A blog only stays relevant when it can consistently post fresh content for people to consume. The only problem is that after blogging for some time, it can be difficult to develop good ideas for blog posts.
How do some blogs always have great content that is fresh and relevant?
It’s because they’ve developed ways to come up with ideas for blog posts so that new content can always be generated. Here are the methods that the most prolific bloggers use to make sure the craving for fresh content is always satisfied.
#1 Use a list of blog post title templates to spur neural activity.
Most pro bloggers, like myself, have a list of anywhere from fifty to one hundred fill-in-the-blank blog post title templates. An example of a couple of these would be…
Questions You Should Ask Before ________
Reasons You Didn’t Get ________
____ vs. _____: Which is Better?
How ______ Can Be Your Secret Weapon
Little Known Ways to ________
The Ultimate Cheat Sheet for ________
Here is a great infographic with 71 awesome blog post title templates. I recommend that you add this one to one of your Pinterest boards. That way, you will always have it handy the next time you need some blog title inspiration.
#2. Tell a story that recently happened to you.
Stuff happens every day. Your memoirs offer relevant experiences. When you tell a story that has happened to you, especially recent stories, you are able to create engaging content that your readers will want to share.
Telling a story works because it is an engaging way to share your knowledge. As people read your story, they think, “Hey – that could have happened to me.” This causes relationships to form between you and your audience.
If you’re not sure about what kind of story to tell or what structure your story should have, then consider hitting these key points with your post.
- Ask the questions you think readers will ask. Do you really have the experience to offer meaningful knowledge in the subject matter of your story? Is your story relevant and authentic? Does the story identify specific problems and offer solutions?
- Create a list of points you’d like to cover. Lists not only help you be able to make sure you’ve covered every key point, but they can also become the foundation of a blog post. Let’s face it – lists are easy to read. Blog readers love list posts because they can consume only the content they need in a short amount of time.
Our lives are ultimately the story of who we are. Something new happens every day.
#3. Survey your blog audience to get topic ideas.
The best way to find out what your audience wants is to ask them directly. The two best ways to do this are to…
- Send an Open Ended Question Email – This is where you ask them a question in the email and ask them to reply directly to the email. Keep your question simple and do not go overboard on the explanation. The most effective emails are the ones that look like they are from one of your friends.
- Create a Survey – If go the survey route, then you will want to take your time to create a list of three to five questions. The most trusted free survey tool is Survey Monkey. This can be promoted on your site, and you can email it to your list.
Just remember to use a really good subject line like…
I Need Your Help With a Question
What Do You Need Help With Right Now
A great subject line will dramatically increase the number of responses.
#4. Go through the comments section of your previous posts.
I recommend looking through your comments for anyone mentioning a specific problem they are struggling with.
When people offer this type of comment, what they’re actually doing is asking you a question: “Hey – would you write a full blog post about this subject?”
It can be easy to overlook these comments because you’re in such a rush to respond to everyone. Slow things down. Actually comprehend what you’re reading in the comments. Then take notes about the actionable subject matters that can become new blog post ideas.
You don’t have to just stay within the comments section of your blog to gather ideas either. There are extremely popular blogs in every niche. You can use their audience’s struggles to identify your future blog topics.
#5. Review your content Hall of Fame.
If you’ve been blogging for some time, then there’s a good chance you already know which posts have been your top performers. This is your content Hall of Fame.
Your Hall of Fame has content which stands out to your community compared to your other posts. They have more views, more comments, or more social sharing. This means they can also be the cornerstone of a few follow-up posts so that you can build more fresh content from the foundation of your best content.
If you want to take this a step further, then you can utilize a heat map tool like Crazy Egg on your most visited posts.
The heat map will show you which areas of a blog post hold the most interest for visitors. You’ll be able to track places that people click throughout the post. Then, using this data, you can pick out certain phrases, topics, or even keywords that have more value to the visitors of your site. You can then create more blog posts based off of the value results that you are seeing.
#6. Look for ways to prepare your audience.
Sometimes the best blog post ideas are those that prepare the readers to implement or learn something before they’re ready to take action on their own.
This is why we are seeing a steady rise in the “how to” blog posts that are available today. This type of post takes the reader step-by-step through the information so they can implement it on their own at home.
There are three ways pro bloggers prepare their audience…
- The Recipe Post. This type of blog post provides instructions so that readers can complete a DIY project. It’s like following a recipe to create a dish in the kitchen, except any task can have a recipe. Posts like this can help homeowners repair a roof, vehicle owners replace a fuel tank, or parents to cut their kid’s hair in a specific way.
- The Seminar Post. These are typically ultra long form posts with over 4000 words. These work best with high level topics. An example would be, “The Ultimate Guide to Dominating Twitter.” Seminar posts can also be broken down into a series of posts, which can build anticipation and increase engagement.
- The Solution Post. There are also blog posts that identify certain problems that readers may be having. Then they will point to several solutions that may be used to solve that problem. An example of this would be, “25 Ways to Decrease Your Bounce Rate.”
If you have a product or service, then you will want to brainstorm to come up with topics that can be used for all three styles of preparation posts. Look for ways to strategically prepare your audience on topics that will position you as the expert in that particular niche.
#7. Just sit down and write something.
The best way to defeat writer’s block is to just write about something. Anything. Do it for 10 minutes without correcting your errors and then review what has been written. There’s a good chance there will be at least a couple of ideas that are worth developing into a full blog post.
