We know that blogging regularly is good practice, but sometimes it can be tough to come up with ideas for posts. I personally sometimes struggle with coming up with new post ideas that haven’t been written about 100 times already.
Last weekend, Mark and I attended Wordcamp US and sat in a few talks on the subject of blogging. One of my biggest takeaways from those talks was that I should change the process of how I come up with ideas for blogging. I was spending so much time trying to think of awesome topics, when they were right in front of me.
Your Perspective Is Valuable
“No one wants to read another article about XYZ”. I’ve said that so many times. But it’s not true.
Do a Google search on anything and you’ll find thousands of articles on the same topic.
Just because someone has already written about a particular subject, doesn’t mean that your take on it isn’t valuable. There are thousands of articles on how to come up with blog post ideas. I’ve probably read a lot of them. I think most of them are crap, which is why I’m writing this post. Your experience, process and take on a particular subject is unique, so share it.
Write What You Learned
During Wordcamp US, Sal Ferrarello gave a great talk about how Blogging was the best thing he’s done as a developer. During that talk, he said something that really stuck with me. He said if he spent 20 minutes trying to figure something out, he would write a blog post about that.
This makes so. much. sense.
I started thinking about all the hours I spent Googling trying to fix problems and how frustrating it was to not get a good answer to my problem. A lot of bloggers will advise “write what you know”, but I really think the better advice is “write what you’ve learned”. Even if you’re not an expert, you’re likely to help someone solve the same exact problem you were Googling yesterday. Which brings me to my next piece of advice.
Stop Worrying About Being An Expert
One topic that was mentioned over and over again in several Wordcamp US talks was to overcome that feeling that your knowledge isn’t good enough to share because you’re not an expert in the field. There’s always going to be someone that knows more about a particular subject than you do, but that doesn’t mean you can’t share what you DO know. 90% of the time, when I ask Google a question, I’m lead to a blog article that gives me the answer. I don’t really care if the person that wrote the article is an “expert”. As long as he/she helped me solve my problem, I am grateful. So we shouldn’t worry about being experts, we should instead try to answer people’s questions with our own knowledge.
Revisit Old Ideas
The Internet is constantly changing, so that article you wrote a year ago may need some updating. If your struggling with blog post ideas, take a look a some of the things you wrote in the past. Your new topic may be right in front of you! Go back through old posts and see if the information is still relevant or add on to the post with new things you have learned.
What Are Your Customers Asking About?
Think about the questions your clients have asked you last week. I bet there’s at least one question you could turn into a post. Go back through old client emails and you’ll likely get an idea for a topic. The best part is that these posts are guaranteed to be geared toward your ideal audience, because those are the people that asked the question.
If we change the way we think about coming up with blog post ideas, it all the sudden becomes a lot easier. Instead of spending hours trying to come up with the perfect blog topic, I’m going to use the tips above to help me come up with ideas.