Do you ever get blogger's block - feeling like you've already blogged about everything in your niche and you can't come up with new blog post ideas? I do. I'd bet most bloggers do from time to time.
No matter how much you've written, you probably haven't really tapped your niche, even if it's a narrow one. So when these dry spells happen, how can you come up with blog post ideas to keep your blog fresh? Here are a few suggestions (using the "making money online" niche as an example):
Update Your Old Posts
If you're writing about ways to make money online, you've probably covered topics such as blogging, affiliate marketing, and different advertising networks. Chances are that at least some of your posts are out of date. Update them, or create a new post about the topic.
For example, maybe an ad network changed their terms of service. Or maybe there's a new blog platform that bloggers can consider using. Write about those things (especially if the older posts on the topic were popular).
Ideally you'll want to do this with a blog that doesn't include the date in the URL (or permalink). Otherwise, republishing the updated post might cost you backlinks and traffic, or at the very least it would require you to set up redirects.
Blogs with no personalization are often boring. For example, if you write about making money online your readers probably want to hear stories about how you're making money online. Did you have a record-breaking month of income? Blog about it, and tell people how you earned it.
Did your monthly income recently bottom out? Hypothesize as to why, and share your thoughts with your readers. It lets them know they're not alone with lousy earnings once in a while. Don't be afraid to open up a bit on your blog. You can also share your personal experience with blog platforms, plugins, affiliate programs, ad networks, payment processors, or even share general case studies of work you've done. Let people see both the good and the bad.
Chat up an Expert
Do you have to be an expert in the niche you're writing about? It certainly would help, but no, you don't. For example, you might want to start a medical blog about a certain condition to raise awareness because you or a loved one suffers from it. You don't have to be a doctor (as long as that's clear on your site), but interviewing some would lend credibility to your blog.
In the case of a "make money online" blog, the same is true. You don't have to be making a lot of money online to blog about it. Perhaps the point of your blog is to start from nothing and blog about your experiences to start earning significant money online. In that case (or even if you are already successful in the niche area), you can lend more credibility to your own blog by talking to other people earning a significant income online.
You might want to interview popular bloggers, people behind the scenes of a new ad network, or highly successful affiliate marketers. Talk to anyone who might have insight into any of the topics your blog covers. There are always new people to talk to and interview, so that alone should keep you from running out of blog post ideas. As an added bonus, interviews are a great way to network.
In the News
Another reason you should never run out of blog topics is the fact that there is constantly news happening. That's true for most, if not all, niches. Set up a Google Alert for your blog topic, and write a news post whenever something interesting happens. This can be commentary on the news, or just a heads-up to readers with a link to the original news source.
Join the Conversation
You're not alone in the blogosphere whether you're writing about making money online or anything else. Other bloggers in your niche can be your best friends.
Did someone write an interesting post in your niche on another blog? Mention it on yours, link to it, and add your own commentary (maybe you agree with them but want to add more to what they had to say, or perhaps you even disagree with them and want to start a cross-blog debate or discussion).
It's a good idea to let readers ask you questions directly. If they ask something in the comments or via email that others might also be curious about, then answer them in a new blog post. But what if your blog is relatively new, or your readers simply aren't asking you anything?
Visit popular blogs in your niche, and peruse the comments. Are readers there asking questions? If so, chances are that other people want to know the same things. If you can answer it on your own blog, do it.
Know Your Audience
Keyword suggestion tools can be useful tools for coming up with blog post ideas. Type in some keywords related to your niche, and see what suggestions come up. Are there ideas in there of topics that are heavily searched for, but that you haven't covered on your blog yet? If so, write about the topics, and target the high-search keyword phrases to try to drive search traffic to your blog.
There's always something to review. If you're short on blog post ideas, review a book in your niche, a service you're using, an ad network and your experience with it, other sites and blogs of interest to your readers, or tools and resources they might find useful.
There isn't a good excuse to be out of blog post ideas. We all suffer from blogger's block once in a while. Use some of these suggestions as a fall-back when you need something new to write about, and you'll have no problem keeping your blog fresh.
One other thought - if you feel overwhelmed with blogging, perhaps you're trying to do it too often. If you're a daily blogger, try cutting it back to three or four posts per week (even just temporarily). When your blog loses it's "fun" appeal and feels like just another obligation with deadlines, it's going to be harder to keep the blog post ideas flowing.
Do you have other tips for coming up with blog post ideas? If so, share them in the comments.
Note: This post was originally published on March 24, 2008 and was updated and re-released on the currently-noted publication date.
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Jennifer Mattern is a professional blogger, freelance business writer, and indie author. She began writing for clients in 1999 and started her first blog in 2004.
She owns 3 Beat Media -- a publishing and client services company which operates All Indie Writers as well as several other websites and blogs including The Busy Author's Guide and BizAmmo. Jenn comes from a background in online PR and social media consulting, having owned a small PR firm for several years before choosing to pursue a full-time writing and publishing career.
Jenn also writes fiction under multiple pen names in the areas of children's fiction, mysteries, and horror fiction. Jenn is an active member of the Horror Writers Association (HWA) and currently serves as the organization's Assistant Coordinator of Promotions and Social Media.
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