It’s old news that businesses should blog. Taking the time to blog positions you as an expert in your field, boosts SEO, increases traffic, and builds trust. It’s the perfect place to share tips, trends, and industry insight, and occasionally brag about your company’s accomplishments.
However, if you blog frequently, you will probably run out of topic ideas from time to time. Use these three easy methods to bust through writer’s block and keep your blog fresh.
Read RSS feeds
Following RSS feeds of websites that publish similar topics. This gives you content inspiration from your peers and also helps you stay abreast of newsworthy topics you may want to write about.
First, set up an RSS reader. Google Reader is going away this summer, so use another one like The Old Reader (our RSS reader of choice).
Next, find websites that write about topics related to your blog. If your blog is about social media, find and add feeds from sites such as SocialMediaExaminer.com, SocialMediaToday.com, Mashable.com, etc.
When you’re hurting for topic ideas, scroll through your feeds and see what others are writing about. You could write similar topics but with different angles. You may also learn about new trends, tools, or breaking news that you should also consider writing about.
As a bonus, you can share some of this killer third-party content on social media to further position yourself as an industry expert.
Explore mind mapping
Very broad blog post topics don’t work well. Instead, break the content into many smaller posts where you can provide deeper knowledge. This also helps you stretch it into multiple posts.
Mind mapping will help you come up with many of these more detailed subtopics. This popular brainstorming strategy works like a charm any time you need to generate ideas about a particular topic. You can sketch it out by hand or do it with one of many online tools available.
You begin with one main topic you want to write about. This can be very vague, like “blogging 101.”
To get granular, specific post ideas, you first begin branching off with related themes or steps, like “buying a domain,” “setting up hosting,” “coming up with ideas,” “writing for the web,” “promoting via social media,” etc.
Then you make branches with more detail for each of those. For example, you can take the social media branch and then create smaller branches for each medium, like Twitter and Facebook. Maybe you want to go even further and create sub-topics for Facebook.
This practice allows you to build smaller ideas from the larger themes and come up with specific subtopics. We started with “blogging 101,” and now have great ideas like “how to use Twitter hashtags to promote your blog.” By the time you’re done, you will probably have dozens of blog post ideas lined up! You can learn more about mind mapping and get step-by-step instructions here. Below is an example of a fun one with images from Tony Buzan (official inventor of mind mapping), but your mind map can be very basic.
Pick up a magazine
One of my all-time favorite sites for copywriting and blogging tips is Copyblogger. The authors have a wealth of advice on generating content, and one of their oldest (and smartest!) ideas is to look at magazine covers. Especially sensational ones like Cosmopolitan.
It’s simple: Check out the most attention-grabbing cover stories and adapt them into exciting posts for your topic.
Here’s a great example from Copyblogger if you are a Realtor who blogs:
• Cosmo headline: “Guys Spill: White Lies They Tell Women All the Time”
• Copyblogger’s blog post idea: “Realtors Revealed: The Little White Lies We Tell Clients (and How to Stop)”
Another example if you have a design blog:
• Cosmo headline: “The 22 Best Relationship Tips Ever”
• Copyblogger’s blog post idea: “My 22 Best Design Tips Ever”
They’ve done the same type of analysis with other major magazines, like Details, and it works just as well. Next time you’re at the grocery store, stop and look at the magazine headlines to see if there’s anything you can grab and adapt.
No time for blogging? Businesses across many industries trust esd & associates to research and write compelling blog posts for them. Let us know if we can help you.
Written by Emily Crone
After being a writer and editor for several leading online publications the past eight years, Emily Crone is managing the social media, content strategy and copywriting efforts for national and Texas-based clients. Her writing portfolio includes BedandBreakfast.com, HomeAway.com, About.com and CreditCards.com, as well as Texas Monthly and Tribeza magazines.