Have you ever faced a situation where you don’t have enough topics to write on your blog? Or even worse – you have a topic in mind, but don’t have enough stock information to get started and expand it into a decent post. And finally the worst scenario – there’s no motivation or drive (internal or external) to continue posting!
If the above description explains your situation, you are suffering from what is known as the ‘writer’s block’. I had written a short post sometime back on using the skribit widget to get rid of writer’s block. In this post I would like to share some methods that I personally use to keep writing continuously – well, almost.
How and where to find topics
There are a number of sources from where you get inspiration and find next set of topics to write about. The following are some of the sources that really work for me:
- Forums: Forums are great places to get inspired and I can give you my word on that. For a list of webmaster, technology, online business and blogging forums, please read this post on high page rank forums. You may need to actually sign up and be active in two or three forums, that deal with your niche area, to effectively use them as sources of ideas
- Other blogs in your niche: All big blogs in your niche plus ten or fifteen emerging blogs would form a good source of ideas
- Sign up with news letters of major niche players and echo system partners: For example, if you are dealing with a Make-money-online blog, you need to sign up with major ad networks, affiliate agencies (say Google, YPN, Commission Junction) etc to receive updates from them. What they communicate to you, could be your next post topic and hence don’t blindly opt out of any free newsletter
- Try to carefully analyze the comments: If you read between the (comment) lines, you will get to understand what your readers really like and build more on such topics. Even following comments on other blogs can be inspirational. Also, while commenting on other blogs, just think whether whatever you are commenting could be the crux of your next post!
- Google Analytics: The topics related to the most popular posts and more page views are what you need to write more about. So do not forget to do research your GA data
- Twitter: I do not tweet extensively, but of late I have started following and reading some good bloggers’ and online friends’ conversation. If you evesdrop you will definitely get to know some hot (and cool) topics to write about
- Other than the above sources any other media like TV and radio can also be great sources to draw inspiration from
- Reading is the key: Usually you need to read a lot (Newspapers, magazines, blogs…) to write a little – say 90% reading and 10% writing should produce the right balance!
Keep your raw-materials ready
Once you have several topics with you, instead of keeping them in your mind, you may need to store them somewhere. I keep a little text file that has all my short listed topics (sometimes even actual future post titles). This text file even has the list of topics stored according to the cateogories – categories being your actual blog categories.
In addition, I keep a Microsoft word document that has the next couple of topics to be posted in a draft form. This document also includes drafts and already posted articles (as an additional backup mechanism, just in case). My drafts usually include bullet points, reference site URLs and subtitles.
I also keep pictures, logos etc that might support my future posts in the same folder where the above two documents reside. Now when it is time to post the stored drafts, all that takes me is roughly 45 minutes to 1 hour to expand the idea, proof read it and post it on to my blog. I hope many of you are using similar processes for your blogging activities, as well. If not, please try it out – It really works for me!
How do you prepare for a day where you have no mood to write anything new or don’t have enough time? Very simple, whenever you have time (e.g. weekend) to browse around and edit, you keep stocking your topics, keep adding bullet points to your drafts, and keep expanding one or two drafts into posts. Fortunately, the WordPress platform allows the posts to be scheduled so that you can even plan for the next three or four posts. It is always ideal to be ready with at least the next two posts that will appear on your blog. The only reason to change the schedule is when very important announcement posts need to be posted ahead. This happens very rarely.
Having the posts prepared and scheduled, also gives you a lot of time for other editorial-webmaster related activities such as comment moderation, ad management, replying to emails etc. It also saves your blog from being ignored during your vacation or illness time or other emergencies.
Other ways to save time include the delegation of tasks – such as comments moderation, proof reading, searching and finding related topics, preparing images etc. In this regard, I get a lot of support from my wife who is a co-author here as well.
If none of the above works…
On a real bad day, if none of the above tips work, try to come up with a filler post or a five-minute bail-out post. Opinion posts or survey posts can be great fillers that can keep the readers really engaged as well. However, it is a good habit to keep even opinion post topics in your little text file of topics. And it is not a good habit to come up filler posts too frequently!
Hope these tips were of help to you. Please do not forget to bookmark this post using the links below if you found it interesting!