As a blogger, your main job is to write – to write often, to write interesting and useful stuff that your readers will appreciate, stuff concentrated around one main topic which got you audience in the first place. And sooner or later you’ll run out of ideas for new posts, which is one thing that you can’t afford. And it’s not only your problem – practically all bloggers hit the block at least once. That’s where having the editorial calendar helps, but it has to be populated with some post ideas – the question is, how to find them, what to write about and don’t repeat what you’ve already said?
When your own inspiration runs out, it’s time to turn to other sources. Here are a few that can be tremendously helpful in effortlessly uncovering new post ideas.
1. Check the comments
If you have an engaged community of readers around your blog, they are probably asking a lot of questions, or making lots of (wrong) assumptions that you can’t fully cover in your reply. Sift through the comments on your own blog to see if you have left a question unanswered, or if your readers are often asking you similar questions – if they are, then that’s what you should focus on the first: they are your community, and your first responsibility is to make them happy.
2. Turn to your Analytics
If you have Google Analytics installed on your blog, you can easily see which key phrases people have been using to come to your blog. Some of these phrases will be aligned with the topics that you’ve already covered, but many others should spark some ideas about what people actually want to read, and you’ve only mentioned the phrase somewhere in the text. You can even group the related phrases and use them to either organize the subheadings of the post, or to create a series of new posts.
3. Ask Google
When you have absolutely no idea what to write about, turn to Google. Type any term related to your industry and see how the Suggest Tool will populate the rest. If you play around with the various combinations of words, you can find some pretty interesting phrases that people are using to search.
Search Twitter by the most popular hashtags related to your industry, and look at the tweets that contain them. People tweet some really interesting stuff, and someone’s casual tweet could very well be the title of your next killer post.
5. Niche forums and other communities
Forums are great for many things, and they can be especially useful when you’re in need for the inspiration. Just reading through the threads on a forum related to your industry can become a gold mine of ideas: look for the unanswered questions, misconceptions, wrong explanations, complaints, look for the topics that come up more often than others. A side benefit: you will know exactly with whom to share the posts you create.
6. Bookmarking websites
StumbleUpon, Digg, Reddit and others can also be fantastic sources of inspiration. Browse through the popular articles in categories related to your niche and see if something catches your eye.
7. Printed magazine or newspaper
Journalists have a different way of exploring the topics and writing than the online world, and you just may use some of that different aspect to see things differently – or you can write a blog post that answers a question raised in a newspaper. Printed magazines are also usually full of interesting articles, so get into the habit of buying at least one or two good ones monthly.
8. Stalk your competitor
Regularly check the competitors’ blogs to see what topics they’re covering and which key phrases they are targeting with their posts. No, you shouldn’t do the exact same thing as they are, but you can approach the topic from a new angle, or cover it deeper than them.
Nicole Gore is a writer and a professional blogger, writing not just for her own blogs, but for her clients as well. That way, she learned the importance of running a quality blog.