How do you feed your content monster? In this post, I am sharing the step before turning your ideas into content, where you come up with your ideas in the first place. If you’ve got a system down for this, great! At the end of this post, head over to my post on The SITS Girls, where I share the next step in the blog writing process.
Still with me? Great! Let’s get started.
1. Check your analytics. I once did a whole post around the random things people searched to get to my blog. Considering that I was able to use ridiculous search terms to create a post, think about ways you can slice your analytics to come up with ideas. Search terms are certainly one way, but what about those posts that get the most hits? Why recreate the wheel?! Try writing about the same topic from a different angle, or ask other blogger friends in your niche how they would respond and gather up a round up post.
2. Know your audience. You can certainly use your character persona. Mine is named Terese, by the way. Why? It’s my Confirmation saint. I know what she does when she wakes up in the morning and know what she daydreams about as she’s doing the dishes. It’s important to have that one person that you write to and for every time you click “New Post” because whether you really know her or not, she’s out there in real life and she loves that you write just for her.
You can always ask for the kinds of topics your readers are interested in via a note in your email newsletter, a quick question on Twitter or post to Facebook. If you feel weird about that, ask your online communities what they would be interested in reading about. I do this to gather up ideas for Twitter chats that I host for The SITS Girls. Speaking of which, I am hosting 4 more this month: June 8th, 22nd and 29th at 8pm and June 27th at 10am (all times ET).
3. Steal like an artist. Blog reading isn’t just to pass the time or keep up with friends. You can keep a list of posts that you really loved, or save it to Pocket and look at that later for ideas to share your thoughts on a particular subject. You can even share the link to the post you are referencing. I know I don’t have to tell you that you shouldn’t do this if you’re going to blatantly bash someone. We all know how hard blogging is and how important it is for us to support one another in our writing endeavors.
If you just read 10 Ways to Make Homemade Cheese, why not write 10 Ways Not to Make Homemade Cheese or 10 Ways for a Newbie to Make Cheese? You don’t have to come up with ideas yourself. You do have to follow others in your niche and take their ideas a step further, because you’re that smart!
4. Trends. Are you signed up for Google Alerts? It’s free! I have a few keywords that I zone in on and receive an email daily with all of the information on the interwebs on that keyword. I have a digest of ideas to parse and put back together in a way that my readers want, or don’t know that they need, yet. You can easily generate ideas this way, not to mention keep on top of the latest and greatest going on in your niche!
5. Feedly FTW. This is also a great title generation practice too. Go to your Feedly account (or whatever you use to read all of the sites you love) and view them in list form, so no thumbnails. You just want words here and it’s best done on a desktop so you can skim quickly. If you need to use your fingertip, you can. Go to the first headline and pass your finger over the titles and stop when you read something that catches your attention. Write it down. When you have 10 or so, see if there are any commonalities in those titles that you can use to reference in future posts you write, or as springboards for new ideas you could write about.
To use this as a title generator, take that same list of titles that caught your eye and see how those titles were crafted. Coming up with catchy titles isn’t easy and when title creators and analyzers aren’t giving you titles that flow (they’re not foolproof!) take lessons from sites that are doing titles well, like Copyblogger.
Here’s an extra tip, that’s just personal to me that I wanted to share with you. When I am coming up with blog post ideas, sometimes being too close to it frustrates the process. I have to walk away from it and do something else so the idea generation becomes fuzzy. I do this by actually going for a walk and using my phone to record ideas on the way, flipping through a magazine or taking a hot shower or bath which ALWAYS generates idea, it’s a scientific fact!
Those are just 5 ways you can unlock fresh blog post ideas. Interested in learning how to turn your ideas into great blog posts? Head here and read my top 7 tips!
What other ways do you generate blog post ideas?! I would love to read them in the comments!
Just a note, I will be on vacation with my family June 13th. I am taking this time to enjoy the lake, go for long walks, stuff my face with deliciousness and feed the ducks. This means that from June 13th – June 22nd there will be no posts! I will be around on Instagram sharing all the pretty that upstate New York has to offer. Come on vacation with me!