Need some content ideas for your website? Have a brainstorm session with your team and follow these tips to stockpile blog topics for the next year!
Struggling to find things to blog about? We've all been there. You had a list at one time, but it ran out a lot sooner than you thought it would! And now what? Haven't you exhausted all possibilities?
As a blogger, it can be tough to generate new topics that will interest your readers. Thankfully, our friends at Hubspot have some great ideas. They actually sat down as a team and in just one hour, came up with enough blog topics to last an entire year. Yep, you read that right - an entire year!
How to Come Up with a Stockpile of Blog Topics
Start by scheduling a brainstorming session with your team. Open a Google spreadsheet that everyone can contribute to, set the timer for an hour, and off you go! Sound too easy? (Or too hard?) Well, if it's any consolation, the Hubspot team's spreadsheet was blank for the first several minutes.
Then something happened, and the next thing you know, Hubspot's next year of blog topics was planned out. It can happen to you too! Just follow these steps:
1. Come up with just one topic.
It might sound a little scary to come up with a year's worth of blog posts. Remember, a journey of a thousand miles starts with a single step. Don't start with 365 blog posts - start with just one.
And don't get discouraged if nothing happens right away. Take a minute to think. Here's a suggestion: start by considering what problems and questions your customers have. Not sure? Ask them! Or, sit in on a few sales calls and see what questions your prospects are asking. This will help you generate content for sure.
2. Change the scope of the first topic.
Once you've come up with one topic, try making it broader and then narrower to generate more ideas. For instance (thank you, Hubspot):
Let's say your first idea is "15 Social Media Tips and Tricks for Beginners" -- you can change that topic to more niche ones like "15 Pinterest Tips and Tricks for Beginners" or "15 Facebook Tips and Tricks for Beginners".
You can also go from narrow to broad in the same manner ("15 Marketing Tips and Tricks for Beginners"), or go from one narrow topic to another ("15 Twitter Tips and Tricks for Beginners"), or even go from narrow to narrower ("15 Facebook Company Page Tips and Tricks for Beginners").
Get the idea? Now make the above analogy specific to your industry, and your team is sure to get the ball rolling.
Here's another example. One of our online marketing clients is a BMW specialty repair shop. For their blog, we could generate the following topics:
- Top 10 Ways to Care for Your BMW
- Top 10 Ways to Care for Your BMW's Engine
- Top 10 Ways to Care for Your BMW's Brakes
- Top 10 Ways to Care for Your BMW's Transmission
- Top 10 Ways to Care for Your Car
- Top 10 Ways to Care for Your Car in Winter
- Top 10 Ways to Extend the Lifespan of Your Car
- Top 10 Ways to Theft-Proof Your Car
Hopefully you can see how these ideas can easily snowball!
3. Focus on a specific timeframe.
To continue with our above example, we could write a post called "The History of the BMW". If a "History of" post is too exhaustive, try restricting it to a year or even a month. "The Biggest BMW Moments in 2015" or "What You Missed this Month in the BMW Industry". These can focus on industry news and even incorporate other blog posts you've written. For example, in a previous post, we discussed doing a monthly "Best of" blog post to showcase your favorites over that month.
4. Switch up the audience.
You will likely have multiple audiences you could address. Our BMW shop, for instance, could write to the busy mom who needs quick tips for maintaining her BMW with little auto mechanics training; or, they could write to the BMW enthusiast who has memorized their car's manual and checks Bimmerforums.com on a weekly basis. Two articles could be written on the same topic, but would read very differently depending upon the audience.
5. Do both negative and positive.
Rather than "The Top 10 Ways to Care for Your BMW" you could switch it up to "10 Things You Should Never Do to Your BMW". I want to know - don't you?!
6. Try different formats.
Not every blog post has to be text-based. Try creating an infographic, a checklist or chart, or a video. These are great to do for topics you've covered a lot.
7. Whittle it down.
Once your hour is up, you'll probably have a ton of blog topics. However, not every one is going to work for your brand message or audience. So cut the ones that don't work and use the rest as a guide for your next year of blogging. Don't be afraid to deviate from the list - sometimes things will come up and you'll need to change it up - but let it serve as a good foundation for your blogging.