Writing a blog can be a lot of work. Especially in the beginning when you haven't really figured it out and you are working hard to get things going and grow your blog from nothing. It can be really challenging to find blog post ideas and write them with consistency.
Then after you find blog post ideas you need to figure out how to organize them, schedule them, put the posts together and so on. It can be a lot of work and I will say after time you start to figure things out as a blogger and find what works for you. I wanted to share some of the tricks and tips I have found over the last four years so that hopefully you can use some of my ideas to make blogging easier for you.
1 Figure out your blogging topic or topics (otherwise known as your niche)
There are a lot of bloggers out there that say you need to pick one topic or niche for your blog and that by doing that you can become an expert at the topic and it will drive traffic to your blog. There is a part of me that does agree and it's probably sound advice but it doesn't work for me.
I have found that for my blog and readers having a mix of different topics that all can go together works out well. What you want is to have a reader in mind when you write your posts. For me that person is a woman in her 30's to 40's who is a parent and spends a lot of time at home. So writing about organization, parenting and budgeting can all be useful to that reader. Not every post will be but they all go together.
2. Figure out your writing voice and style.
For me I have realized that more than getting my blog down to one topic or niche I wanted to get my voice clear so that my posts are clearly written by me.
So whether you are reading a post about money, about home organization, about marriage or parenting all the posts sound like me. So over the years I have developed what I use as my blogging voice. For me that is a positive and upbeat attitude. Also I don't swear, although in real life I do swear some I don't on my blog.
I try to use some of the same adjectives and words to describe things. Even if no one can really tell this or notice this in my blog. I can and I think it keeps everything cohesive. Whether you swear or use slang terms. If you use a jokey tone there is no wrong answer it's about finding a voice that you are comfortable writing in and that you think will work for your ideal readers.
3. Start keeping track when you find blog post ideas
Doing this one simple step has really made such a difference to my blog writing. I keep a folder in Evernote on my phone and computer and when I am doing things and a post idea pops into my head I immediately add it to the document.
If you don't get it written down or added to your list then the idea will disappear and you'll loose it. At least I always do. If I don't add them they disappear from my mind. So having a place to put them right away really helps me out. Then when I want to write I can go through those ideas and find one that works.
4. Where to find blog post ideas
Sometimes those blog post ideas will find you and just poo into your mind. Other times you are going to have to find blog post ideas on your own by searching for them. When I'm feeling drained of ideas and I don't know what to write about there are a couple of tricks I do to get my post list full
- read other blogs. You definitely don't want to copy anyone's post because that is wrong. You can get inspiration though and sometimes reading blogs will jump start my mind and give me all sorts of good ideas that I can use for posts
- Also reading magazines and books can be really helpful. It just gets your brain moving and thinking about new ideas which can be the jump start that it needs to get going. Again not copying anything from a book or magazine just getting ideas that you can expand on that maybe you hadn't thought of yet.
5. Pull from your experiences and life
Once you have brainstormed some topics you want to blog about then you need to start thinking of how you can pull from your own experiences to make the post and idea yours. Almost all topics have been covered before thousands of times. You can find thousands of blog posts or magazines about organization. So I have to find how to make the topic mine and present it in a different or unique way.
6. When stuck for inspiration spend some time offline
I have discovered that sometimes when my brain is really unable to come up with blog post ideas it's because I've been too focused on the blog and internet. I think my brain just needs to recharge away from the computer a bit.
So I start doing more. I will make plans with family and friends, go out and run errands, and do more around the house. Just give my mind time to stop trying to think and let things just start coming to me naturally. I think being too focused and in front of my laptop just shuts things down and stepping away for a few hours or a day or two can really get my thoughts going again.
7. Organize your blog post ideas
Now that you have a list of blog topic ideas it's time to try and get them organized. Hopefully after doing the first six steps and keeping an ongoing list either on paper or digitally you have found quite a few post ideas to get you going. I find it helpful to organize them before adding them to a schedule or calendar.
For me the best way I have found to do this is mind mapping. I put the main categories of my blog in circles and then put the post ideas that I've come up with branching off from the category they fit in. This allows me to see what categories have a lot of post ideas and which ones I need to think of more posts for.
If you find that you have a lot of post ideas in one category and it is a lot more than any other than you might consider doing a series with that topic. You can do a 7 day, 14 day or even a 30 day series to really focus on that topic and do your posts for it.
8. Having a blog schedule
For the first two years or so of blogging I didn't use any kind of blog schedule or calendar. I then realized it might be beneficial to me to use one so I started trying them out and found one I liked using. I think having n editorial calendar is very helpful. I like to lay out my month and be able to move posts around.
I'm not real strict with my calendar and use it more as a guideline than as a deadline. For me this works the best. I like to be able to look at the month and see what types of posts I have planned. Then I can see what post categories I'm low on or missing. Then I can find blog post ideas that will fit the missing categories and get them filled in.
9. Try to do some batch writing
I don't use this tip as much as I should but when I do use it I find it helpful. That tip is to batch write.Or in other words to set aside a chunk of time and just write. To take your editorial calendar and just write posts and work on the outlines and post content for as many as you can in a set amount of time.
When I batch write I will set aside 90 minutes or so and turn everything else off and just focus on writing. I will first work on just writing really rough outlines of future posts. That way when I go to write them I have more clear ideas of what I want to write about and include in the posts.
10. Now it's time to do the writing of your blog posts
So now that we've first thought of blog topics and done some research for ideas through books and magazines. Next we created a blog calendar and done some batch writing to give us a good starting point on where to begin our posts. The last step is to now write those posts we've found and started. So it's writing time and we are going to create some great and creative posts.
I hope these ten steps are helpful to you when coming up with blog post ideas and that it gives you a better idea of how to go about the planning stage of coming up with post topics and ideas. Putting together these steps has helped me to refine my own process of figuring out blog posts. I hope they do the same for you. Next I will put together a post on my actual writing process and the tips I have found to writing the best posts I can.