You know how it is. You sit down to right something for your blog and nothing comes out. You don’t even know where to start or what topic you should be writing about. A few things come to mind, but you feel like you’ve already said everything you can about the subject. Maybe you end up not writing that day or you publish a post just for the sake of publishing. Sometimes you have a hard time generating ideas for your blog. It happens to all of us at one point or another. Lucky for us we have Darren Rowse who’s just finished a series on rediscovering your blogging groove.
Darren’s idea for the series was to have you write a post of the type he mentions for each of seven days, but I think it’s fine to just pick and choose from his list when you might need a little something to get you going. I’ve used every one of these at one time or another with varying degrees of success.
- Write a List – I usually prefer writing something more than a simple list, though in a time crunch a simple list is one of the quickest posts you can write. The post you’re reading is clearly a list post.
- Answer a Question – This is one of my favorites, since someone else is supplying the topic. The trick is getting someone to ask you a question. Darren has some good suggestions on finding questions and I’ll add one of my own. Find questions through forums. Forums are a great source of topics for your blog. If a question is asked more than once at a forum it’s probably ripe for a blog post.
- Write a Review – Review posts work best if you’ve actually used whatever it is you’re reviewing. I generally enjoy writing review posts, but for me they take some time to write. Take this review of the new Ask 3D interface. I spent a few hours playing with the interface and jotting down notes as I did. The post itself was easy to write after those hours of play, but a fair amount of time went into using and testing the interface.
- Link Posts – The key to link posts is finding quality content to link to. They can be something as simple as linking to a handful of posts with a few words about what someone will find to something quite lengthy with a lot of links and added commentary like my This Week In SEO Posts.
- Write a Tip Post – Darren nails the key to the tip post when he mentions the ‘need’ of your audience. If your audience doesn’t feel a need to know then they won’t read your tips. I could offer tips on the best way to build a birdhouse (well I couldn’t really) and some of you may even find that useful, but since this blog has very little to do with birds you likely wouldn’t feel any need to read those tips.
- Ask a Question – I’m not sure if asking a question will work for everyone. Asking a question does rely on your community answering. It works easily for Darren, but it might not work so well for everyone. Last week I asked how readers would like to see me handle comments here and with only a couple of responses (Thanks Adam and Tony) it felt like an unsuccessful post. Sometimes it’s still good to ask questions to see how active your community is.
- Tell a Story – Telling a story can be very engaging. We all love a good story and once we start to read one we want to know how it ends. Stories are a good way of keeping your visitor to the end of your post. It’s important to choose a story that relates to your blog topic, though. You probably wouldn’t care much if I told you how I went shopping over the weekend, but if I framed my shopping story around some observations about brands or the marketing that was used to get me to buy something or not buy something you might find it more interesting.
You might find that some of these work better for you than others. You might also find that you can use a few of these in a single post or use them as part of a post. While my post based around the comments questions didn’t generate the response I had hoped to get I’ve often ended posts with a question and gotten a good response. Even though this post is built around a list I typically don’t care for list posts since they seem overused. Still I may often add a list within another kind of post.
Do look at Darren’s post for any or all of the above that interest you. He’s provided more detail than I have for each type of post and as always there are plenty of comments with more ideas.
The next time you’re struggling for an idea try one of the ideas from Darren’s list or if you’re up for it make your next seven posts one of each. We all get into blogging ruts and each of these post types can work successfully. Hopefully if and when your next rut hits one of these will help you get your groove back.