Fingers are poised. Computer screen is awash in white. Clock is ticking, reminding you of an encroaching deadline. Brain, however, is devoid of that one blog post you’re counting on to generate traffic, provoke thought, build your brand and motivate readers. Unfortunately, your Blog Well of Ideas has run dry. Good blog writing does not come without an occasional hiccup. Bloggers often experience writer’s block when trying to craft meaningful content, especially when they have to do so regularly. But there is no need to panic even though your computer screen is still just as white as it was when you first sat down in front of it. Here are a few simple ways you can reignite your creative juices:
1. Start With Keywords
Find out what people are searching for and to what depth they are searching. A good place to start is with Google Suggest. Simply type in the search box your primary keyword and Google will churn out a variety of suggestions, providing you with a healthy list of long-tail keywords for inspiration. When I typed in “how to,” for example, Google suggested long-tail keywords like “how to tie a tie” and “how to make French toast.” Other valuable keyword research tools include Wordtracker or WordStream’s Free Keyword Tool.
2. Reconnect with Your Target Audience
The key to any successful blogging campaign is to not lose sight of your target audience. Don’t forget to whom you are writing. Before you ever even blogged, you obviously invested a fair amount of research into determining your target audience, exploring how they communicate and what drives them. Your research likely landed you on the sites they frequented most often. Take time to revisit those sites, whatever they might be, and see what they’re talking about, what they’re searching for and what they’re reading to garner inspiration.
3. Scavenge the Web
Reading what other bloggers are writing, scanning blog comments, canvassing social media sites and glancing through what’s trending on the Internet are ideal for drumming up blog ideas. Danny Brown, co-author of Influence Marketing: How to Create, Manage and Measure Brand Influencers in Social Media Marketing, offers 25 ways to use the web to generate blog ideas. He has compiled a long list of helpful resources from Google Blog Search to Alltop.com.
4. A Fresh Spin Wins
While there is absolutely nothing wrong with regurgitating copy, you should always strive to infuse an old idea with new information. Sift through your old blog posts and find one that you can expand upon, re-crafting it to include something new you’ve learned since first posting. Give your reader something new to digest so they don’t rush off if the material feels dated or lackluster.
5. Keep Your Head in the Game
Make a point of dropping in on the places that keep you in tune to industry trends, market discoveries and audience preferences, such as discussion boards, comment threads, newsletters and podcasts. Keeping your pulse on the market will keep you fresh, on top of your game and in the know so you are better able to deliver relevant and useful information via your blog posts.
6. Don’t Be Afraid to Ask
Irwin Lagman at bloggingtips.com suggests simple ways to generate ideas, from talking to a lot of people who know your niche to reading the news. One particular idea worth noting is his contention to go directly to your reader. “You must write only stuff that they’d like to read, otherwise it’s pointless,” Lagman says. Ask a question on your blog, create a poll or talk directly to the reader, Lagman suggests.
7. Keep a Bloggers Journal
It’s always affirming to hear that certain practices you do are supported and shared with others in the field. Expert blogger, Lynn Terry at clicknewz.com, underscores the importance of keeping a journal to jot down ideas. I maintain a file of blog ideas on my smartphone, refreshing it whenever an idea bubbles to the surface. Terry takes it a step further by giving her idea a title, an objective and an outline so she’s prepared if she encounters that writer’s road block. She simply finalizes the anatomy of her blog post by building in the body with content.
Tips for inspiring great blog ideas are rampant on the web. We’ve only brushed the surface. What’s your best strategy for clearing the hurdle when writer’s block gets in the way of a really good blog post? Share your thoughts in the comments!
Did you find this post helpful? Read about how to get past writer’s block with Faith Jones.
Elaine Veltri — Editor/Writer