Bio: Joshua Loomis is an Inbound Marketing Specialist at Cirrus Insight. Find more content from Josh by following the Cirrus Insight Twitter
Have you ever thought up a brilliant, fantastic idea for a blog post? Just came to you out of the blue? You sat down, worked all afternoon making it perfect, and grinned a little as you got all the phrasing and formatting fine-tuned. You put it online and feel exhausted, yet content. Then you remembered. “Shoot. I’ve got 4 more of these to write this week.”
The amount of weekly posts for every blogs differs, but chances are you want to post as many high quality articles as frequently as you reasonably can. However, you can’t always sit around waiting for an injection of inspiration. Especially when deadlines and supervisors are involved.
How do you avoid running out of topics, or writing low quality pieces, while still posting frequently?
Step 1: Make a Topic List
Chances are, you already have a topic list. If you don’t go ahead and start one. The list is essential. I’ve got a google doc with bullet points. If you just started your list, or if you only have a few things on it (less than 10), then take a few minutes and add any idea you can think of, doesn’t matter if it’s super or not. Just get down everything you can pull out of your head. You want this list to be as long as possible.
Now, I don’t know about you, but I run out of ideas pretty quick. I’m only one blogger, you know?
So, let’s see how we can get our creative juices pumping.
Step 2: Check Out Other Blogs
I’m the blogger for Cirrus Insight, a software company that integrates email and Salesforce, along with marketing automation features, so I have a few other blogs of our competitors, marketing companies, or from other software companies that I like to look over when trying to think of ideas.
You don’t want to steal or simply rephrase other posts. That’s wrong. You want a jumping off point. The goal is to see what kind of topics other people are writing about and how they’re going about, so you can figure out your own possibilities.
Did someone else have a popular post about email tools? I’ll glance over it, do some more research on the topic, put my own spin on it, and connect it more to my own company/blog audience.
Step 3: Use Social Media
I personally follow a few social media feeds related to my field, but I also check the feed of the Cirrus Insight twitter which follows hundreds of other companies and organizations in related fields. Check news and article aggregates and see what they’re posting about.
Similar to checking out other blog posts, you’re seeing what are good topics or news stories in your field and filtering them through your own, unique lens.
You can also see what’s trending, and if it’s appropriate, write an article related to it. Good examples of this would be a giving an update on a popular tech event (if you’re in tech like me), or an entertaining post that relates pop culture to useful information about your field or product.
Step 4: Talk to People in Your Company
You’ve seen what ideas the rest of the world has for posts. But did you check-in with your coworkers? People tend to be pretty busy, but just sharing a Google Doc for everyone to add ideas of their own when they think of them, or have a minute, can produce a lot of ideas quickly if everyone throws in a couple.
You can also do a short interview (10-15 minutes) with someone from a different department in your company. They can fill you in on details of their work, useful work strategies, and lessons they’ve learned which can all be turned into different posts.
Step 5: Search Google
If you still need more ideas, do a Google search on a topic you do have. Scroll down after your search to the section that says “Searches related to…” and see if there’s anything interesting. Copy any good suggestions and then pick one to click. Go see the searches related to that and do the same thing.
You can quickly move dart through several lists of related search terms to find ideas. Best of all, you know that these are ideas that people are already searching and want more information about.
Step 6: Keeping the List Strong
After going through all those sources, you should have a pretty long list. If you’ve checked out other blogs, scanned social media, talked to a couple co-workers, and searched Google, you should have a decent number of blog ideas
Don’t get complacent! You’re list should now always be around this long length. Keep adding new ideas as they come up and after writing a few posts, find a similar number of new ideas.
Step 7: Vary Topics and Types of Posts
The reason you want to have a huge list of ideas is to have a large amount of flexibility when coming up with posts. You don’t want to be writing the same type of post or on similar topics each time, so vary your focus, and jump around the list.
Some posts can be long-form and in-depth instructional pieces. Others can be entertaining and share a work lesson. Sometimes, you’ll just want a post better explaining something about your company/product to help out your customers. Posts should always be beneficial, and not just fancy ads, but there’s a lot leeway.
The variety will help keep both you and your readers engaged over time.
So there you go! Seven steps for avoiding topic exhaustion while still posting often. What steps would you suggest to fellow content marketers?