When you first start blogging, coming up with fresh, unique blogging topics is going to be one of your biggest challenges (unless you are a constant stream of blog posts..I’m jealous). Sure at first you may have a dozen or so topics & headlines you want to use..but after your first initial brain dump, coming up with fresh blog posts can be tough.
One of the tricks that I use to generate more blog topics is to create a mind map, which is a form of brainstorming! Essentially I start by writing down the main topics of my blog and then continue to break those topics into sub-topics. At that point, I break out all of the sub-topics and create a handful of headlines for each one.
1. Start by writing down your main topics. These are the topics that you write about most often and the topics that your readers have come to expect from you. Got them written down yet? Depending on what niche you are in, you may only have 1 main topic or maybe you write about many. You’ll want to start with at least a couple to get you going.
For example: My main topics are Blogging, Motherhood, & Entrepreneurship.
2. Now that we’ve written down our topics, it’s time to create our mind map. Take a sheet of paper and write down your topics down the middle like in the picture above. Leave some space around your topics because you are about to get all mind mappy up in here and you’ll need some room for all of your brilliant ideas!
3. Start with your first topic & write down some sub-topics. These will be anything that falls under your main topic. Topics that your readers care about and are aligned with your blog’s mission.
For example: My main topic of blogging has the following sub-topics: Social Media, Traffic, Monetization, Hosting, etc. These are all sub-topics that I cover on my blog.
Once you’ve got the sub-topics written out, you will want to expand on those sub-topics into micro-topics. Don’t worry, this is the last step before we start the real brainstorming. So once again, take your sub-topics and break them up into 2-3 micro-topics.
Now that you’ve got your micro topics, it’s time to brainstorm. Now that you’ve narrowed down your field you can get laser focused on content for that particular micro-topic. I usually create a list of 5 titles for each micro-topic.
Now if you are completely stuck, you can do a couple of things to find out what articles people are reading and sharing in your niche by looking at the following websites:
BuzzSumo: In the Buzzsumo search bar enter your micro-topic and click submit. Buzz sumo will display the most popular blog articles in that niche. Take a look at the articles and see if there are any in there you can expand upon or make better.
You can search by timeframe (i.e. Last 6 months) and search by Social Network. For example, by sorting by social network you can see what type of content does well on Facebook & what does well on Pinterest, or Twitter.
Seeing this information should spark a few blog topics. So head back to your mind map and write them down before you forget.
Quora: Quora is a website that people go to ask questions. These questions are then answered by other members. If you are having trouble coming up with blog content, you can head over to Quora and do a quick search for your micro-topics. This should bring up a list of questions that other people have asked about your niche. Read through the questions and create a blog post for the ones that strike your fancy! Heck you could write a blog post based on every single question if you wanted to.
Pinterest: Whenever I get stuck with content ideas, I go to Pinterest and to a search for a micro-topic and take a look at what’s been written before and which ones are getting lots of re-pins. This almost always sparks some creativity!
If you do go with either of those strategies, makes sure that you are inspired & don’t simply copy someone else’s compelling headline. It’s always best to be original and fresh when writing headlines & blog posts.
Ok…so guess what ladies (and gents!) if you’ve followed the steps listed out above you should have yourself a good 20-30 blog post ideas. Plop those headlines into a calendar and BOOM…you now also have a content calendar. Pretty easy right?
I try to do this mind map thing once a month to keep things fresh.