I started off the year all gung-ho and self-righteous that I had a solid editorial plan and a never-ending list of blog post ideas I could ride through winter and beyond. But like many bloggers, I hit a wall. Ooops. My topics were boring. The content I’d planned lacked sparkle. I was tired, stuck, burnt out. I needed an infusion of creative ideas that would get my blogatude back on track. So I wrote this list of possibilities for myself, and I’m sharing them with you.
I also reminded myself that anything a blogger thinks, feels, does, reads, observes, plans, learns, and participates in has the potential to be turned into a post. All we need to do is understand the interests of our target readers and spin the article accordingly, then base the theme on one or more of the four basic end-results of good content: To educate, entertain, invoke strong emotion, and/or inspire the reader.
Here are six basic types of posts you can write, plus 101 blog post ideas and prompts. I threw in a few links to other resources in case you want more.
“Best of the web” posts
Best of the web posts are resources-with-links list posts (also called mash-ups) where the blogger essentially curates other blogger’s great content they’ve vetted. Important! Do not re-post the entire original article without permission – this is copyright infringement. Instead, use the first few sentences – or just the title plus the link – along with your own commentary re: why others should take the time to read it. People love these, and they can be quick, effective posts that allow you to think a little or a lot, depending on your time crunch.
Ideas for “Best of” posts:
1. The best blog posts you’ve read the past week or month – with links.
2. Writers (or authors, teachers, industry leaders, philanthropists) who inspire you.
3. Your favorite blogs. Example: Belinda Pollard’s 4 useful blogs to get you started in self-publishing.
4. Helpful tools and resources you depend on.
5. Your favorite (or most-viewed, or a group of related) posts from your blog.
6. Who to follow on Twitter (Facebook, Pinterest, whatever) – and why.
7. The best free apps online.
8. Links to articles on a particular topic – “what people are saying.”
9. Best tutorials on a subject of interest to your readers.
10. A mash-up of all guest posts, interviews, etc. where you’ve been featured on another blog or website.
Essays – personal
Everything you think, remember, feel, or do is fair game – as long as your treatment of it entertains, inspires, or generates a positive emotion in your reader. Go ahead and tell the story about how you gave yourself a black eye with your knee while jumping on the bed (yeah, that was me) … BUT, if you want people to return to read again, avoid general downbeatery and do not rant, whine, or complain. Spare us; we have enough in our own lives. Be introspective, make a point, and while you’re doing it, make us laugh, think, feel, or want to get up and dance. Now that’s a great blog post.
Ideas for personal essays:
11. Childhood memories, like this: Training Wheels.
12. Critical life events or choices that have shaped who you are.
13. Places you’ve lived or houses you’ve lived in, and who you “were” at that time.
14. What you gained – and lost – by taking a risk.
15. What you learned from a big disappointment.
16. What inspires you, or what makes you crazy (no rants).
17. Share a goal and outline how you plan to achieve it.
18. Regrets and how you’ll avoid them again – funny or inspiring only!
19. Write the eulogy you aspire to be read at your funeral.
20. Write a letter to your child to read after you’re gone.
21. Give up something – TV? Wine? Starbucks? – and share how you handle it (or don’t).
General interest posts
This is the catch-all category. Anything goes here – put your thinking cap on!
Ideas for general interest posts:
22. Photo montages – from your past, from your hometown, from a family reunion.
23. Pets’ antics.
24. Travelogues – highlights, lowlights, hopefully with photos.
25. A free short story, novella, deleted chapter, character sketch, or book club questions for your work. YOUR work. Yours. Written by you. Again: don’t give away anyone else’s work without their permission.
26. Keywords visitors use to find your site – this could be entertaining!
27. Any and all projects you’re launching or involved in.
28. A song playlist for your novel, or tunes that correspond to the seasons of your life. You can share links to purchase the songs, or not.
29. If you’re an author, generate a series of articles that explore non-fiction topics you write about in your fictional work.
30. If you tried something new and wrote about it on your blog a while back, update readers and let them know the results.
31. True stories that would make great novel plots – but maybe not if you’re going to use them!
32. Link to inspiring TED talks and share your takeaway.
33. Infographics are hot on nearly every social media platform and I hear they get a higher percentage of shares than a regular post (especially on Pinterest, duh.) And okay, I have tried to use one of the free online tools designed to create an infographic, but my efforts bombed. Couldn’t figure it out. When I do, I’ll publish a post.
34. More ideas here: 52 Types of Blog Posts that Are Proven to Work.
Tips, tricks, cheat sheets, and tutorials rock. Your readers will be grateful if you can solve a problem for them and/or save them time. Educate others about what you’ve learned, and what you’ve tried that worked. Keep in mind you can also write about what NOT to do. In fact, if you use a catchy “what not to do” title, your how-to might get more reads. Add a list and get double points.
Ideas for how-to posts:
35. Any step-by-step guide. Example: How to set up a free WordPress blog.
36. How to approach high-profile bloggers to request a guest post.
37. How to navigate a specific social media platform.
38. How to create free Infographics.
39. How to make a killer cocktail – or enchilada, or vegan meal, or homemade dog food.
40. How to kill (fictional) people. Hahaha.
41. How to research keywords for effective blog post SEO.
42. Try a funny tutorial, or explain how not to do something.
43. For more ideas, check out Howcast, The best how-to videos on the web.
44. For even more ideas, check out Mashable’s how-to category.
Interviews and profiles
This article type is widely used and can be quite effective. Find a way to make your interviews fresh and compelling. How, where, and why an author writes may not grab readers’ attention anymore, unless it’s a famous someone (hey, good idea). Then we’ll be enthralled, myself included.
