Some days it feels as if writer’s block has invaded your blog. You’re staring at a blank Evernote file and trying to come up with something clever to say. But the more you try to come up with something memorable that will stick in your readers’ minds, the more trouble you have writing something. Some days it feels as if you’ve completely run out of ideas.
You can find ideas for posts and for refining your blog’s niche by looking at similar blogs, reading blog directories like Alltop, or even watching hours of cable. But if you really want to make a splash with you blog, you should look into under-utilized ways to come up with blog topics.
On the shelves you’ll find books with information on your blog’s topics that aren’t currently talked to death on every blog in your niche. Pull out a book from thirty or more years ago and look at how the author suggested solving a problem in your niche. If it’s relationships and the “solution” is laughingly dated, you can write a blog post about the “history of relationship advice from the 1960s,” or “how to catch a woman’s eye during the disco era.”
Readers love seeing how a particular topic has developed over the years, and if there’s a particular topic (like how to do the perfect cat eye for makeup devotees), they’ll love seeing how a classic has held up over the decades.
On the other hand, you will find some truly outdated advice from older books, and you can re-write the advice from a modern perspective. A book in the “work from home” genre from the 1930’s may advise women to take up sewing or making cakes for extra money, but today’s readers want to learn about a range of home based opportunities for women.
If you want to harvest the power or Amazon, check out a couple of the latest books in your genre. Write a review post on the latest or most popular books in your genre. Talk about what you loved, what you hated and what’s missing. Post part of your post in Amazon, Barnes and Noble and Goodreads and you can increase blog traffic by getting your name out there on reputable and high traffic sites.
This is also a great tactic if you’re looking for ideas for an e-book. If you want to know what kind of ideas you can fit into a 400 to 700 word blog post, a traditionally published book will give you an idea of what kind of ideas have real staying power in your niche. If you’re planning on writing a 20,000- word or more e-book, you can use the table of contents in published books to give you a road map for writing your own book.
As you’re looking through the table of contents, you will find some great topics and main points that you can spin into several blog posts. As you upload them you can use them as teaser for the e book. Each can function as a tool to pre-sell the book in your blog or on Amazon and Smashwords.
Remember all those stupid things Uncle Phil says about smartphones when you see him during the Holidays? He may not understand them, but some of the things that he has to say are a gold mine for topics. Make a list of all the things he gets wrong, and create a “total newbie’s guide to smart phones” or “top ten total misconceptions people have about smart phones.” You already have your research right in front of you, and chances are that many of the things that he’s said or thought over the years other people have said and thought but were too embarrassed to say it out loud.
Even if your blog is not geared towards newcomers in your genre, you can still use what you learn from Uncle Phil to write a “back to the basics” series for your blog.
Take a trick from fiction writers: if you want to get a new perspective, pick up something completely unrelated to the work that you do. Not only will this give you some perspective that you peers don’t have, it’ll allow you to make connections between two things that appear to be completely unrelated.
You can grab another bit of inspiration from fiction writers- using the characters in the books as hypothetical case studies in your posts. A character in a thriller whose online identity is stolen makes for a great example of what could happen if a reader doesn’t utilize the security software that you blog about on a regular basis.
Finding obscure sources for you blog can eventually help you become a leader in your niche. As you develop a reputation for successful risk taking, more people take notice if you and you grown in credibility. Your niche was created at some point by someone coming up with an idea that seemed crazy, and if you’re constantly bringing innovative ideas to the table, you can help set the future of your niche.
Remember when every blog post was something along the lines of “The Amazon way of content marketing,” and “Container gardening the Apple way?” It was a great idea, but it got old fast because everyone was using it. Really, who wants to read twelve version of “The Abraham Lincoln method of baking apple pies?” If there’s a trend going on, do your best to go in the opposite direction- fast.
The more you follow a trend or a meme the faster your brain will turn off and before you know it you’re a “me too” blog. This can be a delicate balance when you’re trying to establish your blog. You want to be relevant and relate-able to leaders in your niche, and if they like you partnerships and can help build your audience. But it’s hard to draw in an audience if your blog is indistinguishable from the pack.
One rule of thumb to follow is the moment you notice a trend is developing, start working on something completely different.
What’s the best way to become and remain an original? Stay true to your own story. Write about the time your kindergarten teacher sent you to the corner for stealing little Emily’s blue crayon. If it’s in your memory, it had a profound impact on who you are emotionally. And your readers will relate to you better for sharing something so deeply personal.
The more that you play on your uniqueness, the faster you can build a brand. There are limitless stories and examples from our lives that we can draw upon, and even if we think no one can understand them, a few readers will come along and tell you how much they could relate to how you felt or what you did.