How To Generate Blog Post Ideas When You’re Out of Creative Steam
All content writers have been there – 15 blogs deep for a new client and you’ve covered all bases. You’re out of ideas, surely there’s nothing else you can say about [product] or [service]? Content writer’s block is a daunting affliction so knowing how to come up with creative blog post ideas when you’re running on fumes is a skill worth learning.
Read on to find out what tips you can use to overcome creative hurdles and keep your content plan on track!
Where better to go for content inspiration than the places that you share all of your content? Social media platforms like Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn are excellent sites to explore when you’re out of ideas as they’re brimming with articles trying to grab your attention.
Good ways to get the most inspiration out of these sites include searching hashtags to focus in on specific topics, trawling through authoritative industry figures’ profiles to see what they’re sharing, and building a network of valuable sources for future inspiration.
Social media is also good for keeping you abreast of industry news and more general topical news, both of which can spark your imagination and provide the foundation for a new blog post.
Group brainstorming in any of its forms (spider diagrams, lists, focus groups) is an often overlooked method of idea generation. In the simplest definition, brainstorming is the same thing as creative group thinking. The idea is to remove creative limitations from the thinking process so that yours and your colleagues’ brains can explore possibilities without restriction.
While some of the results from a brainstorming session might be impossible to implement (or too weird to consider seriously), you’re almost guaranteed to come up with several good ideas as a group.
While brainstorming is a hugely valuable tool for content ideation, you might not always be able to take up your colleagues’ time for your own needs. When working alone on coming up with content ideas, making lateral thought maps can reveal some great topics to write about.
Start with a basic keyword or topic – ‘hair dryers’ for a salon products supplier for example. Using this original word as a central point, explore related subjects.
This (hastily created) example mind map shows how quickly you can unearth potential blog topics by delving into the less obvious elements of the surface level subjects. Investing more time, you could come up with months worth of blog post ideas through one simple mind map.
Although you won’t receive any awards for originality, looking through your clients’ biggest competitors’ blogs and social media posts can help you to understand what other content writers in the same situation as you are writing about.
While it’s not advised to directly copy competitors’ content, using it as inspiration for your own posts is fair game! A good way of doing this is to read a competitor blog post, figure out what it’s trying to say, and then say it better. Remember, some of the best content you can write will thoughtfully and comprehensively answer the burning questions that your audience have.
Referring back to the earlier example of a salon products supplier, good content might answer questions such as:
- How much should a haircut cost?
- What are the best hairspray products in 2018?
- When was hair dye invented?
If you’re really struggling to come up with something by yourself, don’t be afraid to reach out to your clients themselves and see what’s going on in the business. Company milestones, news updates, and case studies make for excellent blog posts and can add some welcome diversity to your usual topics.
Build Your Content Idea Pipeline
Despite all of this, prevention is the best cure to lack of inspiration so to avoid running out of ideas in the first place, make sure that you have several open avenues to spark your imagination and generate content ideas at all times. Good methods of doing this include following relevant accounts on social media (particularly Twitter), setting up Google Alerts for relevant keywords, and subscribing to industry-specific newsletters.
It’s also not a bad idea to keep up to date with the blogs of your favourite content marketers or companies to keep your knowledge of the content marketing landscape up to date.
Never Run Out of Blog Post Ideas Again
Although there’s no definitive way to stave off creative droughts, keep these tips in mind and you’ll be in a great position for sourcing blog post ideas in the future.
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