Ah, writer’s block – it gets everyone at some point. Next time you find yourself sitting at your desk, scratching your head over what in the world you should write about for your next blog, consider these options.
Use What Already Works For You
The most accessible data source that you have at your disposal is your own past works. If you can go through your old blog posts and tag each one with their respective topic to categorize them, you can see what topic or topics are the most popular with your audience by measuring each topic’s performance with data analysis tools like excel or a content strategy tool. Which metric you choose to track depends on your marketing goals. You can track each category by time on page, views, subscribers gained, or leads generated. It is crucial to consistently select a business objective that you want your blog to serve and monitor the metrics that represent it’s success – so you know what you should keep writing about.
See What Works for Your Competitors
Certainly you have those! Check out their blogs and what they are writing about. Odds are, you have a very similar, if not overlapping, audience. This means that their most popular content will certainly perform well for you too. Once you discover their top performing content, ask yourself how you could improve on their writing and talking points. You don’t want to copy and paste their words, but there is nothing wrong with writing about the same topic. Just make sure that you offer your own special viewpoints and perspective on the topics at hand. Be unique!
Check Out What Your Audience is Talking About
Check out the website Quora – and type in your industry name or blog topics. The search results will show you common questions that are asked about those topics. Then you know what kind of content your audience is searching for! If an overwhelming amount of questions turn up, you have a list of blog posts to write.
Use Google’s Ask Box
What is this? Well, when you make a Google Search, about a scroll and a half down the page is a box with multiple drop down lists called “People Also Ask”. Think of these questions as in-demand topics that relate very closely to your main topic. If the audience is directly asking these questions in relation to a post topic, you know they’ll likely enjoy closely related topics ask well.
Ask Your Audience Directly
Yes, you can do this! Is there a better way to know what your audience wants to hear from you than to just ask them up front? We don’t think so. Send out surveys and polls in your email newsletter or upload them on your social media pages. Not everyone will reply, but the people who do will be giving you direct information about what they want to see. If you want more responders, consider offering the chance to win a prize, like a small gift certificate, to anyone who responds to the poll.
Follow Industry Newsletters and Websites
You want to be sure you are repeatedly providing your readers with industry information that is timely and relevant. Nobody wants to read last year’s news! Follow well known folks in your industry and see what they’re talking about. It can help you stay up to date with the newest trends as soon as they happen. The bigger the industry leader, the better -think about it this way, if they’re willing to promote a topic to their huge following, they must be pretty confident that it will be a big hit!
Understand Your Target Audience
Choosing topics for your audience is a lot easier when you know your audience well. The easiest way to do this is to make customer personas – a general picture of your dream customer. Then, write for that customer. A customer persona will include demographic information about your target audience (age, gender, education level, job title, and income), what professional goals your customers are trying to achieve, the attitudes and thoughts they have, the challenges and pain points they have, the types of content they prefer, and what influences their purchasing decisions (price, quality, availability).
Go on Amazon Books
Search for books that relate to your industry. Are there any books that cover general industry topics that have way more reviews than other books? What do they talk about in their pages? What do the reviews say? How could you improve upon these books and condense their talking points into a single blog post?
Twitter is an idea magnet! You can generate ideas practically on demand with Twitter if you use the right tools. Check the popular hashtags for your industry and see what people are talking about and what questions they are asking. It is a little bit like looking up what keywords are popular. If people are currently chatting about it, it’s almost certain that they will be pleased to find a blog with more information for them later the same day.
Teach Everything You Know
There are a ton of things that are relevant to your industry that you probably haven’t blogged about yet – do it! Don’t worry about it seeming too simple, because someone out there is a total beginner and could really benefit from your knowledge. You may not be the industry’s top expert on a specific topic, but you have knowledge to share. The best way to build an audience is to teach, and those who learned from you before will likely seek you out to learn more from you in the future.
Consider Your Missing Content
Look at your current content. Is there a certain topic you’ve never or only rarely spoke about? Are you missing any major points or topics in your industry? Fill a gap in your own content and round things out. Sometimes you just have to check your own past work for great ideas. Fill in anything that’s missing and you’ll likely be able to come up with at least a few blog posts.
Think About Your Future Portfolio
What do you want your blog to look like five or ten years in the future? What topics do you want to be known for? If your family or friends found and read your blog, what would they be proud of seeing you write about? What would you be proud to show off to your co-workers? Consider these things and what you need to create to ensure the future of your blog. Figure out what you want to be known for on the internet, and write about what you need to write about to get closer to that goal that you’ve set for yourself.
Solve a Problem
Is there something in your industry that you have noticed regularly causes a problem for others? If you have a solution or tips to avoid the problem, you have a blog post. If you have words that can help someone who is frustrated and tired of a problem they experience frequently, they’ll thank you for being there with all the answers that they need to solve their problem. Knowing that someone else has been there does wonders, and can build a lot of trust with audiences – they needed help and you were there for them. This can also cement you as an industry expert – you have all the answers, after all!
Entertain and Inspire
Not every blog you write has to be serious and technical. If you have a fascinating story, a funny tale, or an inspirational experience that relates in any way to your industry, share it! Plenty of blogs exist for the sole reason of entertainment, and they all do well – so there is no harm in you allowing just one of your posts to be entertainment or inspiration based every now and then as a bonus to your audience. The key is providing something totally unique or something that a lot of your readers could resonate with. Everyone needs down time, so try this out sometime! You and your audience will be glad you did.
Just Get Started
You can change your mind! Just start writing about something – anything. When you are really, honest, and truly out of ideas, just start. Pick something and go with it. It might not turn out perfect, but content you aren’t totally thrilled with is better than no content at all. Consistency is better than silence when it comes to hosting a blog, and your audience will miss you if you stop uploading posts!
Once you’ve established yourself as a quality writer for your industry, it’s tough to maintain the kind of consistency you need. Without that, it’s not possible to send out quality content time after time. It may seem like the pros never run out of ideas, but they do – they just use these tips to fill in the gaps for them.
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