Sometimes the hardest slog in content creation is igniting that creative fire! We’ve all been there – the laptop feels like a prison, repetition is rife, and you start questioning yourself. We’ve also been hearing from the Make Traffic Happen family that fellow content creators are guilty of copycat behaviour, stealing their formats, designs and call-outs. We know familiarity breeds contempt but that is dangerous for your brand and business. Readers want originality.
The solution? Our guide to creating fresh content. Here are 11 blog ideas for writers to help break through writer’s block.
11 Surefire Blog Ideas for Writers
1. Topical blog ideas
With the sad news of the death of designer Kate Spade and chef/journalist Anthony Bourdain, we’ve seen an increase in mental-health-focused articles from content creators in a variety of niches. In our opinion this is great, we want to see more people highlighting issues and advertising how/where to get help.
Topical issues are a great option for combating writer’s block and often are fun or challenging to write, depending on the topic.
Keep abreast of what’s trending by setting up a Google alert for topics in your industry. I wake up to Scotland tourism alerts every morning. Join mailing lists for websites, newspapers and magazines in your field and keep an eye on what’s trending on Twitter and Facebook.
2. Seasonal stories
Personally, we tend to prioritise evergreen content [which continues to attract readers all year round] on our own travel websites but there is always room for seasonal posts because they are important too. Seasonal holidays, events and festivals occur at certain times of the year but you need to be ahead of the game when it comes to those stories if you want to beat your competitors.
We have created a list of events, holidays and festivals by month and saved this to our Make Traffic Happen Facebook group files. Please add to it! Check out the file here. For more ideas, try Googling the phrase “national holidays on *date*”.
The Pinterest newsletter offers handy tips on topics that their users searching for. This can help you plan your pins, plus these topics can make exciting, and in-demand articles ideas, too.
Google Trends is a great free resource for checking when people are searching for keywords. Looks like it is time to start pimping my Edinburgh Fringe post!
Side note: If you write about yearly events, around September you should update any posts that display this year’s date for next year.
Google’s Freshness Factor is nothing new, it was rolled out with the 2010 Caffeine Algorithm but it is still an important factor for Search Engine Optimisation. Why not use this refreshment strategy to update old content?
3. Be prepared
Merry Christmas! In the content creation world, it pays to start strategising festive gift guides before everyone else but this advice comes with caution – don’t be a follower! The world does not need another gift guide for girls. Brainstorm new ideas for unique types of travellers. Can you rank for any keywords? Target those keywords, get your affiliate links into the post, and make that post pay!
Black Friday was not a thing in the UK ten years ago but now its importance is evident. Europeans are looking for the best deals for Christmas gifts too. Maximise your income opportunities using your affiliate Black Friday deals. Amazon usually emails their Black Friday deals closer to November but it wouldn’t hurt to get the backbone of the post ranking, then tweak it closer to Christmas, while adding your affiliates links.
4. Affiliate posts
What’s the point in publishing content that isn’t making you money? Another writer’s block tip is to publish for payment! Think about posts that advertise the products and services you use and target keywords you can rank for. If you add these posts to your newsletter auto-responder (if applicable) it means every person who signs up will see the post. However, be aware that sending a directly link from Amazon affiliates in your newsletter is against their terms and conditions. Only use the headline/blurb of the post that contains the link.
- Affiliate article ideas: product/service reviews, accommodation guides, and tour reviews.
5. Play ‘find the keywords’ on Keysearch
Seriously, it’s a fun game! When doing targeted keyword research for posts, you will inevitably come across different keywords you could use for other articles in the future. Add them to a notebook or file and crack it open when the writers’ block creeps in.
Keysearch also has a nifty ‘brainstorming’ tool. Click Keyword Research and Brainstorm. You can add topics to see what’s trending in social media or ranking well in search engines. Neat eh?
Not using Keysearch yet? It’s the most economical and user-friendly keyword tool on the market at $17 per month/$169 per year. Don’t want to invest? Use Google Suggests. Type the topic into the search bar and let the drop-down guide you (this option does not tell you how competitive the keywords are for ranking or how many people search for it though).
6. Write for others
This sounds counter intuitive but one way to break through writer’s block is to write for others.
We usually guest post to get our voice out to a bigger audience and to secure a solid backlink to our own content, but guest posting is also great for new topic ideas and breaking the monotony. Have a scout around other blogger’s websites and identify gaps in their posts then pitch. It helps if you have worked with them previously (on collaboration posts) or even better, if you have met them in person (if you are serious about blogging, attend conferences – it accelerated my blogging career, read how here).
Professional bloggers have an article structure that works best for them. During a guest post exchange it is likely the blogger will provide specifications, this is great for your own development and improving your writing style. Obviously we do not suggest copying their format. Use it positively to advance on your own style.
Interview an authority in your field, even better, interview a number of people in your niche. You never know – you might get social shares in return, or possibly a backlink. Alternatively, ask your readers what they’d like to know more about you and publish a personal interview.
8. Revive Old Content
Not every article has to be a newly published idea. Brian Dean [Backlinko] states that ‘Although Google prefers fresh content, an older page that’s regularly updated may outperform a newer page.’ If you have a bank of old posts that are not optimised for SEO you could be sitting on a goldmine of potential traffic! Identify which old posts have the most potential [the low hanging fruit] using Google Analytics and Search Console (free), investigate if there are keywords you already rank for but need better on-page placement, then write!
Complaint: In my post, I’ve used my target keyword in the eight Make Traffic Happen on-page SEO sweet spots and I’ve got some backlinks to the post, but I’m not ranking well. Help!
We hear this often in our Facebook support group (not a member yet? Join here) and the answer is complicated but usually includes two responses.
Firstly, it takes time. SEO is not magic. Google takes its own time to decide on positions. Sometimes I can rank in a matter of days but I’ve also had to wait half a year for one affiliate post.
The second factor is that you are not the authority. Writing one post on a topic does not automatically give you the golden ticket to the top slots. Google likes to see who talks about a topic well and often so if you are competing with niche sites who specialise, you have a hard fight on your hands.
- Write more about the topic. This is called creating silo content.
- Make a plan. What are all the other topics surrounding the theme that you could write about?
- Can you rank for keywords or market elsewhere like through Pinterest or Twitter?
- Remember to internally link back and forth between the posts to get the link juice flowing. This also helps Google crawl your site.
- Are one of these posts your cornerstone?
10. Cornerstone content
We write extensively about cornerstone content in the second Yes to SEO challenge (every month a new challenge, join now by signing up here). Cornerstone content are the articles that define your site. They cover the main themes that your site stands for and they help with site structure. You need to internally link from your cornerstone post to other posts you have written on the topic and put a link to the cornerstone article on the homepage. This hierarchy matters for the structure of your site which helps with SEO, too.
11. Write for your future audience
Use Google Search Console to find out what queries (keywords) get people clicking on your posts. These keywords can create other ideas for blog posts, and they can expand your content on a single topic, which is great for ranking.
When everything else is failing, step away from the computer! Get a glass of water, take a walk or do some stretches. Blogger belly sucks, make sure you include exercise into your daily routine. This is proven to release endorphin and support mental stability. Now finding fresh content shouldn’t be a struggle with our 11 techniques to break through the boredom of writer’s block.
- Be topical! Check what’s trending?
- Look outside, what season is it? Target content.
- Show me the money, pen those affiliate posts.
- Audit your site – write for silo and cornerstone.
- Share the love and write for others.
- Kill it on Keysearch, check out the brainstorming tool.
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