Writing advice generally boils down to 3 key things: get in the habit of writing, set goals, and despite all the debate, content is king.
It’s frustrating, but true.
Achieving any amount of online “success” means you will need to produce awesome content.
New content not only shows that you’re active in your industry, but also helps establish you as a source of current and helpful information within your community, whether it be a professional or a personal one.
But this creates a problem for many writers, since coming up with fresh and engaging content ideas, regularly, is easier said than done.
Here’s a few tips that we regularly use to help you tap into your creativity and confidently generate content.
Sometimes, it’s helpful to pretend that someone you know is interviewing you about the topic you want to write about. This could be someone you know – a friend, a family member, a respected colleague, etc. Imagine sitting down with them somewhere outside of a professional setting (a coffee shop or maybe, your kitchen table).
What questions are they most likely to ask you about this topic? Write up to 5 of these down.
Now, think about the questions they should ask you. These are questions they might not think to ask you, but the answers would be important to understanding the subject. Write up to 10 of these down.
Now, you’ll have roughly 10-15 questions to work with. The answers to these questions should be more than enough for a new post.
Check out similar blogs in your niche
A simple Google search or a site like Alltop will help you find popular blogs in the same niche as you. These blogs will often have a list of current and popular content. Additionally, you can browse their posts and see what worked best for them. If it worked for them, it will probably work for you.
We’re not suggesting that you go to these blogs and copy their exact posts. Instead, use their content as a jumping off point. Note down the topics and titles. Then, start creating your own unique post.
Let blog comments inspire you
It’s great to listen to what other people are asking or saying in response to blog posts. Make sure to read the comments on other blogs in the same niche. There’s a lot of meaningful conversation going on, and authors don’t always have the time to respond directly to all comments or questions. People also tend to post additional questions about a topic that don’t get answered. Create a post as an answer to a question, or create some content based on a discussion that got your creative juices flowing.
Go check out a forum or question-and-answer website
Forums and question-and-answer websites like Quora are great places for generating content ideas. Browse around in your niche or related topics, and note down interesting discussions, questions, and comments.
In particular, exploring what questions people are asking can become an idea goldmine. When people ask questions on forums or on Quora, it’s because the answer is not easily available on the internet. There’s never a shortage of ideas if you take the time to read.
Just a small word of warning, make sure you take the time to research whatever you find, and make sure you don’t fall into the “I read it online, so it’s true” trap.
Tackle the stuff no one wants to
Content that answers industry questions no one wants to answer or tackles subjects that no one wants to write about will always attract readers. Taking on the stuff everyone would rather avoid will normally give you content gold.
That being said, there’s usually a reason people don’t want to write about these things – so be ready for a challenge. However, the hard work usually pays off and if you get used to writing about the hard stuff, you’ll find yourself with an infinite amount of amazing content ideas that will stand out from the crowd.
Ask your followers
This idea is best for those who have been lucky enough to develop a strong readership. I don’t necessarily mean the size of your following, but the engagement of those in your community. This could be on Twitter or Facebook, or even, an email list.
Send out a simple message and ask your readers what topics they would like to read about. You could even ask them what questions they would like answered about a topic, or the most common problems they have experienced. The answers should provide you with a solid list of content you know your readers want to read about.
3 quick writing tips
Make it personal. Writing about personal experiences from failures to breakthroughs means sharing personal insight only you can provide.
Take notes! Keep a notebook or a piece of paper to jot down your ideas, so you can remember them later when the writer’s block sets in.
Write regularly. This could mean daily, weekly, or even monthly. Just set a schedule and make it a habit.