8 ways to come up with ideas for blog posts
Regularly producing content—particularly content that’s well-written and relevant to your audience—is hard. At some point, everyone experiences writer’s block. Everyone’s had the questions running through their head: Is this topic interesting? Have I already written on this subject? Will my audience care about this idea? It can easily get overwhelming. Fortunately, there are a few easy ways to make sure you’re generating fresh new content that matters.
Go back through your old posts, and you’ll be surprised how much there is to learn. Check which of your posts were most popular, or had the most views, and consider them. What was it about that post that drew so much attention? Is it a concept that you can revisit now with new insights? You’ve inevitably learned and grown since posting your old content, and if you can write on a previously popular subject with all your new experience, your audience will respond.
Once you’ve found your most popular posts, you don’t necessarily have to recycle them. Instead, you can update them. Write a sequel to an article that garnered a lot of attention, or revisit your article and add the other side of the story or an alternate perspective. If people were interested in it once, you’ll be able to capture their interest again with a new twist or a new reason to look deeper.
Brainstorming can pair nicely with recycling old ideas. There’s an easy brainstorming exercise that can have real results; simply write down the overall concept that you’re working with—which could be anything from data protection to healthy recipes—and start writing down words you associate with that concept. Don’t limit yourself. Write down anything that comes to mind, and you’ll find the ideas begin leading into each other. It almost sounds too easy, but writing down concepts and keywords can be a great way to trigger your imagination when it comes to new content.
Ask the audience
If you’ve got an engaged audience, let them help you! They’re the ones who benefit most from your content, and they almost certainly have ideas about what they’d like to see on your site and what information would be most useful to them. Consider creating a post explicitly asking for viewer input on posts they’d like to see. You can also make simple polls where viewers can tell you in a single click whether they’d be more interested in one article over another. This is an easier response method, and might garner more results. Either way, you’ll be able to give your viewers what they’re most interested in reading, and increase reader loyalty as a result.
Read your comments
This is a way to learn what your audience wants without explicitly asking them. Some blog comments might ask specific questions that you can answer in a post. Others might require a little more reading between the lines. Is it a simple congratulatory comment about good content? Consider narrowing your scope and writing a new piece on a similar subject. Does someone seem confused by a concept in a comment? This might be a good opportunity to write a more in-depth piece on the subject they’re struggling with. Even an angry comment can be beneficial if there’s a logic behind it. If you’re able to address that irritation, you can win readers back and address issues you might not have known existed.
Check your competition
It’s a good idea to keep an eye on your competition in general, but it can also help generate new ideas for articles and content. If a competitor has a popular post, try putting your own spin on the subject on your website. Similarly, if there’s a topic your competition hasn’t addressed, you can be the first to fill that information gap and might gain new readers as a result.
Keep an eye on current trends in your field—your audience is! If you commit to writing about a certain amount of trending topics, you’ll be able to stay current and have a steady stream of ideas on what to write about next. You don’t have to write about trending topics word-for-word, either. Put a new perspective on a trending subject and you’ll stand out from the crowd.
Use your support network
Remember, you have more resources than your competition and your viewers. You work in an industry of like-minded professionals, and reaching out to them can give you great new professional ideas. Use LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, personal emails, or the classic lunch meeting to ask your peers what’s working for them and what’s not. Developing your network can only help you in the long run, and can bring about fresh new content in the meantime.