It’s something that most every blogger faces at one point or another: what am I going to blog about tomorrow?
When you’re just getting started in blogging it’s hard to imagine there might come a day when you can’t think of anything to blog about. After all, you’ve just launched your blog, you’re excited, and you’ve either written a bunch of posts you have scheduled to land in the weeks ahead, or you’re so motivated to get writing and have so much to say that running out of ideas seems ludicrous.
But maybe a couple of months in or perhaps a big blog milestone rolls around – six months, one year – you’ll find yourself wondering just what else you can write about.
You don’t want to bore your readers and you don’t want to bore yourself, either.
So where do you find ideas for new blog posts when you’re stuck without any ideas at all?
Here are five places you can turn to get inspired.
Your Back Catalog
The first place you might consider looking for inspiration is in your own back catalog. Is there a post you enjoyed writing and that your audience appreciated reading that you could freshen up or update entirely? If you’ve written a review of a product it might be time to revisit that review and update it. A few months more use of a product or service might see your feelings evolve. Or perhaps you wrote a post about the best books of the year. Now, one year on, what are your new favorites? Don’t delete the old post, but do write a new and updated version and link the two. You’ll be providing great, relevant content for your readers and giving them a good reason to stay on your site a little longer as they dive into your archives.
While it’s true that diving into reddit can be a lot like diving into the rabbit hole in Alice in Wonderland, it’s worth dropping by and clicking around relevant subreddits to find some inspiration when you’re stuck. Reddit users post regularly and larger subreddits get streams of new links, debates, and comment threads that can prove a windfall for the blogger seeking ideas. A word of warning, though: don’t go all Buzzfeed with what you find on reddit and simply reproduce the IP of others as your own work. Instead, seek out the ideas that underlie the best reddit shares and build your own original work from them – and don’t forget to give credit back to the original poster where it’s due.
Sometimes what you need to get your fingers flying across the keyboard you can take inspiration from the news that is breaking around you. If you’re the sort of blogger who finds something to write about with ease most days you can simply try out a few searches for relevant terms. If, on the other hand, you regularly run into problems finding inspiration then it could be worthwhile to set up some Google News alerts. Setting an alert is easy and means that, anytime some news on your keywords is published, you’ll get an email that includes the links. To save your inbox filling up fast you can take the links as a daily digest or, if you want to be up to date and always on the cutting edge, you can get the news as it’s indexed by Google News itself.
We’ve written before about the utility of Quora as a tool for growing an audience and sharing content. But it’s also a great source for ideas for your next blog post. There are a couple of good reasons for this. First, because Quora is a question and answer site, the fact that someone is asking a question about a topic means that you have a potential audience of at least one person for a post on that topic, but likely a lot more. Second, Quora attracts experts in their fields to post answers to questions and this means you can easily find co-bloggers, guest bloggers, and expert advice to include in a blog post on a topic relevant to your audience. Third and finally, why not pose a question on Quora yourself and use it as the basis for your own post? When you have more questions than idea, it might just help you connect with the research, expertise, and help you kick start your next post.
HARO is the acronym for Help A Reporter Out. When a journalist needs some expert advice or wants to interview someone for TV, radio, or a magazine piece, they often turn to HARO to connect with the people they need to hear from. Despite the name, HARO is not just for professional journalists. If your blog is big enough – HARO checks the Alexa rank – then you, too, can use HARO to solicit ideas, feedback, and content from people. The next time that you are stuck for content, why not try using HARO to reach out to experts on a theme related to your blog? Ask a question, gather the dozens of responses that the typical HARO request generates, and build a blog post fast. Not only will the content be fresh, you’ll probably be able to rely on those who respond to your request to help promote the post for you when it goes live.
Sometimes inspiration just doesn’t strike when you are ready to go. That empty screen, flashing cursor, and self-applied pressure to write something – anything! – for your blog can be overwhelming. While the pressure is real, the solutions aren’t complicated and your next idea might be just a few minutes away.
Update an old post, jump on reddit, or make a HARO request. Set a Google News alert for a relevant keyword or topic, or spend some time trawling Quora for topics. Where you find that next idea doesn’t matter when you need to get started, and if you take our advice you’ll be able to get started fast!