Are you a blogger? Sure you are! But why are you reading this and not out there writing?
Are you traipsing through the internet just to avoid that gnawing realization that you don’t know what to write about?
Sure you are.
Why don’t you know what to write about? Why don’t you have hundreds of blog post ideas? I know why, and I’m going to tell you.
Once I tell you, you’ll know how to prevent this aimless search in the future so you don’t end up lost in random sites and cat videos and instead, can get back to what really matters…writing.
Your Blog Doesn’t Haves A Thesis
Does that worry you? It shouldn’t. Your blog should always be answering a question or commenting on a subject. Always. If it does, you’ll always know where to go next with your blog.
I wouldn’t leave the house everyday without knowing where I’m going and I wouldn’t sit down to write without knowing what I’m writing.
If your blog doesn’t have a thesis, then you’re already dead in the water. What good is writing every week or every month if there’s no central point?
Do you want to know the point of this blog? The point of this blog is: Good content is powerful.
Simple. Hard to argue. Lends itself to many, many topics that build upon each other.
I never finish a blog post without knowing where I’m going next. Usually by the time I’m writing a conclusion I already know how to add to that post or take it a different direction. That’s what you need to be doing as well. Always be thinking of your next post.
If your posts don’t build upon each other then where is your blog taking us? If you finish a post and have no ideas where to take you blog next, re-read that post until you find another rabbit hole to travel down. Find 5 rabbit holes. Pick apart each paragraph until you have a list 3 pages long of ideas. Which brings us to the next reason you’re short on ideas.
You’re Not Keeping A List of Ideas
When you sit down to write, where do you go for ideas? Please don’t say anything but, “My list of ideas of course!”
If you are a serious blogger (or any kind of writer for that matter) you need to be keeping a list of every single blog idea that pops into your head. Jot them down on a sticky note, write them on your hand, call your home phone and leave a message. Don’t care how, just start right now.
Be sure you consolidate that list as well.
I recommend Evernote (this tool changed my life). Google Drive works as well. You want something that can be accessed from anywhere so when that writing bug bites, you’re not scrambling to find a crumpled up legal pad full of scribbles and chicken scratch.
When you go to choose an item from your list, I find it’s best to find one related to you last post. Keep your blog moving in the same direction but always let it evolve. Don’t jump around too much. Let readers get to know your topic. Throw them a bone and they’ll stick around longer. As you continue, you can branch out into multiple categories.
You’re Not Categorizing Your Ideas
Your blog needs hierarchy. Each post needs its place. Categorizing your posts is a great way to weed out ideas that don’t fit in with your blog’s thesis.
Choose just 2 or 3 categories when you’re starting out with a new blog. For this blog I chose: Content Marketing, Blogging and SEO. Those have since changed but it allowed me to laser-focus my content and I have since narrowed it even further.
Start framing each of your posts with categories in mind. With them you are essentially going to define your your audience. If you become the authority on agriculture techniques in Canada, your audience will flock to your posts as long as you consistently write for that niche.
Once you’ve written enough posts, you will come to understand your categories inside and out. You’ll be able to decide which ideas are perfect for your blog and which have to go. When this happens, use the pillar pages strategy I talked about in this post. Build landing pages for those 2 or 3 main topics and then continue to lead readers to them through subtopics and hyper-specific blog posts.
You’re Not Writing
I know writer’s block is a real thing, but planning is the best way to fight it.
When your plan doesn’t work though (as mine has before), just write.
Put your fingers to those keys and start writing. Do it nonstop for 20 minutes. Just write what’s in your head. I guarantee an idea or two will be born from it.
Plan. Plan. Plan.
If you’re executing without a plan, you’re not doing yourself any favors. Decide what your blog is about, brainstorm categories and then come up with 5 post ideas for each. Re-read past posts to find gaps in your thesis…and then fill them.
If you follow this strategy, you should never be without blog post ideas again.