What Should You Write About?

One of the most common reasons why people don’t create new content is that they do not know what to write about. I am asked all the time about where I get my ideas from. Inspiration can come from anywhere. For example, my “You Can’t Reap What You Don’t Sow” post came from a movie. However, if you are trying to write consistently, you may need to come up with some ideas without relying on something to inspire your next masterpiece.

To help you create your next round of posts, I am sharing with you the 10 post ideas that I use when I am trying to find a new post to write.

Find Questions Frequently Asked To Answer

No matter what your industry or niche is, there are always going to be questions people are asking. Sometimes, these are questions people frequently ask you. Or, these are questions that are often posted in forums or Facebook groups relating to your topic. A great post idea is to seek out these questions and then write a post answering the question.

Answering questions that you're asked often is a great way to get started with your content marketing. Click To Tweet

Even better, you could then answer the question in the forum or Facebook group and link back to your article as well. For example, this very post was created from this idea as I get asked the question about post ideas quite a bit.

How-to Specific Task

There are a lot of things that you probably do often enough that you probably know a bit more about than some of the readers on your site. Identifying a specific task and creating a comprehensive to-do for that task is a great way to create an amazing post or series of posts. For example, my posts on Google Analytics came from using this post idea.

Post About Something You Use

Similar to the idea above, there are probably quite a few services or tools that you use frequently that your viewers may not be aware of. Some of these tools may be common in your industry. However, to new people in the industry who find your site, learning about those tools would be very beneficial.

Infographic With Your Thoughts

As you browse the internet and other websites, you probably come across many different infographics. Occasionally, you are going to find one that may be beneficial to your audience. Creating a post with the infographic along with your thoughts about the graphic and how you would use the information is another way to quickly create a post that is useful to your audience.

Video With Your Thoughts

Similar to the infographic idea above, this post will include a video with some of your thoughts about the video. What I love about this idea is that you can easily go to YouTube and search for a topic in your industry or niche. Then, embed the video into your post and write a couple of paragraphs about the video, why your audience will benefit from it, and how they can use the information from the video.

Opinions On Trends In Industry

As your readers get to know you, they will begin to think of you as an authority in your industry or niche. So, hearing your thoughts and opinions on trends will be beneficial to them. Especially if it is a trend that viewers have to decide to use or not.

For example, in the web development industry, there is a huge trend to use certain frameworks such as React or Angular. Writing a post on why or why not you use one of these frameworks is very beneficial for your users as they are probably trying to make decisions about the trend as well.

opinion photo

Counter Or Response To Another Post

As you browse other sites and posts in your industry, you may come across a post that you really agree or disagree with. This is a great opportunity to create a post on your own site. Usually, if I go to write a comment and realize that I can write more than a paragraph or two in my response, I try to turn my response into a post. Then, you might be able to make your comment and link back to your response depending on that site’s comment settings. Be sure to link back to the original post so your viewers can see the original writer’s view.

Roundup Post

Is there a particular topic that a lot of people in your industry write or talk about? You can write a roundup post about the topic and include quotes and links to various experts in your industry. Not only does this become a great resource of information for your audience but it can also introduce your visitors to other people that they may be interested in.

Write About Something You Learned From A Book

If you are like me, you probably read quite a few books. If you find yourself writing a lot of notes or ideas from a particular book, it might be a good idea to write a response post on that topic. For example, when I read Traction by Gino Wickman, I found his idea of a company’s core values to be really interesting and useful which lead me to write my “Core values help guide your team in the right direction” post.

If you do this, remember to give credit to the book and author. Do not just copy the content from the book as your audience wants to know why this information appealed to you and how you are using it.

Interview

A fun post that I like to create on some of my other sites is the interview post. Find a topic that your audience would find beneficial. Then, find an expert who would be interested in answering questions that you feel that your viewers may have on the topic. I normally send an email to the expert with about 4 or 5 questions and then expand upon the answers with my own thoughts as well.

What’s Next?

With these 10 ideas, you should have a few ideas of what to create for your next post. Before you hit publish, remember to follow your post checklist.

Photo by Sean MacEntee

12 Things You Need To Do Before Publishing Your Post

I usually write at least two posts a week. Some weeks, I am publishing 4 or 5 posts. Years ago, even though I wrote every week, I still would forget to do something for my post. Then, I stumbled onto Syed Balkhi’s post “14-Point Blog Post Checklist to Use Before You Hit Publish” and I knew that was what I needed. I needed to create a checklist with all of the things I want to do with each post to ensure my post is ready to be published and marketed.

