Ouch!” you squeal as you run your tongue over the bottom lip you just accidentally bit.
Racking your brain for a suitable topic for this week’s blog post literally has you turning into a lip-chewing predator, and as you stare at the blank screen in front of you, you’re still no closer to figuring out what to write about. Sound familiar?
Don’t despair. I feel ya. I’ve been blogging for years and some days, my idea tank sits squarely on “E.” Hence, this post. Following are four ways to fill up your idea tank with things to blog about, so the next time you sit down to write, it’ll be your keyboard you attack, instead of your lovely lips.
I. Type in Keywords
Yep, it’s just that simple. Go to your favorite search engine (Google, Yahoo!, Bing, etc.) and type in a keyword in your niche. For example, I blog abut freelance writing. As of this writing, when I typed it in, following is what popped up on the third page of results.
As an aside, I often skip the first page of results when I’m conducting online research for stuff like this. Why? Because they get all the clicks they need, and I like to give some click love to deeper pages – which is where a lot of good content never gets viewed by the way. Proof?
What do I find? A story by a freelance writer about how he landed a gig to write for Playboy
magazine – just by making an unsolicited phone call.
What?! This isn’t on Page 1 of Google search results!
Told ya some good stuff doesn’t make the first page, didn’t I? Anyway, as I sat there reading the story, an idea for a post came to me: Simple Ways to Pitch Editors
. And it all started because I googled a keyword when my brain refused to come up with fresh ideas for blog topics.
II. Use the News
Right now here in the states, we’re in the middle of a presidential election. Among the leading contenders are a woman, a Jewish socialist (self-described Senator Sanders), and a kooky (crazy?) billionaire. Somewhere, somehow in that mix is a good blog post you can tie to your niche.
As a freelance writer, I come up with, 5 Things I Learned as a Freelance Writer Watching the Presidential Debates. One is how to spin a story; another is why it’s important to cite sources to build credibility; three is how to inject personality into a story – these just popped into my head. I’d have to think or conduct some research to come up with two more, but I have no doubt that I could.
III. Use Answer Sites
One of my favorite ways to come up with blog topic is to use answer sites like Quora and Yahoo! Answers.
Real people ask real questions on these sites. There’s search engine gold in that because when you choose answer, it means you’re not writing in a vacuum. Someone out there really wants to know the answer to that question. And if some “one” does, then you can bet that others do too.
Tip: When you run across questions on these sites that you answer on your blog, use the exact question the way it was phrased on the site (where possible). For example, one question about freelance writing posed on Quora was phrased like this: What is the best way to start a freelance writing career? It had 9 responses.
Below the question you clicked on, you’ll find related questions. One related to the question posed just above is: How to start a career as a freelance writer with no experiences? As this is grammatically incorrect, I wouldn’t use it in a headline; I’d just lop the “s” off the end of the word “experiences” and use that instead.
FYI, this question has even more responses that the other one (15), so it’s probably a popular question because there are many who want to start a freelance writing career who don’t have experience.
IV. What Would I Want to Know about This Subject
Have you ever wanted to know something, but couldn’t find an answer that quite suited you? I know it may be rare in the Googlesphere these days, but it does happen.
Sometimes you may find part of an answer on this blog, another relevant piece on that blog and another piece of info you just happened to run across after looking at what seems like 50 blogs on the topic.
If you’ve wondered about something, then someone else has too. And if you can’t find the information in one place that answers your questions, then that’s a sound idea for a comprehensive blog post right there.
Your piece could become the authoritative post on the topic – bringing in a tsunami of traffic, earn you thousands of dollars and allow you to travel the world and eat in fancy restaurants, shop ‘til you drop, and ….
Ok ok, I got a little carried away. But you get what I mean, right?
The next time you sit down to write a blog post and your brain is playing hide-and-seek with ideas, bring up this (bookmarked) post. You did bookmark it, didn’t ya? And remember, no chewing on your bottom lip. It’s a bad, bad habit.