Have you ever been in a blogging rut? Of course you have.
Maybe you had your first blogging writer's block within the first two weeks of starting your blog. It happens, no shame (that's why I wrote a post about the failproof ways to smashing out blog posts when you don't feel like writing).
What's helpful, then, is to know how to quickly get yourself out of the slump, so you don't get in the habit of not writing.
You know what's even better than finding a way to bounce back, though? Not getting yourself into the slump in the first place.
Now before you write that off as an impossible dream, hear me out. Even as a developer and strategist that knows only too well the importance of blogging consistently, I fall into the camp of those that stop blogging at the first sign of overwhelm.
No, really. When things get stressful (which they invariably do) and client sessions are crowding my days, I drop the blogging ball.
I'm not proud of it, but we all know that the first step to overcoming a problem is to acknowledge it, right? So here's my (embarrassing) acknowledgement.
I decided that I needed to put an end to it, and use my own advice in getting consistent with my blogging schedule. What helps me (and what I reckon will also help you) is to put the fun back into blogging.
If your blog is also your business, it's easy to get caught up in the 'professional' aspect of it, and to think of content as something we "should" create, as opposed to something we "want" to create. I know you know what I mean.
As someone who is a full-time productivity and mindset junkie (can we think of a better word to replace 'junkie', please?), I know the importance of the psychology of language. The moment you start thinking of things as something you "should" or "need" to do, it becomes a burden.
Change your language, change your perspective
So Step 0 to never landing in a writing block quicksand is to change your mental and literal language - no more should's or need's, only "I want to". If you think that's too woo-woo, that's fine (I don't care, and you shouldn't too), just put it to practice anyway, and see the difference it makes to your attitude and to how you perceive blogging.
1 / Think back to what's fun for YOU
I know conventional advice is that it's all about the readers and your audience (I tell you that repeatedly too), but my biggest lesson has been to first make sure that YOU are happy and that you find it interesting/enjoyable/worth your time.
Put yourself first. Why? Because if you're not passionate about what you're doing or writing about, it's going to seep through into everything you put out, and the readers are going to sense it instantly. Before you know it, they're gone, gone, gone. You don't deserve that.
So think back to what you enjoy in blogs. It doesn't have to be in your niche, just as long as you can identify themes that you can translate and use on your blog and in your content.
For example, I have a not-so-secret love for healthy eating and natural beauty products, which means I end up on food and beauty blogs far too often, and one of my favourite things is when they have special recurring series or themed months where all the content is tailored to one particular subject.
The reason it works is the same as finding and working within a niche (which I talk about in my free 'Niche Hunting for Beginner Infopreneurs course - if you aren't signed up yet, you're missing out).
When you focus on one subject or area of interest (like a niche), you suddenly have the opportunity to address ALL the questions, problems, and aspects related to it, which means 100 blog post ideas, YEAH. It's as simple as that, really.
ACTION STEP: Take the time now to think of your favourite blogs and what some of your favourite features about them that makes you return to them time and again. Then, think of ways you can use those ideas in a way that fits with your brand and blog.
2 / Think in 'series' and themes
We just discussed this, and in case you can't think of ideas yourself, I wanted to go into one of the best ways to never run out of content ideas - thinking in 'series' or 'themes'.
What never fails is to work with themes or series over a period of time (week, month, quarter, year, whatever works for you). No matter what kind of blog or business you have, or what niche you operate in, there's always the potential to create a series or themes for blog posts, products, and even services.
I like to work with monthly themes that I use as guidance when I'm planning content, and I create content based on that.
So, for example, in the month of October, I wanted to focus on the importance of finding a niche, and based on that, I created my first course to help all beginner bloggers and infopreneurs intentionally find a unique and profitable niche, I made sure all my blog posts address the subject (directly or indirectly), and even my email letters to the best club members ever stress the importance of finding your niche because it is the base and starting point for everything (along with knowing who your audience is).
