WordPress How To: Quick Tips for Gathering Great Post Ideas
If you have a blog, you have to be on the prowl at all times for great post ideas. You want to be thinking about the topics that not only are what your visitors want to read about but also reflect your knowledge and expertise, which builds trust. Trust equals more business.
You do this by covering current topics of interest about your products or services. The topics include what your customers ask you and what you can provide actionable information on—like this article.
If you do a good job, readers will be encouraged to want to read more and bookmark your website. In addition, great articles can instill confidence to place that order or signup for your newsletter.
To succeed in this effort, you have no choice but to take the time to craft an excellent article. Of course, this requires you to hone your writing skills because you want to cater to how folks consume online content.
What to Write About
I get asked how I come up with ideas for posts. Especially considering I have several Blogs that I must take the time to post to each. Add to that the fact that my Blogs are decades old. So “How do you come up with new stuff after all these years?”
Honestly, sometimes, it’s not easy. Don’t you run out of ideas? How do you come up with something new and fresh? How do you keep enthused about such a pragmatic and detailed process? Consistency and commitment.
I never said it’s easy. But it may be easier for me because I’ve been doing this for so long, from knowing how to optimize articles without thinking about it to having a system that tracks future potential content ideas.
Writing is a Skill… and Challenge
Good writing takes time; excellent writing even more. This is a fact that cannot be ignored or avoided.
I run into shallow, keywordy, SEO ‘d-to-death posts every day. They serve no purpose other than to disappoint and reflect a lack of depth on the topic and the site’s ulterior motives (affiliate links, ad clicks, SEO keyword stuffing).
Content creation is challenging for every blog owner, from startups to established, more prominent blogs. Consistently creating content good content takes time and a well-thought-out approach. Unfortunately, many folks don’t think about getting a system for this. However, having that system will make all the difference in the world.
The goal is to have a blog that gets bookmarked and, better yet, subscribed to. So, naturally, you must be exceptionally aware of how everything related to your business that you read, see, or hear can be turned into an interesting blog post.
You want to be tapped into industry trends and current events. In particular, those that may impact the use of your product, service, or your customers who use them.
How to Collect Post Ideas
Some use their calendars; others take manual notes by carrying a journal to write down inspiration when it hits them. Whatever works for you, find a system and stick to it.
Keep notes on what your customers ask about most.
The best thing you can do is track the questions you get asked by your customers. If I see a pattern forming with the same questions, chances are others will want to know the answers or your thoughts on those topics.
Once I am asked a question twice, I make a note. The third time it becomes a draft for a future post or added to my FAQ. This way, that information is readily available to site visitors. Or, if I am asked again, I can also provide a link to the answers and details the questioner is seeking.
Those questions are goldmines for future blog posts and your FAQ. From how-tos to more detailed studies or whitepapers, let your customers guide you on your topic priorities. Then, from the questions on your FAQ page, you can link to a more comprehensive and detailed article on your blog.
I have a little red diary-type notebook that I have on my desk. I know, old-fashioned. But I love notebooks — and could probably collect them if I let myself. I love all the neat designs and how they feel in my hands! (Plus, I get to doodle!)
When I get the slightest flash of what could turn into a WordPress post, I write ideas down. Right then and there. I know I’ll get distracted if I don’t, and the idea will disappear. Don’t do notebooks? There are note apps on your phone you can use for this too.
Subscribe and read as many other bloggers in your area of focus.
Reading is how you keep up with trends and conversations. You’ll undoubtedly run into post topics you can quickly put your unique spin on or voice your opinion about.
I have a folder in my email program called “My Blogs” and subfolders for each blog. When I get an email that notes something I want to address in a future post, I highlight that topic and then file it in the appropriate folder for when I have that all-too-familiar writer’s block.
When you land on a blog with a topic you want to expound upon, or better yet, add your little twist to, create a bookmark folder in your browser. For example, my folder is called “Future Posts.” I then bookmark that post’s page for future reference.
Many blogs have the option of emailing posts. In that case, you can email yourself a copy to be filed in your email program’s blog folder. You can then refer to that folder when you write your fresh and original post on the topic.
Something I also do…
If I hit a time-sensitive topic enough to jump to the front of the line, I’ll login to my WordPress Admin panel and use that nifty Quick Draft widget on the homepage in your dashboard. I title it with my idea and then take quick notes about the direction I want to write about in the content area.
Don’t see the Quick Draft Widget? Make sure you are on your Dashboard (click Dashboard in the left sidebar), then click the Screen Options tab — top right. Check the box to the left of Quick Draft. I also have a collection of drafts I can draw upon for future posts with this approach.
Outdated Posts to Draft
When I find an outdated or no longer relevant post, I do not delete it. Instead, I temporarily put it into draft status and investigate how to update it to make it current. You want to keep that permalink available for any inbound links that may exist.
With this approach, you want to update the post after putting it in a draft as soon as possible. Otherwise, a 301 redirect to current content should be placed so site visitors do not get 404s.
Check out Google’s AdWords Keyword Planner. Don’t worry; you don’t have to buy ads to use the tool. Instead, you can “see” what folks are searching for to add to your collection of topic ideas.
Login with your Google account credentials, click on the wrench icon top/right, then choose Keyword Planner. Next, you can query Google’s database to find out what folks are searching for relative to your market and topic.
You’ll see the search volume and competitiveness by the PPC amounts. Then, click the Download button to download the info so you can refer to it later.
Another fun site to get topic ideas is AnswerThePublic. Once you type your keyword phrase, the site will display what folks are searching for. So if they are searching for answers, here is your opportunity to provide that information.
Always Be Open to Unexpected Potential Topics
It is a rare talent to sit at a keyboard, start typing away daily, day in and day out, and produce relevant posts of interest. The best approach is to have a collection of available resources that have spurred your creative juices.
You’ll soon find you’ve grown a healthy archive of post ideas that will be available when you need them. Have writer’s block? Open one of your resource folders.
When writing great posts, remember, first and foremost, to think about what your readers want to read about. Solve a problem. Make their life easier. Address their concerns. That’s what matters.
By always having that radar on when you find these gems or have those incredible epiphanies, you will habitually jot them down, bookmark them, file them, or draft them. You’ll always have ideas at your fingertips to write about.
Get your system in place, and you’ll save a ton of time and make creating your posts more enjoyable for you and your readers.
At your service,