It’s blinking at you again.
Some days, no matter how hard you try, it just stays there and blinks. The longer you look at it the more you know that nothing will happen.
Finding new blog post ideas can be exhausting and frustrating. That’s why I have compiled some of the best ways to get you out of that rut, to remove your writers block and get awesome content published.
Start at home
1. Re-purpose your older content.
Periodically check your older content. What has changed or been made obsolete and blog about those changes.
2. Comments & emails.
If your readers engage with you, they are likely to raise points and ask questions. Turn the discussion or answers into a fully-fledged article.
3. The mistakes that you made.
We all make them, so why not write about them? Help others avoid the same mistakes you made, or at least help them get out of the same jam!
4. Wear someone else’s shoes.
Take a moment to consider how your visitors feel about your niche. Combine this with any feedback you have had, or interactions with others in your field and you can quickly find the pain points that people have.
5. Note book & voice recorder.
Ideas normally hit us at really random times, like waiting at a bus stop or in the shower. Have a notebook or voice recorder handy to record those ideas before they get lost. If your phone is your constant companion, most ship with voice recorders and apps like Trello or Evernote make for great virtual notebooks.
6. Word association games.
This might sound like a weird option, but playing word association games with keywords relevant to your niche can lead to a surprising number of new ideas springing forward. Sometimes all it takes is a word!
7. Mind map your thoughts.
Related to word associations, mind maps can be used to help structure your thoughts. One example would be to take your last blog post and look for ways that you can further extend the post, by answering questions or thoughts within the topic itself. You’ll be surprised how many branches you can make.
8. Share your experiences.
Life is full of experiences and often these can be used in relation to your specific niche. Let’s say your blog is about gardening, and yesterday you found a really cool way of keeping greenfly off your roses. Blog about it!
Focus on your niche
9. Be honest.
No niche is perfect; each has different areas and aspects that are weird to outsiders or weird to everyone. Bring them out of the closet and shine a light on them.
10. Be controversial.
As a blogger you should most definitely have a stance on the topics within your niche, and there is a lot to be said for taking a subject that is controversial and discussing it. If your niche is sports, why not discuss drug use. If it’s gardening discuss genetically modified plants.
11. Aggregate the best of the best.
A popular method of “writing” a blog post is to collate other articles and posts, or products from different sites in your niche. Often these will have the same theme, such as the top 10 e-commerce plugins, or the best tutorials for writing sales pages.
Look to your community
12. Leverage you competitors’ blogs.
Reading through your competitors’ websites is a great way to get ideas for your own blog posts. I’m not talking about plagiarising them, but instead trying to get a feel for what’s popular and what might suit your particular audience and then writing your own angle on it.
13. Take advantage of your competitors’ comments sections.
While you’re at other peoples sites, don’t forget to check out the comments. There is a wealth of questions and answers in the comment section. The comments can give you direct feedback about what people are struggling with,
14. Forums are still thriving.
It’s amazing how long forums have been around on the internet, especially with how ephemeral everything is. They are still an awesome source of ideas, as often forums are very niche specific. Googling your niche and the word forum will no doubt display many that you can sign up to.
I’m sure you have used the Google Keyword tool already, but if not it is a great way of finding related topics to a keyword. It is also backed up by advert data, so you can see which keywords, and by extension articles, will be popular.
The trends tool allows you to enter a keyword and it will list the popularity of the phrase, both worldwide and on a regional basis. IT also brings up related keywords that can be bug into to provide a basis of an article idea.
Google search now comes with an auto-complete system. This is based on real world search queries, so by partially entering a phrase you can see what people are actually searching for. It’s a pain to do manually for a lot of queries, so check out Übersuggest below.
Google is so awesome that they will even send article ideas to your inbox! Signing up to a Google alert is as easy as entering a keyword and hitting the Create Alert button. Emails are sent to you at regular intervals containing search results relating to the keywords.
Imagine a website that you can select your niche and get a feed of people’s questions as well as the answers? Does that sound like article idea heaven? You bet it is and that’s what you get with Quora. Go sign up, it’s free.
20. Yahoo Answers.
This is another great site for finding out what people are asking about in your niche.
An alternative site to Yahoo Answers and Quora.
Forget manually trawling through Google’s auto-complete system in the search, Übersuggest will do the heavy lifting for you. Enter a keyword or phrase and it will list out what seems like every possible combination from the auto-complete system.
An underused treasure trove of article ideas! Magazines have branched out into almost every niche and are masters at keeping content flowing.
Don’t underestimate the wealth of knowledge available in books related to your niche. Often this are written by experts and can contain innumerable tips and tricks that can lead to articles.
If your niche has events you can attend (such as the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show for the dog niche) then attend them! The experience alone is worthy of a blog post or ten!
26. The Usual Suspects.
You cannot deny that the most popular social networks (Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus and Pinterest) contain a dizzying amount of information. That information is often close to the hearts of the users as well and can be mined for an endless number of blog posts.
27. The Unusual Suspects.
Don’t forget to check out some of the less popular and lesser known social networks such as MySpace, Reddit, Delicious, and Stumbleupon.
This is an amazing site that I came across recently. It allows you to enter in your competitors’ site and it will list out the most popular articles based on social network shares. This can give you an insight to what your audience is likely to enjoy reading and share.
There you go, you are now armed with a massive amount of resources to counter the blinking cursor and to be able to produce content like a boss! If I have missed out any of your favourite ways to generate blog post ideas, please share them in the comments below.