Even the most experienced writers and marketers amongst us have often found ourselves stuck for blog post ideas from time to time. A few dozen blogs in and it can seem impossible to brainstorm engaging, interesting new titles and discover new ground rather than rehashing older posts.
While writer’s block is common, there’s no need to let it derail your content marketing or blogging efforts. All that’s required is a few tips and tricks which you can keep up your sleeve for those days when it seems like you’ll never find a new blog post topic again.
Read on for our expert guide packed with actionable advice and useful tools which you can deploy as needed as soon as your creative mojo books an ill-timed break.
First things first, organise yourself for success
If you are persistently faced with a blank page and blinking cursor when it comes time to blog plan, it might be that some of your underlying processes and content creations habits are partly to blame. Although it’s easy to run out of ideas, especially if you have been blogging on the same topic for a while, failing to structure your blogging approach and measure results is also a prime culprit for a lack of ideas.
Before we get into how to generate new ideas, it’s worth taking stock of your set up first and asking yourself if you’re really primed for success. By this, we mean asking yourself if you have robust measurement and analytical processes in place.
If you don’t regularly track the performance of your blogs (logging things such as traffic, shares, links and social media likes) you’re already putting yourself at a disadvantage. Without this information, you’re operating in the dark with no idea – other than guesswork – what your audience actually enjoys and wants from you.
It’s important to do a content audit from time to time too. Having a clear picture of what topics have been covered, how they link together and where content gaps exist will make the process of brainstorming new posts much clearer and more structured. This will also help to avoid repeating blog topics and competing against yourself in the search engine results.
Let’s talk tools
Now that you have audited your efforts and have the relevant processes in place to facilitate idea generation, it’s time to discover a few useful tools to help you when you do begin to draw a blank.
Google Trends was recently updated specifically to make it more useful for journalists. Even if you have never fancied yourself as a Lois Lane or Clark Kent, Trends is a treasure trove of blog post topic inspiration. When you first arrive on the site, you can enter a search term or topic into the search bar. From there, you can choose country and time period, see related topics and queries and chart search interest. The related topics and queries information is particularly useful and could well spark a number of blog post ideas – or at the very least, kernels of ideas.
If there is nothing to your liking, just head back to the main page. You’ll find lots of data on trending stories (such as the World Cup) along with recently trending searches, showing you what’s hot right now. It’s likely you’ll be able to piggyback off one of those points to create a series of new blog post ideas.
Answer The Public
As consumers, we turn to search engines like Google in our droves to find answers to our burning questions. Answer The Public builds on this – just enter a keyword and Answer The Public will return a visual pinwheel of related questions. You can build individual blog posts around any of these questions or, use them as a starting point to develop other blog ideas.
If you are targeting rich snippet inclusion, Answer The Public is incredibly useful for showing you which questions you should be building content around. With dozens of questions per keyword, you can download or print off the suggestions for use at a later time with writer’s block strikes again.
Buzz Sumo is a great tool for discovering what has already worked for others -after all, why re-invent the wheel if you don’t have to? Simply drop in a company name or keyword and Buzz Sumo will return a list of the most popular content on that topic.
It will show you important metrics such as the number of shares and likes – while this content has already been covered elsewhere, this should give you more than enough inspiration to put your own spin on it. And the bonus? Those topics and titles have already been proven to be popular so you know your audience will have an appetite for it.