If you’re like most bloggers, you’ve most likely experienced the dreaded “Blank Page Syndrome”. You know, those times when the cursor blinks relentlessly, daring you to come up with something right now.
Sure enough, you can’t.
If this has happened to you, you’re not alone! Blank Page Syndrome is a huge source of procrastination for many people who think they have nothing to write about. Don’t let cursor anxiety set you back!
Below, I’ll share my best tips for coming up with blog post ideas. Inspiration is everywhere – know where to look and you’ll be rewarded with a steady stream of new ideas!
1. shift your mindset
First, get over the idea that everything’s already been done or written. By now, there’s not a whole lot left that no one’s ever thought of or written about. In fact, there are likely hundreds of pieces of content on the web that discuss the same topics you’re writing about.
Is this a bad thing? Heck no! The overabundance of information available to us has caused us to be choosier about the content we consume. For example, someone searching for “potty training” on Google will come across different results:
- Written articles
- Serious articles
- Humorous articles
- Step-by-step instructions
Depending on your personality, you’ll likely gravitate towards one of the above styles more than the rest. Personally, I haaaate watching videos. I’ll tolerate it if it’s informative and to the point, but anything more than 3 or 4 minutes and I’m a goner. Write me a great article with a clean outline, clear subtitles, with an informative but humorous tone and I’ll be your raving fan for life.
Bring your personality to your content. Bring your experience. As someone with a decade of experience in nursing, I’ll likely have a different point of view than someone with an accounting or engineering background would, on almost any given topic.
This goes for you as well. You have a unique voice. Your life experience is a gift that you can share with your audience in a way that no one else does, and this uniqueness will be appealing to the right people, those that will connect with you.
So let go of the idea that you need to create something new that isn’t out there already, because you’ll stay stuck. Instead, embrace the fact that you can add some of your own magic to the content you create and you’ll find inspiration much more easily.
2. create an idea bank
Picture yourself scrolling mindlessly through Facebook while binge watching your favorite show. At some point, something is going to catch your attention and you’ll stop scrolling. Maybe it’s a face swap video, or your sister’s new puppy doing cute stuff. In that case, carry on!
BUT, if the thing that caused you to stop scrolling is an ad, a post on a business page, or a question in a group you are part of, don’t just sign up for the freebie, or answer the question, or click Like and move on. If it grabbed your attention, screenshot it. These screenshots will become part of your “idea bank”.
Building an idea bank is one of the best content creation tips you’ll ever come across.
What is an idea bank exactly? As the name implies, it’s a collection of ideas that you keep for inspiration. See a hilarious ad? Come across a witty pun that makes you facepalm but astounds you with its brilliance at the same time? See a color scheme that takes your breath away? SCREENSHOT.
Similarly, screenshot any ad copy that makes you click, questions posted by fellow Facebook group members, YouTube video comments that spark some ideas, interesting blog post titles, convincing sales pages… the more stuff you have in your idea bank, the easier it will be for you to find inspiration when you’re stuck.
Gather these screenshots in your preferred file organization system. I like to use good old Windows files, but you may prefer Evernote, Trello or Dropbox.
Here are a few folder category ideas for you.
Gather any ads that grab your attention, either with catchy visuals or smart copy. These ads can be from Facebook, Instagram, Google, YouTube, or whatever else you come across.
I recommend keeping a “miscellaneous” file that contains screenshots of interesting layouts on other people’s websites, an Etsy shop with great product ideas you’d like to research more, creative opt-in pages, banners you like, photo collages, checklists and infographics you could use as inspiration for blog posts, and anything else you think can be valuable at some point.
You get tons of marketing emails every day, but if you take the time to read some of them, be on the lookout for the good stuff. Screenshot email subject lines that got you to open them, email structures that flow well, screenshot those great welcome posts to inspire your own, or capture the way your favorite bloggers present their coaching programs to their audience.
headlines and titles
Take note of those really smart blog post titles you come across, or headlines that seem to speak directly to you. These are winners.
You can use the inspiration folder as a place to store links to photos that inspire you when you see them. Sometimes, I’ll be scrolling through Canva for a specific picture, and I come across one that’s not quite what I need but it gives me a fantastic idea for something else.
In this folder, you can gather any ideas that you get as you go about your day. You can use Excel, Word or even Notepad to create lists of different topics you have ideas for. Sometimes, you’ll think of a blog post you’d like to write, but you’re busy with something else. Don’t let this genius idea go to waste!
Start with a brainstorm of ideas, then add to it as you go. Often, you’ll get a new idea while listening to a podcast, watching the news, searching Google, looking at related YouTube videos, or even showering. Jot these down! When you need content ideas, grab these lists and you’ll instantly have dozens of topics you can write about.
