Books Magazine

5 Ways To Generate Blog Post Ideas

By Robert Bruce @robertbruce76

This marks my 954th post on 101 Books.

Four years ago, I would’ve laughed if you told me I would publish that many posts on this blog. How could I possibly write 954 posts about a list of books?

But you’d be surprised at how relatively easy it is to come up with topics once you make a habit out of coming up with topics. I’ve figured out a few ways to build brainstorming into my everyday life, without taking up a chunk of time I don’t have.

That’s really helped me generate new ideas for the blog, so I thought I’d share a few of my tips with you guys. If you have a blog, maybe you might find one or two worth your time.

Go Run (or do something active)

When I go running, I probably spend half my time thinking about possible blog topics. Sure, I’ve got some music in my years, but my thoughts are usually somewhere else, churning through some of the worst ideas I’ve ever had to some of the best.

I firmly believe exercise is a catalyst for creativity. There’s something about the blood moving and the heart beating that opens your mind as well. Your exercise of choice doesn’t have to be running. But I find it useful because I enjoy getting out there by myself and being alone in my thoughts with few distractions.

Stay Connected

I’ll be the first to admit that I suck at networking. I’m naturally an introvert, so the thought of connecting with a bunch of people I hardly know via Twitter or Facebook sometimes makes me feel more awkward than the new kid at school.

So I kind of suck at this one, but I realize it’s important. Other bloggers have great ideas. Sometimes, reading their posts and discussing them via social media will help you generate your own ideas. I’m not talking about stealing their blog post ideas. I’m talking about using those posts as a foundation for your own ideas.

Remember my Google Translate post? I totally took that idea from a college football blog and made it work for a book blog. Also, I would never endorse actually participating in a discussion on the Reddit books forum—it’s like a literary orgy of wanna-be English professors—but it is useful to see what topics are currently generating interest.

Pay Attention While You Read

If you’re writing a book blog, you should have an ongoing voice in the back of your mind asking—Would this passage make a good blog post? Would that passage make a good blog post?

If you think a book really sucks, that’s okay too. Because then you can write a post about why the book sucks. But if you’re really into a novel—say you just read Gone Girl and flipped out—then you could easily have multiple posts based on multiple passages.

Be careful about including spoilers and pissing off all your readers. But you can still give them the flavor of the novel by sharing a few spoiler-free passages that connect with you.

Repeat the Past

Learn from your failures. Repeat your successes.

If your readers seem to engage with some posts more than others (and if you enjoy writing said posts) then, by all means, write about that subject again.

All I have to do is put “self publishing” in the title of a blog post, and I know my traffic will double for that day. Past experience has taught me that. Plus, I enjoy writing about that topic so it’s a win-win.

Don’t get so caught up in the trends that you’re writing about gardening on a sports blog, but pay attention to what works and do it over and over again.

Ask Questions

We’ll call this crowdsourcing your blog post ideas. Honestly, you guys give me great ideas sometimes, so I have no problem with throwing a question or a topic out there and seeing what type of feedback I get.

On Monday, I asked a pretty basic question—Does an author’s personal life influence how you view their novels? I expected some good answers, but I was really surprised to see 52 comments on that post.

Sometimes, a really good post can be extremely simple. Then it’s just a matter of thinking about that topic and seeing how you can make it work for future posts. In other words, continuing to do what’s worked in the past, like I mention above.

I’m sure I have other methods that I might not even realize, but those are the 5 ways that immediately come to mind.

Do you do anything differently? How do you generate ideas for blog content?

(Image: Getty Images)

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