Ideas for interviews:
45. Interview readers and/or highlight typical readers/visitors to your blog.
46. Interview industry experts.
47. Interview individuals with a particular expertise.
48. Interview ordinary people who have mastered a specific skill.
49. Interview other bloggers.
50. Interview vendors who can explain their product or provide tips for its use.
51. Interview someone with an interesting position/opinion.
52. Interview people you interviewed as research for your book.
53. Interview and profile another author/writer.
54. Could be fun: Contact and interview a favorite teacher who thought you wouldn’t “make it,” or one who knew you would.
55. Interview partners and team members.
Readers love lists and checklist posts. Bulleted lists, numbered lists, lists, lists, lists. List posts are cool because they tend to be evergreen (and will be even more evergreen if they don’t include links). Here’s one I wrote in 2011 that still has legs: Ways to stay creative.
Ideas for list posts:
56. A list of 100 activities anyone can do when they’re bored.
57. A list of 100 blog topic or writing prompts – (lol!).
58. A list of your favorite books of all time and why they made the list.
59. A list of all the things that make you happy – this better be a long one.
60. A list of benefits gained by attending a conference.
61. A list of steps you’ll need to cover before you move (or publish a book, or start a blog, or open a restaurant).
62. A list of things to do to improve a specific skill.
63. Your personal lifetime bucket list, or your goals for the month or year.
64. List things you’ll never do again.
65. List your Life’s Most Awesome Moments.
66. A list of questions readers should ask before they ___________ (fill in the blank).
67. The pre-publishing, pre-move, or pre-back-to-school checklist you swear by.
68. Need more ideas? There are plenty here: The Big List Of 100 Tools, Tips And Tricks To Work More Efficiently.
69. This list + photo post is fabulous. Use your own topic and emulate it! 41 Camping Hacks That Are Borderline Genius.
Opinions, rebuttals, trends, debates, and predictions
Agree, disagree, question, challenge, predict, share your point of view. This type of post can be your take on stories in the news, popular opinion, or someone else’s blog post. Start a commentary or debate. Controversy sells, but be prepared for any potential criticism that may accompany it. You can also analyze current industry trends and try to explain what’s happening. Industry, genre, and/or business trends that are interesting to your target readers will get attention. Include surveys, polls, and statistics that you’ve uncovered, or even include surveys and polls in your article for your readers’ response.
Ideas for opinion and predictions pieces:
70. Link to a news article and share your opinion about current events.
71. Link to another blog post and offer additional info, or continue the discussion.
72. Pose a question, comment, or scenario designed to inspire debate.
73. What will your industry look like down the road? Example: 6 Publishing Trends That Benefit Readers & Authors
74. Does giving away stuff on your blog work to increase subscribers or readership?
75. Read trend pieces and write your take on one.
76. Interview several different peeps and post their opinions on a topic. Print Vs. eBook – What’s Your Opinion?
Any and every event you observe, attend, facilitate, or participate in is fair game. If you attend a conference, class, webinar, seminar, presentation, or training, take notes and provide your readers with a recap of what you learned. Spread the net wider and recap your acting class, your trip to Cleveland, your child’s music recital, your husband’s tryout for the senior softball team. Of course, recaps that venture beyond issues your readership has a direct interest in will probably fall under the heading of personal essays. When they do, spin them to be entertaining or inspirational.
Ideas for recap articles:
77. Recap a conference or a specific conference session.
78. Recap a free webinar you’ve attended.
79. Recap a class or training.
80. Recap what you learned from a personal coach or mentor.
81. Recap what you’ve learned about traveling – good and bad.
82. Recap your experience as a volunteer.
83. Recap your foray into a new field or skill.
84. Recap your recent job or residence move – what can you share that others will learn from?
85. Recap a social blunder – oops, wait, maybe this is a personal essay.
86. Recap your personal research on a specific subject.
Provide your commentary/opinion about anything you’ve purchased and used, observed, read, or participated in. Compare one or two and cite differences, benefits, delights, and disappointments.
Ideas for reviews:
87. Books and movies.
88. Free tool or resource reviews.
89. Product reviews.
90. Software reviews like this post about Scrivener.
91. Share Amazon reviews of your own work.
92. Vendor reviews of businesses involved in your industry.
93. Include a review in any recap you do of classes, trainings, conferences.
94. Review any how-to/tutorial post – and improve on it.
Videos, podcasts, and recordings of any type. Another category I have yet to investigate. FYI, any of the blog post types above can be turned into a video or podcast.
Ideas for media posts:
95. Mp3 files, podcasts – example: Blog Talk Radio interviews.
96. Talks and/or roundtable discussions on Skype.
97. Narrative videos (you need to comfortable with the camera).
98. PowerPoint presentation video + commentary as you talk viewers through the presentation.
99. Video-taped interviews.
101. Google Hangout recordings – check out Fraser Cain’s Perfectionist’s Guide to Marketing Your Hangout on Air.
… and here’s a freebie: 102. Screencasts – these can be done with software such as Jing. Essentially you’ll be recording yourself talking the reader through a tutorial as you show them how to perform the task on your screen. How cool is that?
Reminder: Almost every post should include a question at the end that opens a dialogue and encourages readers to comment, plus a call to action (CTA) to subscribe to your blog.
Need help with your blog? My book can help you strategize, organize, build blog traffic, and increase subscribers – without losing your mind! I wrote it for authors, but the basics described work for any blogger. Link here to find out more.
Enjoy this article? Subscribe to my blog and you’ll never miss my weekly posts! (Your email address will NOT be sold, shared, or rented – that’s a promise.)
Image by Tiago Daniel