June 12, 2015
Blogging burnout is a real thing in our industry. With the amount of demand placed on writers to come up with topics that are engaging and constructive, it can be difficult to keep the well filled enough so that you can keep cranking out great articles time and time again. Eventually you can run out of fuel for your fire.
But this doesn’t have to be the case. The Internet is the collected knowledge of all humankind and with it comes the best ideas that humans have ever had. It’s just a matter of tapping into this potential and finding something to write about.
Finding Hot Stuff For Your Blogs That Will Amaze Your Readers: 8 Methods
Developing a blog topic for a particular niche depends upon what you know about your audience. Once you leverage something your audience likes, it’s bound to be a hit.
Most times, we bloggers have a problem getting to that part. We have a problem getting something on paper that sounds good and will draw readers’ attention. For situations like this, the Internet is well equipped to give us a load of solutions. Whenever the old writer’s block sets in and you’re grasping at straws for possible blog titles, you should probably give these tested strategies a try.
- Content Idea Generators: A content idea generator is a small app that allows you to input words or phrases and then randomly generate topics that may or may not be of use to you to for writing a blog. One of the most popular content idea generators is Hubspot’s Topic Generator. Given three nouns, it automatically generates topics that you can streamline to fit whatever niche you’re writing for. As a rough guide it’s indispensable for someone who’s short on time or ideas and has a looming deadline. It’s far from a sophisticated tool, but it saves you the time of having to juggle those nouns around with a pad of paper for hours before you hit upon the very same blog title the generator can spit out to you in half a minute.
What you should be aware of is that these content idea generators are solely meant to be a guide to start you on the path to a good blog entry. If content idea generators could write content as well as come up with catchy titles, we’d be out of jobs, my friend. Technology has a long way to go before it becomes that sophisticated, but it’s advanced enough to give you blog topics to think about (even though sometimes all you get are a mixed bag of jumbled words). When it comes to developing a killer blog post, sometimes all you need is the right headline to get you started.
- Read Comments in Niche Blogs: This doesn’t even have to be comments on your own blog. As someone who writes for a niche, one would assume you follow a lot of blogs that also write on the topic (you do, right?). The most popular sites usually have comment storms, hundreds of comments all saying what they liked or disliked about the piece, maybe asking for more information or clarifying information on the original post. Sometimes unique discussions go on in comment sections of blogs that can fuel new ways to think about accepted ideas. It’s these hidden gems that you’re looking for.
To truly fuel a reader’s want for good content, you have to know what you’re audience is looking for in the first place. You can write a lot of great articles that people simply ignore because it’s not what they want to discuss, or what interests them. Comments from real users give you a unique insight into what the readers in this particular niche are talking about. From there you can simply develop a set of headlines based around that topic and start writing on it. As a method of getting new ideas and inspiration, it can take quite a bit of time. Reading through hundreds of comments can get tedious, but quite often it’s worth it to find that one statement that fuels your writing fire for another post.
- What’s Happening that’s New? You know what changes every day? The news. In a particular niche or industry, there is always something new being discussed. Technological advances over the last decade have outpaced our ability to report them and because of that there will always be a ready audience for a news topic. But what news topic do you write about? Where do you find the information? Can you still do a news report on something if you’re not a news blog?
All of these are good questions. To sum it up, you don’t need to be a news blog to develop good content based on something that happened or is happening that has the potential to impact your niche. Thanks to Google, you can find out exactly what the cutting edge of your niche is and what’s going to happen in the near future. From there it’s just a matter of following the links and getting informed on a topic so that you can deliver a succinct summary to your readers about something that they probably haven’t heard about yet, but would be grateful to know.
- Keep an Eye on Social Media: Social media has been a godsend to us bloggers, even though many of us overlook the powerful potential that lies just beneath the surface. Social media links you with your audience in the most direct manner that has ever existed since the dawn of the Internet. What this means is that it allows you to observe firsthand the things your audience is discussing with their social group. An insight like this has a lot of potential for generating leads for great content production. By using this information you can develop content around the most important topics that your users have chosen to discuss.
User generated content is not a new invention. This is a little bit like community generated content, but it depends upon you to flesh it out. The people that understand your readers the most are your readers. You can do a whole lot worse than depending on them to give you ideas for writing blog posts. If you spend an hour monitoring the trend of discussion on your audience’s pages, you can easily come up with a couple topics that you can discuss. Alternatively, you can pose a question to your audience and from their responses, craft some riveting content.
