To many, the hardest part of establishing a regular blog is coming up with the concepts for new posts on a regular basis. When you’re writing a new post every three, five or seven days, it’s easy to burn through even a large backlog of titles and concepts, particularly if you operate more than one blog. You have unlimited creative direction, and that lack of guidance brings on hours of unproductive frustration. It’s called the Paradox of Choice, and with a little guidance, you can beat it.
The core of the Paradox of Choice is the endless field of creative possibility. When you have no guidelines, it’s hard to know where to begin. The solution – and the central concept behind nearly all of the suggestions that follow – is to give yourself that basic guidance. The method you use to find that guidance may vary from post to post or from author to author, and that’s fine. The important part is that you know where to begin.
This is one of the best reasons to keep comments enabled on your blog posts. In addition to the benefits of establishing a discussion community on your site, you can use comments as a free farm for future blog posts. Monitor the comments on each blog post you upload. When a user asks a question, asks for clarification or brings up a topic you find interesting, note it. Some questions are too simple and are preferably answered in a response comment. Others can be spun out into longer blog posts to address the issue. Comments are a great free source of inspiration already related to your industry.
No one is perfect; everyone makes mistakes. Consider the mistakes you have made throughout your business life. Have you misstepped when running your blog? Have you invested in unprofitable SEO schemes? Have you launched a flawed products and watched it fail? Every mistake is a learning experience, and when you learn, you can impart that knowledge – backed with your personal experience – to your audience. Analyze your mistakes for the valuable lessons that came from them, and convert that wisdom into a winning blog post.
Particularly useful for daily blogs, developing a regular feature can make one out of the seven or so blog posts you write each week much easier to plan for. If, every Friday, you write a post about the latest developments in graphics processing technology, you already have your subject made for you. The hard part, of course, is deciding what regular feature you should launch. Try not to make it too narrow; you’ll run out of content after a few weeks. Conversely, avoid making your subject as broad as your blog; you’ll run into the same surplus of choice.
Occasionally, old blog posts can be the foundation of new, better posts. Old resources, guides, tutorials and such instructional posts can be updated with new information or to include new technology. Old case studies can be revisited for an updated perspective. Old surveys can be performed again, with the new results compared to the old. Even opinion pieces can be revisited if your opinion has changed in some significant way. As an added bonus, when you update old content, that content can be directed towards the new iteration, passing SEO power.
No matter what your industry is, something new is happening. Reviewing current events in your industry is a good way to find a new blog post. It may not be an evergreen guide with growing SEO power over the course of years. Instead, it will likely perform well as long as people are investigating this industry development, and drop off when the development is no longer new. You can also investigate non-industry news, including global politics, if you can put an interesting spin on it. A straight news report won’t fly, not when your readers have access to better news sites. What they visit your blog for is insight into how things affect their industry.
Many industries have conferences, seminars and gatherings of professionals that you can attend, with the right credentials. Attending these seminars is a good way to get an outside perspective on your industry. Seminars are full of all sorts of wondrous opportunities, from networking and business partnerships to blog post ideas. Visit a seminar and write about your experiences, segregating it into each day for more blog juice. Talk about what you l earned and what you hope will come of the developments you see. Of course, a seminar isn’t a trivial investment; often you will have to pay for a ticket and travel to the location. Played right, however, a seminar can last for weeks worth of blog entries.
Barring a few very extreme niches, you aren’t alone in your industry. Browse other blogs in your industry, be they partners, competitors or unrelated entities. Find popular posts they have made recently and respond to their analysis. Create a dialogue between your site and theirs, by linking to their post and covering it with your own take. At worst, it gives you a free blog topic for a day. At best, it may open up a partnership between your two sites.
Partially covered by the recommendation to follow industry news, following trends on social media can be an important tool for blog posting. This is particularly true if your blog is agile enough to publish a post on a trending topic with in a day or two of its rise to popularity. Twitter hashtag trends, the trending bar on Facebook and industry news feeds are all valuable resources for popular ongoing trends.
Sometimes you simply can’t come up with anything unique enough to fit the bill as a new blog post on your site. Sometimes your creative energies are drained and you need a recharge. It’s in these times that you may be best advised to step away from the computer and take a walk, go for a hike, ride a bike, hit the gym or perform any number of tasks not related to your business whatsoever. Exercising your physical body gives your mind time to organize, and you may gain a fresh perspective while you’re walking around the block. You never know what you might see. Keen bloggers are also keen observers of the world around them.
When in doubt, ask! Point out the suggestion box on your website, the contact form and the blog comments. Poll social media profiles. Ask your users what questions they have and what subjects they would like to see covered by your blog. Chances are, a sizable portion of your audience considers you a respectable authority and is willing to ask for your perspective on an issue they’ve dealt with. This perspective gives you the angle and subject for a new blog post.
You may be surprised, when you put these suggestions into action, how many blog ideas you develop in a short time. You may just need to start a document full of surplus ideas. Building a backlog of timeless posts while you concentrate on current event posts can be a good way to ensure you always have filler when you need it.