This is the third post in a series on taking your blog to the next level.
Image by …rachel…
“How do I keep posts flowing on my blog?”
This is a question that most bloggers face at one point or another – particularly bloggers who have been blogging for 6-12 months.
The reality is that there comes a point where most bloggers feel either uninspired, unmotivated, that they’ve got ‘bloggers block’ or that they’ve said everything that there is to say on their chosen topic. This is something that we’ve all felt at one time or another – so what does a blogger do about it?
The first thing that I want to encourage you with is that all is not lost. Every blogger has this challenge at one point or another (in fact most of us face it regularly) and it is possible to break through it. They key is to persist through the tough times – something that many bloggers do not do.
At this point it is important to sit down and work out how you will generate content going forward. There are a number of strategies that come to mind for doing so – all of these I’ve used at different points and I hope that some will give you inspiration and a way forward:
1. Mind Mapping
My favorite technique for coming up with new topics is using mind maps. I outline my mind mapping technique here but in short the technique is that you take one post idea (one from your archives perhaps) and then brainstorm ways that that topic can be expanded upon into numerous new topics. You then take some of those new ideas and think about ways that they too can be expanded upon into new posts. This technique can literally help you identify hundreds of new topics to write about.
Whether you use Mind mapping or some other kind of brainstorming technique the key is to set time aside to do it. I try to do this at the start of each week and find that if I do that the writing task for the week ahead is a lot smoother – sometimes just coming up with the ideas is as hard as the writing of posts.
2. Involve Readers
One of the resources that a blog who has an established readership has (remember we’re writing this series for these types of blogs) is that it has a knowledge based within it’s readership that can be drawn upon in a variety of creative ways to help create content for your blog. There are a lot of ways to do this – but here are a few:
- Guest Posts – in every 100 or so readers there is bound to be 1 that has the knowledge, expertise, motivation and skill to contribute posts to your blog. The key is to identify them and give them the confidence to contribute a post to your blog. Pay particular attention to those leaving comments on your blog. You’ll find that some comments just go the extra mile and contain wisdom and depth that are not far off being the standard of actual blog posts. Also don’t be afraid to invite contributions by writing post asking for guest posts or having a page linked in your navigation inviting contributions.
- Reader Questions – stuck for a topic to write about? Ask your readers to ask questions. A post inviting reader questions can draw out some great ideas to write about.
- Community Written Posts – one of the things that I’m loving about Digital Photography School at the moment is that some of our best posts are actually ones that our readers provide the majority of the content and teaching for. My role is not to ‘write’ the content for these posts – but to ask a question and set some boundaries for a discussion – and then open it up for readers to add their suggestions. Examples: How do I take band promotional photos?, How Would You Photograph a Funeral? and How to Photograph Grandma?
3. Explore new ‘Voices’
One way to break out of a rut as a blogger is to experiment with new types and styles of posts. Sometimes doing so can unleash creativity and new ideas. So if the majority of your posts are ‘tips’ posts – try an opinion piece. If you always write ‘news’ type posts – why not try something with a bit of humor or controversy.
Further Reading: I’ve outlined 20 types of blog posts for bloggers battling bloggers block here to give you a little inspiration.
4. Update Previous Posts and Topics
Even after a few months of blogging you can hit a point where you feel like you’ve covered most topics in your niche. Many bloggers get to this point and simply give up the blog – however I’ve found that most posts that I’ve written in the past can be expanded upon, updated, improved or rewritten with fresh insight.
Also keep in mind that many of your old posts will only have been read by long term readers and your new readers will not have seen these posts.
Further Reading: The Why and How of Updating old Blog Posts.
5. Guest Posts
The decision to allow guest posters onto your blog has both good arguments for and against it – but it is certainly one way to keep the flow of content going on a blog when you’re a little low on inspiration or don’t have enough time on your hands to be writing content (see also Why Guest Bloggers are Great for a Blog).
