Sometimes brainstorming feels more like brain-dilly-dallying; no matter what you do there is just no creative juice flowing. Or perhaps you are totally new to blog article writing and "How to start blogging" can permanently be found in your browser history.
Well, instead of (or after) banging your head against the wall, try one of these tricks to help kickstart those blog article ideas.
However, before we dive in, let's first assume that you have done your research on your target market. Let's assume you know who you are targeting and have even created a couple personas to help outline your target market. If this is new information to you, please download our free Buyer Persona template here.
4 Blog Article Idea Kickstarters
The first one, although obvious, is often the most underrated and least used tactic.
1. Google it
Yes, Google it!
That is the question!
The trick to this Kickstarter is knowing what to Google. Asking questions and using words like "tips" or "information" in your long-tail keyword search (a keyword phrase containing at least 3 words) can unearth some deep content. In doing so, you can either find information to spark new ideas, or even find old information that you can update for your article.
Let's start with an example. Say I am writing an article for a local rental car company. I understand that my main target market is: Twenty-somethings that need a road-trip worthy automobile. A search might look something like this:
"Road trip car rental tips for University students"
"What is the best car for a college road trip"
However, remember I said local car rental company. Without localizing the search you might be taking yourself down the wrong highway. Try something like:
"Basel budget car rental for University student road trips"
The idea is to keep trying new searches and keyword arrangements until you get what you need. When you do find the right query, take note of it for next time.
2. "site:enterwebsitehere" Search
For this Kickstarter we will once again turn to Google, but this time rather than a simple search we will do a site search. If you've never done this, don't worry it is VERY easy. A site search simply limits your results to the site you are wanting to search.
Simply use site:enterwebsitetosearchhere then your actual search. If you want only results for a specific term, put it in quotations. For us, let's use reddit.com. It should look like this
This search will return any page on reddit.com that includes the term "road trip car rental". From there we can peruse the articles and see if it sparks an idea!
This blog article idea kickstarter can be used for all kinds of sites.
- news aggregating sites
- eMagazines (or magazines that also have a digital publication)
- competitors' websites*
*note: this can definitely help spark ideas, but be sure you are not simply churning old information from a competitors' website. Nothing looks more desperate than being late to the party.
Remember, if the information is not new, updated or better than what is already available, then it's not worth publishing.
3. Use a Tool
There are plenty of tools out there to help you find relevant topics for your blog article. One such tool that I use is called Storybase. This site can be used for free, and it couldn't be easier to use. In fact, the homepage says it all.
Just put your keyword in and away you go! Storybase will return long-tail keyword options based on questions and other phrases (pulled from numerous sources).
It also has a demographic setting (only for Premium Users) that can help when trying to match your ideas to your persona and target market.
4. Ask a Friend or a Stranger
Sometimes working IRL (in real life) is the best way to get what you need. If you're stumped and in desperate need of a blog article idea just ask around! This means taking off your headphones while you ride the train to work (eavesdropping can be a goldmine), or taking an extended lunch break with a friend, or even offering to buy a stranger a drink in exchange for some information.
There are things you need to keep in mind with this approach.
- Remember your target market. There is no need to get info from someone who doesn't fit your persona.
- Nothing is too "out there." Sometimes the weirdest conversations can spark some of the most creative ideas.
- Ask relevant questions. Remember, you do have a deadline to keep.
- Be careful when approaching strangers. Mom always said, "Don't talk to strangers." Well, we're making an exception, but do it in a public place and stay safe.
One last approach that is not really a trick or tactic but is often overlooked is this: ask yourself, "if I were my target market, what would I want/need to read/know?" Sometimes just asking yourself a simple question can break down the wall between you and your next great article!
These few Kickstarters have really come to the rescue for me. What about you? What are some ways you formulate your blog article ideas? Feel free to post them in the comments section below!