By Jim R Regan
I was brainstorming for a post this morning when it hit me, I had no idea what to blog about! So naturally, I headed over to Google looking for ideas, this is probably one of the best idea-generating machine around. After racking my brain for hours, about the only solid idea that I came up with was a bit too much of a link-baiting operation for my tastes… then it hit me… I’ll write about things to blog about when your mind completely shuts down! Wow. How clever am I, right?
This can be hard for most bloggers. There is always a mental plateau that we reach when we start to reach goals for the first time. Because of this, I have started to keep a notepad to jot down ideas as I come by them… a virtual arsenal of posts. But let’s discuss prevention later, eh? Right now, you are having a problem and you need help. Here are some tips to jump-start your thinking.
1. Make a List!
See what I am doing right now? That’s right, make a list! Not only do articles with lists of, for example, “top five ways to tie your shoes” or “the worst three blogs on the internet” drag a lot of attention, they are typically going to be self-sustaining posts that will be revisited over and over again. This is essentially one of the most important rules of blogging, write timeless information… things people will want to visit and search for again and again. This is your best bet if you run out of ideas, and will definitely look good to your readers.
2. Interview Your Peers
Blogging interviews can be very informative and you will typically be able to catch a popular blogger willing to share information on the fly. Make sure that you prepare some interesting questions ahead of time. The advantage here is that you will more than likely be posting a link to his/her website. With any luck, they will bring up your post and BAM! in comes some awesome traffic for your efforts. Not only that, but the way interviews are structured typically is easy on the eyes, and makes you look like a real professional.
3. Review a Service/Opportunity
When I first started blogging, I did a lot of review of different services that you can use to do things like manage a stock portfolio, track your visitors and even manage your favorite websites. There are ton’s of great topics that people are willing to dig for, and it’s always great to help people out. Chances are, you are using some kind of website or product that people want to hear about. Tell them how it is! You’d be surprised how many searches I get every day for my BetUS.com post (online sportsbook). I really just wrote this posting in a rush and didn’t expect anyone to read it. Turns out… there are lots of people interested, and a lot of potential traffic.
4. Bash A Service/Opportunity
There’s nothing like a good roast, is there? Just the opposite end of point #3, if you have a service that you have used in the past that frustrated you, let people know why it is bad. Not to be a negative Ne, but it seems that more search engine traffic rolls in from websites that point out flaws than those that shower praise. Be controversial and take a stand against a company that has done you wrong, people will listen! Now this is not an open license to wreak havoc on the web, always write responsible, well-researched and supported information; but as long as you have your proof… have at it!
5. Answer a Reader’s Question
I have a few posts floating around that answer common questions asked by my readers. This is a great way to connect with your viewer base and make sure that you are networking the right way. I have answered questions ranging from “how do I know x company will actually pay me?” to “how do I open a stock portfolio?” and both have been great ways to touch base with the people reading my blog. You need to always make sure that you aren’t going over anyone’s head when you are writing, so if you have a lot of questions… make sure you take the time to slow down and answer them!
6. Write a Tutorial Post
We’ve all been stuck on one thing or another. Writing a tutorial, or a walk-through of sorts, for something as simple as “how to start a blog” or “how to research a stock” is going to invite both discussion and interest. Everyone asks questions, and as a blogger, it can sometimes be your responsibility to answer them. If you are rushing for an idea in a pinch, I’d recommend writing (or starting a series of posts… hmm now we’re thinking) about something you are good at and you believe others would need help in. Fire up that article archive with some helpful information!
7. Add to a Blog Post or Conversation
This is a great method of making your own blog post out of someone else’s that requires little effort and is often well-traffic’ed. You will need first a successful blog post that people are legitimately interested in, but you have something you think is wrong or something you’d like to add. Let’s take a recent posting from retireat21.com titled “Top 30 Young Bloggers Under 21″… oh look I’m on the list… well anyways… one of my fellow bloggers Jason decided he didn’t want my name on the list apparently (just kidding Jason) so he made his own spin-off version of the list on his website. Its controversial, its catchy, its popular, its a recipe for success!
8. Niche Ramblings
Consider first that people come to your blog because they want to learn about what you are talking about in that particular niche. Then consider that most of these people are going to be interested in what grinds your gears, or what you love (current events) that is going on at the moment. This could be anything from “there are way too many contests!” to “social networking is really coming alive!” and the public will listen. If you can create a demand for what you have to say, there will be interest. Being controversial can be the easy way out, but if you are crunched for time, why not take that low road? On the other side of things, a positive remarks post will help your readers along.. and your interactivity (comments and such) should increase as a result.
9. Write What Is Hot!
If people are searching for something, you should be picking up on this right away and trying to capitalize on their demand. What do I mean by this? Well most search engines (Google, Yahoo, MSN) have things like the “top 100 searches” that basically tell you where the money is at. Think about the possibilities. If people are already searching for the terms, there is little hit-and-miss at work here. When you are stumped about what to write next, how about turning to a search engine and find out what people want to hear?
10. Go To Bed
Sometimes, we all get a bit flustered. Don’t ever fall into the trap that you need to post every day. If you really can’t come up with anything intelligent to write, just move away from the computer for a day and do other things you like to do. Seriously, give your mind a rest will yeh? Some of the best ideas out there have stemmed from dreams or just random “aha!” moments you can have when you are in class, playing basketball or even washing your car. Try not to think about it and ideas will flock to you. It’s much better to write good material than force out lame re-writes!
Hopefully, all of you struggling for ideas have used this post to your advantage in keeping up with your competitors. As important as it is to post, you should never feel that you need to post. Some of the most successful blogs in the world only post two or three times a week after all! That’s all from me this time, if you have any questions or comments… have at it!
-The Net Fool
The author of this article is Jim “The Net Fool”.
He is owner of theNetFool.com If you’d like to learn more about blogging, you can visit http://www.thenetfool.com You’ll find all the information you need!
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