9 Steps to Better Blog Post Ideas

By Steven Snell

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Content is king. We’ve all heard that a million times and most of us have seen first hand that the content truly will make or break a blog. One of the single most powerful influences on the quality of blog content is the originality of ideas. A talented author can develop a well-written article, but if it covers a topic that’s been beaten to death it won’t make much of an impact. Likewise, an average writer can create a wildly successful blog post with the right idea.

Too many bloggers rush into writing the post and the importance of idea generation gets overlooked. Improving your idea generation skills is one of the most effective things you can do to improve your results.

Here are 9 Steps to Generating Better Ideas:

1. Make Time for It

Make idea generation one of your priorities, and recognize its influence on your success. Just like you need to set aside time for writing blog posts, you also need to designate time for developing ideas for posts. There are plenty of activities with your blog that can consume your time, but don’t do so at the expense of working on new ideas. Without leaving time for it, you’ll find yourself sitting at the computer searching for a topic to write about, and the results will suffer.

2. Have a Brainstorming Session

Rather than trying to come up with one post idea at a time as you need them, sit down and crank out as many ideas as you can. Write down all of your ideas. Many of them will not turn into anything usable, but that’s ok. Get your creative energy flowing and you’ll find yourself having more than enough great ideas to develop. Several months ago I wrote an article on brainstorming techniques for bloggers.

3. Use Mind Mapping

Mind mapping is a method of brainstorming that helps you to visualize your ideas and to build on them with other related ideas. This method can really help you to develop ideas for posts on particular subjects and topics as you can visualize all of the different aspects and you see the possibilities for useful blog posts. Darren wrote an excellent guide to mind mapping a few months ago at ProBlogger.

4. Outline Posts Before Writing Them

If you are typing your posts with little or no direction you will have disjointed articles that are less productive than they could be. I find it to be very helpful to outline every post before I actually write the content. This may require some research, depending on the topic, but it will make the writing process easier. It also helps you to identify ideas that really don’t develop into quality posts. From the outline you should have a pretty good idea of how well you can develop the post, and you’ll know pretty quickly when an idea isn’t worth the time of trying to write the full post. This way you will be spending your writing time on ideas with better potential.

5. Keep a Journal

Although it is extremely helpful to have specific time for brainstorming, you’ll still have some ideas that hit you at random times. In these situations if you do not have a journal or notebook for jotting down ideas you’ll probably forget more of them than you will remember. My notebook is one of my most valuable possessions. It has more ideas and outlines than I’ll ever have time to write. Sure, some of them are pretty bad, but whenever I need a post or whenever I have time to sit down and type, there’s always something of quality there waiting for me.

6. Take Your Ideas and Plan a Posting Schedule

I find it to be very helpful to plan out my posts a week in advance. Every weekend I’ll look through the ideas that I have been working on, and I’ll select the ones that I am going to finalize and publish during the upcoming week. This helps me to avoid last minute posts that don’t have much of a point except to get something published.

7. Don’t Publish Something Unless You Are Happy With It

If you finish a post and you feel that it doesn’t live up to your standards of quality, either keep working to improve it or just get rid of it. It’s never fun to give up on an idea that you’ve spent some time on, but that is better than publishing something that could lower your readers’ opinions of your blog.

8. Improve Your Title Writing Skills

Some bloggers start the process of writing a post by first coming up with an attention-grabbing title and then working from there to develop the content. While this may not always work, it is a different method that can help to give your writing process a spark.

The titles of your blog posts will have a huge impact on how many people actually read what you’ve written. If you’re going to spend your time researching, writing a post, and proofreading it, why just publish it with the first title that comes to mind? Coming up with the best title usually takes a few attempts, but it will be well worth your time. See Daniel’s post 3 Rules for Writing Effective Titles for a little bit of help.

9. Analyze Your Results

Part of creating posts that attract attention is knowing what types of content have worked well for you in the past. Most bloggers check their stats regularly, but often times this is not done with much detail. Have you ever gone back over several months’ worth of stats and really analyzed what types of posts consistently drew the most traffic and comments, and which other types of posts and subjects drew very little interest? When I took a more detailed look at the stats from my own blog I saw some interesting trends that I hadn’t noticed before, and that knowledge has helped me to produce ideas for posts that perform well.



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43 Responses to “9 Steps to Better Blog Post Ideas”

  • Jeremy

    “Try not to get into the trap of…”

    …what?

  • Wayne Liew

    Keeping a notebook around all the time is really a cure for a blogger’s block because ideas always come at the oddest time and when we really sit down, trying to push something out to blog about, our mind will have nothing for us.

  • Daniel Scocco

    Jeremy, try not to get into the trap of letting sentences open 🙂 .