Getting people to submit guest posts on a blog is not always achievable when a blog is very young and the blog has little profile – but once you gather a readership and build your reputation as a growing community it becomes easier to attract contributions from other bloggers and freelance writers looking to grow their own profile.
If you’re new to the idea of finding guest posters for a blog – start with your own readers (as described above – look in the comments section of your blog) and then also look at other blogs in your niche or even forums that are on a similar topic to your blog. I’ve also had some real success lately with finding guest posts for Digital Photography School from non bloggers, particularly pro photographers who are looking for a little extra exposure to their business sites.
Further Reading: How to Find a Guest Blogger for Your Blog
6. Hiring Writers
Another way to approach bringing others onto your blog as writers is to look at hiring a blogger (or team of bloggers) to help you create content for your blog. This has some cost associated with it – but can (if you do it right) increase the quality and frequency of posts as well as decreasing some of the admin of relying upon guest posts.
I’ve hired a small team of writers for DPS who I pay on a per post basis (as well as giving them exposure in the posts that they write) and have found this experience to be well worthwhile. For a start it has attracted a good caliber of writer to the blog, increased the knowledge base and expertise of the writing, added to the variety of topics we can cover and increased the frequency with which we can post.
When it comes to hiring writers – I’d advise starting with your current reader base – you might find that some of your regular readers would take on a regular writing job for a little financial reward. Another approach is to look at other bloggers on your topic or to even advertise on a job board like the ProBlogger Job board. I advertised for my team of writers almost 18 months ago and had so many great applicants that I couldn’t use them all and most of them still write weekly posts for me today.
Another quick tip on hiring writers – you can also hire them for short periods. As long as you’re up front about the length of the period that you’re hiring for I’ve found that bringing on a staff writer for a couple of months when you know you’re going to be away or have your attention on another project can be well worthwhile doing.
Further Reading: How to Advertise for a Blogger
7. Develop an editorial calendar
One technique that can help a blog grow beyond its infancy is to begin to think longer term about the content that you produce. I personally find that when I only think a day ahead about the content for my blog that it can be difficult to build momentum in the content that I’m writing. It’s also difficult to keep coming up with topics.
A way to help overcome this is to set aside time either on a weekly or even a monthly basis to map out the direction for your content in the period ahead.
This enables you to do some brainstorming/mindmapping (see point #1 above) and set the course for your blog. Doing this takes some discipline and can feel like a chore when you sit down to do it but the result is that it gives you a lot of freedom and can take the burden of having to come up with topics from your shoulders.
I find that the months I set out a plan for the content on my blogs are much better than the months that I do not. I usually find on these months that I end up writing a series of posts and that readers really respond well to the momentum that I build.
Another spin on the idea of an editorial calendar that I know some bloggers have a lot of success with is to set different ‘styles’ of posts for each day of the week. For example:
- Monday might be ‘tips’ day where you write a ‘how to’ or ‘tip’ related post
- Tuesday might be ‘review’ day where you review a product related to your topic
- Wednesday might be ‘news’ day where you summarize the latest news in your niche
- Thursday might be ‘link’ day where you link up to another blog in your niche
- Friday might be ‘opinion’ day where you express your opinion on a topic
- Saturday might be ‘reader discussion’ day where you post a question or poll for readers to interact with
- Sunday might be ‘from our archives’ day where you highlight an old post on your blog
The sky is the limit in terms of the types of posts that you write (look at the 20 types of blog posts list that I mention above for other types to consider) – the key is to find types of posts that are relevant to your topic and that readers respond well to. This might feel a little contrived or structured for some bloggers, but I find that many bloggers find it to be a freeing experience, particularly to get them through a tough period.
What Would You Add?
I have literally scratched the surface with this post on how to keep fresh content flowing on your blog. I’m certain that among the readership of ProBlogger that there are a lot more ideas – if you’ve got one, please add it to the comments below. Together we can break though this ‘bloggers block’!
Further Reading: Battling Bloggers Block – a compilation of a series of 25 strategies that are designed to help you get through bloggers block.
