It happens to all of us at one point or another. You’ve blocked off an entire Sunday afternoon to get your blog posts ready for the week, and you’re so excited. You turn on your favorite writing music, get comfortable in your favorite chair, open up your laptop, create a new blank document, and… nothing. Those blog posts you’ve been thinking about in the shower, as you drive around town, when you’re pushing the grocery cart through the store — it’s like they never existed.
That’s why I’ve put together this guide to blog post ideas. Skim through them when you’re at a loss for words, and hopefully one of them will spark a new blog post for you! Don’t miss the download at the end of the post to save this for future reference.
The easiest thing you can do when you’re not sure what to write about is simply share what you’re doing or what’s on your mind. Give your readers a behind-the-scenes tour or a look at your day-in-the-life. You can make it a broad topic, but don’t forget that you can always get more specific. Maybe you’ve been feeling super productive lately — share how you’ve made that happen! Maybe you’re trying to change a habit — share how you’re doing that.
Pretend that you’re meeting your best friend for happy hour, and she asks you how you’ve been doing. What topics would you talk about? Turn those into blog posts.
- Behind the scenes
- A day in the life
- A change you’re making, with how and why
- Something you’re really excited about right now
- A peek at your latest project
Help and Inspire
Helping and inspiring people is simply the next step from sharing. You can share your own experiences, but to help people, you need to get specific on the lessons behind them. What did you learn from your experience that can help people going through the same thing? What advice would you give to someone in your situation? What inspired you to take action?
Also, don’t underestimate the power of sharing your ideas. Share the inspiration behind your latest project, and it might be just what your reader needed for their own work.
- A mistake you made and the lessons you learned from it
- A recent realization and how it’s improving your life
- An inspiration board for your latest project
- Brainstorm ideas to solve a common problem
- The advice you’d give to someone in your situation
- A question from your readers and your answer
More often than not, we take for granted the things that are second-nature to us, particularly in our area of expertise. Those kind of things can make the best blog posts. You may feel like you’re stating the obvious, but your readers probably don’t think the way you do or have the same level of experience.
Think about the type of problems your clients are experiencing when they come to you, or the things that people always ask you about. When someone mentions that they wish they could do something like you, take note! Think about the steps you take to approach a particular problem or situation, and break them down for your readers in a how-to post or tutorial. You may be tempted to write a long guide, and that’s fine, but don’t forget to think small as well — people love reading quick solutions to even the smallest headache.
- How to fix a common problem, step by step
- A quick way to do something
- A tutorial to build a skill
- A complete guide with everything you know about a topic
Every area of expertise has its own set of terms, common practices, and little nuances that are become second-nature to you the longer you work in that area but are less obvious to people who are still learning. For example, until you work with a designer, you may not know that many designers specialize in very specific areas within design. If you’re starting a sweet shop with a physical location and need a designer for your logo, packaging, and storefront, you’re going to need someone who specializes in branding rather than a web designer (though, you may need to bring in a web designer later for your ecommerce site!).
The great thing about content that informs your readers is that it’s an opportunity not only to inform them about your industry, but also to share specifically the kind of work you do and who is best suited for your work. So when a reader looking for your particular type of expertise reads your content, they feel as though you are talking to them — and you have a new client!
- A common misconception about your industry
- What people need to know before they hire someone like you
- A beginners guide
- Explanation of terms and common practices
The unique thing about blogging is that as readers add their comments, the discussion becomes part of the value of your post. People can write as little or as much as they like, and anyone who comes across your post at a later date can read not only your thoughts on a particular subject, but also your readers’ thoughts as well. With Twitter, those discussions fade quickly as more recent tweets replace them, and it’s difficult to follow the threads of conversation. Though Facebook keeps discussions grouped and easy to follow, they move down your timeline as you add more posts, and it’s highly unlikely that someone is going to stumble upon that discussion.
I have to admit, when I shut down comments, my discussion posts were the thing I missed the most. I’m a very curious person, and though I ask a lot of questions on Twitter, I missed the longer comments I had received on blog posts.
Discussion posts are one of the easiest to put together — simply ask a question that’s on your mind, share your own thoughts, and open it up for discussion. They are also a great way to learn more about your readers and find solutions to your own problems.
- Ask about something that’s been on your mind lately
- Ask about a problem you’ve been having
- Ask a question related to your next product to get feedback before you start creating
Have a strong opinion about something? Take a stand on your blog! Of course, there is a fine line between ranting and sharing productive dialogue, so tread carefully. Sometimes, you may need some space from a situation before you’re ready to write about it.
I think it’s easy to fall into the trap of wanting to please everyone, but when you take a stand, the people who appreciate it will love you even more, and the ones who don’t were never going to become your number one fans anyway.
Also, keep in mind that taking a stand doesn’t necessarily mean writing about a controversial issue. Sometimes it simply means telling people what you think is the right answer and why instead of offering up several points of view. Don’t be afraid to own your expertise and tell people what you think from your own experiences.
Sometimes people want multiple options to consider when approaching a problem, but sometimes they just want someone to tell them what to do. It’s like when you’ve had a long, hard day at work: it feels so much better to have dinner ready for you on the table, whether you were craving what’s there or not, than to have to do the takeout or dinner, which place for takeout, what can I make from what’s in the fridge, song-and-dance.
- Share your opinion on a current issue
- Talk about something in your industry you think people are doing wrong (or right!)
- Tell your readers why they should or shouldn’t do something
When all else fails, make a list. Some days, writing paragraphs can be daunting. But we create lists all the time, from our daily to-do lists to what we need at the grocery store. We can create lists in our sleep.
I usually find that as soon as I make a list, the content starts flowing from there. This post actually started as one big list where I brain-dumped every kind of content I could think of, then went back later and started organizing all of the information. Turn your list items into paragraphs if you like, or simply create a checklist to help your readers solve a problem. People love lists, so you really can’t go wrong!
- A list of your favorite resources
- A list of ideas
- A checklist to solve a problem
- A list of reasons to do or not to do something
- A list of ways to do something
Still at a loss for ideas? That’s probably a sign you need a little break. Step away from the computer, get your mind off your blog, and just go do something you enjoy. It’s amazing what a little rest and relaxation can do.
Have I left off your favorite type of blog post? Let me know in the comments!