You’re staring at a blank sheet, unsure what to write about next.
Haven’t you written everything already?
What more is there to say?
What else can you write?
That might be the wrong question.
Don’t think: What should I write next? Instead, consider: How can I help my readers?
Let’s start with 7 blog post ideas to re-focus on your readers and write posts your readers crave to read.
Sneak into the head of your ideal reader
- Check your blog comments for questions your readers have asked and answer them in your blog post. If you don’t get many comments, check a popular blog that’s read by your ideal readers or ask a question in your e-newsletter. Derek Halpern recommends asking your readers what they’re struggling with as soon as they sign up to your newsletter.
- Picture the business or personal objectives of your ideal reader and consider how you can help her reach her aims. How can you make her happier, healthier, richer, or more popular? Write a list post or a how-to post.
- Consider what your ideal reader struggles with and share your most useful tips.
- Provide a buying guide with genuine advice. If you’re a virtual assistant, you can write about how to select and interview a new virtual assistant. If you’re a life coach, you can be honest about what a coach can and can’t help people with.
- Provide guidance to help your ideal reader make choices. If you’re an IT company, you could write about choosing the right IT company or how to decide between outsourcing and managing IT in house.
Don’t be sneaky. Don’t use your blog post to promote your services. Most blog readers are allergic to sales talk, so provide honest advice.
- Help your ideal reader avoid mistakes. Everyone is nervous about making mistakes or looking silly. A post outlining a number of mistakes is a sure-fire hit. As a copywriter you could write 13 Warning Signs Your Web Copy Stinks or as a web designer you could write Do These 7 Design Mistakes Hurt Conversions on Your Website?
- Write about your own weaknesses or failures to help your readers overcome their problems. Remember: Your purpose shouldn’t be to tell your life story, but to use your stories to help your readers.
Write more authoritative blog posts
You might think you’ve covered everything there’s to say about your industry, but this is hardly ever true.
Have you lost your curiosity?
Below follow 9 ideas to re-kindle your interest …
- Consider what’s being discussed in your industry and share an authoritative opinion. Strong opinions can spark a debate. You can also explain why you disagree with an authority’s opinion.
- Comment on the latest trends or predict what’s going to happen next year. You can also ask experts to share their thoughts.
- Create an epic guide. Consider reducing your blog schedule for a few weeks to have time to write your most detailed post ever.
- Publish an ultimate list of resources. Share the best resources you know that can help your readers succeed.
- Record a podcast with an expert. Ask insightful questions to show your own authority and create an interesting debate.
- Ask an authority to contribute a guest post or see whether you can co-write a post.
- Explode a myth. Do your readers have a certain idea that you think is completely wrong? Argue a strong case in your next blog post.
- Have a rant. Occasionally, it’s okay to vent your anger and write about something that upsets you. To avoid regrets, edit and polish your post when you’ve cooled down.
- Find a quote to inspire your next blog post. Create a swipe file with fascinating quotes. But don’t steal your inspiration – credit your sources.
Re-visit old topics with new metaphors
Metaphors or analogies can breathe new life into regurgitated topics.
To exercise your metaphoric muscles, start with your end goal: how will your readers benefit from reading your post? Then think about a new way to explain it.
Most people are more creative when they get away from their computer. So drag yourself away from your desk, get on your bicycle for a short ride, hoover your house, or do the dishes while thinking about connections between your advice and other topics.
Giving your mind too much freedom, can make you less creative. Set yourself a constraint by coming up with a metaphor from a specific area. Below follow 3 ideas:
- Use your favorite sports to explain what’s happening in your industry. Sports give you lots of opportunities for analogies – there are rules, successes, and failures. There are teams that play well together or can’t play together, the referee who keeps order or not, the coach with his tactics, and the fans who adore their heroes and despise the “enemy”.
- Compare cooking with running your business. Think about cooking techniques, recipes, ingredients, utensils, or the difference between a bland and a tasty sandwich. And if you don’t like cooking, can you talk about your cooking disasters?
- Use your personal experiences as a metaphor to enlighten your readers. Personal life lessons can almost always be applied to your professional life, too. Think about the topics you’re happy to talk about like your first job, your holiday adventures, or moving house.
Avoid vapid clichés and drab analogies by making your post as specific as possible. For instance, if you’d like to write a post about the practice required to become a better writer, tell a specific story how you’ve learned to play basketball or explain how you coached a kid to become a star football player, or share how you learned to cook. And then apply that specific experience to advice how your readers can become better writers.
Generic analogies bore your readers to tears. Specific stories make dull topics enchanting.
How to Generate an Endless Stream of Blog Post Ideas
The truth about generating blog post ideas is simply this:
Listen to your readers and you hear them hinting at new blog post topics. Continue to learn and explore, and you’ll find more ideas and more tips to share. Dig deeper, and you’ll write more insightful posts.
Curiosity sparks your creativity and fuels your writing.
This blog post is part of a free Business Blogging 101.