Bloggers don’t really have the luxury of writer’s block. This leaves one question asked far too often: What do you do when you don’t know what to write about, but you need to fulfill your monthly requirement of posts?
Writing can be an enjoyable experience, but we’ve all been in that spot where we just can’t think of ideas or topics creative or unique enough to write and publish. Bloggers who need to write a certain amount of articles per day/week/month don’t just have an unlimited source of quality ideas; especially article ideas that they actually want to write about. Even if you do decide to cut back on the frequency, Google still expects you to write regularly if they’re going to see you as natural and keep you indexed.
Fortunately, there are some ways you can craft quality ideas with just a few clicks of your mouse or keyboard including:
Browse the web
Start simple. If you’re writing about SEO, check out some of the top blogs around the Internet. Search Engine Land, Search Engine Watch, Search Engine Journal and Moz are widely considering the top four SEO sites out there, so browse their blogs and see what they write about to gain inspiration.
Of course, you don’t want to steal their exact ideas, but check out some articles and see what stands out to you of interest. Is there a little nugget in an article that you can take out and expound upon? Maybe take a bullet point in one article and find a way to turn it into its own post (in more detail, of course) on your site? It doesn’t even have to be something that interests you; it can also just be something that you don’t understand in great detail. If you don’t understand it, there’s a very good chance somebody else doesn’t understand it, either, and would be more than willing to read about it.
It’s always good to read your competition. For one, it’s a great way to pick up notes and learn from afar on what plays and what doesn’t for a similar audience. If you’re constantly reading articles in your field, it not only helps your knowledge of the topic, but it can also easily give you ideas. As you read through like articles, take note when one of those aforementioned nuggets comes about that you may want to write about in more detail later.
This is a fairly new tool and it’s about as simple as things can get. Simply head to ContentForset.com/Ideator and type in a keyword and the site automatically generates ideas for you. Check it out below:
Once you hit the search button, a whole list of ideas comes up that looks something like this:
As you can see, a ton of articles came up just from a simple search of “SEO”. Some of them were outdated or just plain irrelevant, but a lot were actual interesting ideas. If you see something you like, simply click on the little arrows on the right side and it’s instantly added to your “Saved Ideas” list:
It’s a great tool that takes literally just a second or two to generate dozens (or even hundreds) of article ideas for you on your topic. Just make sure you’re typing in the right keywords to help yourself out (which may involve keyword research, which you can learn more about here).
What better way to find out what your audience wants to read about than by asking them? Literally asking them is usually not a good idea, but you can head to Quora and see what questions people are asking related to your field. It’s a simple, quick way to get inside the heads of your consumers without actually asking them.
It doesn’t have to be Quora, of course. It can be any question-and-answer site—Yahoo Answers, forums, etc.—that can give you insight into what your audience cares about and wants to know more about.
WordStream has created an SEO Plugin that helps create fresh content ideas for bloggers and writers of all sorts. They offer two different ways to go about generating story ideas – searching both external sources for new topics generated by keyword suggestion and then checking your own site to see what has worked well in the past and could be written about again in a different way. This is cool because you’re more likely to get ideas regarding things you know about and understand.
WordStream runs through a tutorial on exactly how it works, showing the example of searching the term, “fishing.” The author suggested “fly fishing” and then proceeded from there to see more ideas and keywords to help generate ideas, which you can see from a screenshot they provided below:
WordStream also shows how you can come up with ideas without even having to leave your own site. It works by examining your own keywords and then matching those up with queries in search engines that include your keyword and show the popularity based on the blue bar on the right. You can also search specific questions rather than just keyword searches if you click the “My Keyword Research Tab” as opposed to “Enter a Keyword.”
And voila: Just like that, you have story ideas. It’s a very easy process if you can identify several keywords you’ve already written about or want to blog about.
What other ideas do you have to create content ideas and come up with topics? Have you discovered any time-tested processes that work for you? Let us know in the comments section below.