  • Dan Cole

    Wayne, I wish I was good about keeping a notebook around. I always think up good ideas at the most random times and always forget by the time I get back to the computer.

  • Jeremy Steele

    Just recently got back my old voice recorder, most useful gadget ever! It’s perfect to take a quick note of something and don’t have a notebook nearby.

  • Moshe

    Another good way to come up with topic ideas is to notice what issues or questions are bothering your readers. There are a variety of ways to do this including checking out the forums that relate to your topic and noting which questions, issues and problems keep popping up and then writing some posts about it.

  • OldSailor

    You can go through your previous posts also. Some ideas can come from there as an extension of previous posts.

  • sir jorge

    i find that sometimes, the best posts are spontaneously written.

  • Daniel Scocco

    Might be weird, but I already got post ideas while sleeping. I guess I should plug-off a bit more :).

  • Pradeep Balu .A

    Keeping a journal is the most important thing .I have lost so many ideas just by not keeping a notebook.

  • Steven

    Jeremy Steele,
    I’ve heard others say the same thing. I’ve never tried a voice recorder, but maybe I should.

    Daniel,
    I don’t come up with ideas while I’m sleeping, but I often do when I’m really tired and about to sleep. My conclusion is that I’m more open-minded in that state and that allows a little more creativity. I have no idea if that’s true or not, but I like to believe it is.

  • Michal Splho

    Sometimes the comments to your post give a hint or even whole idea to a new post, theme. It happened to me often.

  • DJYano

    Nice article, journal is the most important things, i get ideas while i’m eating 😛

  • Tom

    Good points, thanks! Number 2 has been one of the top helpers for me. I try to come up with a bunch of topics in one brainstorming session, then come back and expand upon them later.

    But, I do have to say, the best posts are always the ones on topics I feel passionate about, which may or may not have been part of the brainstorming session.

  • lotusflower

    I keep a small notebook for my blogging purposes. It’s where I keep all the things that I do on the internet: my passwords, sites where I am a member, and certainly ideas that pop up when I am not on the web. It comes in handy. For remembering, you see 🙂

    Thanks for sharing.

    Cheers!

  • RJT

    Well, it does make sense to a beginner like me.

  • seo

    My conclusion is that I’m more open-minded in that state and that allows a little more creativity. I have no idea if that’s true or not, but I like to believe it is.

  • Brisbane web designer

    Read the daily newspapers scanning for headlines and opinions. Give your opinion on topical subjects: petrol prices, house prices, the election, celeb gossip and so on.

    Topical news generates spikes in traffic and hopefully more subscribers.

  • Alex Griffin

    You can go through your previous posts also. Some ideas can come from there as an extension of previous posts.

  • Karl Kiss

    Sometimes the comments to your post give a hint or even whole idea to a new post, theme. It happened to me often.

  • Christian Solei

    Just recently got back my old voice recorder, most useful gadget ever!

  • Peter Szabo

    Good points, thanks! Number 2 has been one of the top helpers for me. I try to come up with a bunch of topics in one brainstorming session, then come back and expand upon them later.

  • Australian Web Directory

    Another source of great ideas for posts is Digg. Just browse through the recent top ranking stories for great headline ideas. Once you have the headline and opening paragraph worked out, the rest usually comes easy.

  • Sunshine Coast Web Designer

    I think comments are a good source for a new post topic. So many times you see people get thrown completely off-track in the comments because of language issues, misunderstanding of the intention of a comment etc. and they throw up new topics.

  • RSA online

    A trip to the library often helps to broaden your perspective. Just browse through the magazines and wait for inspiration.

  • Study abroad

    Good information

    I will start writing my first blog using these tips

    Thank youuuuuu

  • helen

    I always keep a notebook on me, it really helps when I come across ideas and need to write them down fast!

  • Goldstar

    If I need inspiration I just go and talk to my 17 year old son for a few minutes. There’s always something interesting happening online that he knows about. Chk Chk Boom Chick for example.

  • Kelly George

    I’m coordinating an internship program at Temple University that requires all the students to do blog posts. I’m so excited to share this with them and their mentors. Thanks!

  • Peter Kiss

    Good points, thanks! Number 2 has been one of the top helpers for me. I try to come up with a bunch of topics in one brainstorming session, then come back and expand upon them later.

  • Yanto

    Good post! Thanks for sharing. Categorized the topic in your notebook if you have many blogs. I think playing word games, like scrabbles also gives idea to write. At least, you’ve got the keyword to your post.

  • Codrut Turcanu

    “Speak my mind?” I’ll speak my unconscious mind and everything,
    after you ‘ve organized it with your mind maps,
    brainstorming sessions, schedules, journals and stuff :).Thanks!

  • Tim Toller

    Another source of great ideas for posts is Digg. Just browse through the recent top ranking stories for great headline ideas.

Comments are closed.