So you’re sitting there, staring at the incessant blinking of your cursor on a blank page, waiting for inspiration to strike. Tomorrow you need to post a blog post, but you have absolutely no idea what to write about.
We’ve all been there. One of the hardest things about blogging is its ongoing nature, and consistently having to keep coming up with new and exciting content ideas. At times this may not feel like a problem - we all have phases where we feel as if we're so full to the brim with ideas that we can’t possibly capture them all. But similarly, we all go through periods of time where our minds just seem to be blank, like a desert with tumbleweed gently rolling across the foreground.
So what do you do when you just can’t think of anything to blog about? How do you go about choosing a topic for your next blog post when the muse just won’t cooperate?
Well here are a few things you can try:
Keep a running list of ideas.
Yes, this is no good when you’re already sat there staring at the blank page, but it’s worth picking up the habit of using your more inspired moments carefully. When you’re going through a creative period where you feel as if you have a never ending supply of ideas, make sure you’re writing them all down in one specific place for future reference. That way when you’re struck by blogger’s blog you can simply consult your running list, pick an idea, and get to work.
A great way I’ve found of capturing my ideas on the go is using Evernote, and I imagine this is a common app used by many bloggers. Most of us have our phones on us all the time, and so it’s much easier to whip out your phone and jot down a few notes in the Evernote note taking app than to keep a notebook and pen on you all of the time (however writerly that may feel!). I’ve literally been struck with great blog post ideas in places as random as the supermarket and in the park whilst walking the dog, so it’s great to have somewhere easily accessible to jot down a few notes before the idea escapes you
Check out some other blogs in your field.
No, I’m not saying take other people’s ideas or plagiarise their work: that’s not cool. But you can certainly take inspiration from reading other blogs in the same field as yours, to see what people are talking about, and what is currently proving popular. If you feel as if you have something valuable to add to the conversation, you could put your own spin on a commonly discussed topic, or even write some kind of reply post to someone else’s post (obviously, citing the original).
There’s absolutely nothing wrong with getting inspiration from other blogs, as long as you clearly know the line between being inspired by something and straight-out copying
Think carefully about what your audience really wants to know.
You write blog posts to communicate, and ultimately to share your own knowledge and thoughts. So one of the best ways to come up with your next blog post idea is to have a good hard think about your audience and exactly what they’d like to know. Take a look at the people who are commenting on your blog, liking your posts and sharing your content on Twitter, and check out the other things they’re liking and sharing.
What are their interests and likes, and more importantly, how can you offer them valuable information in that field?
For example, the blog on this website is primarily aimed at bloggers and business owners, and so I cater to their problems and needs with my content. I’ve written advice on how to make your content better, why a blog could benefit your business and the ins and outs of starting a blog because that’s what bloggers or people who are thinking about blogging for their businesses need to know.
Ask your readers.
You don’t even need to try and guess what your audience wants to know about, or read about on your blog if you don’t want to. You could simply ask them what they’d like you to blog about next, either on your blog or on social media. If you have a fairly active community around your blog then there are probably plenty of people out there who have things they’d love to know and would be happy to either vote on what your next blog post should be about, or ask you questions that you could then answer in an informative blog post
Look back at your most popular posts.
A great way to figure out what to blog about in the future is to look back at your past posts. What posts had the most people clicking ‘read more’, or that inspired the most people to comment?
Your top posts reflect your audience's interests, and so you could take one of those old topics and expand on it, whether that means going into further detail, adding further tips, or looking at it from a slightly different angle. So for example, if one of your most popular posts is ‘How To Promote Your Blog With Social Media’, you could go into further detail on specific sites, therefore spawning several more posts in the same vein, that are likely to prove popular. So you could do, ‘How To Promote Your Blog on Twitter’, and ‘How To Use Instagram to Promote Your Blog Posts.’
Ultimately, the last thing you want to do when you’re unsure how to choose a topic for your next blog post is despair, and resort to procrastination. It can be tempting to put it off and wait until the muse strikes, but you can never guarantee when that will happen: maybe in an hour, or tomorrow, or perhaps in a week.
The best way to get inspired and find a topic for your next blog post is to be proactive, and go out looking for it, whether that’s by preparing in advance for the dry spells by noting down your ideas, or by analysing your past successes, or asking your readers. Somewhere out there is your next awesome blog post topic: now go out and get it!
So how do you choose topics for your next blog post? Any other tips or tricks?