Successful bloggers have to keep their heads around many different aspects of the medium – but at it’s core is being able to write compelling and engaging content on a consistent basis over time.
1. List Out Your Idease
Inspiration for a blog post can strike at any time. Create a place to write down blog post ideas so you have them to reference in the future. You could do this in a software program, a journal, or on your phone. I use the Notes App on my iPhone because it syncs to my iMac and MacBook and I can quickly access my list of blog post ideas anywhere I am.
Here’s what to write down when a new blog post idea strikes:
- The topic or idea
- Any possible headlines
- How you came up with the idea
- Any story that may fit with it (this is a lifesaver, as you think you’ll remember it, but you may not).
- The link to your inspiration source if appropriate
- Inspired by a tweet, Instagram post, or Facebook post? Snag the embed code now so you don’t have to hunt for it later.
- The key message you want to communicate in the post or major bullet points
- It’s important to jot down everything you can about the topic when inspiration strikes. Don’t overthink it. Don’t worry about writing in complete sentences.
- Don’t edit yourself — you can do that later when you’re writing the final blog post. This exercise is just meant to get the meat of the post out of your head.
- This approach takes the stress out of coming up with a blog post idea later.
2. Set A Deadline
There is a saying that the work will expand to fit the amount of time it has, which is why when there are no constraints on your time, coming up with blog post topics often seems to take forever. This is why you need to use a timer. When working against the clock, it’s easier to tune out distractions, focus, and make quick decisions.
Here’s how using a timer works to brainstorm blog post topics and ideas in only 10 minutes:
Choose one topic, set a timer for 3 minutes, and brainstorm as many headlines as you can on that single topic. Don’t edit as you go. Don’t second guess. Don’t stop or slow down. Every idea is good. Write it down no matter what. When the timer buzzes, stop.
Set the timer for 1 minute and in that time, review each headline, circling the best ones (shoot for at least two or three).
Set the timer for 6 minutes and in that time, quickly outline the blog post content for each headline. List what content to include, image ideas, story ideas, key messages to communicate, the problem it solves, and why someone should care. If something doesn’t come to you for a headline right away, skip it and move on.
At the end of this exercise, you’ll have a few blog posts are already halfway done. You’ll just need to finish them up later.
3. Jot Down Your Ideas
Many of my great ideas don’t come to me when I’m sitting conveniently in front of my computer or at home with a journal nearby — and sometimes I can’t write them down, like when I’m driving or in the shower.
If you can’t write down your blog post ideas, or you don’t like to write, you can still create blog content regularly. If you can talk about your topic with ease or communicate your idea clearly, you can create new blog content by speaking it! And, often speaking your content is much faster than writing because when we talk, we don’t judge, delete, self-edit, or criticize ourselves like we do when writing.
Here’s how speaking your blog content works:
When you’ve got a great blog post idea, simply grab your smartphone, your computer, a digital recorder, or use a service like Zoom to record your post ideas. Imagine yourself explaining the topic to a friend or speaking to an audience and go for it
Have the recording transcribed
Edit the transcript to create the final blog post—it is much easier and faster to edit existing content than it is to write new content from scratch.
4. Pictures Worth A 1000 Words
If you’re a visual person who is inspired by photos, start there. When browsing stock photography sites, images often inspire new blog post topics or content ideas. When that happens, save the image along with your thoughts and ideas to reference later.
The only thing to be careful of with this approach is being sucked in by the stock photography sites and losing hours of your day clicking from one page to the next.
Here’s how I use stock images to find blog content inspiration without wasting a lot of time:
Set a timer for 15 minutes and visit your favorite stock photo site. Search for images on a topic relevant to your brand.
For every image you find that gives you a post idea, write the image number down along with all of your thoughts and ideas, and either download the image or save it to a lightbox labeled “blog posts.”
This approach gives you a bank of blog posts that have already been partly planned out and the featured images to go with them, which means no searching for the perfect image later.
5. Pencil & Paper
One of my favorite ways to brainstorm new content ideas and outline new blog posts is to sit somewhere cozy and relaxing with a good old-fashioned pencil and paper. In fact, most of the articles I write are first written by hand on paper, then cleaned up and edited as I type them.
Some people just find that creativity flows faster and easier on paper instead of a screen. If this is true for you, own it. Get yourself a new sharp pencil or a really great pen and some quality paper, or a beautifully designed journal. Then write and write some more — it doesn’t have to be full sentences or complete thoughts. Just use it as an avenue to get ideas out of your head.