- Base your Post off Other Successful Posts: Again, this doesn’t have to be previous posts that you have done (although these are the easiest for you to get your hands on). Look at the best performing posts of the top four or five blogs you follow. What makes them unique? What causes them to perform so well? Once you figure that out, it’s simple to craft a post that mimics the style and the structure of the successful post. It’s a relatively easy way to give yourself ideas for new content in a short space of time. Your content may not perform as well as the original, but it still has a lot of potential.
Sometimes, as I mentioned before, all you need is a killer headline. Taking a look at popular titles in other niches can give you a great springboard from which to base your own headlines. By developing headlines in this way, you can get a new perspective for something you may have written about before. Although this method can be a bit tricky, it could also lead to very popular headlines if it works. The downside is, of course, that this only gives you a headline and you still have to get your own research done. Sometimes in doing your research you might stumble across something else that you could possibly write about in future posts. Which brings us to our next point.
- Take Copious Notes: Whatever you do, wherever you go, have a small notebook with you so that you can take notes as things pop into your head. The brain is a weird and wonderful organ and the times that inspiration strikes it are unpredictable. Like a Cub Scout, you must always be prepared for when your brain lights up with an idea. Having a notebook handy allows you to record the details of the idea in a solid form because, let’s face it, not everyone’s memory is photographic. You can also use a recorder to take voice notes about your idea, but being an old-fashioned type of writer at heart, I find something comforting about a notepad and pen.
With a notepad you can outline the idea you have as soon as you come up with it, maybe putting in possible sources for reference or other odds and ends that would make for a great content story. Ideas that come this way usually flesh themselves out fast. Once, on a forty-five minute train ride, I completed the draft for an entire article of about fifteen hundred words. Later that evening when I sat down to actually flesh it out, it was almost as if it wrote itself. It’s times like these that you realize exactly how powerful taking detailed notes can be when transferring an idea from your head to the screen.
- Be Experimental: One of the reasons that people like to read is because they are afraid of doing some things themselves. A sheltered, harbored life isn’t the place for thinking about climbing Everest, but through the magic of words and imagination, they can almost feel the cold sun on their skin and taste the frostbitten air near the summit. It’s things like these that make for unforgettable content. By helping people experience something that they would never try on their own, allowing them to live vicariously through your words, you attract your reader and they become invested in you. It’s not like you have to go out on a limb yourself…that’s what Case Studies are for!
Being a blogger means utilizing the available information you have to craft content that appeals to your audience. A truly skilled master of the craft can take a boring, dry case study about a startup in Anywhere, USA and turn it into a story about facing struggles, the perils of being an innovator and the overwhelming joy of success with just a few turns of phrase. Case studies give you a place to start to craft your story and by reading interviews and other articles on the topic at hand you can build a very good story that allows your audience to experience life through captains of industry.
- Shine a Different Light on Old Content: This one is probably the simplest and most overlooked way to generate new content – just use the old content! And no, I don’t mean copy the exact same post word-for-word and repost it under today’s date. Content is a fluid thing and whereas you may have represented something in words before, by taking the salient points out of that post and combining it with images, you can create a stunning infographic that gets your point across while at the same time doesn’t take any more work in terms of research than what you’ve already done.
Repurposing content like this and repackaging it is an old strategy. Companies in the middle of the twentieth century realized that people would more quickly buy something in shiny new packaging than the wrappers they were used to, and it changed how the industry presented products. Not many bloggers repurpose their content like this, either through fear of doing something completely untested or because they don’t feel comfortable covering ground they have already passed over. In any event, if you’re on a deadline and really need a jump-start for your inspiration, this is a great way to generate great content in a short time.
Award-winning author Douglas Adams once said that he liked the sound deadlines made as they whooshed past him. We bloggers don’t have that luxury. Our content needs to be produced on time and must be of a high enough quality so that we keep impressing our audience. If you’re really strapped for ideas and you’ve tried all of these, you can always get a professional company to provide blog posts for you in the form of a package. But if you still want to be a hands-on type of blogger, you’re going to have to face facts that sometimes your inspiration just dries up. These tips really help when you’re waiting for the well to fill back up. Eventually it will, and you’ll be glad for these little gems to tide you over until you can once again pull magnetic headlines out of your head.
Julia Spence-McCoy is the CEO of Express Writers, an online copywriting agency that began in 2011 with thousands of web content pages written to date and more than 50 talented writers on the team. Her passion is copywriting and all that pertains, including the ever-changing game of Google algorithm updates.