What if you’ve said everything you can think of to say on your blog? How do you keep creating content when you’ve said it all, and it feels like you’ve used up all possible topics?
Once you reach a certain point in your blogging career, you’re going to hit a wall. You’re going to think you’ve said everything you can possibly say.
You may think it’s just you.
Well, I’m happy to inform you that no, it’s not you.
I’ve been blogging for 13 years, and feeling this way for 11 of them. And I recently took a bet that says I can’t write 100 blog posts in 100 days.
As I have been a blogger for 4745 days and on a great many of them, I couldn’t have blogged if I’d had a gun to my head, this has been weighing on me.
As much as it may feel like you have reached that absolute bottom of the bottom-most barrel, take hope. There’s plenty more stuff you can say.
Here are a few tips I’ve learned for how to find it. I hope you find them helpful, despite the fact that I am dictating this post while drawing on a goatee with the new Urban Decay palette.
Blog Post Idea #1: Spin-Offs.
This is probably the easiest place to start if you want to get new content up that has relevance to the topics you’ve already written on.
Look through your old blog posts. Pay extra attention your B-sides, the ones that weren’t the greatest hits, didn’t garner a lot of attention, and didn’t hold a particularly special place in your heart. Find a few posts and read through them again.
Do they make you think of anything else? Does anything spur anything? Is there anything else you’d like to say?
Like, imagine they read your piece at some kind of event, and then the person handed you the microphone and said, “Can you expand on that?”
Could you say anything?
If so, you can write a blog post about it. If you can speak on a topic for between five and seven minutes, you can write a blog post about it. (The average speaking speed is 130 words per minute. So if you could hold your own on a topic for just a few minutes, you can get a blog post out in the 600-1000 word range.)
Blog Post Idea #2: Personal stories.
As long as you are alive, you will have at least one new story to tell every day. If you know how to tell a decent story, you can get a dozen or so out of every day. Some of those stories would make really good blog posts.
Personal stories never end, and you have more stories every day. These can cover the gamut from the most mundane day in the life, to your particular experiences with something that happened to you and will happen to others.
- How I Got Into [thing this blog is about]
- The Time I [waved my shoe at Seth Godin / threw John Cusack into traffic / got into a staring contest with Sean Penn* / interrupted Henry Rollins to give someone the $10 I owed them (Apparently I do this kind of thing a lot.)
- My First [$10,000 day / training injury / burnt wedding cake]
- Why I Decided To [rebrand / get married / ditch Facebook]
These types of posts will last forever because you will keep having stories forever.
* Mr. Penn won, which I’m pretty sure comes as a surprise to no one.
Blog Post Idea #3: Encouragement.
You might have discussed weight loss plateaus a dozen times, which makes discussing it again sound daunting at best and ridiculous at worst. You think you can’t write “how to bust through a plateau” any new ways.
Well, you might be right. But!
The connecting thread in your existing plateau pieces is probably some kind of instruction. It’s some version of a how-to. And you may be right – you may not be able to talk about that anymore. But you could write an encouragement piece.
An encouragement piece eliminates the instructional in favor of the emotional. It’s less “here’s how to do it” and more “you SO got this!!!” It’s less “what to do” and more “don’t worry, it’s normal.”
If you’ve been doing this long enough to be out of things to say, you’ve been doing this long enough to have seen a lot of shit. Use that perspective to give hope and encouragement to your less experienced readers, and those who might be struggling.
Blog Post Idea #4: Updates.
Anything that started as something new or a project can be updated after the passage of time.
- Went keto? Give us the Year 2 update.
- Got married?
- Hired a VA?
- Went on a book tour?
- Started doing pop-up shops?
All of these can be updated to give a more current view.
(If you’re brave, you can also update opinions. Again, if you’ve been doing this long enough to have run out of things to talk about, you’ve been doing it long enough to be wrong about a lot of stuff. If you’ve got the guts for it, go back and update with what you believe now.)
Blog Post Idea #5: Maybe you should just repeat yourself.
Yes, you said it 5 years ago. Say it again. 94.2% of your audience didn’t hear it the first time, so they’ll hear it now.
It’s okay to keep banging the same drum. Those are called talking points and they’re how people run for office.
Seth Godin is one of the brightest minds of his generation. And as far as I’m aware, he’s only said 3 things in 10 years. You know why he sounded so good in our interview in WABWM? He’s saying the same thing he has for a decade.
We are solipsistic beings, and we think that because we remember, everybody remembers.
If you said diet matters more than exercise in 2011, say it again now. Give four reasons diet matters more than exercise. Showcase three of your clients that prove your point. Hell, make a poster that says, “Diet matters more than exercise!” that people can stick to their kitchen cabinets.
If a point is worth making, it’s worth making twice.
Blog Post Idea #6: Thin-Slicing.
And speaking of making the same point twice, those of you who have The 1-Hour Content Plan will have perhaps heard me say the following more than once.
In the magazine industry, there’s a concept known as thin-slicing for editorial content. Like, we think we have a hard time thinking we’ve said everything we could possibly say? We should consider how Cosmo feels. They’ve been saying the same thing since 1965.
The way they get around running the same magazine every month for 54 years is thin-slicing.
The basic idea is that broad concepts don’t make for great articles. 5 Tips For Visiting Paris is way too general to be appealing to readers, AND it takes “Paris travel tips” off the “things we can still make content about” list. 5 Tips For Visiting Paris in the Springtime, though, is more interesting for the reader (it’s more specific), and it doesn’t kill an entire content thread forevermore. It means that in two years, you can write:
- 6 Tips For Visiting Paris on the Cheap
- 7 Tips For Visiting Paris at Christmas
- 8 Tips For Visiting Paris with Aging Parents
- 9 Tips For Visiting Paris When You’re Single
- 10 Tips For Visiting Paris When You’re In The Mood To Eat
To get started with thin-slicing, practice adding conditions.
- “Types of newsletters” becomes 7 Newsletters You Can Send In 10 Minutes or Less
- “How to decide on a brand” becomes How To Figure Out Your Brand In 20 Minutes
- “How to be productive” becomes How To Be Amazingly Productive On Low-Energy Days
See? Topic + Condition = Thin-Slice.
Blog Post Idea #7: Try a different angle.
We tend to get into ruts with our journalistic spin. It’s common to think we’ve covered the gamut when it turns out, we’ve really just doubled down on one narrow perspective. We can get around that problem by switching up our angle.
An article about 10 inexpensive luggage pieces can be rethought differently later as 10 luxury bags for when you want to look like a million bucks. If you’re always writing about the evils of procrastination, you can write about the 3 areas where procrastination actually helps you.
Looking at different angles of your general topic – even finding actual opposites of posts you’ve run in the past – can open up a treasure trove of content ideas, and permanently insures you against ever looking like a one-trick pony.
(You can also mix this option with one of the other tips. If you’re always writing about self-care ideas, you can break it up with a disastrous personal story of your bubble bath gone horribly wrong. New angle + personal story = we could be at this for the rest of our lives.)
So, there you go. Blog post ideas a-plenty.
You think you're out of content? You think the well is all dry?
Probably not. Try any or all of these ideas, and they should get things moving for you.
Now. If you'll excuse me, I have 99 more blog posts to write. That bet won't win itself.
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