This is a guest post by Adrienne Erin
When writing for your blog, it isn’t always easy to come up with new ideas. Posting four to eight times a month means finding effective ways to create content that will engage and entertain readers on a regular basis. When you need to cook up great writing, questions can often provide the best answers.
Cooking Up Ideas with Twitter
Scanning social media sites such as Twitter can help you come up with timely and useful content ideas. Trending discussions help determine what people in a specific target market consider important. These trends are updated almost instantly based on popular phrases and hashtags used in tweets. You can find trending discussions on the left sidebar of your Twitter homepage. These can be customized by country and state as well as by tailored trends based on your expressed interests. Clicking on a trend allows you to explore the community’s conversation and will likely point to topics and areas of research that will lead to future blog posts.
Follow influential people in your niche on Twitter to see the kinds of things they share and respond to. Chances are, if you take cues from the content they tend to curate, eventually your blog posts will be featured in the same tweets and discussions.
While you always want to produce evergreen content, it is also important to address current issues in a niche. This will keep your blog current and prove to readers that you are a thought leader in the industry. It also shows that the blog isn’t just on autodrive, spitting out meaningless, timeless content that has no real relation to the present. For example, if many people in the classic cars arena are discussing unique Mustang parts, you could come out with a post featuring some of the craziest components out there.
Quora Helps with Blog Ingredients
Finding the questions that people are asking in a specific market can help generate great blog ideas. Quora is a question and answer site that has exploded in popularity. Similarly to Yahoo Answers, those responses are rated, and the best answer is placed at the top of the list. If multiple Quora members are asking similar questions about something you’re an expert at, then get those gears turning and churn out a blog post!
In addition, trending topics on Quora show what pain points target clients have in a particular industry. Successful business owners understand their customers’ issues and provide solutions to their problems. If your blog is a part of your business website, what are you waiting for? By answering industry-relevant questions on the blog and pointing to the products that can provide a solution, your blog can create loyal customers in addition to gaining search popularity.
Trending topics also feature questions and answers by experts and thought leaders. Their professional insight may help prompt additional blog ideas, much like following influential people on Twitter. For example, if you’re a restaurant owner, you may consider viewing the trending questions in the culinary arts topic. As you can see in the screenshot, many chefs and restaurant owners are asking questions and contributing their recipes for success.
A good cook knows that using the same ingredients in different amounts can create an original and tasty dish. When a business creates content, it can be repurposed in a number of ways. For example, your latest press release can spur a blog post. When your company produces a white paper, a portion of it can become a discussion on your Facebook page. Similarly, your latest e-book could just be an epic Quora answer waiting to happen.
When repurposing content, it’s important to make each iteration original. Be sure that you avoid posting duplicate content on your website; Google won’t know what to rank higher in search and it may split your ranking power (depending on how the authorship has been set up). Use the idea (or just a portion of it) from the original document and then rewrite it so the final blog post is a completely original production.
Asking for New Recipe Ideas
Audience participation helps make a successful blog. Just like you might ask your family for ideas when you’ve been cooking the same meal over and over, you can turn to your audience when you need new topic ideas. Asking what information your subscribers would like to see on your blog helps keep it popular and relevant to your readers’ tastes.
Finding new recipe ideas will keep readers coming back for seconds (and hopefully thirds). It may also lead you down a path you hadn’t even considered. The needs of most markets are always changing, so it pays to cater to the interests and ambitions of your readers.
Keeping the flavor of a blog fresh and new isn’t always an easy or simple task. Sometimes the company agenda or your own goals help the topic ideas flowing. When your sources of inspiration dry up, it’s important to know where else you can turn. But don’t worry – following trends, finding questions in need of an answer, asking your readers, and repurposing your own content are also great ways to rekindle your inspiration, and after a while you may find that you’ve tapped into new ideas you never considered before!
How do you cook up new ideas for your blog? Share your recipes and secret ingredients in the comments!
Photo Credit: interpunct