Coming up with new ideas for posts week in and out is complicated, whether it’s for your own blog or for a client’s. If you don’t have a process in place, you risk burning out, which is not a great place to find yourself in.
The key to being able to come up with great blog post ideas is to have a process in place so you don’t waste time considering topics that aren’t worth your time. That way, you’ll be able to deliver better value to your clients and come up with more engaging ideas for your own blog.
In this article, we’re going to talk about three methods you can use to come up with excellent blog post ideas and give you examples to help you along. Let’s get to work!
1. Take a Look at What The Competition is Writing About
In the business world, people always look at what their competitors are working on, to try and do better than them. For you and me, blogging is also a business, so it makes sense we scope out the competition as well.
Once you start working in a niche, you’ll probably have a pretty good idea of who your main competitors are. It’s always a great idea to keep up with those website’s latest posts since they can point you in the right direction for blog topics. Here are some of the things I ask myself when I’m checking out my competitors:
- Did they miss any important information in their latest articles?
- What are people talking about in their comment sections and can I write articles to target their questions?
- Is there any news they missed out on which I can write about?
My goal isn’t to copy what other blogs are doing. I just want to keep an eye on them so I can do better. For example, plenty of times I’ll run into posts that missed out on a lot of important information. That gives me an opportunity to swoop in and improve on them using the Skyscraper Technique. In some cases, that’s enough to beat them in the search engine rankings and steal their traffic.
There’s a lot of competition online for almost every niche you can imagine. That means coming up with entirely original ideas is incredibly complicated. However, as long as you can think of an original angle and strive to make your content stand out, you should be able to compete in the big leagues.
2. Research New Developments in Your Niche
By the time I’m done checking out what the competition has been writing about, I’ll usually have at least a couple of ideas ready to go. What I do is jot down potential titles on a simple text file, like this:
- X Ways to Provide More Value to Your Freelance Blogging Clients
- How to Work More Efficiently as a Freelancer
- How to Deal With Freelance Project Milestones
At this stage, I don’t flesh out any ideas beyond their title since I’m still in the brainstorming phase. My next move is to check out if there are any new developments in my niches which I could cover before anyone else. If I manage to write about a new topic before other blogs do, that almost always ensures I’ll get some great traffic for my efforts.
If you’re running a blog about science fiction books, for example, this would mean trying to get early review copies and sharing your thoughts with your visitors. There’s always a lot of work involved in trying to beat everyone else to the punch, but it’s all part of the job.
The way you approach this method will vary a lot depending on what niche you’re writing about. For example, since I also write about web development, I like to keep up with a lot of tech blogs. I also check out several specialized discussion boards which are great places to keep up with what the kids are into nowadays.
Aside from that, you should also subscribe to as many relevant newsletters in your niche as possible. In my experience, a lot of newsletters tend to beat major blogs to the punch when it comes to news, so I always keep an eye on my email.
3. Look for New Angles on Successful Posts From the Past
Coming up with original ideas is great. However, sometimes reboots are the way to go if you want to land a sure hit with a new post. If it works for Hollywood, there’s no reason why it can’t work for your blog!
The key is to know which types of articles lend themselves to new angles. For example, roundup pieces are particularly well suited for updates. A couple of months ago, we wrote about some of the best email marketing services for growing blogs:
In a couple of years, it’d probably be a good idea to revisit the topic and find out if those email marketing services are still the best options, or if there are new players on the field. However, it’d be much harder to come up with a new angle for our more recent piece on basic email marketing terms:
The problem, in this case, is the basics of email marketing don’t change that much. I could write about some terms I missed the first time around, but let’s be honest, would you read an article called “XX Email Marketing Terms I Forgot About Before”? Probably not.
Once or twice a year, I recommend you take a look at your blog’s archives and the posts you’ve written for clients. Some of them should be perfect candidates for an update and since you’ve already done some research, they should be very easy to write.
Successful blogs often have hundreds of articles in their archives. For every one of those, someone had to sit down and come up with an idea, then they made it happen. In this case, that person is you, and the blog post ideas you come up with can make or break your website and client relationships.
If you have a process in place to come up with these ideas, your life will be much easier. Here’s how I do it:
- Take a look at what the competition is writing about.
- Look for new developments in the niches I write about.
- Look for new angles on some of the most successful posts from my archives.
All of these methods assume you already have a blog in place and you’re looking for ideas about what to write. If you’re still in the process of setting up your blog, check out our Start a Blog guide, which will guide you through the entire thing!