Let’s be honest: running a blog probably isn’t your passion.
You’ve got a business to look after. And that means you’re more worried about making connections, developing new products, and pushing your sales numbers as far as they can go.
So if you’re someone who feels like they’re stuck with the task of creating content (rather than someone who does it for a living), it’s all too easy to run out of steam early on.
And that, my friends, is what kills a blog.
So to help you out, I’ve put together a few quick tips to help you approach your brainstorming from a different angle. Instead of staring at a blank page, searching your tired mind for any hint of a fresh nugget of inspiration, we’re going to take a few shortcuts.
(And for the most part, we’re going to get brand new ideas from the old ones we already have – no creative juices required!)
Ready? Let’s start with something simple:
1. Zoom in
The first batch of ideas you have for your blog will usually be broad. And that’s fine. You need to get these broad ideas out first so you have something to work with later.
They could be things like:
- ‘How to Attract More Customers to Your Business’
- ‘How to Cook like a Professional Chef’
- Or ‘The Best Free Plugins for WordPress’.
But there are two problems with creating blog posts around broad topics like these:
They quickly exhaust your supply of topics – and they’re not usually all that helpful or deep.
To a first-time reader, posts like these reek of ‘basic’. When I land on a site and see that their most recent post is ‘How to attract more customers to your business’, I immediately assume that they haven’t been blogging for long.
But if I see a blog post called ‘How to get CEOs interested in your B2B business’ – I assume that blog is a little more mature.
And if I see ‘How to increase your response rates from retail CEOs when cold-pitching in your B2B email campaigns with MailChimp’, then I know that’s a blog that probably has a long history of in-depth ideas.
So what does that mean?
It means that the further you zoom in – with a pin-point focus on one specific situation or problem – the more different ideas you’ll be able to squeeze out of one single broad topic (attracting customers).
But wait. There’s more:
As you go deeper and deeper with your microscope, you’ll be forced to dig down to the extremes of the particular cases and obstacles that come with that specific topic. And that means your blog posts will naturally become more rich, useful, and dense with practical tips and relevant content.
2. Branch out
Most businesses have a clear focus. They help people with a specific problem, or they create products for a specific type of person or situation. And that’s fantastic. It helps your business to stay focused on a small number of services and improvements.
But your blog doesn’t have to be so narrow in scope.
People come to your business for one reason. But they have all sorts of related interests and problems that you can solve.
As a copywriter, I mostly write about writing. I write about advertising and marketing, communication and tone of voice.
But the people I want to attract (businesses, marketers, and agencies) have all sorts of problems. In fact, just about any problem that businesses, marketers, and agencies have would be appropriate for this blog.
I could write about SEO, web design, DIY software, or accounting. I could offer some commentary on the latest news that affects businesses – or even look at some free learning courses, software, or bargains on business tools.
There are limits, of course. I don’t intend to start sharing my cooking recipes. Or waffling on about my personal life and the pets I don’t have.
And if I do decide to have a bit of fun with a critical rant (which is highly likely), it’s going to be about something relevant.
The important thing is to realise that – whatever industry or niche you might be in – your blog isn’t as limited as you think. Your visitors are complete human beings with a range of desires, interests, and problems – and there’s a whole world of related topics you can cover.
3. Cycle back
If you looked at the first list of broad topics and saw some of your own early blog posts in there, don’t worry:
They’re not done and dusted just yet.
As long as there’s plenty of time between them – ideally, at least a few months – most people won’t notice or care that you’re exploring the same topic you’ve covered before.
But there is a caveat here:
You need to take that old topic and do something new with it. That might mean taking one part of an old post and expanding it (‘zooming in’), or taking that idea in a new direction and applying it to other areas of interest (‘branching out’).
This blog post is about coming up with new ideas for a blog. But that doesn’t have to be the end of it. There’s nothing to stop me coming back in a few months with a new spin on the same subject. I could easily cycle back with a whole list of new titles around the same topic, such as:
- ‘How to Use Keyword Research Tools to Get New Ideas for Your Blog’
- ‘Five Offline Places to Find Inspiration for Your Blog’
- Or ‘How to Trick Your Social Followers into Giving You Ideas for Your Blog’.
The list goes on. And so will your blog.
4. Break it down
Long-tail keywords aren’t just useful for SEO experts: they’re fantastic for content creators, too.
Sites like Keyword Tool or AnswerThePublic can give you a huge list of suggested keywords based on a quick search (such as ‘blog writing’). In the case of Keyword Tool, you won’t be able to see details like the search volume and the cost-per-click unless you sign up – but you can still get plenty of ideas from the keywords themselves:
From a simple search for ‘blog writing’, you can already see a few keyword suggestions that you might not have thought of by yourself. And without leaving the first suggestion – ‘blog writing and earning’ – you could create an entire batch of new articles around one specific part of blog writing (the money).
You could start planning posts like:
- ‘How Much Does a Blog Writer Charge per Hour?’
- ‘Should You Charge Every Client the Same Rate for Blog Writing?’
- ‘Why You Should Never Pay a Blog Writer by the Word’
- ‘Writing Blogs for Clients? Here’s How You Get Them to Pay on Time’.
5. Reach out
If you’re not using other platforms to help bring traffic to your blog, you’re missing out.
We all (hopefully) use social media sites to link to our blog and generate some discussion. But you can take things one step further:
Ask your prospects and customers what they’re interested in. Find out what important information they need to know, and which difficulties and obstacles they’d like help with – and then write about them in your blog.
This approach isn’t just a sneaky way to get free ideas. It’s also a way to guarantee that you’re covering the right topics for your audience. And as a bonus, the social media discussion around their problems and needs gives you free and easy visibility and activity on that platform – before you’ve written a single word of your blog post.
Ready to give your blog eternal life?
If it seems like keeping a blog fresh forever is impossible, don’t worry.
Everyone feels the same. But remember this: there are websites out there that have been publishing new content three or four times a day for ten years.
So if they haven’t run out of steam yet, you’ve got no excuse.
Unless, of course, you’ve hired a professional to do it for you.
That’s a pretty good excuse to stop writing. And I recommend you take it.