“A desk is a dangerous place from which to view the world.” ~ John le Carre
Have you ever had that terrifying feeling of staring at a blank screen knowing you had to fill the white space in front of you with words?
No matter how seasoned of a writer you are, panic will sometimes set in when you know it’s your turn to publish a blog post.
One of the most common objections to content marketing that I hear from small business owners is, “I don’t really need a blog. What will I write about?”
Not knowing what to write about isn’t an excuse to avoid blogging. If you’re using that as a reason to get out of publishing your next post, you’re missing out on:
- Serious SEO benefit.
- The opportunity to position your business as an authority.
- A sales tool to make your website work harder for your business.
You’re smart. You know that blogging is probably one of the best ways to build your website online. Now, it’s time to get out of your head so you can power through the fear of the blank white screen.
Here are seven tips to help you come up with some powerful blog topic ideas for your business.
1. Keep a Notebook Handy
This tip won’t help you now, but it will help you quite a bit down the road.
Hot blog topics rarely hit you when you’re sitting in front of your computer trying to figure out what to write. They pop into your mind when you’re at a restaurant, talking to a customer, walking the dog, or at 3 a.m. when you can’t sleep. When that great idea for a post pops into your mind, do a brain dump ASAP!
Don’t fool yourself into thinking you’ll remember that post tomorrow (especially if it’s 3 a.m.) Write. It. Down.
This is the trick used by most professional bloggers. I know some bloggers who carry a physical pad of paper and pen around to write down blog topics. I know others who use apps on their smartphones, such as Evernote or Draft. Me? I use an app to record ideas because I know with confidence that I can pull it up when I need it the most.
No matter what your preferred method, get the idea out of your head and in print.
2. Go to Amazon
Probably one of the best ways I’ve heard of for finding blog topics came from the folks at Fizzle (full disclosure: that’s a referral link if you’re interested in joining me in this online community.)
Chase mentioned once on a podcast that he often looks at Amazon book reviews for topics in his field for inspiration. He doesn’t look at what the four and five star reviews say – those people are already happy with the book and supposedly already had all their questions answered. Instead, he looks at the three-star reviews.
The three star reviews are the moneymakers. These are the people who are hungry for more information about your topic. They want more information. If you’re trying to establish your business or personal brand as an authority, this is your opportunity to be the person to give that information.
3. Find Inspiration From Others
Plagiarism is not okay, but getting inspired by other businesses and bloggers that you admire is acceptable.
Get out of your head and into someone else’s mind for a little while. Explore another blog, read posts by other people, check out the types of topics they’re talking about. As you do, jot down your ideas for how you can expand on a concept or make it your own.
Bonus tip: Read the comments like you read the Amazon reviews for an added dose of inspiration.
4. Check Twitter or Facebook
Before you read any further, let me clarify: I am not condoning a random glance through your newsfeed! You’ll get sucked in by memes and food porn and then all hope is lost.
Look at Twitter or Facebook with a hyper targeted goal in mind – to read the newsfeed of reporters, journalists or bloggers.
These people are also looking for story ideas and will often ask questions of their viewers and request tips. Look at what they’re asking about and then answer their need on your blog. This is a fast, easy, and super effective way of establishing your business as an authority.
5. Current Events
You can also watch the news. What’s happening in your field? Is there an exciting story that just broke? Answer it with a blog post and give your take on things.
6. Ask a Machine for Blog Topics
When all else fails, ask a machine. HubSpot, one of the leaders in the content marketing space, has built a blog topic generator that does the creative thinking for you. Just enter a few words (preferably nouns) and let the robots go to work pulling up ideas for your next post.
The idea with the machine generated blog topics isn’t to create another boring blog. It’s to help you feel inspired to find your voice and make a bland topic your own. Remember that as you start pulling up topics and doing the research to form your next post.
7. Host Your Personal Brainstorming Session
Enough reading about how to come up with the next great idea for your blog. It’s time to get to work.
Here’s your homework for the day:
- Get away from your desk. You won’t find much inspiration there. Work from somewhere else. If you can, go outside!
- Turn your phone on silent and close your email and Facebook. You don’t need any distractions when you’re trying to be creative.
- Set a timer for 30 minutes. If you’re using your phone, it should still alert you even if it’s set to “silent.”
Now it’s time to put the pen to the paper and start writing about your business.
Don’t worry about coming up with a blog topic. Just write with emotion.
- Why are you so passionate about your industry?
- What is your customer’s biggest fear?
- Why do you love what you do so much?
- What made you start your business?
- How did you choose this path?
- What makes you an expert in your field?
- What questions are you asked most often?
- Why are people fascinated by you?
As you begin to answer these questions and get your mind flowing with the intricacies of your field, you’ll see a few trends start to emerge. Dig deeper into each of these trends and start coming up with solid ideas for future posts. By the end of a half hour, you’ll have a handful of blog topic ideas to get you started.
What’s Your Best Tip?
There isn’t a shortage of ideas for finding the best blog topic. Every person does their research a little bit differently. How do you find blog topic ideas? Share in the comments. I’d love to hear!