“So, what do I blog about each time?” is a question I often get from clients. To keep your blog active and healthy, I recommend blogging at least 3 times per week. However, that notion is overwhelming for many. Even though you may be an expert in a topic, your mind may go completely blank when it comes time to blog, and then at other times when you’re not blogging, your idea cup runneth over.
The primary thing to remember is that blog posts don’t have to be long and complicated. You’re not writing an article, a report or a thesis. Many times a blog post is only a paragraph consisting of a few sentences that contain your thoughts about something. Now, doesn’t that sound easier than composing a 600-word post each time you sit down to blog?
Here are 20 ideas you can use to help you create a blog post when you’re stuck for an idea:
1. Current events. Can you link what you do in your business to a current event? Open up your daily newspaper or your RSS news reader and see what’s happening in the world, your country, your state, or your city. Give your opinion about the event and a solution, if you have it, and relate that to your business if you can.
2. Trends in your industry. When you blog about the trend, put your unique perspective on it, or write a rebuttal post, disagreeing with the relevance of the trend.
3. Get personal. Tell a story about what’s happening in your life or in your business that would be useful or instructive for your readers. One key to successful blogging is getting personal with your readers. The more “real” you are with your readers, the better your reader gets to know you and begins to like and trust you. You become a “real, live” human being to them who faces similar issues that they face.
4. Top 10. Most of my writing is in the form of a Top 10 list because it’s an easy way for me to outline the points I want to make and then go back and fill in the details for each point. In this case, each of your points for a topic can become an individual blog post, and when all the points are complete, you can compile the full list for an article for your ezine or website.
5. Frequently asked questions. If you’ve been in business for awhile, you know the questions that clients and prospective clients ask you to answer over and over again. Instead of repeatedly responding to the same questions, write a series of blog posts that answer your target market’s most frequently asked questions.
6. How you helped a client solve a problem. Clients hire you to solve a specific problem they’re having, whether they do that when they buy your service or your product. List 3-5 most recent problems that you have helped your clients solve. Create a post that talks about the problem and the solution you provided (either with your client’s permission, or by making it generic enough to hide the client’s identity) that becomes a learning experience for your readers.
7. Interview an expert. What people do you know and admire in your industry? If you admire them, chances are that members of your target market do, as well. Contact them for a short email or recorded interview and ask them 3-5 questions that you’d like to hear them answer about their lives, their businesses, industry trends, or how to solve a particular problem. Publish the interviews as blog posts, adding audio and graphics if you have them.
8. Solicit and answer questions. Ask your blog readers to ask you their most pressing question related to what you do. I do this and get questions for 1-2 blog posts per week, and it helps me stay in touch with the needs of my readers, as well.
9. Review something. Read a good book lately related to your industry? Just purchased a product to help you solve a problem? Reviews aren’t limited to the critics at the New York Times. Blog about your experience with a product, book, or service, highlighting both the high points and low points, and whether you would recommend that others use or purchase it.
10. Read other blogs. Go to Google’s Blog Search or Technorati and find other blogs related to your industry or your target market. Add those to your blog reader and take an hour or two each week to read the posts on those blogs. Do you agree or disagree with the post? Have another point of view? Think the blogger was on target but you want to expand on her point of view? Reading other blogs is a great way to generate ideas for your own blog.
11. Keep an idea file. Sometimes a blogging idea or concept will strike you when you don’t need (or want) to blog. Begin a blog idea file by creating a document or spreadsheet to track your ideas and thoughts. If you’re in the zone, go ahead and write the post, and then you can post it to your blog on a day when the idea well is dry.
12. Create a tutorial. There’s always something you can tell your target market how to do. Create a written, audio, or video tutorial of the process as your blog post. Depending on the complexity of the tasks, the tutorial may need to created in multiple parts, like Part 1, Part 2, etc., which would make for multiple posts to your blog.
13. Share a positive/negative email. I often share exceptionally positive or negative emails I receive from people (without names to protect their identity as appropriate) either to celebrate kudos I’ve received or to demonstrate how I responded to a particularly nasty or upsetting comment. I get the most mileage out of the negative emails, and I often ask for feedback about how my readers might respond to the situation.
14. Take a tour. Take a self-made in-person or virtual tour of something useful to your readers. For example, if you’re a dating coach, tour the top 5 online dating sites and report your experiences as a client in each. If you’re a restaurant consultant, visit 3 local restaurants and evaluate what’s often overlooked in staff training based on your experience as a customer.
15. Write about a Twitter or Facebook update. You only get 140 characters in Twitter to write about something. If you need more space, or want to respond in greater length to someone’s Tweet or Facebook status update, do so in your blog. Thought-provoking questions are often asked on Twitter, and the answers may inspire you to blog.
16. Create a “Best of” list. What are the top 7 blogs to read in your industry? How about the top 5 people to watch? What about the 10 most useful online tools you use? Nothing attracts attention on a blog quicker than a list, so create one yourself or ask your readers to help you in the process.
17. Report from an event. Attending a professional trade show, conference, or networking event? You can report live about your experiences at the event on your blog. Talk about the workshops your attended, the vendors you met, the speaker you heard — the sky’s the limit!
18. Debunk a myth. Each industry is plagued with myths and fallacies about success/failure or what does/doesn’t work that the industry professionals would like to see vanquished once and for all. Use your blog to debunk some of the most common myths/preconceptions/notions in your industry and set the record straight.
19. Talk to newbies. Picture yourself as a newbie in your industry once again. What do you know now that you didn’t know then? What questions did you ask? What knowledge do you have that you think everyone knows? Getting back to the basics can help bring all of your blog readers up to speed.
20. Write about a client conversation. Many times I’m inspired to blog as an expansion or continuation of a conversation I had with a client. The blog post focuses on a topic of the conversation, not the conversation itself. Typically the strategy/idea/technique you’ve discussed with one client will benefit your blog readers as well.
This is just the tip of a very large iceberg of ideas for posts to your blog. Take a look around your life, your business, conversations with clients and colleagues, and what’s happening in the world around you. You’ll soon begin to see more potential for blog posts than you ever thought possible!