When you’re blogging for a long time, you end up encountering times when you have a great idea, only to find you wrote it a few months ago and forgot about it. After the third or fourth time that happens, you start to wonder just how many original ideas you have left before you’re scraping the bottom of the barrel.
Yet, looking around, there are blogs that have been successful in running with daily or multiple-times-daily posts for years. Some, sure, they cover current events. There’s always new current events. What about those that focus more on evergreen topics? Those who cover a wide range of topics, and limit the amount of timely posts they make?
There are a few things to do when you’re getting low on post ideas.
If you’re always trying to write evergreen content, you’re going to run into the issue where a lot of your older content ends up obsolete due to changes in the market, but there isn’t enough new content to write about that you can fill the gaps. This is where current events and up to date content come into play.
Keep up with current events in three ways. One, watch other industry blogs, specifically those that cover current events. Watch what they do and how they do it. Take notes. Two, watch news sites and trends sites, like Google News or Twitter’s trending sidebar. This can give you ideas to use before anyone else has covered them. Three, keep an eye on social media. You might have users commenting about current events to give you inspiration. If you’re big enough, you might even have people giving you tips.
If you have a moderately active community commenting on your posts, chances are they ask questions when they have them. Short, basic questions you can answer in the comments. Longer, more involved questions you can edit the answers into your main post. For the longest, most in-depth questions, you can save them and write blog posts about those topics later.
People love a good guide. Maybe it’s for your product, or a product your customers use that’s somewhat related to your product. Maybe it’s related to something you sell. Maybe it’s not! Tutorials are great one way or the other. The more specific you are, with better illustrations, the better.
Much like with comments, you can find people discussing your industry on social media and in web forums and discussion boards throughout the Internet. Anywhere people gather to talk about your industry is a place they might have topics you can use to write posts. In particular, Reddit can be a great place for this, as well as for current events. News and common concerns are both posted in industry subreddits, an they’re great places to lurk for information, resources and ideas.
Sometimes your old content is perfectly good, it just needs a fresh coat of paint. Give it that coat and let it shine. Sometimes, you have old content that’s a little under the weather and mostly unsalvageable. The thing is, if you can give the topic a new, updated bit of coverage, that new coverage can be a great source of traffic.
In particular, look for old, popular posts that are no longer accurate. Write new content on the same topic and link to it from a line at the top of the old post, directing users to the updated guide.
Sometimes the best post ideas aren’t even your own. Monitor industry blogs and keep a roundup of the most interesting posts they write each week. At the end of the week, write your own post, detailing each post and why you liked it so much. It won’t fill multiple slots every week, but hey; it’s one less post you need to worry about.
This one is pretty simple; you can find dozens of blogs that write about writing, with a prominent post somewhere about how they come up with ideas. Posts like this one, this one, and this one are all good examples. They give you ideas, you fit those ideas into your industry and come up with the topics.
These are pieces of software, keyword free association tools or other little gadgets designed to help you come up with ideas. Put in keywords and they spit out titles. Put in titles and they come up with related titles. You can even use clickbait title generators for a bit of fun, though I wouldn’t write anything they say blindly.
Ever heard the phrase, “Anything you can do, I can do better?” Take this philosophy and scan the blogs of your competition. Look for their most popular and most liked blog posts, then go ahead and do them one better. Do they have a top 10 list with some detailed tool reviews? Write a top 15 list with even more detail. Do they have a detailed guide that lacks a few salient points? Write a better guide. Don’t just copy content; take ideas and do them better.
Interviews are great. As the person holding the interview, you get added authority; you must be worth it, if these industry veterans are allowing you to interview them. The interviewee gets benefit as well; they must be worth listening to if people are interviewing them. You can directly message bloggers in the industry you know, or you can try to hook up with industry influencers through HARO.
By practicing the art of coming up with bad ideas, you can eventually start coming up with good ideas. Keep a notebook or digital file nearby at all times. Every day, write ten ideas in it. Don’t judge them for their quality, don’t hold off on writing ideas because you don’t think they’ll work, just note down the ideas. Whenever you’re in need of inspiration, turn to your list. At 10 ideas per day, you’ll have over 3,500 by the end of a single year.
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