This is a guest post by Erin Steiner.
We all get it. We sit down, open up our blogging platform, stare at the empty post screen and the blinking cursor just waiting for something to do, and...nothing. Nada. No way. There are zero ideas happening.
It's easy to get discouraged. It's easy to stare at the cursor and think hateful things about it, its family, and its family's family (if cursors even have families). It's easy to get down on yourself and become convinced that you aren't ever going to have a great post idea again ever.
What's hard is getting past it and writing anyway. Unfortunately, as someone who is making a go of blogging and hoping to turn it into something big (and potentially profitable), this is what you have to do. So how do you figure out what to write about? Where do you find the inspiration you need to come up with great content?
No joke. Pull up Google News and navigate to the section in which your niche sits. Are there any major news stories happening in your niche today? Are there any major news stories happening in the niches that relate to yours? Read that story and then write a blog post about what you think about it.
Make sure you link to the article that you read. It's good for your SEO, and you never know when the original site will see your trackback and link to you as well!
Spend some time searching for your keywords on Twitter. This is sort of similar to Google News, but you won't just find links to news stories. You'll find links to news stories, blog posts, books, etc. You'll find opinions on your niche. You might even find opinions about you that you can use as inspiration for a blog post.
Make sure you do the same thing on Pinterest! Pinterest is a great inspiration portal. One of the best things about Pinterest is that it hasn't yet been overrun by marketers. This means that when you search for your keywords or through boards that look like they relate to your niche, you're going to find really great ideas that real people have found inspirational. You don't have to worry that every pin you see is going to lead to a sales page or product portal.
Have you read something great recently? Have you watched a video that you really loved? Have you used a product you've really enjoyed? Now is the perfect time to tell your readers about it. Even if the thing you read, watched, or used doesn’t exactly relate to your niche or topic, that's okay. Variation from the norm keeps your blog interesting!
This can be flipped the other way. Have you read, seen, or used something that you just hated? Did something fail you on every level? Tell your readers about that, too! Even better, tell your readers why you didn't like the whatever it was and then tell your readers how you would have changed those things to improve your own experience.
When you're grabbing for inspiration, why not talk about a colleague or other person in your professional network? Link to that person's website and talk about what a great person he or she is and why you think visiting that site is worth their time.
Write a review of the website or product. Or, even better, do an interview with that person and post that on your blog!
This helps you do a few things:
- It builds your outgoing links, which is great for your SEO.
- It has the potential to earn an inbound link (if you link to that person, chances are he will link to you), which is also great for your SEO.
- It builds goodwill in all directions. Your readers will love that you respect them and care about them enough to send them to someone you think is worth their time. The person you're talking about will be flattered about the publicity and will be likely to do the same for you in the future.
Put out the call for questions and then answer those questions on your blog. You can sweeten the deal by offering a link to the people whose questions you answer.
This helps get your readers involved in your blog, helps you learn more about what your readers care about (and are curious about), and gives you great blog content at the same time.
If All Else Fails
Stop. Get up. Step away from the computer and go do something else for a while. If the weather is cooperating, go outside and go for a walk. It will get the blood pumping, and you'll be amazed at how many ideas you will get once you tell yourself that you aren’t going to do any more work for a while. It’s Murphy’s Law: As soon as you’re away from the creative space, you come up with lots of creative ideas!
There are lots of ways to come up with great blog content. What are some of your favorite ways to get the ideas flowing?