Stress-Free Ways to Generate Blog Post Ideas
So by now I'm sure you know all about how important it is for your business to have a blog. You've probably started posting with enthusiasm and are loving all of the extra website traffic and SEO benefits that come with it.
But after a few months the inevitable happens: You run out of ideas and you're left looking at a blank page and a blank content calendar. We've all been there. The pressure of trying to come up with new and interesting things to blog about can make the best of us turn to drink.
But don't break out that bottle of whiskey just yet. I'm here to help with some ideas that will have blog post inspiration coming out of your ears (then you can have the whiskey to celebrate).
Read, Read and Read Some More
'Read. Read anything. Read the things they say are good for you, and the things they claim are junk. You'll find what you need to find. Just read.'
Neil Gaiman may have been talking about reading fiction when he said this, but it's as true about blog posts as it is about books. Read all of the content you can find. There is no greater source of inspiration than what's already out there.
Now I'm not saying copy what someone else has already written, but use a topic you read about as a starting off point. Is there a unique spin you can put on a piece of content you've read?
Make sure to read from a wide variety of sources. Don't just stick to content in your niche. Of course, it's important to know what's going on in your industry, but you'd be surprised at what your brain can come up with when you leave your comfort zone.
Now I know it might seem like a bit of a pain to read from multiple different blogs every day, but there are a lot of great resources out there to help you keep up with content and organise it in a way that makes it easy to navigate:
Feedly is a content feed that lets you organise and customise your feed with the content you follow.
Bloglovin' is a similar platform where you can follow blogs and see all your content on one feed.
Flipboard describes itself as a magazine, and similar to Feedly and Bloglovin', allows you to organise the content you follow into categories.
Mix (formerly StumbleUpon) is a website that shows you different web pages based on your interests.
Listen to Your Customers
One of the main aims of a blog post is to answer a customer's problems or address an issue your customers have. What's the best way to find out what these questions and issues are? By talking to your customer.
This doesn't mean that you should ask outright 'what should I write about?' But rather, you should be listening to what they're already saying. There are plenty of places that you can go to hear exactly what your customer is talking about:
If you know your customers well enough then you know the social media platforms that they're most likely to use. So you need to make sure that you're on those platforms and paying attention to your customers there. Search for keywords relating to your industry or business and see what people are saying. Are there questions or problems that come up a lot? If so, can you answer them? Boom, you have a blog post idea.
Websites like Reddit and Quora are a goldmine of information when you're looking for new blog post ideas. People are literally asking the questions they need answering. Like social media, just search for some keywords and see what comes up.
There's a subreddit for everything on Reddit, so you're sure to find people who are talking about your industry. I visit the copywriting subreddit a lot and always find something that gets my blog brain thinking.
Your Sales Team
You don't have to spend hours in front of a screen to get blog ideas, just talk to your sales team. They're on the front-line, talking to your customers and prospects every day so they know exactly what it is your customer wants. They'll be able to tell you if there's any common queries or issues they come up against so you can write up some blog posts in answer to them.
Your Customer Services Team
Like your sales team, your customer services team talk to your customers every day, and they're more than likely dealing with problems and complaints (when was the last time you rang a customer service's team to tell them what a good job they're doing?). They can definitely tell you about your customers' issues, so it's worth chatting with them to see what post ideas they can help you generate.
Keeping an eye on popular keywords can give you an insight into what your customers are searching for online. You can find out what they're thinking about and what they're problems are through what they search for, and from this you know what to write a blog about. Google Keyword Planner and Moz's keyword Explorer are good places to start, but there's plenty of keyword tools out there, so find the ones that work best for you.
Listening to what your customers are talking and asking about is one of the best ways to generate ideas because it's coming straight from them. There's no guesswork involved.
A Good Old-Fashioned Brainstorm
Sometimes when the ideas just aren't flowing it helps to talk it out with others. Getting a group together for a brainstorm is a great way to get the juices flowing again. Having different perspectives means you might see a topic from a different angle.
You can start a discussion or a debate and see what everyone has to say. You might end up with all the points of a blog post ready for you to flesh them out. Or you might end up with a list of blog topics that will keep your calendar filled for weeks. You might also end up with nothing at all, but at least it's gotten you thinking, and that's how every blog post idea starts: a thought.
The only thing to keep in mind with a group brainstorm is that it's easy to get carried away. Make sure you set a time limit for how long the brainstorm should last. An hour is a good amount of time and it means you won't end up losing three hours of good writing time to discussing ideas.
There's always blog post ideas out there.
You just need to know where to look. And once you start looking into different ways to generate ideas you'll have more blog posts than you'll be able to handle. You might even have to hire someone to write them for you *wink wink nudge nudge*