Because blogs need consistent content in order to achieve success, the challenge of developing ideas into useful and interesting posts is never-ending. This is not a new subject for bloggers and there are plenty of posts already written about overcoming bloggers block and how to identify topics to cover.
Rather than repeating these common ideas, I’d like to share with you three specific ways that I use for my own blogging.I have three different blogs of my own and I also do freelance writing for a few others, so my content development techniques aren’t always the same for each blog. However, these three methods have proven to be useful to me, and I think they can help you as well.
1. Focus on Solving Problems
Rather than looking for ideas for blog posts, try to take a completely different approach and identify some common challenges or problems for your readers. At this point don’t worry about blog content, just focus on the readers and what issues they have. Once you have identified some, brainstorm as to ways that you could help them with these problems through your blog posts. Do some research if you need to, but solving problems is a tested and proven way to build a loyal audience.
This is one of the biggest approaches I use for developing content here at Traffikd. Most of the readers are bloggers who are looking for more traffic and interested in social media in particular. I try to identify issues that they may have with their marketing and attempt to help solve these struggles.
One of my more successful posts came from this method. I get frequently get emails from readers, or comments, stating that they have had some luck with social media traffic, but little to no gain in subscribers, so I wrote a post focused on helping readers to gain more subscribers from social media.
2. Look at Your Bookmarks
I’m an active user of Delicious. I probably bookmark several items each day as I come across them. The reason I choose to bookmark something is because I think it can save me time or make my life easier in some way. Later, when I need a particular resource I can go to Delicious, find the applicable tag, and there it is waiting for me. The same items that you bookmark are probably also of interest to your readers (assuming they’re relevant to the topic of your blog).
Two of my three blogs cover subjects related to web design. Many of the items I bookmark with Delicious are tutorials, resources, or tools for helping me as a designer. As I go back and look through the items I’ve bookmarked I might observe some potential blog posts.
For example, I bookmark websites that are helpful for some type of design inspiration. A few months ago I decided to write a post to share some of these sources with readers. The post Top 10 Sources of Logo Design Inspiration was published at DesignM.ag and drew a lot of social media traffic, particularly from StumbleUpon and Delicious. To identify opportunities like this, look through your bookmarks and see what kind of resources are helpful to you. It could be a top ten list, or your could write a review or an informative article about one of the resources.
Delicious is a big tool for me in my blog post writing, but I don’t think many other people use it in the same way. Delicious is great as a search engine if you’re developing resource lists. It uses other people’s bookmarks to power the search, and people tend to bookmark items that would be a good fit with resource lists.
3. Process of Elimination
Most bloggers sit down and decide to write a post on a certain topic. The more common approach for me is to keep a huge, ongoing, constantly-growing list of ideas and use the process of elimination to find the best ideas. I keep a notebook with me throughout the day and I write down ideas for posts whenever I have them. Probably 90-95% of my ideas never get developed into posts, but that helps me to only focus on ideas that are worth my time and likely to be of interest to readers.
At times when you need a post and you’re searching for a topic, it’s pretty likely that the post will wind up being sub-par. Work on generating a lot of ideas and then move backwards to weed out the ones that aren’t strong.
What’s Your Process?
How do you go about coming up with ideas for posts?