#8. Talk to other bloggers about writing a guest post.
Sometimes you can just be so stuck that no ideas seem to be coming up for your blog. No matter how many brainstorming sessions you have, the well of creativity seems to have run dry. That’s when it is time to talk to other bloggers who write on similar topics.
One of the easiest ways to approach other bloggers is to ask them to write a guest post for you. Here are a couple of ways to get other people to contribute to your blog..
- Look to Your Audience First – One of the easiest ways to get guest bloggers is to reach out to the people that are making the best comments on your posts. They already value your blog, and the comments can give you a peek into how good of a writer they are.
- Place a “Guest Blog for Us” Link in Your Main Navigation – You will want link this to a page with a form. The page should outline what you are looking for in submissions, which may include the topics and the word count. The form should allow for an attachment submission. This will allow applicants to submit their post directly to you.
- Reach Out to Other Bloggers Directly – The best practice here is to build a relationship first before asking for the guest post. This can be done by commenting on their blog posts, asking them a couple of questions via email, and mentioning them in your Tweets.
When it comes to guest bloggers, it is all about quality over quantity. You are going to have to wade through mediocrity to find excellence.
#9. You’ve got an opinion. Share it.
If you have cable TV, then turn it to CNN. You’ll notice that most of what is “news” is actually paid analysts sharing their personal opinions about the news events of the day. More time is spent on “opinion” in news today than is spent on “current events.”
That’s good news for you as a blogger. It means that anything you have a strong opinion on can become the foundation of a fantastic blog post.
Now this type of idea isn’t without risk. You’ll want to consider these two key points before publishing an opinion post.
- Not every reader is going to agree with you. When people disagree online today, there can be a lot of hatred offered in their responses. An offered opinion will have some people agree with you and others disagree – even if you have solid facts to back your opinion.
- Your post must be relevant in some way. Not all opinions have value. A 1,000-word blog post about why 6-ounce coffee cups are better than 10-ounce coffee cups might show the world your passion, but the value response to a reader is limited. You’ll want to make sure your opinions are something of interest to a majority of your readership.
What tends to trip up bloggers with this type of idea is staying on point. Instead of sharing a precise opinion, the blog post starts out about coffee cups and ends with the merits of why HP computers are better. You must stay consistent from start to finish to maintain value.
#10. Rewrite and recycle.
Some of your older posts may be good, but the content in them might be a little out of date. Instead of updating that old post, it might just be time to rewrite it so that you can address what has changed. Not only will this give you a fresh post, but you can link to the older post to add a little more traffic to your site.
These blog posts also take less time to write since you’ve already addressed the subject in the past. This allows you to create fresh, updated content in just minutes so that your readers are satisfied.
#11. Use themes to create ongoing content.
During one of those brainstorming sessions, you may have created a category to think about. You listed a bunch of ideas underneath that category which could become blog posts. Guess what? That category can become a theme of ongoing blog posts for a specific period of time.
The advantage of using themes is that you’ll have readers go through multiple posts when they are interested in what you’re writing about. Anything that is related will be consumed. This means longer website visits and repeat readership.
The key to using themes wisely is to break large ideas into smaller ones that have specific details and value to offer the reader.
#12. Use keyword research to find out exactly what people are searching for on Google.
If you know how to do keyword research the right way, then you will be able to plan out the next five hundred blog posts in a matter of days. On top of that, every post that you write will end up ranking on Google and build a residual flow of organic traffic.
Here is a basic outline of how I perform keyword research for my blogs and my clients’ blogs…
Only use SEMRush
Please, please, please… Do not use Google’s keyword planner to do your keyword research. The Google keyword planner is for Adwords pay-per-click research. If you are buying ads on Google, then use it. If not, then you are using a hammer for a job that requires a saw. You can use this special link to get two weeks of free access to the professional account so that you can do it the right way without having to spend a dollar.
Start with a Brainstorm Session
Write down every topic or phrase that you can think of into a Google spreadsheet. You will want to use a Google spreadsheet so that you can access it from any computer. This will allow you to add new words that you find in the news and other articles that you come across.
Perform an SEMRush Keyword Search for Every Word in Your Brainstorm Spreadsheet
Every keyword is going to have hundreds and thousands of long tail keyword variations. SEMRush allows you to download each of this lists into a .csv or excel spreadsheet.
Compile All Your Lists into a Master and Trim the Competitive Phrases
The two most important statistical points in keyword research are search volume and search results. The search results tells you how many web pages you are competing with for each keyword phrase. Once you have your list of every keyword phrase that you found, then you can rank them by the least results to the most results.
Focus on Keyword Phrases with the Right Combination of Volume and Results
I recommend going after keyword phrases with a search volume greater than 50 and less than 500,000 Google results.
What you will be left with is a list of specific topics that you know people are searching for and will be easy to rank on Google for. If everything that I just said sounds confusing, then I recommend that you sign up to my course. I teach my entire keyword research process from soup to nuts in easy to understand video modules. I also have screencasts that will allow you to watch me walk through each part of the keyword research process.
Let me give you one more analogy to illustrate the importance of mastering keyword research. A blogger that is doing keyword research the wrong way is essentially running around like a crazy person that is shooting a gun randomly into the air. A blogger that has mastered keyword research is a world class sniper that can shoot the wings off of a fly from 2000 yards away.