When you’re trying to come up with a great idea for a blog post, does it seem like every topic has already been done to death?
You might want to write about your ten favourite WordPress plugins. But a quick Google search shows there are dozens of similar posts.
Maybe you want to share your experience of raising children, but you know loads of blogs already covering similar ground.
Whatever your idea is, there’s a good chance there’s already something similar out there.
Here are five ways you can make the most of your idea, regardless of what’s been done before.
#1: Look for What Others Aren’t Saying
Is there something people aren’t exploring or covering on their blogs in your niche? Perhaps there’s a particular area that doesn’t get written about much, or some received wisdom no-one ever seems to challenge.
It can be tricky to spot the gaps in what others are covering. But if you can find something that’s only ever covered in passing, or something bloggers don’t seem to address at all, it could make for a great post.
#2: Turn Your Idea On its Head
Some “already taken” ideas could become fresh and new with a quick tweak. For instance, instead of “The Ten Best WordPress Plugins”, how about “Ten Surprisingly Popular WordPress Plugins to Avoid” or “The Ten Most Pointless WordPress Plugins”?
You could still use a post like this to share plugins you do like by either:
- giving alternatives to each plugin you cover
- offering a list at the end of the post.
With a post like “Ten Lessons I Learned as a New Parent”, you could try, “Ten Lessons I’m Still Learning” or “Ten Things My Baby is Better At Than Me”. They might provide a heartfelt or funny look at the topic, giving readers something fresh.
#3: Come Up with an Unusual Angle
Can you pick something outside your niche to help you create an interesting analogy? For instance, you might write a post linking one of your hobbies with your topic – “What Knitting Has Taught Me About Writing”, or “Five Great Blogging Lessons I Learned From Playing the Piano”.
Bringing together two disconnected ideas isn’t a new technique. In fact, it’s something I was advocating back in 2005. But it still works, and it can make for some great, memorable posts.
#4: Make Your Post More Valuable
If you’re covering a topic that’s been done by lots of other bloggers, look at ways to make yours more valuable than theirs.
That could mean:
- Going deeper: instead of just listing and briefly describing ten plugins, you could write a review of each one that mentions pros and cons and suggests alternatives to try.
- Making it longer: instead of writing a list of ten plugins, you could create a huge list of 50 or 100 plugins.
- Formatting better: instead of just listing the plugins and describing them, you could include screenshots to show them in action. You could also pull out key points in bold text or even in a box.
#5: Narrow Your Focus
If you’ve come up with a fairly general topic idea (e.g. “The Ten Best WordPress Plugins”), you could narrow the topic and/or the audience.
For instance, these posts would have less competition and appeal much more to people looking for specific information:
- The Ten Best WordPress Plugins for Weight Loss Bloggers
- The Ten Best Contact Form WordPress Plugins
- Ten WordPress Plugins Every Six-Figure Blogger Uses
- Ten Overlooked SEO WordPress Plugins to Try Today
Building On What Others Have Said
You might find yourself wanting to write a post that builds on what someone else has said or written. Perhaps you heard a particular point in a podcast you think bears further discussion, or you came across a thought-provoking idea in a book. Maybe you read a passionately argued blog post that you completely disagree with.
It’s fine to build on someone else’s work as long as you acknowledge it. For instance, you might do one or more of the following:
- Include a direct quote. This can be a great way to use someone else’s words as a starting point for your own thoughts. (Just make sure you’re using the quote in a legal and ethical way.)
- Link to the blog post, podcast, or book you were inspired by. It’s always good practice to link to someone when you quote them. But even if you’re not using a direct quote, it’s often helpful to include a link.
- Explain that your post was inspired by someone else. You might mention that you heard them talking on a particular podcast and that it got you thinking.
Your ideas might not be original, especially if you’re blogging in a large and crowded niche. But your approach to those ideas, and the way you cover them, certainly will be.
Do you have a good tip for finding original ideas, or providing a fresh take on well-worn ones? Share your thoughts in the comments.
Image credit: Kelly Sikkema