Overcoming Blogger’s Block
A never-ending challenge for bloggers is to constantly produce quality content on topics that will generate interest. At times it can be a struggle to even decide on a topic to blog about. When you have hit this wall, or better yet, before you have hit this wall, there are some proven methods that will help you to find topics of interest within your area of focus.
1 – Stay Up-to-Date
The first step to overcoming blogger’s block is staying up-to-date with current event and news. Most industries have enough news and headline stories that your blog could be constantly updated with posts only covering current events.
Stories that are hot and new bring large amounts of traffic to blogs that are able to take advantage of the latest news. Sometimes just being one of the first bloggers to place a link to a breaking story from a major source will even be enough to bring significant traffic. Current events are also great topics for analytical or opinion posts.
How to stay up-to-date
The key to staying on top of current news in your industry is to find the sources that release stories first. For example, if you blog about any topic related to search engines and marketing, Google’s Webmaster Central Blog should be a site that you visit frequently. Catching a new announcement straight from the source will allow you to write a post before other bloggers in your market.
To find the best sources of news visit the major blogs and websites in your industry and follow links for current topics to find the source of the story. Try visiting sites like PRBuzz to find news from your industry.
Once you have identified several of the best sources of news, add their RSS feeds to an RSS reader and get in the habit of using the RSS reader on a daily basis. Now you will be in a position to get breaking news right away and you can quickly use a blog post to react to the news, or simply to place a link to breaking stories.
2 – Keep a Notepad or Journal of Ideas
Many of your best ideas for blog posts will come at times when you are not at your computer or when you are not able to write. Keeping a notepad of ideas is a great way to avoid forgetting about potential topics of interest, and it can also help you to visualize different topics that overlap or build on each other.
The notepad can also be used to keep track of other bloggers’ posts or ideas that interest you. Sometimes another blogger’s writing can spark an idea for a post of your own.
3 – Read What Other Bloggers are Writing
If you are stuck and having difficulty coming up with ideas for your posts, pay attention to what other bloggers in your industry are writing.
One way to come up with a new post is to write a reaction or a response to a post from another blogger. You can either build upon the points made by the other blogger or you can present another opinion on the issue and give reasoning for your opinion.
If you choose to write a post in reaction to another blogger you should consider emailing the author or at least leaving a comment mentioning your post including a link. If the author sees value in your article you may get a link back to your blog.
4 – Visit Social Media Sites
Websites such as Digg, Delicious, Netscape and Reddit will quickly show you a number of topics and current events that are getting a lot of attention. You may be able to come up with an idea for a blog post by checking out what other users are interested in at the moment. (To get a full list of social media websites, visit www.vandelaydesign.com/socialmedia/listofsites.htm).
5 – Use Questions that You Receive by Email from Readers to Formulate a Post
If you’ve received a good question from a reader recently, consider using a blog post to pose the question and discuss your answer. Many of your readers may have had a similar question, and rather than just respond by email to the reader who submitted the question, why not turn it into a quality post? Here is an example of this type of post from ProBlogger – How Long Should a Post Be?
6 – Respond to Comments
A similar method to #6 is to use your readers’ comments on past posts as a springboard for ideas to write about. Ideally, you should use comments from a recent post so that the content will still be fresh and relevant.
Using a post to respond to a reader’s comments and questions can not only help you to overcome blogger’s block, but it will also help to develop loyalty from your readers through the interaction.
7 – Revisit Your Old Posts
Instead of coming up with a new idea from scratch you may be able to find an old post that can be updated. If you wrote a post about news that was current a few months ago, consider writing another post to update readers on the situation and what has happened since the original article was written.
You may also find past blog posts that you can expand. Take a particular post and go a step further. A lot of bloggers use a series of posts to cover topics that are too detailed for a single blog post. Look for articles that you can turn into a series.
Additionally, you may be able to create a new blog post by focusing on one small aspect or point of a prior post. For example, in order to expand this particular blog post I could write an entire post focusing on effectively using an idea notepad.
Have fun implementing these ideas as you come up with new posts for your own blog.