Blogging done right can be one of the most powerful, free and simple tools available in the 21st century. Done wrong and it can feel like running through treacle. Your views may be insightful and intelligently put across, but that doesn’t mean anyone is going to pay attention. So, how can you generate blog post ideas people will want to click on, read, debate and share?
The tips below are designed to jump-start your blog post creativity and generate ideas you may not have otherwise thought of sharing.
Most of us have some sort of controversial opinion. It doesn’t have to be hurtful or disrespectful, just something we believe that many others don’t, or an argument that isn’t regularly put across. One of the best ways to get people talking and generate a buzz around your writing is to spark this controversy. You can even do so by making an outrageous claim. Whether you then rationalise and give the counter-argument in your post is up to you, but by the time you’ve made a claim which entices people you should have them hooked.
If you are looking for information about presidents and see a blog post entitled “10 Undeniable Reasons Ryan Gosling Should Be Next President”, it is likely to grab your attention. This bold claim is an extreme example to prove a point, but you can see why making a bold statement like that would at least get people hooked long enough to read on.
Make Use of Existing Controversy and Trends
Similar, but different to our first point. Controversial subjects exist in the world, there are plenty of matters on which the public are split 50/50. Taking a stance and putting an opinion together is a way to take advantage of a subject people are already discussing.
Finding trending topics to write about is easier than ever thanks to social networks and Google. Twitter, Reddit, Facebook and Mashable can all be powerful ways to find what people are talking about at any given time.
Google can always be relied on for keywords and the same goes for trending terms which can be found on the inventively named “Google Trends”. This is access to valuable search data which shows not only what is trending at any time, but what is trending in different industries, locations and what has been trending historically. If you can search for a keyword such as ‘bicycles’ it will show you what is trending in the bicycle industry, allowing you to write about things relevant to your audience, rather than just latching on to big news events.
Another approach to finding trending topics is to look at BuzzSumo. An aggregator which bases its top results on the most shared blog posts and news items have the most shared on social media. Although a paid tool, it can give some valuable insights and a definite inspiration for blog post ideas.
Be the Expert and Build Ultimate Resources
Don’t reach for topics you don’t have a lot of knowledge on. By building your knowledge and writing about one specific topic, you will corner that niche and be able to offer a more advanced and detailed view of subjects. Make your blog topics go the extra mile. Instead of just going into the basics of a subject, explore it in a huge amount of depth.
One of the best ways to do this is to use Google’s keyword research tools or even just look at the related searches on Google. Say you’re teaching web design, instead of just writing about “How to Build a Website” try something like “How to Build a Website for Beginners on WordPress or in HTML”. A more detailed and in-depth guide is shown in numerous studies to be more likely to be shared, and to build your reputation as an authority on a subject, in turn, leading to more fans and eyeballs on your content.
Ask Your Followers
A great way to know what content to provide is to ask your audience! It sounds incredibly obvious, but if you have an active Twitter or a Facebook Group around your blog or brand, asking what sort of content people want to see and giving fans the opportunity to request specific tutorials or blog posts. Building an active community on your social media and even via your blog’s comment section can be vital to this.
If you don’t have this community yet, there are other ways to pick people's brains. Why not try to host a Reddit AMA? This will allow those following a certain subreddit to ask you questions about your career or achievements. Give an answer on Reddit and use this as inspiration for your blog, an easy way to generate loads of ideas.
Lists and Roundups
People love lists. Even this post is a list. There is a psychology to this, but the important thing for you to remember is that using lists can drive people to your blog. For some reason, unusual numbers on lists can be even more enticing for people. Posts starting “The 23 Reasons Why…” or “17 best…” are likely to drive clicks from search results and social media.
Start to brainstorm which blog posts you can turn into list formats or new ‘best of’ lists you can create. A great way to do this is to round up the opinions of influencers in an industry or even to find a selection of quotes relevant to a topic. This is a great and simple way to pool a lot of information and bring it together in a simple-to-digest format for readers, which is why list posts or ‘listicle’ format blogs are so popular.
Whichever of these techniques you run with in order to generate new ideas, the key is to keep putting out new content and honing your technique not only when it comes to writing but finding new and interesting ideas and approaches to keep people interested and drive attention.