Many a time, when you are all set to write your post on your blog, you find yourself struggling to get started, unable to write even the starting line. The ideas suddenly dry up and you are groping in the dark for that little inspiration, for that crucial idea that would form the basis for your next blog post. For hours, you sit in front of your computer, staring at the blank screen or doing other stuff, pretending you would stumble upon something that would magically break the inertia. You keep on procrastinating when, under normal circumstances, you should have been in the final editing stages of your post. The glimmering of an idea is already there but somehow you are not able to carry it forward to make it more substantial that would enable you to write a 2000-word post. Does this sound familiar?
Writer’s block is real
We all agree that content is king and that we need to create regular posts to stay in the game. But the writer’s block (blogger’s block?) is a real thing and even the best of writers falter at times and writing a new post can be challenging. But instead of just procrastinating on your next post, you can focus on certain strategies to find your inspiration. It must be said that strategy that works for somebody might not work for others, and hence, you have to devise some that work for you.
Here are some ideas that would help you get going to break that spell of activity and to take you back on track.
#1: Write about your mistakes
As a blogger, it goes without saying that you have made mistakes in your journey. Everybody makes mistakes, and while some are blunders, others could be because you did not know your stuff and because of which you nearly wrecked your site. However, the best thing about blogging is that every mistake is a learning opportunity, and if you could document the mistake in your writing and how you came out of it, it could be useful for your readers. And because it was a mistake that happened for real and had caused you much distress, it will sound authentic and sincere when you write about it. So, your mistakes could be a great way to kick-start your writing engine.
#2: Write about your confusions
When you started out your blogging journey, many things looked overwhelming and there had been times when you even asked yourself if you had it in you to make the cut in a highly-competitive area as internet marketing. With the benefit of hindsight, you realise that these fears and confusions had been all too real for you. You can write about these concerns and confusions and turn into a wonderful post. Remember, there are people who are at the stage you were in when those apprehensions came up to you and these are the readers who will benefit from your writing.
#3: Read the comments
Every comment on your posts, specially the long ones, are the potential blog posts. But why only on your own posts, you can even read the comments on the blog posts of others in your niche to give you the spark for an idea of your next post. Review the questions asked by people in the comments and there’ll surely be nuggets of valuable ideas.
#4: Writing blogs in an online community
Some online communities allow building your own personal blog on their platform. For instance, in an online community like Wealthy Affiliate that boasts of close to a million members of internet entrepreneurs, facilitates each Premium member to launch their own personal blogs within the platform. These are mostly brief commentaries on their journey, success stories, opinions, musings, and tips written by them. They usually whip up lengthy discussions and debates, with community members coming up with their own views and counterviews on the idea suggested by the writer. Though usually short posts, they have the potential to get elaborated incorporating the ideas expressed in the comments and to turn them into a longer and refined post for your business blog. So what do you do? Well, you have to just express an opinion in the form of a post in the community to provoke a debate of sorts and invite the comments from your followers.
#5: Online forums
There are many free-to-join online forums that will give you an endless supply of ideas. Quora, for instance, is an amazing forum and you have topics on almost everything. Try looking in your niche, and at once, you will see many discussions taking place there. Discussions and comments are mostly on issues and problems, and there are some awesome questions being put up. If you know how to expand an idea into a full-length article, the questions and comments in these forums can well be the basis for your next blog post.
#6: Google Plus communities
Joining Google+ communities in your area of interest help you in keeping abreast of the latest blog posts and other resources shared by members. Sharing on Google+ has positive SEO effects too and because of this, bloggers try to leverage this platform for a wider audience. Discussions and the latest trending topics are available, and it can provide a great source of inspiration for crafting your post.
#7: Set up Google alerts
Did you know Google allows you to set up alerts for topics and in your niches? With Google Alerts, you can actually keep yourself updated with what’s making news, the trends and what’s being written by others in the niche you have chosen. You have streams of new content sources fed directly into the inbox of your email for that crucial inspiration you need.
#8: Follow the trending topics on social media
Find out what’s hot online by following trending topics in the social media like Twitter and Reddit. Searching for pins in your niche in Pinterest also lets you aware of how people are blogging online. There’ll surely be something that gives you an idea to build up your content. There are many Facebook groups in your niche that you could join where the trends are discussed. Try spotting the “holes” in the market where you could just position yourself with your post.
