Coming up with blog content is something that every blogger struggles with at one time or another. Sticking to deadlines and writing when you’re not feeling inspired is really frustrating, and thinking of what to write is the worst part. We’ve all sat in front of a post editor with the cursor blinking and our mind blank. It’s not fun!
Luckily, there are a few methods that I’ve developed over the years to make sure you never run out of ideas. Better yet, coming up with a schedule and writing your posts ahead of time means you never have to write when you’re feeling uninspired, and instead can save time and write only when the passion and the words are flowing.
Keep a List
The best thing you can do for your blogging workflow is to keep an ongoing list of blog post ideas. Though I used to carry a small notebook around with me, I’ve gone digital in the past year or so and now use an app called Wunderlist to store my ideas. It has a good looking interface, an app for both your phone and your computer, and is really easy to use. You can make as many lists as you want and add items and sort them however works for you!The best thing you can do for your blogging workflow is to keep an ongoing list of post ideas to draw from. Click To Tweet
I have lists for groceries I need, books I want to read, restaurants I want to check out, but most importantly, I have a list of blog post ideas that I am constantly updating. We all know that inspiration strikes at the strangest, and often most inconvenient, moments. So instead of trying to remember an idea when you have it, add it to the list. Then, next time you sit down to blog you can look at your list and you’ll have more than enough ideas to write about.
The best part about keeping a list is that you have ideas to choose from. So when you sit down to write a post, you can read through the list and choose the idea that is the most inspiring to you in that moment. If you only have one blog post idea on your list, it means you have to write about that one (or fall off your schedule). If you’re not feeling particularly motivated by that idea in that moment, it’s not going to be a fun post to write. Instead, having a long list means you can always choose the topic that is speaking to you.Having a long list of post ideas to draw from means you can always pick one that inspires you to write about. Click To Tweet
So, now that you’re keeping a list, how do you populate it? You’ll find inspiration as you go through your daily tasks and work, but below I’ve listed a few specific places you can check if you want to brainstorm some post ideas right now.
Read related blogs
If you’re sitting at the computer with a WordPress window open and you just can’t seem to think of anything to write about, the key is to read! Another great list you can keep in Wunderlist is blogs to check out when you’re looking for inspiration. It’s good to frequent ones that are in your niche as well as sites outside your niche that simply inspire you.If you're at the computer and you just can't seem to think of anything to write about, the key is to read! Click To Tweet
Of course you never want to copy someone’s post or post idea, but often reading other writing will inspire your own. Maybe reading a post about one thing brings up a few questions that you want to answer in a blog post. Or maybe you’re so inspired by a post topic that you want to write one on the same topic to share your opinion. As long as you’re coming up with content that is unique, taking inspiration is fine.
And, don’t forget to comment while you’re there reading. Interacting and building community with other bloggers and entrepreneurs is a great way to grow your following and traffic as well (plus being part of a community is great).
Just because you’re writing a blog doesn’t mean you have to read blogs to find inspiration. You can look anywhere. Always have a few books on hand and anytime you’re feeling stuck for ideas or motivation, open one up and start reading. You’ll be amazed at how reading someone else’s words can inspire your own. And don’t feel the need to stick to one niche. Just because I write a blog on design and entrepreneurship doesn’t mean that’s all I read about. I try to check out books on a wide variety of topics, and I always find at least a few ideas amongst the pages.When you're stuck for inspiration, read. It's amazing how reading someone else's words can inspire your own. Click To Tweet
Read your own past posts
If you’re stuck for ideas taking a look through your own older blog posts can be a great way to spark inspiration. Maybe something you wrote about in the past can be expanded and you have more to say now, or your thoughts have changed. Maybe one of your old posts will inspire a new idea. Or maybe you’ll find an old post that’s a great topic but wasn’t well written. There’s no shame in deleting an old post and writing a new one that you’re proud of. I did a bit of a blog cleanse a little while ago and deleted all my really old posts that I wasn’t proud of. I ended up with a post archive that I was really happy with, and a list of post ideas that I could re-write on.
What have you done lately?
Think about what you’ve done in your life lately that’s worth sharing. Sure, people might not care about your most recent trip to the grocery store, but it’s likely that you’ve done something exciting and blog worthy in the last little while. Even small details of your life that you might not think are exciting are what draw people in to your blog and let them relate to you as a reader. Write something you’ve done that relates to your niche, or just write a ‘Life Lately’ post about what you’ve been up to since you checked in last.
Look at Photos
Sometimes you can centre an entire post around an image, or at least you can find inspiration in one. If you can’t think of anything new and exciting look through your latest photos in the camera roll on your phone, or look through images on Pinterest and Instagram. Like they say, a picture is worth 1,000 words, so an image can quickly convey a lot. Browse through images until you have some ideas flowing and then get writing!
Keep a Schedule
Lastly, when you have a list of post ideas that’s well populated and that you updated regularly, create a schedule of when you will write and publish your posts. Keeping a schedule can be the best way to make sure you never feel uninspired or stuck without a post idea. Create a time frame of when you will brainstorm, write, edit, publish, and then share your posts so that you always have a steady stream of content flowing without every having to cram at the last minute. Check out my post on Why You Should Never Click Publish Now to learn a little bit more about scheduling posts ahead.
Scrambling to come up with blog post ideas and then write those posts at the last minute will just leave you feeling rushed and overworked, and you will end up producing poor quality posts. However, if you follow all of these steps and keep a continuous list of ideas, you will be able to slow down, write ahead of time, and only when the inspiration flows. This will ensure that all your posts are well thought out, well written, and worth sharing.
If you’re stuck for content right now you can follow these quick tips to get today’s post done, and then work through them again to get ahead of the game!
This post was originally publishing on April 3, 2015 and has been updated to better help you!