown in my purse, and email to myself, hell, I’ve even written it on my hand.
Then when you get a chance, go back and organize your ideas. For me, I jot down random things in a notebook all day, then organize them at night. It’s not a big task – just moving a sentence from one place to another.
Find People’s Problems to Solve
A great way to find blog post ideas is to see what questions people in your community (for me, book bloggers) are asking. This is really great because you already know there are people who will want (or even need) to read your post.
Look through places like:
- Facebook groups
- Talking to friends
And see what people are asking questions about. In fact, that’s how Bumblings Blog Tips was started in the first place! I’m in a Facebook group for book bloggers and noticed people kept asking a lot of similar questions that I knew the answer to.
Instead of answering it in a long Facebook comment each and every time, I decided to start posting my answers on the blog. That way, it’s easier to help in the Facebook group – I can just drop a link in my comment – and it helps bloggers outside the group as well.
Look at Your Analytics
Go ahead and take a look at your blog’s stats. What are the most popular posts?
If a post has a lot of views, obviously a lot of people liked it – that should tell you something. That the topic is important to your community. And that they probably want to know more about it.
For example, on my personal blog I once wrote a post about IFTTT recipes. It went crazy online – it became the most popular post ever published on my blog just a few days after it went live. That told me that a lot of people wanted to read blog posts about productivity and task automation. So what did I do? Wrote a lot more about the same thing (to the point that it’s now the blog’s main focus).
How can you develop one post into a dozen?
- Develop a series – take a post that did well and expand it. For every point you made, develop that one point into its own post then link to them in the original.
- Write an updated version – if one of your most popular posts has become outdated, write an update with the new information. You can either update the original or publish a new piece.
- Consider alternate angles – this works great for opinion pieces. Say you had one that did well – play devil’s advocate and write a new post taking the opposite stance.
More Ways to Come Up with Blog Post Ideas
I’m going to be straight with you right now: I’ve been in Paris for 4 days and I’m still jetlagged. It’s currently 3 am and I need to be at work by 8. So the smart decision for me would be to wrap this up. Here are a few other ways:
- Play fill-in-the-blank: create a working title like “How to Improve Your Blog’s _______.” Then see how many different ways you can fill in the blank.
- Respond to other posts: again a great tip for opinion pieces, write a (respectful) response to someone else’s blog post. You can even go through old comments you’ve left on blogs and see if any can be built out into a post.
- Share lessons learned: you learn a lot very quickly when you have a blog. Other, newer bloggers will likely have the same questions. Write about your experiences to help them out.
- Curate advice: Sometimes, a topic’s already been covered enough. Instead of writing one more post about increasing Facebook reach (don’t even get me started), find the absolute best ones out there and put them all in one convenient place.
Your turn! How do you come up with post ideas?
Want to try this yourself? Join this month’s challenge!
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