I schedule my daily posts 2-3 days in advance…and with 3-4 posts daily it seems to work best to spend 2-3 hours getting posts organized for a few days.
Daily Gif Blog
As a new(ish) blogger, I’ve bookmarked your ideas to come back to when I get stuck!
Its been hard for me to keep up with this posting thing.got so many ideas but i guess i dont plan well enough.
thanks for this valuable info.
now looking for someone to be my guest author at my blog.
Its a blog on tips on dating and relationship.
Reading other blogs helps to brainstorm ideas for posts.
I make many drafts but i rarely get to finish them. Someone the drive to make fresh content disappear if I put them in drafts even just for a while. Someone will always beat me to the hilt regarding the topics i just thought about.
Hi good set of ideas. Another set of idea could be thinking on existing issues and researching on it or just explaining those issues.
One example of how I came up with an article by using this technique is
Yet again, you come through with great tips. Thanks very much. I’m going to have some guest posts and hire some writers for my new political blog. Thanks again for the info.
Good advice and thanks. Yes as a new blogger we find it hard to write sometimes.
I’d say.. Look what others are blogging about in your niche. Simplest way to find new topics to blog about!
Right i dont have money so i will try some of idea’s of yours where you don’t have to spent money. Nice advice thank you for that.
Hi Darren…what a good point of views you wrote in this article man..
Wow …you surely a real “Guru” .
I agree on the points you wrote like “Develop an editorial calendar”. It surely sound that to make sure that a blog will be successful for long term….we really have to plan,
Yea,,,,man…I am also new to blogging world. Around 3 months and sometimes I myself feel that it is tough to keep on writing good content for my blogs,,,,because it require a genuine passion , determination , and surely hardwork.
But,,,,I will try my best man…
One issue that I have noticed with having guest writers is that they do not like to be edited so make sure you are specific when inviting them.
Great article on how to keep your blog flowing with on going articles because I know at times you feel like you are trapped with nothing to post about, but in reality you got plenty of things that you haven’t mentioned.
In my experience the bet way to keep your blog flowing with content is to constantly gain outside perspectives. There really is endless things to write about across all chosen topics, if you can mix say for web design: Cultural influence in combination with technical mumbo jumbo, mixing concepts can create very rich content! This always gives way to new ideas for me and diversifies how people perceive my business.
Subscribing to newsletter / press releases also helps me a lot.
I’ve found a wealth of information on EzineArticles. I like to bulk up on information from there when I’m working on a new posting.
A big part of this is going to depend on your niche, and just how much there is to talk about…Personally speaking i cant even keep up with all the content that can be published on my site…I have never faced bloggers block due to the fact i could literally post about 20 new things every single day, non stop…Some of your pointers though are good ideas for those who do face bloggers block and work with blogs/niches which arent full of everyday news like some other niches may be…
Interacting with your viewers i have found to be very valuable though…Carrying on conversations within the comments with your readers insures they will come back
Time, time and more time to update every day with fresh and amazing content.
All the tips presented here are very good, especially the guest blogging tip. The map minding technique is a very scientific approach to come up with new ideas, and I am definitely going to try it out.
Make Extra Money by Guest Blogging
Thanks a lot….For sharing ur experience ….I think ur posts are mostly of ur blogging experience
In order to make more flow one have to update its content daily or once in a week. So that it can become visitor friendly.
Thanks, i have been battling on updating my blog
I am fairly new to blogging, started about 6 months ago, but this post is so helpful to me! Although I still have ideas that I want to post your mind mapping idea will be very helpful. I think starting to do that every month, will really help me! Thank you very much!!
I also like the idea of having topic days! I find so much wonderful information in your blog!
Thanks. I never have a problem with ideas, it’s taking the time to write them down. Mindmapping is a good tool to use.
From a SEO perspective you can try to find what kind of keywords people are searching in your industry… and then write articles revolving around those kewords.
Another idea would be to check out yahoo answers, see what kind of questions are related to your industry..