In this post, I am going to share the 12 items on my checklist that I follow when writing any post including this one. I always go through this checklist after I have written a post and before it is published.

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1. Have you proof-read your post?

This may seem like something every would do every time but there have been times when I have a lot going on that I just want to hit publish and move on to the next task. So, the very first step in my checklist is to re-read the post looking for these key items:

  • Do I have any misspellings or grammar errors?
  • Does the flow of the post make sense?
  • Do I need to cut anything out or clarify any points more?

2. Run through Heming Way App

A while ago, I stumbled upon the Heming Way App and immediately made it part of my workflow. This free app will check your writing and point out sentences or phrases that may need to be re-written as well as give you a readability grade level.

3. Add categories and tags

To help users find other relevant content on your site, you will want to use categories and tags. Depending on your theme, these may be displayed above or below your post’s content. Categories are great for overall topics and posts, usually, have one category. Tags are great for aspects of content and posts normally have 5 to 7 tags.

Recipe picture for category and tag example

A great example of using categories and tags is a food blog. Categories would be the overall recipe topics such as “Lunch” and “Dinner” and tags would be types or contents such as “Chicken”, “Carrots”, and “Apples”.

4. Create an engaging, short title

Once I have the post written and edited, I start working on the title. There are many things to consider when creating your post’s title. Will it capture attention? If someone shares the post on social media, will the title entice others to read the post? Coschedule suggests a balance of common, uncommon, emotional, and power words. They also advise keeping the title scannable. They have a free Headline Analyzer that will help you improve your titles and headlines.

5. Create the excerpt

Most platforms including WordPress allows you to create an excerpt. This excerpt is then shown in your blog as visitors are browsing your site. You want to take advantage of this and create an excerpt that tells the visitor exactly what the post is about and why they should read it.

6. Create the meta description

If you are using an SEO plugin, such as Yoast SEO, you have the ability to set the meta description search engines use to display in the search results. If you are unfamiliar with search engine optimization(SEO) be sure to read my post “What Is SEO?”. Normally, I write my excerpt first and then shorten that down to create my meta description.

7. Are you using headers?

If users come to your post and see a wall of text, it is very likely they will be hitting the back button quickly. Breaking your posts into sections allow people to see how the post is laid out and which sections they might want to read over. Only 16% of users read your content word for word. So, making your post “scannable” is very important. Using things like headers and bulleted lists help achieve this. For more info on scannable content, checkout ProBlogger’s Scannable Content: 19 Techniques to Create it.

8. Do you have images in your post?

Most website platforms including WordPress allow you to set a featured image for a post. These images will show up in your blog and when people share your post on social media. In BuzzSumo found that articles with an image every 100 words get double the number of shares compared to articles with fewer images.

Posts with images every 100 words get double the number of shares compared to posts with fewer images. Click To Tweet

They also found that Facebook posts with images get 2.3 times more engagement than posts without images. (Source). Don’t forget to add alt tags to your images for accessibility and SEO.

9. Add click to tweet

If visitors find your content useful and engaging, they may want to share it with friends or their audience. The easier you make this process, the more shares your post will have. Posts that I use a click to tweet box like the one above receive almost 3 times the amount of shares compared to posts that I do not use the box. I use the plugin Better Click To Tweet which makes it very quick and easy to set this up.

10. Link to other posts

If this post is the first post a user reads on my site, I want to show them other posts that might be relevant that they may also find useful. For example, if the user came here looking for ways to improve their blogging, they may also want to learn to use Google Analytics so they can improve their site so I would link to my introduction to Google Analytics post.

11. What is your call to action?

What should the user do after reading your post? Do you want them to leave a comment? Do you want them to sign up for your email list? Should they read other posts relevant to this post? Every post should have a call to action so the user can take action on the content from the post. For example, the call to action on this post is to download the blogging checklist PDF so visitors can go use the checklist on posts they are writing.

12. Preview

If you are writing your post in the editor, you will want to read through your content in the preview. Sometimes, your images or headers may need minor changes when viewed within your theme. Also, if you added links in your post, checking the links to make sure they work is a good idea.

As much as I would love for you to come to visit me every time that you need to refer to this list, it would probably be easier to download a PDF. Fill out the form below to get this checklist emailed to you as a PDF!

Download my blogging checklist

Get a PDF version of my blogging checklist emailed to you!

I never sell your data and you can opt-out at any time! Check out the Privacy Policy.

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Photo by Courtney Dirks