Facebook groups are a gold mine of content inspiration. Join several groups related to your niche and be on the lookout for people posting questions. If it’s being asked, there’s demand for content that answers it! Similarly, Quora and Reddit are great places to find questions your audience is asking. Read the comments below YouTube videos and blogs related to your industry. They can also contain valuable questions.
Gather these questions and create a Q&A, a FAQ post or dedicate an entire post to a single question. This is a great way to ensure that what you’re writing is interesting and relevant to your audience.
If you’re like me, most sales pages make you cringe. However, we sometimes come across a sales page that sounds genuine and inspiring. These are super valuable! Screenshot them and keep them in a folder. When it’s time to write your own sales pages, simply follow the structure of other successful sales pages.
TIP: GoFullPage is a free Chrome extension that lets you screenshot an entire web page! It’ll automatically scroll down the page and capture everything for you in a neat PDF. Great for grabbing sales pages you’d like to use as inspiration.
3. answer your audience’s burning questions
In the last section, I briefly mentioned that you should be on the lookout for questions from your audience. I can’t tell you enough how valuable these are! Questions are direct insights into your audience’s problems. It’s basically like getting free, high-quality market research.
Chances are, if a certain question is being asked often, there’s either not enough information online, or what’s out there is missing something that drives people to post their question in a Facebook group or Reddit thread. Research existing content and see if you can create something better that will become a go-to resource for people with this specific question.
Here’s a great example of a valuable post from a Facebook group member. Juggling a full-time job and blogging is definitely a challenge, and the author expresses her feeling of overwhelm very clearly. Looking at this, we can explore the possibility of creating content for an audience that still works full-time and wants to grow their blog.
As a bonus, she gave us two more questions about SEO, keyword research and blog post length! So this Facebook post alone has a ton of potential for content creation inspiration.
the replies are also valuable
If the question has been posted on Reddit, Quora or Facebook, check out the replies. Sometimes, other users have great answers that you never thought of yourself. Occasionally, others will reply with follow-up questions that you could also address in your content.
For example, here’s a screenshot of a question that was posted in one of the Facebook groups I joined. Immediately, you can see the potential for a blog post such as “3 Ways to Reduce Spam on Your WordPress Blog” because the person who answered had some excellent suggestions. Better yet, you already have an article outline right there in her answer!
where to find relevant questions for your niche
If you have an email list, you can send your subscribers an email inviting them to reply with any questions they have for you. Have a Contact Us section on your website as well, so visitors can ask questions without necessarily subscribing to your list.
You can also take a look at:
- Facebook groups
- Yahoo Answers
- Niche Q&A sites
4. get inspiration from popular blog post formats
Sometimes, inspiration comes after you have a structure in place. By defining parameters, you’re limiting the scope of what you need to think about, which reduces overwhelm.
Need to post today but no idea what to write about? Let’s pick a “Top 10” list as inspiration. What topics could you come up with that would allow for choosing 10 of the best things? If you’re a travel blogger, how about “Top 10 Places to Visit if You Love History”? If you’re a fashion blogger, you could try “Top 10 Sweaters that Look Good on Anyone”.
By limiting yourself to a few specific criteria, you suddenly see a lot more possibilities. Weird, but it works. Try it!
Here are some popular blog post formats you can use as inspiration:
- Single product reviews
- Comparison reviews
- How-to articles
- Top 10 or Top 100 lists
- Guides (Beginner’s Guide, Ultimate Guide)
- Listicles (this post is a listicle!)
5. use idea generators
Tools such as the Tweak Your Biz Title Generator can, you guessed it, help you create great titles for your blog posts. You can also use it as an idea generator! Type a topic in the box, let’s say “time management”, and you instantly have several potential blog post ideas. Some of the results will be gibberish, but could be made viable by changing a word or two.
Here are a few of the results that could inspire some interesting blog posts:
- Why Time Management Is the Only Skill You Really Need
- Time Management Doesn’t Have to Be Hard. Read These 10 Tips.
- Time Management Secrets
- 10 Myths About Time Management
- Why Ignoring Time Management Will Cost You Sales
There are so many possibilities here, and each of these titles can be the start of a blog post that would be completely different from the others!
TIP: Check out my 9 step blog post writing formula to turn your new ideas into high-quality blog posts!
So there you have it! Five ways to come up with blog post content ideas and banish Blank Page Syndrome. By changing your mindset and knowing where to look for inspiration, you’re removing a major obstacle that holds many people back.
To get you started, how about setting up your idea bank right now? Create a folder or a section in your favorite note-taking app and set up sub-sections for different types of content. Spend a few minutes brainstorming as many topics as you can. Starting right now, be on the lookout for things that inspire you as you go about your day. Before you know it, you’ll have more ideas than you’ll ever need!