Friday, 17 August 2012

5 Tips for Coming up with Ideas for Blog Posts

I have been dedicating one post a week to non- financial type posts (my weekend warrior series) and this week I thought I would do a post for all new bloggers out there.  There is plenty of good information and tips on the Internet for new bloggers but I thought I would share some of mine. 

As a quick background this blog has been going for approximately 14 months now and is getting ~3000 - 4000 page views a month (as at August 2012).  The blog originally grew very slowly as I only posted 5 - 10 times per month.  In December 2011 I increased this to 5 times a week and in July 2012 increased it once again to 10 posts per week.  I have found that the number of people reading and visiting my blog is exponentially related to how often the blog is updated. 

The hardest part about writing this many posts every week (as a sole contributor) is coming up with the topics.  This post therefore will give you 5 tips to improve your topic generation process and should help you come up with posts much faster.

5 tips for coming up with ideas for blog posts
  1. Don't define your blog too narrowly
    • This is a problem I had with a previous blog that I had started (Investor Book Review) which was dedicated exclusively to reviewing financial books.  There was no way I could read and do insightful posts on even a weekly basis.
    • With this blog I found that having a 'broad mandate'  helps - even if you are stuck for ideas on a topic you usually cover, you can always do another topic and come back.  It is your blog so you can define it however you like
  2. Doing posts in themes or 'series' helps with the idea generation
    •  I found that if you have a certain pattern to your posts that coming up with ideas is much easier than you would expect
    • This blog for example has at least one post a week on real estate, investment banking, shares, corporate governance, a book review and personal finance
  3. Have a pad / paper / note taking app available so that at any time an idea pops into your head you can note it down
    • Ideas will come to you at the strangest times.  You don't need to formulate your post then and there but as long as you can register the broad topic for use later you will have a list of posts that you can call on at any time
    • This especially helps when you are stuck for ideas on one of your regular 'themed' posts.  Because your blog is flexible you can always revert to one of these 'back up' ideas
  4. Post about things you know, understand or are learning about
    • Posting about things you really know and understand and have personal experience with will not only help with the idea generation it will also mean that you create more insightful posts which other people read
    • When you are learning about a certain area, there is a fair chance that others are trying to learn about this area too.  I suggest always pointing out that you are getting up a learning curve and have no special understanding but are rather collating what you are learning and the thoughts of others - when I read a blog I have no problem with this as it usually helps accelerate my learning process
  5. If you have an especially large post consider breaking it into a few smaller posts
    • The fact is that most people who read blogs are not going to read a 2,000 word treatise even if the information in your post is completely relevant and all necessary
    • Consider breaking this post into a few separate posts - it helps in 2 ways:
      • Your readers will appreciate the shorter posts and are more likely to read everything you have to say; and
      • You then have 2 - 3 posts instead of just the one
There are plenty of other tips that bloggers have out there but I found the above 5 are pretty core for coming up with ideas on a regular basis.  If you have any other tips that you find useful I would love to hear them (and I'm sure others would too).

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