In a perfect world, there is no such thing as writer’s block. Ideas flow into your mind with the speed of cascading rapids plunging from a giant waterfall. These ideas translate into perfectly formed words and sentences on your computer screen. You barely even break a sweat before you’ve churned out an amazing blog post your followers will eat up.
Reality destroys this fantasy scenario much more often than it reinforces it. Every blogger hits a mental wall that saps their creativity faster than parched desert ground soaking up a smattering of raindrops after a rare thunderstorm.
How do you stay on top of your game as a blog content provider? The short answer is that being a good blogger requires working at it. You need to be persistent in pushing through writer’s block and laying the groundwork to generate good ideas on a consistent basis.
You can build a content oasis for those times you’re stuck in a creative desert by taking these steps:
1. Survey Your Followers
Sometimes, it’s best to go straight to your audience and get a feel for what they want. Solicit their comments on potential topics they would like to see covered. Your request can come in the form of a post on social media accounts linked to your blog, or in a sentence included below each post that encourages them to contact you if they have an idea for a blog topic.
The benefits to this approach are obvious. Your blog followers get a chance to have their voice heard. As a blogger, you gain a valuable resource for triggering inspiration. Letting them brainstorm with you might even take you in directions you had not considered before.
2. Study Related Blogs
Gaining an edge over your competition in the content department starts with understanding what they are doing. If you feel like you are spinning your wheels, you can replenish your idea supply by studying other blogs within your niche.
Studying other blogs offers a useful reference on how to approach content creation for your own blog. You can see what works and what doesn’t work. It can offer a starting point on how to tackle a specific topic. The important thing to remember is that you don’t actually copy content from other blogs. Plagiarism is illegal, unethical and the mark of a poor writer.
3. Think Like a Blog Reader
An effective way to generate content ideas is to actually put yourself in the position of your blog followers. Paint a mental picture of the people who read your blog posts. What do they want to see? What do they want to read? What do they want to learn?
Answering those hypothetical questions can help you deliver content that meets the needs of your readers. You don’t have to do this exercise blind either. You can probe comments and questions on past blog posts to get a feel for the collective personalities of your blog readership. It can offer insight into what directions are best to take your content.
John C is a freelance writer available on WriterAccess, a marketplace where clients and expert writers connect for assignments.