I promised to give you more about my speech at Content Marketing World—How to Write Blog Posts that Get Read and Shared—and so I shall.
This is actually the third part of the six sections I covered in just 35 minutes (I talked really, really fast).
The first was Tricks to Write Popular Blog Posts and the second was How to Capture Blog Post Ideas.
Now I’d like to focus on how to generate blog post ideas (and the other three sections will come later).
How to Generate Blog Post Ideas
You know how you sit at your computer and you stare at your screen, wondering what brilliance you’ll conjure up in the next hour so you can make your publication time?
Yeah, me either.
That never happens to me. Nooooo.
But for those of you who do need some help with generating blog post ideas, I have five of my favorite tools for you.
Talkwalker Alerts are my favorite! I like them so much better than Google alerts. The results are more accurate and much more timely. To use them to generate blog post ideas, create alerts for the types of things that you write about. For instance, I have alerts set up for “news in public relations,” “PR firms,” and “public relations trends.” This gives me lots of great fodder for blog post ideas, particularly if there is a crisis going on and I want to write a case study about it (hello, Union Street Guest House).
SmartBrief newsletters are the bomb! They have hundreds of topics for you to choose from—so you can subscribe for retail or transportation or glue making factories—and they aggregate content from around the web for you. It’s really easy to scan these daily emails to find topics for your blog post ideas. It gives you a headline and a quick description and you can easily decide if it’s something you want to click on and read. I subscribe to entrepreneurs, leadership, and social media. I have a rule set up in email so they all get delivered to a separate folder and then, once a week, I go through and drop blog post ideas into WordPress from there. Boom, bang, done!
Read the comments. There are many of you who so very kindly leave blog posts in the comments section. I love that! Not only does it give me extra fodder for blog post ideas, it typically has a differing point-of-view than my own. Davina Brewer (shown to the left here) often leaves very thoughtful, very interesting comments. In fact, in this comment alone, there are three different blog post ideas. Score one for Davina! If your blog doesn’t yet get these types of comments, never fear! I know the common mantra is not to read the comments—and I’d say that’s true on YouTube videos and national news stories—it doesn’t hurt to read the comments on your industry’s blogs and trade publication sites. You will find a plethora of blog post ideas in the comments.
Current events, if they match your editorial mission and aren’t taking advantage of someone’s death or another tragedy, can work really well for blog post ideas. For instance, when Yahoo! announced they were bringing everyone into one location and no longer allowed virtual workers, it was a hot button for me. We have been virtual for nearly three years so it was a current event that made sense for me to blog about. Be careful, though, of the 14 Things Joan Rivers Taught Me About Marketing posts if Joan Rivers never actually taught you anything about marketing.
Check your sent mail! A few weeks ago, in the span of just a week of one another, I had three young PR professionals email me asking for advice. What came of those email conversations was advice for those who want to build a PR firm. So many of us write and send emails all day long and we forget there is a great source of blog post ideas right there. Once a week, go in and review the emails you’ve sent to clients or to your colleagues and filter through for some blog post ideas. I’m willing to bet you can get at least one post a week from your sent mail.
So there you have it!
Five great ways to generate blog post ideas.
Now go forth and prosper. I expect great content out of each and every one of you.
Photo: Actual pages from my notebook on how I think through blog post topics.