If you’ve resolved to write more blog posts in 2015, you’re certainly not alone. After all, the 2015 B2B Content Marketing study from the Content Marketing Institute suggests 70% of companies are creating more content now than they did a year ago, and 80% of those companies are using blogs.
There’s no question that blogs are effective. They’re a long-form medium, so you can be as wordy or verbose as you’d like to be, with no little “more” button cutting off your flow. They’re easy to share, so they can become their own social media posts. And they can be remarkably persistent, meaning you can share them or refer to them multiple times throughout the year.
Yep, blogs are great. But they’re also hard.
Specifically, it can be difficult to figure out what to write about in your blog. In fact, I’ll wager the blogger who says writer’s block has never been a problem is a blogger that lies. It’s difficult to churn out great ideas on the same topic, day in and day out.
So here’s the plan. If you’re hoping to blog a little more in 2015, but you can’t come up with any good ideas, try one of these four techniques to give your writing a jump-start.
1. Do Targeted Keyword Research
Keyword research should be part of your writing process, as finding the right terms might help you to do just a little better on a Google SERP. That’s something I’ve discussed in my blog posts multiple times.
But keywords can do more that give you SEO juice. Your searches can also help you to find out what people are looking for, and that could give you some excellent blog post ideas.
With Google AdWords‘ Keyword Planner, you can run a simple search on a topic you’re planning to cover. Your results page will give you keywords that are similar to the topic you’ve hit, but they come with just a few changes.
Check out my results for the term “blog post ideas,” and see how many other terms I could have mentioned, based on that result. “Make money blogging,” “Creating a blog,” and “Blog post ideas generator” are just a few of the gems that pop out at me. But there are many more.
How could this help? Consider doing research like this on blog posts you’ve already tested and loved. Type in the keyword you targeted there, or pop the whole headline in the search field. The results might give you a fresh angle on an old topic you have tried and loved. In 10 minutes, you could be writing.
2. Browse Your Yelp Pages
People with reputation management problems are likely accustomed to the idea of using Yelp as an early warning system. When they see a poor review pop up, they know they must get to work generating content that either refutes or explains the complaint. But Yelp can also help you write blog posts about issues people either like or have questions about.
Consider this: The DMR blog suggests there were 67 million Yelp reviews available as of October of 2014. Clearly, not all of these reviews were negative. Some must contain questions or compliments. You might have some lurking on your own page.
Read through your reviews and look for items that get a lot of mentions. If I owned this brew pup in Oregon, for example, and I saw this review, I might consider writing a blog about my “beer-amisu”. Readers love it, and they feel compelled to explain it, so maybe I should do the same.
Not all Yelp comments will contain blog gems, of course. Some might just contain complaints or random bits of praise you can’t build on. But, watching the comments closely could give you some great ideas for writing that will really resonate.
3. Dive Down to the Comments Section
Back in 2013, a number of websites turned off the comments section. PopularScience.com was one such site, and at the time, the editors suggested they did so because of a “fractious minority” that could skew readers away from the intent of the original article. That means many sites just don’t allow for outsider comment. Your own site might not accept such comments.
But if you do let people share and comment, you could end up with some great blog post ideas. Your readers might ask for more information about a specific item you didn’t cover clearly in your first post, or they might share their own opinions about the topic, which could make your fingers itch to write. Reading those bits carefully could make your blogging much easier.
4. Troll the Competition
According to 2014 stats, more than half of all small businesses don’t have a website. As a result, your top competitor may not have a blog that you can follow. But that same competitor might be active on social media sites like Twitter and Facebook. The posts you find there could give you great ideas about topics you should cover.
If you grab an idea from someone else, be sure to tweak it or amend it or somehow make it your own. Stealing outright could get you in hot water, both with your competitors and with Google. But borrowing a good idea could help you to come up with the story idea that’s been eluding you.
It’s not easy to come up with great blog post ideas, day in and day out. But, by paying just a little attention to the data that floats around you, chances are good that your next writing session will be just a touch more productive and a little less painful.
Have I missed any great tips you follow in order to come up with killer blog posts? I’m always on the hunt for a great idea. Let me know in the comments section!
Featured Image: StartupStockPhotos via Pixabay
All screenshots taken January 20, 2015
Subscribe to SEJ
Get our daily newsletter from SEJ's Founder Loren Baker about the latest news in the industry!