The deadline for this blog post was approaching and I couldnt think of anything else to write.
Google lovvvvves the fresh, authoritative content that blogs bring and theyre a great foundation for a Social Media strategy. However, a question were constantly asked by is how do you come up fresh ideas for blog posts?. After all, the information highway is littered with abandoned blogs. A 2008 Technorati survey said that of 133 million blogs they tracked only 7.4% had been updated in the last 120 days. So heres 8 ideas on how to get ideas:
1. Start with your keywords.
When it comes to mining for insights Google is the mother lode. So dont overlook the obvious and start by putting your top keywords into the Keyword tool. Scroll down to the long tail and youll see real intent. And real problems. Alternatively, use Googles suggested search. If you were marketing a new blogging service, for example, you can just start to write the word blog post and Google shows you what people are looking for. Heres three different ideas alone.A quick check of the Keyword tool reveals good search traffic for blog post ideas.
2. Move from the need to the needs state.
Take your top keywords and put words on the front or back that reflect how people might state their need like want, need, how, love and hate. Then search again with Google or Twitter. The results provide valuable insight into the problems people have. I favour Tweetvolume.com for this because I can continue to try different phrases until I have a Twitter stream with some volume. Then I can watch the stream, see problems people have and be inspired to provide a solution in the form of a helpful post.
If you dont have a FAQ section on your site wander down the hall and talk to customer service (theyll be surprised to see you) and ask them for a list of top questions they get asked. Compare that list to a search of your top keywords on Q&A sites like Ask.coms Common Questions to verify which of the questions that you get are also being asked out in the world wide web. Also if you want to dig into your own site some of our Search Engine People have written some fine posts recently on how to find out the questions your website visitors ask and potential visitors ask.
4. Traditional Research
While youre walking around, go see the market research people too. Often overlooked by online people, surveys and focus groups can provide you with deep insight and inspiration for blog posts. A recent presentation of highlights from a clients research in a panel discussion provided me with a number of post ideas for their calendar.
5. Stumble Around
Next, take your top keywords and put them bookmarking / thumbs-up sites like Digg, StumbleUpon, Delicious and Reddit. By studying whats proven popular in the past youre bound to get different ideas for posts in your own area of expertise.
6. Hot Topics, Rising Trends
Now take your keywords and other top words youve seen on social sites and use a tool like Googles Insight for Search. Youll find whats hot in your area. Nothing like catching a wave while its rising. Again, its a good idea to capture a good result into Google Reader for continual inspiration.
7. Dont Wait Until The Last Minute.
Start building lists. Something that catches your eye may not be a post right away but can be built into something quite remarkable over time. e.g. 12 Weirdest Blogs.
8. Dont Write Just One Type of Post.
Jack, be nimble because to appeal to different folks you need different types of posts. So to get out of your rut start by thinking about all the different types of posts you could do. Theres the News post. Long-lasting traffic-drivers like Educational Resource posts. Lightening it up with an Entertainment post. Or getting on top of the mountain and trying to change the world with an Opinion post.
Once youve got your inspiration, follow this great article on 12 Blogging Mistakes To Avoid when creating and posting.
Hope this helps.