Blogging for Beginners: 9 Tips for Pulling Awesome Content Ideas Out of Thin Air
Authority figures; wild animals up close; mortality. There are few things more intimidating than a blank page you intend to fill with good ideas.
If you’ve been tasked with writing a blog post, and you want to make it good, try these techniques to get you drafting ideas that will pleasantly surprise you.
1. Build a Box Around Your Blog Ideas
Brainstorming is most intimidating when you don’t have a framework for your ideas. Establishing a general topic may sound obvious, but many skip this step and find themselves in a cycle of procrastination. You’ll find that the cozy confines of a topic narrow enough to give you a starting point, but not too narrow that you write yourself into a corner, will help enormously.
2. Research Other Blogs in Your Industry
Reading what others are writing is the best way to generate new ideas. Ask coworkers which publications they trust in your industry, and pay attention to the stories that generate the most shares and comments. Read critically, and ask whether each article delivers on the promise of its headline, or if it raises additional questions that are never addressed.
3. Pick Up the Phone, Call a Client
Good writing reflects the unresolved concerns of your audience. One of the best ways to discover concerns you aren’t already aware of is to actually ask your audience. Call a client who you work closely with and ask them these questions:
- What’s your biggest problem right now? How are you trying to solve it?
- Why is it hard to do what you do?
- What do people most often misunderstand about what you do?
4. Do Something You Already Did, Better
There’s nothing wrong with approaching a tried-and-true subject with new insights. Run your blog’s url through BuzzSumo to find the most talked-about content on your site. If you can add something new, or think you can tell the story better, go ahead. Consider:
- Has a lot of time passed since the post was originally published? What has changed since then?
- Are parts of the blog post confusing? Can you do a better job of explaining the topic?
5. Write About Yourself
There’s likely something you’re doing, or thinking, that’s worth writing about. Like, for example, you’re trying to cut down on meetings, considering new software or your coworker asked if you have a blog idea one-pager, and you don’t.
6. Use a Topic Generator
Blog generators are great for brainstorming because they apply formulaic headlines to fill-in-the-blank topics. If you’re new to blog writing, enter your subject into HubSpot’s blog topic generator; these headline conventions will get you thinking about different ways to approach your subject.
7. Do Keyword Research to Discover What Readers are Curious About
The days of gaming SEO for easy viral success were sweet, but they’re long over, so I don’t recommend link spamming and building every blog post around a single keyword. However, performing keyword research is a great way to discover what readers want to know about a given topic. Try a keyword research tool like KeywordTool.io. Enter your topic, and the application will give you a list of popular searches, which can be narrowed down by searches that take the form of a question.
Enter your topic, and the application will give you a list of popular searches, which can be narrowed down by search queries that take the form of a question.
8. What to Do if You’re Worried All Your Ideas Are Terrible
If you’re worried your content concepts aren’t good enough, keep the following in mind:
Give yourself a break, seriously. If you’re thoughtful enough to consider the quality of your ideas, your ideas aren’t likely that bad. Call it a day and send off your favorite ideas.
Or, pitch your ideas to a coworker. Collaboration will help you find new and interesting directions.
9. Follow the Fun
Many mistakenly believe that successful creative work is accomplished only through slavish focus and obsessive detail, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. One of the best ways to write something good is to write about something that you find interesting or fun. So, the next time you find yourself really excited about an idea, chase it.
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