How to Gather Ideas for Blog Contributions for an entire year in an hour

So we got together and put our blog ideas into a Google spreadsheet. In the first five minutes we could not think of anything, but after we had put in a few initial suggestions, the ideas came by themselves. From an idea came up 10 more ideas and in a short time we had almost 300 blog titles together and 15 minutes left.

We were quite surprised ourselves. It’s not that common that bloggers have all the ideas for their next year’s blog posts ready to put together in just one hour.

However, it is quite feasible and not only for established companies with the appropriate financial means possible. All you need is the right brainstorming process to think about blog topics and a way to collect your ideas, be it a Google spreadsheet, a Word document, an Evernote note, or a classic pen and paper.

That would have you already made the beginning. But how is it possible to get nearly 300 topics in less than an hour? Remember, the essence of this process is that you  do not have to start from scratch every time you need a new topic. You can easily develop interesting, exciting new topics from old themes.

1. Think about the first topic

This step is probably the hardest. If you just do not think of anything, you can try the following:

First, you can think about what questions your customers might have and how you might answer them in your blog posts. If you do not know what problems your customers are facing, ask them (or an in-house employee who has a lot to do with clients). You could also participate in sales pitches as a listener to find out what questions potential customers have about your business.

There are many ways to develop blog ideas . However, these are the two most efficient and effective methods.

2. Change the scope of a topic

Once you have an idea, you can develop it in various ways.

For example, you could narrow down a broad topic. Let’s say your first idea is “15 tips and tricks for social media beginners.” You can divide this topic into specific topics such as  “15 tips and tricks for  Pinterestbeginners” or  “15 tips and tricks for  Facebook beginners”. In the same way, you can expand narrower topics (“15 tips and tricks for  marketingbeginners”), translate a narrow topic into another narrow topic (“15 tips and tricks for  Twitter beginners”) or even more further narrow down (“15 tips and tricks for beginners with Facebook corporate pages “).

Et voila: You have developed several ideas from an idea simply by changing the scope of the topic.

3. Change the time frame

Even blog topics that are a perennial favorite, you can vary by limiting the subject of time.

Take as an example a broad topic such as “The History of Search Engine Optimization”. The concept of Search Engine Optimization (SEO) has been around for many years. A blog about the history of SEO would be quite long and extensive. If you want to cover this topic for several blog posts, you might want to limit the topic to a certain amount of time. For example, the last month. As a title then “SEO developments of the last month” would be conceivable. You can also choose a period of one year: “The biggest changes in search engine optimization 2016”.

4. Select a new target group

Often you write blogs for different audiences, but not every article is equally relevant, even if they are interested in similar topics. For example, in a post on a marketing director’s Facebook page, you should focus on strategic aspects, while in a Facebook post for newcomers to marketing, you should focus more on marketing tactics.

Tailoring a post to a specific person is easier than you might think. For example, you can just mention the appropriate position in the headline. You can then simply change the title “What every marketing novice needs to know via Facebook” in  “What every marketing manager needs to know about Facebook”.

Of course, these titles refer to two different blog posts that have the same basic concept: Facebook tips.

5. Choose a negative or positive formulation

Blog posts are often formulated positively: “20 social media rules that you should always keep in mind”. Logical, because the content of an article should help the readers yes. Therefore one instinctively chooses a positive formulation. Much more ideas for topics, however, arise when you list the negative aspects.

The negative formulation of the original blog idea would be  “20 social media rules you should never pay attention to”. Quite simple, right? With this trick, you will come up with more creative and public blogging topics that are often even more fun to work on.

6. Use new formats 

Last but not least, you can try to pick up recurring topics in a new format. In this way, a post like “The Ultimate Email Marketing Guide” can be easily recycled as “The Ultimate Email Marketing Checklist” or “The Ultimate Guide to Email Marketing [Infographic]”.

You probably need to adjust the angle in the posts to the format ( after all, a post should not just consist of an infographic, a video or a cartoon). In any case, it makes sense to think about how to wrap existing topics into a new format to rewrite topics you’ve frequently covered in your blogs.

7. Delete titles that are irrelevant to your customers or audience 

At the end of this process, you’ll have a long list of topics that will not all be suitable for your blog. Some topics may not match your brand positioning or have been exhaustively addressed. Do not hesitate to blunt unsuitable topics. What’s left are some great ideas that you can use at will the whole year round.

However, do not forget that this brainstorming process is designed to provide a good base for a supply of content. These are not topics that you execute slavishly need . Finally, your editorial or marketing strategy may change, or you may get news about which you want to write on your blog as soon as possible. Therefore, you should use your brainstorming session to create a basis for your editorial calendar and not to complete the entire calendar.

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