A few months back I was finding it quite difficult to publish content regularly. There were times when a single article was taking me like two weeks to finish. That was when I realized how important fresh content is. Although I was promoting my posts on a couple of social networks, the less frequently I published new articles, the less visitors my blog was receiving.
The main problem when it comes to posting frequently isn’t the content itself. Yes, writing does take time, but once you gain the momentum it becomes an easy task. The tougher part of this process is more about coming up with the “shape” of the article or in other words knowing what you will be writing about.
If you get on with it seriously enough and push harder, producing blog post ideas isn’t as difficult as some of the lazier bloggers out there make it look like… But then again, things aren’t always going as planned…
In the below paragraphs I am going to share some of the steps I take in order to produce at least three articles per week – two for my own blog and one as guest article. I really hope you find the tips useful guys and if you do, please take the time to spread the word! Here we go:
1. Wipe Off the Dust from
Your Older Content
That’s right. Just because you’ve published it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t touch it ever again. Although you probably already know that this is particularly true when it comes to self-promoting yourself on the social networks, old content is also a great source of ideas.
And no, don’t get me wrong – I am definitely not telling you to open up a random article and just rewrite it. The goal is to use previously published content as a source for new ideas instead. What you do is simple – you spend say ten-fifteen minutes everyday to look through your archive and see on which topics you’ve written lots of posts and where there are gaps to be filled.
So once you’ve chosen an article you have to ask yourself several questions:
- Are the points you covered exhaustive enough on their own?
- Hasn’t anything changed since you’ve shared the information?
- Isn’t there something new that you’ve learnt for the time being?
What I am trying to say is that as long as you have something to add up, there is no need to reinvent the wheel – you can simply expand on an already covered article.
The reason why this won’t make the article less original, is because you will be going through new tips, new approaches and new ways to do things – as long as it’s useful, positive feedback will be on its way!
2. Subheadings Aren’t Beneficial
Only for the Reader
If you have paid attention to previous articles I’ve written, you will have discovered that a post’s layout is almost as important as what you have actually shared there.
In most cases readers don’t have much time, so they scan through in search of that piece of information that will be useful to them. One way to help them find what they’re looking for is to include subheadings.
On the other hand however, subheadings can also be a source of ideas!
An approach that I often times happen to utilize in order to come up with more blog post ideas, is all about choosing say five articles (be it from my own blog or someone else’s) and skimming through their subheadings and nothing else.
What I do after that is I take some of the subheads that I found useful, I copy/paste them on a blank Word document and start coming up with sub-subheadings for them. That way each subheading turns into the headline for a new article, with the sub-subheadings being the points I will be covering.
This post alone is good example. For instance take a look at the last subheading: “Social Media Ain’t All About the Traffic”
Doesn’t that make for a blog post title straight away? Now that you have the title, you only need to think of what is relevant i.e. what else matters in the social media world and why it isn’t all about the traffic.
Note: All of this doesn’t have to do anything with what was covered in the article that you took the subheading from. You just use it as a source of inspiration.
3. Put Yourself in the Seat
of a Newbie in Your Niche
When you start writing, haven’t you had the feeling that the post you are writing will turn out too basic and that the advice you are sharing isn’t all that useful? But the real funny thing is that once the article goes live, people’s reactions are totally on the opposite…
The thing is that often times when you have a very clear idea in mind, it starts to feel so simple as if everyone else would know it as well. That however is most of the times not so.
To improve the chance of your next article getting the thumbs up, you sometimes need to think as if you were the reader and not the writer. Being able to achieve this is a great way to come up with another idea for a future article.
For that to work you need to take a look at the last post you’ve finished. The idea is simple – you give that article a very thorough read, thinking about what a newbie would ask if they were the ones reading. More specifically you look for words, terms or even sentences that could be explained in a greater detail. Then what you do is you add those in a list, start thinking of suitable questions that can be asked and use them as the starting point for a new article.
4. How to Discover the
Trends without Much Reading
Being aware of what’s going on in your niche – what’s gaining and what’s loosing popularity - has always been of great importance. Although there are evergreen topics that people always refer to, making a reality check can make a big difference to the amount of shares and traffic your newly published piece receives.
Staying updated as to what people are sharing seems like a tough task initially, but it isn’t.
I still believe in the power of RSS as a away to find quality articles. Whether you prefer that or you’ve chosen an alternative doesn’t really matter, as long as you have a way to stay updated with the latest posts of other blogs in your niche.
From that point on the simplest thing you can do is to simply observe what’s being published. And no, that doesn’t come down to copying and pasting. What I am talking about is different – everyday you choose a different blog (one of the more popular ones though), you open it up and start looking at how much social sharing the different articles have gotten.
By checking out a different blog everyday, you will soon spot patterns, which will direct you to the kind of content that tends to get an edge over everything else. Now that you are finished with that, it is up to you to formulate ideas, based on the analysis you’ve done!
5. Social Media Ain’t All
About Referral Traffic
Most of us, social media enthusiasts have one goal in common – we want to get as much of our followers and fans to visit our blogs, reshare our content, subscribe for our lists, etc…
So much focused into those kinds of tasks however, we often times happen to forget that social media isn’t all about that. Building relationships and engaging with poeple are also integral components of web 2.0 as they call it.
Having an engaged audience can be a great way to find out what to write about next.
Why not just ask the people who know you best what they want to learn? Can it be any simpler than that? I don’t think so, yet that is probably one of the least-tried methods for generating blog post ideas.
The first way to get around it is to create a “rubric”, where you ask people various questions, related to your niche in one way or another (as one of my Facebook tips goes). That way you can find out how those folks, who already enjoy your content, feel about different topics. Creating a discussion can be a great way to discover people’s interests.
The second approach is more direct – you simply ask your followers what they are currently interested in knowing, what bothers them, what problems they are trying to solve. That kind of information is powerful not only because it sheds light on new article ideas, but also because it reveals what your readers actually want to read and not what YOU believe they want to read.
Now It’s Your Turn
I hope you enjoyed what you just read guys! Those are some of the techniques I tend to utilize when I am stuck and need to put up something new for my readers. On to you! What else can you add up to the list – what approach do you believe is the best way to help you generate blog post ideas? Let’s form a discussion!