Run out of blog topics? Try these exercises
Before you start starting at the screen and worry yourself into writing paralysis, try these ideas:
- Go through the buying cycle and jot down commonly asked questions for each phase and turn those into blog pieces.
- 5 minutes with… style interviews. Spotlight interviews are a great way to take the pressure off trying to think of blog topics and also let your readers in behind the scene. It doesn’t have to be too involved or serious. Takes about 15 minutes to do the interview and voila- you have some content your audience can use to get to know you. AND you can feature yourself, your team, customers, people in your industry you admire, or like minded individuals. The 5 minutes refers to the 5 minutes it takes to read, so keep that in mind when writing.
- Historical pieces. Share how things began, how things have changed, inspirations for why you started in the first place, how the industry has changed – anything that takes a little look at history that may help your audience understand your motivations. This is also perfect for social media feeds under the popular Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram tag #throwbackThursday – don’t forget the cheesy retro photos!
- Stick close to calendars and explore the themed content. There are a myriad of seasonal, charity day and public holiday themed topics you can choose from. You could also consider days that are specific to your business, topic or industry. Don’t be afraid to have a little fun with it- and keep an eye out for the appropriate tag on social media so you can share it with a wider audience as part of the holiday celebration.
- Rants and revolutionary calls to arms. We all have things that annoy the heck out of us. Many of these things are shared with our customers without any injury to our brand. For example, if you run a fashion blog and the amount of packaging you receive with your purchases bothers you, take that to your audience. If you work as a vet and you are tired of treating pets that have ailments due to their diet, don’t be afraid to be direct about the silly things people feed their pets in the name of love. We all have moments where we think WTF. And we all have things we think it would be nice to change. Blogging can be a useful tool in relieving that stress while also bringing your audience closer through shared pain, and even as a rally cry to make a change.
- Write out the common customer objections or myths. Answering misconceptions and providing help brings buckets of loyalty. It also cuts down emails asking the same old questions. This should be happening with your FAQ anyway, but it doesn’t hurt to go in depth with the why and how of a decision on occasion via the blog.
- Gently sledge a competitor. You don’t have to boil your competitors in oil, but discussing why you exist and why you have space in the market is important as it allows your intended audience to know your key strengths.
- Write an A to Z of <blog topic>. This is especially useful if you have a topic that is dense and needs a little bit of explanation. A to Z’s get a lot of traffic, they can incorporate humour which makes you seem more appealing while you help your audience, and assist ranking for key words.
- A day in the life of…<product/blogger>. Think about the myths you’d like to bust and/or features that could do with a little background and story. Allow people to see behind the scenes and enjoy the love you get from being open and transparent. You can use humour, write from the product’s perspective or approach it from a purely technical and realistic approach.
- Industry pieces that tackle the issues. Look for pain points that affect all the businesses or bloggers in your field to get the warm and friendly feeling happening with competitors. For example, my when to befriend a freelancer and when to ignore a fellow freelancer blogs. It shows you think about more than your own career and care about the community you belong to.
- Reviews. Most audiences are looking for recommendations for furthering their own learning. If you can bring TEDx talks, book and film reviews into the mix of your blogging, this not only opens up another learning channel for your customers, it can also be an opportunity to reach out to authors and speakers you admire.
- Event summaries. You may look like a complete ultra nerd, but taking notes at events makes for great content creation. Whether you tweet live or write notes in a book doesn’t really matter. The point is to capture that hour or two you are spending and turn it into something shareable and content driven. The benefit of event summaries are they help you connect with the speakers and find like minded people through other attendees. And it helps the information you find interesting or useful stick in your brain better.
And the main thing to remember? Don’t sweat it. Yes, you may want to have a regular bunch of blogs for SEO and so your audience tunes in. But quality always trumps quantity. So if you are finding it hard to squeak out a blog that you can feel is useful and/or something you can be proud of, take a break.
How do you keep the ideas for the blog topics flowing? Feel free to share them below!
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