As someone who oversees blog content creation in my full-time job and freelance writes on the side, I know from experience that once you hit a bad patch of writer’s block, it can be really tough to brainstorm new ideas that feel interesting and fresh. To combat this, I’ve developed a few tried and true methods over the years to help keep my creativity flowing, even when it feels like it’s all dried up.
Utilize the following list of idea-generating tips to strengthen your association’s blog with rock-solid content that’s both interesting and informative:
Refer back to old ideas
You never know when inspiration might strike, so it’s helpful to keep a running list of ideas— a Google Doc, a Trello board, or even a physical notebook— that’s easily accessible from (almost) anywhere. Whenever you think of a new idea, jot it down, even if you’re not sure if it will be a good fit. Then, during your next content planning session, sift through your new backlog of ideas and see if anything is usable,could be reworked or sparks a better idea for someone else.
Monitor your frequently asked questions
If you find yourself continually answering the same repeat questions, consider crafting a series of blog posts that lay out the answers to each one. Not only is this a great way to target long-tail SEO keywords on Google, but you’ll have a new place to direct people that gives them all of the information they’re looking for.
Scan the comments section
What are people debating in industry forums, discussing in online groups, or asking about in Instagram comments? Jot down all of the questions you come across, analyze the common trends, and consider how you can address these topics in smaller, more digestible blog posts. Chances are, if a lot of people are asking these questions in online communities, they’re probably searching for them on Google, too.
Leverage conference Q&As
If you’re planning on attending an upcoming conference (be it physical or virtual), try to pay extra attention to what people are asking during Q&A sessions. Pull in inspiration from the topics that get covered, and see if you’re able to answer these questions with your own personal insight on your organization’s blog.
Refresh your existing content
If you find yourself particularly stuck, it can sometimes be helpful to look back on content that’s performed well in the past. No need to reinvent the wheel: Dig into your blog’s analytics to find your top five performing blog posts, and see how you can either expand on these topics or approach them in new ways.
Tell your story
Regardless of what you blog about, you’ve probably been doing it for a while. Sharing your own personal experiences (both good and bad) can help build a connection with your existing audience and encourage emerging professionals trying to break into the industry.
What advice would you give a recent college graduate looking for work in your field? What’s something you wish you would have known when you were in the beginning stages of your career? Think about your greatest accomplishments or biggest mistakes; what did you take away from them?
Borrow a brain
Guest posts and interviews are a great way to diversify the voices on your organization’s blog while simultaneously alleviating some pressure on yourself to come up with new content ideas. See if there’s a member of your association or another industry professional who might be willing to write a guest post for you or be interviewed on a topic they have a special expertise in. Then simply transcribe the interview, edit for clarity, and you’ve got yourself a blog post!
Survey your audience
When all else fails, don’t be afraid to ask your organization’s members what they want to see on your blog. Ask them what they’re currently struggling with, what roadblocks they’re encountering, or what topics they’d like to learn more about. This basically guarantees you’ll be delivering content that’s highly valuable because the ideas are coming directly from your audience.
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Emily Malkowski is a freelance writer and strategist with bylines in The American Prospect, Roadtrippers Magazine, Step Out Buffalo, and more. She specializes in SEO strategy for small businesses and lives in beautiful Buffalo, New York.