After blogging for seven years, what’s the most frequently asked question I receive? It’s all about how to come up with ideas for blog posts.
Listen: it’s inevitable that you might suffer from a case of writer’s block from time to time. And that’s perfectly normal. However, since I blog full-time, I always have to generate new ideas for posts, even when I’m stuck in the biggest of blogging ruts. Today, I’m passing along a few tips and tricks that I’ve learned over the years on how to brainstorm new ideas for blog content when you’re feeling uninspired.
When I have a terrible case of writer’s block, or if I can’t nail the perfect angle for a blog post, I’ll search the web to brainstorm ideas. Google is a fantastic tool for a number of reasons. If I have a very vague idea of what I want to write about, I’ll search the web to see if I can answer a question that might not be answered yet.
For example, one of my biggest hobbies is heading out to local wineries. I noticed after a Google search that was a lack of articles that really broke down the wine regions near me — so I decided to produce that content.
Another tool that I love to use to gain inspiration? Pinterest. Up until a few years ago, I would only use it to pin recipes, outfits and home decor that I enjoyed. However, Pinterest isn’t just a social media platform — it’s one of the best places on the web to get inspired. You can either search a topic that you’re interested in writing about, or you can simply search for “blog post ideas” and watch the inspiration roll in.
Do you have a blog post that went viral? Have you written about a topic and received incredible engagement on the post? Go back to some of the most popular posts you’ve published in the past, and draw inspiration from them.
One easy thing you can do is go back to an old blog post and give it a quick update. I often publish tips/tricks articles, and if I have something new I can add to the list or if something that needs revising, I’ll update the post accordingly. My blog tips and travel articles are two types of posts that I’ll update on a regular basis. After you’ve completed an update, make sure to promote your newly revised posts on social media to gain more traffic.
In addition to updating old posts, you can also expand upon an old post if it garnered a ton of engagement. Most of the posts that I publish are short-medium in length, and sometimes I don’t get the opportunity to go in-depth for specific subjects. An example of how I might expand upon an old post: I frequently publish travel guides, and include a full travel itinerary in my major travel guides. I might go back a few months later and write an entire guide with all of the restaurants I think are best at a particular location, or round up the best museums that a city has to offer. The possibilities are endless!
Another easy way to gain inspiration for a new blog post is to check out the news. Writing about things that are current is a great way to start a conversation and to drive traffic to your blog. No, you don’t have to watch a major news network to get that inspiration — I like to follow news sites that cover topics that are within my blog’s niche and produce articles accordingly.
Since fashion and travel are the two primary verticals that I create content for, some publications that I read daily include CN Traveler, Refinery 29, and the New York Times (specifically the Style and Travel sections). If Refinery 29 is reporting on a hot new trend for fall, I might follow up and create a post sharing tips and tricks on how to style the trend as mentioned earlier. If New York Times shares an article on why you should travel to a particular city or country and I’ve visited that location, I’ll create a new travel piece while that destination has the buzz surrounding it.
No matter what your niche is, drawing inspiration from current events and stories published by other publications is a great way to brainstorm ideas for your next blog post.
Once you’ve developed an audience: take the time to listen to their requests, and create content accordingly. There are a few different ways that I like to poll my audience and get a better idea of the content that they’re looking for.
One way to get an idea of the content that would engage your reader the most is to poll your audience. There are many ways that you can do this: it’s easy to create a 24-hour poll in Instagram Stories or Twitter using the tools built in the respective platforms. In the past, I’ve done yes/no poll if an audience wants to see a post on a topic, or have asked my readers how frequently they’d like to see new blog posts published.
If you want to do a significant content overhaul, you might consider conducting an annual reader survey. That way, you can ask your readers a number of questions, get feedback, and figure out what type of content your readers enjoy the most.
Lastly, I receive comments and DMs from my readers on a regular basis with requests for certain types of posts. These requests might be communicated via email, direct message, or from social media/blog posts. Since there are so many different ways a reader can communicate with me, I have a Google Sheets spreadsheet where I can drop in the blog post requests that I receive — and whenever I’m stumped for ideas for a post, I’ll reference that sheet and schedule a post in my editorial calendar.
Blogger burnout: it’s bound to happen at some point in your career. Sometimes there are extenuating circumstances that prevent you from posting, and other times you might just hit a plateau.
If none of the above suggestions spark inspiration, it’s perfectly okay to take a hiatus from writing. Taking a step back can oftentimes help you refresh and reset, and to see things from a new perspective. When I take these little breaks, I also like to entirely hop off social media and go offline for a few days. While I’m off the grid, I’ll read books or magazines in my spare time to pick up a few new vocabulary words, as well as expose myself to a different writing style.
Sometimes, it can be difficult to always be “on” and ready to produce content. However, as a creative writer, I’ve learned over the years that there are plenty of excellent sources of inspiration out there — and it’s your job as a writer to uncover them.