You’re out of ideas.
Everything you could possibly write about in your niche…. You already have.
Well at least it feels that way.
Even worse, your readers are expecting consistent content because that is what you have delivered in the past.
You’re paddling upstream, and the boat’s going nowhere. (Sometimes, when you stop paddling, it feels like you’re going backwards)
The harder you try to fill your calendar with killer blog topics, the worse it gets.
No blog posts = no site traffic = no business = back to the 9-5 corporate grind.
What choice do you have?
As a freelance blogger my bank account, and all those gorgeous shoes waiting for me on their respective shop shelves, depend on an editorial calendar packed full of kick-ass blog topics.
Which, I admit, is hard.
At times it is pulling-my-hair-out-in-frustration-and-banging-the-laptop-screen hard.
So, over time I have come up with a way to avoid these frequent bursts of non-productiveness.
I’ve made a list of 6 ways I find blog topics when I’m stuck – hopefully you spot a couple that will help you in times of panic.
1. Find eBooks in your niche
I’m an avid eBook reader.
Lately, I’ve had a real attachment to educational books.
Before you make that face, let me clarify a little. I’m not talking about Business 101, or Biology 101.
There’s always so much packed into these books, that it’s hard not to take something away from them.
Books are not just awesome at providing educational value and teaching you something new and profound, but they’re also awesome at providing you with blog topics to write about.
Here is a 4 step process for using eBooks to find blog topics:
Step 1: Find a popular eBook in your niche on Amazon
Step 2: Open up its content page
Step 3: Make a list of all the topics the book discusses
Step 4: Find a unique angle for each of the chapter topics and write about it
Voila. You have a ton of blog topics ready to go!
2. Ask Quora
If you’re a general knowledge geek, then chances are you’ve heard of Quora.
Quora is a platform where you can ask a question and people will answer to the best of their abilities.
But if it’s a Q and A platform, how do you find topics to write on?
There’s actually an easy 5 step process for finding blog topics on Quora;
Step 1: Make a list of terms\keywords associated with your niche
Step 2: Enter each of those keywords in the Quora search box
Step 3: Go through the conversation and discussions that pop up
Step 4: Highlight parts of the discussion which you feel you could write about
Step 5: Write an awesome blog post on the content you highlighted, and bask in your readers appreciation
I searched for the word SEO, and this question popped up.
I can easily write a guide on the best SEO plugins for WordPress.
Plus, I won’t have to do a lot of research for the post, as most of the plugins are mentioned in the Quor discussion (in the pink and blue box).
And if you see the list of questions in the ‘Related Questions’ sidebar, you’ll notice this is a fairly popular question.
How many birds are we killing with this one method?
Quite a few, I’d say.
3. Tap into social media groups
When I initially started a blog, I was very uncertain about EVERYTHING.
I didn’t know whether my ideas would convert, why anybody would visit my blog, whether I’d ever get traffic, and so on.
So I did the one thing I was sure about. I joined a Facebook group for bloggers.
While primarily, it was only for support purposes.
Weeks later, I figured that there were a ton of struggling bloggers in the group (how I was initially).
They would ask questions and discuss their problems, and I did my best to help them.
When a couple of people started asking the same questions and running into the same problems over and over again, I decided to write a blog post about it.
At the start, it was only to help the struggling bloggers find solutions to their respective problems. Then I started scavenging for queries and problems related to my niche.
It quickly gave me a ton of ideas and topics to write about, and I made a whole list of titles based on just the queries and problems people faced in this Facebook group.
This tactic had two benefits;
- It provided me with topics to write about, so that my content calendar was full
- It provided me with an insight into what my target audience would like to read about
Follow the following 4-step process when hunting for ideas in Facebook, LinkedIn and Google+ groups:
Step 1: Decide on the social media platform you feel most comfortable with
Step 2: Search for groups where your target audience hangs out
Step 3: Search for keywords related to your niche in those groups
Step 4: Go through the conversations and discussions that pop up to find topics that you can write about
4. Blog comments
For the longest time, I just used social media to find topics and subjects to write on.
It never crossed my mind to go through blog post comments of leading blogs (in my niche) and read what the audience was talking about.
The chances are that their target audience is somewhat similar to mine, if not entirely the same, so the questions readers ask in the comment section are pretty darn useful.
So, here’s the 3 step-process you can follow for blog comment topic bliss:
Step 1: Search for blogs that are popular in your niche. You may even have a few favorites already, so just go with them
Step 2: Read their latest blog posts that discusses a topic in your area of interest
Step 3: Go through their comment section and write down the consistent queries people are talking about. Then choose the blog topics you haven’t covered before
5. Do the opposite of everyone else
Everything you want to write a blog post on has been covered to death by others.
Doing the same thing over and over will hold no appeal for your audience.
So what do you do?
You take the alternate route.
If you want to write a post about ‘how to lose that stubborn belly fat’.
Instead of going for – ‘10 ways to lose that stubborn belly fat’, go for – ‘10 ways that will NOT lose that belly fat’.
It provides readers with useful information with a fresh perspective.
6. Leverage BuzzSumo
BuzzSumo is an excellent tool for doing blog topic research.
Most of the big names in the writing industry use this tool to generate viral-worthy topics.
It shows everything; from the posts that readers went crazy over, to the social media shares they garnered.
Therefore, it can become the most powerful weapon in your blogging arsenal if you use it correctly.
And again, a 4-step process you can follow to find blog topics on BuzzSumo:
Step 1: Go to Buzzsumo.com
Step 2: Type in a keyword related to your niche
Step 3: Make a list of all the popular topics, and add them to your editorial calendar
Step 4: Give your own spin to those topics and get writing
Everyone gets stuck at some point in his or her blogging career.
The trick isn’t to avoid getting stuck, but to find a way to get over it and not let it stop you.
So go on, take the first step.
Start with the first way and make a list of all the topics you discover.
You’ll be surprised how quickly you fill up your editorial calendar with fabulous topics.
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Guest Author: Maham Chappal is a ghostwriter and word lover. She will weave her word magic and gently nudge readers into getting comfortable in your comment box. You can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org and visit her at mahamschappal.com.