Just starting a blog? Longing to revive an old, forgotten blog? Or just feeling guilty because you’ve let your blog languish without a post for a little too long?If your blog’s fallen behind your ideal post frequency, you’re in luck. Today, I’m going to give you a six-step plan for kickstarting stalled blog content. The work we’ll do today takes just 40 minutes in total, but you can split it up in to five- and ten-minute blocks if that’s all you can fit in.
Then, over the coming week, I’ll check back in with you periodically to see how you’re going—and provide some more tips for staying on track along the way. Are you ready to kickstart your content? Let’s go!
1. Take stock: readers, niche and blog: 10 minutes
First up, let’s take stock of what’s going on on your blog, in your niche, and with your readers. A good way to do this is to start by looking at the leading sites in your niche—not just blogs, but all sites and other media (press, for example) that your target audience might use.
Look closely at:
- current news, events and trends
- what readers are linking and sharing
- what readers are worried or concerned by
- where your niche seems to be headed in the short- to medium-term.
Do this now, and in ten or fifteen minutes’ time, you should have a pretty clear picture of what’s happening in your niche—an essential step if you’re reviving a blog you’ve left to languish for a while.
Next, visit your own blog. What topics have you covered most recently (even if that was a while ago)? Where does your blog sit relative to the competition, and to readers’ interests?
Hopefully, this review will give you a clear idea of some gaps in niche coverage that you can fill on your blog. It might also spark your ideas or opinions on topics that are important to your niche and audience right now. We’re off to a good start!
2. Think of three questions readers are asking: 5 minutes
After step 1, you’ll probably be fairly clear about the kinds of things readers are trying to learn or get information on.
Take a minute to write down three questions they’re asking. You might like to write them as if they’re questions you’re tying into Google or some other search tool, or you might just narrow down to fairly specific topics.
These questions don’t have to be actual questions you’re seeing readers ask in blog comments. They might be suggested through the interactions your audience is having on social media, or questions other leaders in your niche seem to be asking, and which are getting some attention from readers.
What you’re really looking for here are audience needs that aren’t being fully met by the content that’s available in your niche right now.
3. Write answers to those questions: 5 minutes
You’ve got a list of three questions; now answer each one in a sentence or two.
In those answers, make sure you’re 100% clear on the meaning of what you’ve written (it’s all too easy to jot down a one-sentence answer and find out later that it was full of holes!), and that you know why you answered the way you did.
Being able to rationalise your points of view will be essential when it comes to writing your next post!
4. Choose one Q&A to expand on: 10 minutes
Hopefully, you’ll find at least one of the questions you’ve identified really interesting. Pick that one, and note down a bit more about it.
You might get into the reader question in a bit more detail, or jot down the logical components of your answer—perhaps just in bullet points or using keywords.
The object here is just to get clear about the nature of the question, and the key elements of your answer. You might also have a think about some of the content you’ve seen on the topic online (if you have seen any) and identify what’s missing from that content. Should you cover those points in your post? Where would they fit?
You might notice now that you’ve got a brief outline for a post. You have a topic, a question for the post, and an answer split into a number of elements. Not bad for a half-hour’s work!
5. Write down what’s different about this advice: 5 minutes
You might be tempted to skip this step. Don’t.
Here’s where you clarify for yourself what your post will provide that no other content on the topic does.
This isn’t just an informational question—though of course knowing what advice or detail your post will offer uniquely is important. But let’s not overlook what you bring to the equation as well.
Perhaps your post will hinge on your own personal experience of the topic, and will provide unique insight from that experience.
Perhaps the approach will be different—maybe all the coverage so far has come from one side of the industry, or of a debate. Perhaps you’re going to provide another perspective from a completely different viewpoint.
Or maybe you’ll use a different format from the rest—one that makes the issues more approachable and digestible, and helps readers understand the topic more easily.
6. Schedule writing time, editing time, and a publication date: 5 minutes
This is the last step for today! You’ve just created a plan for a unique piece of content that responds directly, and uniquely to readers’ needs.
All you need now is the time to write it.
Check your schedule and set aside three blocks of time:
- 40 minutes for writing
- 30 minutes for editing, on a different day
- a publication date.
Commit to these dates and times—make them non-negotiable. Tell us when they fall in the comments, if you like. What I’d love is if you could fit them into the next week, because I’m planning to check back in with you on Tuesday and Friday to see how you’re going.
On those days I’ll be providing tips to help you keep your content kickstart on track, so it’ll be great if you can work along with us. If not, that’s fine—I’d still love to hear when you’re planning your writing, editing and publication in the comments.
Don’t forget to check back on Tuesday, when I’ll reveal some of the tricks I use to blog when I have no time in my schedule. Hopefully, they’ll put you in good stead for keeping the content rolling on your blog long after you’ve kickstarted it back into action. See you then!