I also started a new series on the blog where I feature a creative entrepreneur that I am inspired by (a new find or the more 'established' ones), as well as three Instagram accounts that I think we can all learn from and be inspired by, because post, product, or blogger round-ups are one of my favourite features on the blogs I frequent. I only made sure that I found a focus and a twist that was unique to me.
An important note: don't just blatantly copy someone else's ideas because 1) what works for them and their audience may not (mostly doesn't) work for you or your audience and 2) you can smell a fake from a mile.
You have your own voice and your own perspective, so put that to use.
ACTION POINT: Get out a calendar and look at the next 30 days. Are there any themes or series you can think of for the coming month?
As a jumping off point, and based on what you blog about, you may want to consider seasons, holidays, popular events, sections of your next (or existing) products and services, and use them as directions for the coming month's theme or series.
3 / Put Your Research Caps On
The third foolproof way of never running out of content ideas is to get down and do some old-school research (or detective work).
When you're starting out, you aren't always blessed with a large, engaged, and most importantly, communicative audience. Even if you leave prompts at the bottom of your blog posts to get them to comment or ask them questions and offer to help in your email letters, they don't always speak up, because they are either not your ideal audience and they don't care for the content, they don't have time, or don't feel comfortable enough yet to make themselves vulnerable to you.
The only way to attract the right people and build trust with them is to consistently show up and create content tailored to them. So how do you get out of this catch-22 situation?
You go looking for their concerns on already established channels.
The first step to doing that, though, is to find your niche (I know, I know, I sound like a broken record, but this is just so important, guys, and that's why I made an entire course on the subject. For FREE, even.). Once you know your niche, and your audience, you know where to find them or where they're most likely to hang out.
There's three channels I recommend to get the best results:
a. FACEBOOK GROUPS
This one's a goldmine because once you find the right groups for your niche, the content ideas just come rolling at you. Since your target audience is already in the group, the group threads are full of posts where your target audience is literally voicing their problems and questions.
What you need to do is be there, answer their questions, and build a list of the recurring questions and create content (blog posts, products, or services) to systematically help them overcome whatever problem they're facing.
Content idea drought? Never again.
This one's a highly under-utilized tool, and that's a real shame, because subreddits (or threads within Reddit) are full of people asking questions or voicing their struggles.
What you need to do is find Reddit threads relevant for your niche, audience or theme you're focusing on, and making a list of the commonly asked questions, and create content to address those questions. You can also share a link to that blog article, but do keep in mind thread rules, never spam, and don't link to anything that's paid.
Why? Because you need to build trust, and third-party platforms are best utilized for first providing value and not for doing hard-sells. Keep that for your website, email list, social media platforms, and ads (if you must).
c. PINTEREST SEARCH
Another great way to find content ideas is to use Pinterest search.
Pinterest gets classified as "social media" but really Pinterest is an incredible (visual) search engine, where most people are looking for specific information, inspirations, and ideas for their interests or problems.
What you need to do is type in your theme or niche keywords into the Pinterest search bar and analyze the top posts that show up. What kind of posts get pinned the most? Are there any similarities you can spot in the top results? How can you address and add to the same topics (without being a copycat)? Add in your two cents.
d. COMMENT SECTIONS OF POPULAR BLOGS
Now this one's an oldie but a goodie. Comment sections of blogs that are way more established than yours are often full of people voicing their questions and concerns. It can be a great way to find potential content ideas, and add your own two cents on the subject.
What you need to do is find established blogs in your niche, ones that already attract your target audience, and make note of the frequently asked questions, and find a way to address those specific questions in the content you create.
As long as you're not leeching off of someone else's hard work, and you make sure to keep your content authentic and unique, you'll find that comment sections can be a fantastic jumping off point for your next brainstorming sessions.
With all three methods - thinking back to what's fun for you, series and themes, and researching on other channels - it's important to spend time finding your niche (and your target audience) and analyzing the problems and questions that crop up repeatedly, because that's validation that people are struggling with that particular subject and that you can add to that discourse in an unique and valuable way.