If you’ve ever struggled to come up with blog post ideas, you’re not alone. It’s challenging to create a steady stream of interesting posts that people want to read. But, there are some tricks to help ensure that you’ll always have plenty of ideas to write about. Here’s a quick, three-step strategies that’s as simple as digging deeper into what you already love to write about.
Step One: Define Your Blog’s Key Themes
If you’ve defined your key themes, and developed a niche for your blog, you’re one step ahead of the pack. If you haven’t, don’t worry, this step will help you do that.
What are you going to write about? What areas do you want to cover? For the best results, you’ll want to narrow your blog’s topics and make sure they’re related. For example, a blog could cover women’s style, baking, and fitness. These things go together and appeal to a certain demographic of women. But if you cover music, and football, and fashion, and dogs, and cooking, your focus is all over the place and finding readers who are interested in all those topics becomes more challenging.
For this exercise, we’re going to drill down into the baking aspect of the example above. The blogger, let’s call her Alice, writes a weekly post about baking. In particular, she’s really into desserts. So, for this exercise, desserts is the key theme we’re working with. Alice can, and should, do this kind of drill down for each of her blog’s key themes, but we’ll focus on the desserts theme for now.
Step Two: Define Subtopics of Your Key Theme
Now that you have your key topic, do some brainstorming and dig into that key topic to find subtopics. Alice’s dessert subtopics could be: gluten free desserts, desserts for parties, easy to make desserts, cupcakes, etc. The more ideas you come up with here, the easier step three will be, when you actually come up with the exact post topics you’re going to write about.
Go big here, get creative, don’t edit yourself. Just let the ideas and subtopics flow. When you’re finished, pull the strongest ideas to the top of the pile and move on to step three.
Step Three: Drill Down Into Your Subtopics to Uncover Blog Post Ideas
Now that you have some solid subtopics, you’re going to dig even deeper to find specific, great blog post ideas. Here are four things that make blog posts great:
1. They are timely: They resonate with whatever’s going on around holidays, seasons, current trends, pop culture events, news, etc.
2. They provide value: Great blog posts don’t just tell us that it would be a good idea to make Valentine’s Day cookies, they show us, step-by-step, how to make the perfect Valentine’s Day cookies.
3. They catch reader’s attention: Entice me as a reader. What do you mean this is the most delicious gluten free cupcake ever? I’d better check it out. Make a big claim, then back it up.
4. They provide a unique angle: Have a blog post about a gluten free wedding cake that’s easy to make and delicious? You know that someone is freaking out about making their friend’s gluten free wedding cake and they’re googling how to do it right now. Find the angles that people need but no one is writing about (or that people are writing about, but not as well as you could).
If you know how to make the best cookies in the world, let the world know with a catchy headline. Photo: April (CC-BY)
The Importance of Catchy Headlines
An essential element of a great blog post is an attention-grabbing headline. For the wedding cake example, compare this:
How to Make Gluten Free Cake
How to Make a Delicious, Gluten Free Wedding Cake in 7 Easy Steps
Which one is more appealing to you? Even if you have no intention of ever baking a gluten free wedding cake, you can see that the second one is more specific, more interesting, and more engaging.
The content of the article can be exactly the same, but the first headline is generic and a little boring. When we spice it up and target it specifically to people who need to learn how to make a gluten free wedding cake and they need it to be easy, we’re talking about a far more effective and attention-getting headline.
Bonus: From an SEO standpoint, How to Make a Gluten Free Wedding Cake in 10 Easy Steps will drive more traffic than How to Make a Gluten Free Cake from people specifically looking for gluten free wedding cakes. I don’t know how many blog posts there are about gluten free cakes, but I’m pretty sure there are a lot less about making gluten free wedding cakes. People searching for those specific keywords will be much more likely to end up on your page.
See how we started with a big topic, baking, drilled down to desserts, and drilled down even further for a blog post about how to make a gluten free wedding cake. And that’s just one blog post idea for Alice. Here are some others based on drilling down into her subtopics to find catchy, interesting angles.
- 3 Awesome Birthday Cake Ideas for Moms on a Budget
- How to Make a Vegan Pumpkin Pie Your Family Will Love
- 5 Easy Desserts You Can Make with Your Kids
- 4 Steps to the Perfect Valentine’s Day Cookies
- Be the Toast of the Party with These Fabulous Peppermint Cupcakes
The Beauty (and Effectiveness) of Drilling Down
See how this drilling down thing works? If you tell someone you wrote a blog post about desserts, they might say, “Oh, nice. I like desserts.” But if you tell them you wrote a blog post about how to make the perfect gluten free Valentine’s Day cookies, they’re far more likely to say, “Oh, my sister needs that,” or “Oh, that sounds great. What’s the name of your blog.”
You can use this strategy to come up with a never-ending stream of blog post ideas. There’s no need to ever be stumped about what to write about again. There are millions of ideas out there, just waiting for you to find them. Get creative, stay focused on your niche, and dig down until you strike your next fantastic blog post idea.
ProTip: Start a list, whether on a Google doc, a phone app, in Evernote, a notebook, or whatever works for you, that is specifically for your blog post ideas. When you think of a good one, write it down. Then, when it’s time to write a blog post, you just refer to your list and choose from your list of ideas.
Do you struggle to come up with blog post ideas? Do you have a strategy for coming up with blog post ideas? I’d love to hear about it. In the comments, let me know.
Photo by Luis Marina (CC-BY)