5 Ways to Write When You’ve Run out of Blog Post Ideas

Blog post ideasDon’t worry, it can happen to anyone. It’s a totally normal and natural occurrence, and much more common than you think.

When you run out of blog post ideas it can often seem like you’re the only one it ever happens to. You read fantastic content every day and assume that great ideas just spring out of thin air for those writers.

But it doesn’t (always) happen that way. Whether they’re writing for clients or for their own blogs, even the best of writers tend to get stuck for blog post ideas at one stage or another.

Here’s what to do when it happens to you…

How to generate blog post ideas:

1.       Go keyword crazy

Think about what phrases you’d search for if you wanted to find out something to do with the topic area of your blog. Either paste them into a Word doc. and just start brainstorming a post around these keywords, or else insert them into Google’s keyword tool and play around with them for a while. You might be surprised at what this throws up.

2.       Get on social media sites

You’ve got a blog post to write so this is not – I repeat, not – an excuse to lose a few hours in a mindless social media frenzy. Instead hone in on what people are talking about – LinkedIn and Google+ are particular good for this. Joining relevant groups on LinkedIn and participating in discussions is an awesome way of finding out what people are interested in or need help with. Same goes for the Google+ Communities.

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3.       Read the news

People love to read topical news stories. Pick up a newspaper or scan the news online for something you could build a blog post around. There’s nearly always something relevant to your topic happening, and if you search under Google News you’ll likely to find it. Even if there’s no dramatic breaking news in your particular niche, you can always find inspiration for a comparison type post, e.g. ‘How Pitching for Writing Clients is Like Virgin Galactic’s Supersonic Flight Test’. (Bit out there but you get the gist.)

4.       Use your epic blog posts from the past

You’ve come up with useful, insightful, witty and downright brilliant blog post ideas before, right? Well go back and see what worked. Look at blog stats and comments on your past posts and see which ones got everybody talking. Really get to the heart of why these posts worked and make a note of this for future blog post ideas. If inspiration doesn’t immediately hit, then simply write an updated follow-up article to one of your most popular previous posts.

5.       Do something else

You may have heard of this idea before. Why? Because it really works. When you’re frantically trying to come up with inspiration for something brilliant sometimes the best thing you can do is to focus on something else entirely. Go for a run, read some fiction, indulge in a hobby – whatever does it for you – just switch off and focus on something other than generating blog post ideas. Personally, I’d say this one works for me 98% of the time.

So bookmark this page and next time you run out of blog post ideas don’t just aimlessly surf the web for hours on end only to come up with nothing. Play around with keywords, get focused on social media, pick apart the news and see what’s worked before – or do something else entirely.

If you’re serious about earning a living from writing online, find out how I quit my day job and built a freelance writing career in The Complete Freelance Writing Online Course.

Image courtesy of Brent Danley via Flickr.

8 Comments

  • Peter D. Mallett

    Reply Reply June 4, 2013

    These are all good brainstorming ideas. I have recently written a couple of post on coming up with great writing ideas as well. I like the idea of brainstorming words and phrases, often trying to think of titles works as a starting point for me as well.

    • Kirsty

      Reply Reply June 4, 2013

      Hi Peter,

      Yes, I agree with the method of coming up with titles to hinge a blog post around. I read somewhere that your should write your title last but I need the focus of a title to hang the rest of my post on! Different things work for different people I suppose… Thanks for stopping by and taking the time to comment.

      Kirsty

  • Raspal Seni

    Reply Reply December 29, 2013

    Hi Kirsty,

    Nice tips on generating ideas. I’ll add mine here. But first of all I’d like to point out to a link post I did at the end of October which gives more than 2500 blog post ideas. The ideas aren’t mine, I just searched and collected the links and compiled them into a post here: http://raspalwrites.com/2500-blog-post-ideas/

    A very good idea is to read past comments from your blog visitors and you’ll surely come up with a few post ideas.

    Another one may not apply if you’re not techie. Since I handle the tech aspects of my blogs myself, every few days something happens or I face a problem I solve. If you like solving your blog/website problems yourselves, this may be a good idea to make into a post.

    Yet another idea generating source is your old bookmarks. Go an browse them and you surely get lots of ideas even reading the titles.

    Go to free ebook sites like Amazon and check the best sellers in your niche. Then download some free sample chapters. Read the table of contents from these books and surely you can come up with some great post ideas.

    Read your RSS feeds in your niche and you’ll soon come up with at least some more ideas.

    Some times, just going out into the open helps getting new ideas too. Taking a shower is another place where ideas come out from. Just take your iPhone or any smartphone and go take a walk outside. Shoot some pics of anything you like and then write a post on that pic on your blog.

    Just a few ideas which came to my mind as I started commenting. I had intended to just write about the Amazon ebooks idea but see how many got generated. I think I could write my own post about generating blog post ideas now. 🙂

    • Kirsty Stuart

      Reply Reply December 30, 2013

      That is almost a blog post! Fantastic – thanks Raspal! Some great ideas there to mull over and get people creating great blog posts. 🙂

  • Pinar Tarhan

    Reply Reply June 5, 2014

    Good to know:) More often than not, I go through a block when I want to pitch other publications and magazines. I also have a timing problem. I have all these ideas to sort through, but the day/week/month just ends without me organizing/using all of them.

    I just loved your tip on going keyword crazy, because strangely, I’ve never used that method. I use keywords when I’m optimizing posts, but why not use them to get the inspiration in the first place?:)

    • Kirsty Stuart

      Reply Reply June 5, 2014

      Glad you got something new from the post Pinar. Keep up the good work!

  • ChrisG

    Reply Reply September 13, 2015

    Hey,

    I am in the snooker niche and one good way to generate ideas is to put the main keyword and then write down what comes after that keyword…Then type in Google and see what has already been written and see if you can come up with fresh angle…

    EG, snooker cues, tables, tshirts, games…you get the drill…

    It’s done wonders for me! Simple but effective…

    Reading hashtags on Twitter is also good for getting ideas. Type in the hashtag #(yourkeyword) etc, and see

    For example, this story I wrote below came from a Twitter follower. Building relationships on Twitter is also a good way to generate ideas…Often someone will give you a tip off if you are nice and friendly…

    https://www.the-newshub.com/other-sport/incredible-young-future-snooker-ronnie-osullivan-in-the-making

    • Kirsty Stuart

      Reply Reply September 13, 2015

      Great tips Chris – thanks. Snooker’s not a niche we’ve had here on FWO before either!

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