6 Ways to Come Up with Effective Blog Content When You’re Short on Ideas — Plus 55 High-Impact Post Types
Sometimes it happens. I come in to the office, open up my laptop, and watch the cursor blink at me from a blank white page … and get stuck there.
Of course, it’s my job to come up with ideas and write blog content — so I have to get past this point eventually, no matter how long it takes.
But if blogging is just one of a hundred responsibilities that come with running and marketing your business, it can be pretty tempting to let that cursor keep on blinking indefinitely. Even when you know exactly what blogging can do for your business.
When that happens, you need a set of reliable content frameworks you can lean on — sources of post ideas you can turn to again and again. After plenty of experience and observation, I’ve discovered 6 practically fail-safe ways to come up with blog content when I’m lacking ideas.
And just to get the ideas flowing even more easily, I’ve put together a list of 55 specific kinds of blog posts that you can consult when you need to come up with a fresh idea fast. Once you’ve used one of the frameworks below to come up with a topic, use these post ideas to get your content onto the page. Download the PDF here and you can consult it whenever you need extra inspiration.
The following ideas are designed to help you produce blog content that:
- Relates to your business
- Engages your readers
- Helps you get new subscribers and leads on your list (so don’t forget to add a Leadbox™ and a content upgrade)
1. Brainstorm the Problems You Faced in Your Own Business
If you write for a business blog, I bet you want to write things that actually help your readers create better, stronger, profitable businesses. You want to help them overcome the struggles you faced along the way with your distinct insights and actionable strategies. So the easiest way to brainstorm what to write is just to think back on the hurdles you dealt with in your own business — whether you faced those hurdles two weeks or two decades ago.
Try to stick to small, manageable problems. A blog post about all of the ways you built up your traffic, and all of the trials and failures along the way, might get pretty long. But a post specifically about how you wrote guest posts to build authority, and how that helped you get traffic, will be easier for your readers to digest and take action on.
How did you face the problem? How did you get past it? Think in terms of solutions that would actually help your ideal clients overcome roadblocks.
The best thing about this strategy is that you’ll create super practical, actionable content that can actually help your readers. That’s easily the best way to gain authority for your blog and keep readers coming back, and all you need is your own experience.
In this blog post from Drift, CEO David Cancel outlines a framework for handling feedback based on his own experience founding 5 companies. Clearly, dealing with feedback is something he’s done in his own business.
2. Interview a Peer
Think about the people you interact with everyday. Your coworkers and peers can serve as inspiration for your blog posts. What insights might they have that your audience hasn’t heard from you? What fresh perspective can your team offer to your readers?
I’ve used this strategy a few times since I came to Leadpages. It’s easy for me, since I write about marketing, to use our stellar marketing team as inspiration.
For instance, inspired by our Manager of Marketing Education, Bob Jenkins’, work to educate our customers, I interviewed him and wrote a blog post guided by his advice on selling what you know, not just what you do. He provided expertise that I just didn’t have, which made the post full of actionable advice that our readers could apply to their own work.
3. Write About an Insight From Your Favorite Business Book
Reading is a crucial part of the idea generation process. If you’re struggling to come up with your next post idea, it’s not such a bad idea to step away and spend a couple hours browsing related blog posts, books and news articles in your field. While you shouldn’t steal their ideas, you can share the insights that struck a chord with you.
Find a hidden gem that you enjoyed in a favorite business book and write a post that refers back to the book but also delves deeper into the concept you found particularly intriguing.Make their work something new by adding additional business lessons of your own or by tailoring their tips for your audience.
Of course, you’ll want to link to and credit the original source — but that’s actually an advantage. Once the post is published, email or tweet the author to thank them for their insights and share the link. They may well pass your piece on to their audience, getting you more exposure and traffic.
4. Figure Out What Questions Your Customers Have and Answer Them
Even if you aren’t regularly collecting customer feedback, you’re surely getting some form of input from your customers. What your customers don’t realize when they’re asking questions is that they’re giving you tons of content ideas. Look at your support content, check social media questions, or just talk to a customer. What are they wondering about that you haven’t covered in your blog yet?
If you get a lot of the same questions all the time, it might be time to put together an FAQ blog post. If customers ask about the camera you use for your stunning photography, you might do a post about your equipment.
Social media scheduling company Edgar published this post on the social media scheduling strategy its own team uses on the Edgar blog. Even if a customer didn’t actually ask anyone at the company how they schedule their social media posts, you can assume that this post is answering a question in readers’ minds.
At Leadpages, the marketing team helps with an on-site chat box that helps us communicate with prospects interested in our project. As a writer, I keep a Google Doc of notes from my time in our chat box. Sometimes, it will be really obvious, like when someone directly asks for blog posts about getting more traffic. Other times, it’s just someone asking about what fonts we have available that sparks an idea for a post on landing page design.
5. Run a Survey Or An Experiment
Few kinds of content are as newsworthy, valuable, and instantly interesting as original data. So if you don’t have any original data at hand and you want to draw attention to your blog, why not create some?
One of the easiest ways to do this is to run a survey. If you have a large enough audience, you might consider simply polling them. Otherwise, you can use an outside survey service to get access to a wider population.
At Leadpages, we often run surveys to learn about our market and understand reactions to marketing among the general public. For instance, we recently ran a survey asking the general public about their attitudes toward retargeting ads. Not only were the results useful in our own advertising, they were intriguing enough that we put together a blog post showcasing the data we had gathered.
Another way to generate interesting data is simply to run an experiment in your own marketing. Test two dramatically different headline, video, or landing page strategies by running an A/B test and report on the results once they become statistically significant.
Obviously, if your deadline is tomorrow, you may not have time for extensive research or even running a survey, but with a little planning ahead, you could have a great data-driven blog post in just a few weeks.
6.Update a Post That Was Popular the First Time
When in doubt, there’s always the refresh option. Look back at your older posts that still get solid traffic and ask yourself which ones have content that could use updating.
Sure, you want to mostly be posting evergreen content to your blog so that your posts will still be relevant for the foreseeable future, but that doesn’t mean that they’ll all be accurate forever. Perhaps trends are changing, or a social media platform you wrote about has updated its algorithm since the post went live. Updating and republishing that content can be a big win for you and your customers — you’ll get a new blog post and they’ll get the most relevant information.
Plus, there’s a potential SEO benefit in doing this: there’s ample evidence that Google uses recency, frequency of updates, and other “freshness” signals in ranking content. By updating older posts, you combine freshness with any authority and backlink power those posts have already accumulated.
And, of course, as you generate more and more blog content, you’ll be able to apply this strategy again and again.
Ready to discover your own high-value content ideas? You’ll also want to think about how to develop an angle for each idea. For help with that, don’t forget that I’ve put together a list of 55 specific — and effective — kinds of blog posts to get the creativity flowing. Download it here:
How do you overcome writer’s block? Let me know in the comments!