#9: Don’t get jealous, get better
How many times have you stumbled upon an amazing post written on very much the same topic you were intending to write? Did you ever feel envious of the way the writer had perfected his style and the relevancy of the article being posted? You know, you could use this envy to power yourself to improve and to look at things from an altogether different perspective. Rather than getting bogged down by feelings of envy by the sheer mastery of the writing, you could try seeing if the writer had missed out on certain points which you think are relevant. Now, that can be the motivation you need to start building your content from a different angle. It’s all about trying to find gaps in other people’s writings.
#10: Post from older posts
If you have a number of posts under a category and you want your readers to read all of them, can you create a post that takes up elements from all these posts and make it into a single article? You know, you could give the readers an added option of some sort of a guided tour of the things you have already written by stringing the articles together. Create a proper post with imaginative paragraph titles and not just a snippet listing of your old blogs. You could even build internal linkings to the source posts so that the readers could read them more in detail.
#11: Think of a “how to” post
When you’re unable to think of any fresh idea, can you think of something in the lines of a “how to” post? In your niche there’ll always some area where you can build up a how-to article innovatively. Look inward and analyse your old posts. Is there any possibility to squeeze in a post that tells your readers on how to do things easily? There must be.
#12: Participate in events
Attending events related to your business is one great way of finding the right inspiration you need for your next article. Symposiums, conferences, seminars, business meets are some events that you could go to. There will a good deal of information exchanged in these events and you will have the resources you need. Note down the points in the discussion. Or better still, if you could record the presentations in the event, you can watch the video later and much vital information could be gleaned from it. The blogging tips from the speakers will give you enough inspiration to create a nice post every time.
#13: Expand an already published article
There must be blog posts that you think needs a sequel. A part-2, maybe. Many a time, when a post is published, we realise we can add more to the writing, and we do edit it to make it more robust. But is there a scope somewhere for a follow-up to the article to the post? Or can you bring up a more updated version of the old post if it is still relevant? Can you interlink the two posts together for more relevancy, by, say building an internal link to the earlier post?
#14: Write a top-10 list
Writing a top-10 list is not difficult for most and so when you run out of ideas, this could be one strategy to be followed. Top-10 blogs, top-10 ideas, top-10 niches…the list can go on. With the list, you can elaborate on each entry and the post could become more wholesome.
#15: Review blogging tools
There are many online tools that make it easy for creating, organising, analysing, publishing or promoting easier for bloggers. Make a list of the categories such as
- Email marketing tools
- Web analytics
- Search engine optimisation tools
- Image optimisation tools
- Backlink checkers
- Content marketing tools
The above list is not exhaustive and one can think of many useful blogging tools. Can you write a review on one of them?
#16: Write a review of your favourite plugins
Every blogger has their own favourite WordPress plugins. If you’re using some of these plugins, it means you are aware of their utility and functionality. A review of your favourite plugin can be your next blog post.
#17: Think of a possible tutorial
During your blogging journey, you must have encountered many technical issues. Sometimes, it takes days to sort out a problem. As a beginner, even the simplest of things baffled you. But when you finally resolve the problem, either on your own or through some support from elsewhere, you gain so much technical knowledge that it becomes a cakewalk when the issue is encountered again. You are able to give the most useful technical advice to a newbie. Now can you think of writing a tutorial post? Of course, you can.
#18: Take a break
Well, just take a break and change the environment. Go for a walk or visit an old friend. This is necessary because for many bloggers, things happen at breakneck speed and the journey assumes a sprint character instead of being a marathon. You need give your body (and mind) some rest to regain the freshness you need. You will realise how staying away from the computer actually helps you see things from a different perspective. When visiting an old friend, you just might feel the need to tell him or her about your business and be dragged into a conversation on it. Who knows, an idea might just pop up. Creativity comes with a happy mind, and meeting an old friend and talking about mundane things might just be the tonic you need.
When you’re looking for an inspiration for your post, make sure that you do end up publishing a re-hashed article. It’s too easy to do that but never, ever do that if you want your visitors coming back to your site. It’s the originality and the value of your content that would stand out. Content is still king, and relevancy is what matters. We mostly delay in coming up with a fresh post because of our fear of getting a negative reaction from the readers. Our creativity gets stifled. Just know that we cannot be pleasing everybody. There are many ways to rejuvenate oneself to get the writing engine roaring again.
The list, is by no means, exhaustive and there must surely be more ways to get the inspiration we need for our next blog post. If you feel there are more that can be added to the list, please do leave a comment below. I’ll be more than happy to expand the list further!