Thanks Darren, i am new to this blogging think, and reading about improving blogging. This post is certainly a helpful hand to always find a new idea of your post. Getting fresh and unique post is difficult for me at that stage but i will certainly find new topics to write about for my blog.
I am a novice blogger and honestly I am having a difficulty what topics to post. It’s nice to know that you shared your blogging experiences. Thank you for those great ideas.
This is the question I had in mind when I started blogging that I am just a 15 year old blogger and I won’t be able to keep up with the posts and I won’t be able to post regularly but Thanks God I didn’t have this problem by now.
I know that I will have to face this pretty soon. I think that every blogger has to face this problem once in a while. Great post and I think that it will be helpful for all the people who blog and mostly for advanced and old bloggers.
Free Website Traffic
When I lack inspiration I turn to humor. You can still make your post relevant and humor can be the most effective teaching method.
Thank you for this post. Amazing! You’ve mentioned some things like I never thought before. Now I can understand more clearly what makes one blog stand out of the crowd.
Great Article. These points are spot on, you couldn’t have said it any better.
I especially like option 4. Update Previous Posts and Topics, simply because it is so true, you can never update your past posts and topics enough.
this brainstorming also helps with articles, and ad copy for various writing techniques.
Hi, Another technique I find works is to check out the long tail search terms users are finding your site with. Use Analytics or something similar and get all the long tail search terms together in one massive list. Then, as said above, try a brainstorming session and expand on the subjects your users are searching to reach you.
I run a blog about Finance, which means I can never run short of things to write, but it is indeed very hard to be motivated. In fact, there are too much I can write.
Darren thanks for another great article. I have several couples who write guest posts on are blog and some of them are great writers.
I have thought about offering a “pay per post” in hopes they could contribute such great stuff a little more often. What is a good starting price to pay someone who has no traffic incentive. Few of my readers, including those that write for me have their own webiste so traffic and linking is not as much of an incentive.
This is a really helpful post. I was beginning to run out of ideas after a pretty hectic editorial calendar. I’ve written some big pillar articles over the last few weeks and I was verging on running out of juice. This post has inspired many ideas that I will be pursuing! Particularly using the mindmap technique.Thanks
Whenever you are searching for a few ideas for new blog posts lead off with an enquiry that is standard for your subscribers or readers. Searching through the answers that you would find for them will lead to new ideas and draw them all together for a brand new blog topic post.
Thanks for the great mindmap idea. I sometimes have a little trouble keeping up with myself, my ideas, and my energy. This will help me get and stay organized as well as inspired. I’m going to share this post with some of my business partners as well — they have some trouble from time to time staying inspired, too.
Thanks for the great post!
I use http://www.mind42.com/ for my mindmap. A great and cheap tool to organize your thougths and topics!
This is a great post. Altough I tend to agree with most of your recommendations, I think they mostly apply to Professional Bloggers (yes I know you are Problogger!) but most blogs aren’t maintained by professional bloggers but by people who are doing blogging as a second “job”.
Your post made me think about something when I got back from vacation this week and my blog has been left dead for seven days. See it here http://etiennechabot.wordpress.com/2009/03/09/blogging-break-vs-blog-robotization/
Thanks for the great tips on the different ways to keep fresh content on your blog. This has really helped me keep the juices flowing….I was having writers block. Thanks again.
Keep the content fresh and ideas flowing , easier said than done but since I have started following the problogger blogs I do not feel as alone.
Thank you very much for the post. This is where I usually stall… keeping a flow of fresh content… There are times I end up staring on a brick wall and dont know what to post. I worry too much that any post I do is already covered on another site… and my post wouldnt be that original anymore… I guess it is a a psychological problem that I have to go away from. I am still struggling right now on how to come up with a new articles… I guess I will slowly try it your way
Like your site, and all the great tips that are mentioned on it, it has really helped out. Thanks!
This list is excellent, I use it every day. It’s amazing how much content can be created from brainstorming and expanding on old topics.
One thing I would add is get inspiration from similar blogs. Obviously don’t copy, but you can expand on or debate or give an alternate view on topics that others are talking about in your niche.