To make a blog successful, it’s important to write regularly. I’m not one of the people who will tell you that you have to write every day in order to make your blog successful. I write everyday, but I don’t post to Next Level Blogger every day. Tim Ferriss is a big advocate of not working too much, and he posts only once a week or so. Many bloggers don’t post every day, but it’s important to post regularly. At least once or twice a week is really a good standard to keep.
One of the recent commentators on my guest post over at Remarkablogger expressed some concern about running out of ideas to write about. This is a common concern. Everyone runs into a struggle now and then regarding how to keep the content coming.
I suppose there are those of us out there who are comfortable running on inspiration only. I’m not like that. I use systems. Especially when it comes to business, I want something in place to ensure I’m getting results.
There is a very simple system I use to ensure that I always have content to publish, and I hope you can use it, adapt it to your personal situation and benefit from it.
A Couple Important Points
Before I describe the content system I use, I want to preface this with a couple important points. You really have to be running a blog about a subject you love. You need to have a strong intrinsic interest in what you’re doing. You can apply this very simply content system to any subject, but if you don’t love what you’re doing, it’s still going to be plain drudgery, and that is going to show up in your writing. You can’t sell something you’re not sold on yourself.
With as simple and quick as it can be to get a new business fired up online these days, you really shouldn’t ever think of yourself as locked into something. If you hate what you’re doing, just do something else, or take your current project in a new direction. Seriously.
Second, it’s essential to have faith in yourself. As silly as that may sound, it really is important. Experts in any field routinely underestimate what they know. They think everyone knows what they know.
Why would anyone be interested in reading something that you consider to be very remedial? Because they’re not the expert! YOU are the expert. The reason you consider some things to be very simple and boring is because this is what you do; this is what you work on every day, so of course YOU think it’s simple! Your readers want more of that expertise. Share it with them.
You know more than you think you do. You have a lot more to share than you think. When you have faith in yourself, and you’re confident in your expertise, the more you share, the more you’ll want to share. 5 years from now, you’ll have published hundreds of posts, and you will still have only just begun.
The idea that there really is only so much to say about a subject is just plain wrong.
There is No Limit to How Much Content You Can Produce
Think about nearly any subject that exists, and there have been hundreds, if not thousands, of people writing about it for generations. And if it’s a brand new subject, then the ball is just getting started.
For example there have been innumerable reports written about the digestive processes in fruit flies, and right now as we speak…there is surely a scientist busy writing the next one… and he absolutely cannot wait to release it, because it’s going to ROCK! Point: you can go as deep as you want into any subject, there is no limit to how much content that can be produced!
The more you dive into a subject, the more you learn. And the more you learn, the more there is to learn. Not enough to write about? Seriously, you’re just not looking hard enough. I don’t mean this to criticize you if you’re having trouble writing right now; I mean it to empower you. Trust me, you have plenty to share. The challenge is not that there isn’t enough to write about. The challenge is that there just simply is not enough time to share everything you have to share. Once you learn to tap into your expertise and have faith in yourself, you will be unstoppable.
My Blog Content System
Here’s what I do to ensure I always have a large amount of content and ideas to write about.
In the morning, when I’m most creative and uninhibited, I sit down and brainstorm article ideas. I do this by just writing titles. I don’t expand on them at all; I just write titles. Not all of them are great of course, but my goal is to simply take a few minutes and write 20-30 titles or so. In a short amount of time, this has produced a very sizeable list of article ideas.
This may sound intimidating up front, but it’s really a lot easier than you might think. Coming up with titles is fun, creative and simple, because you don’t have to concern yourself with research, what exactly you’re going to say or anything. Just write titles that you’d like to read yourself. Don’t worry about whether it’s good or not. Just crank em out.
After you have this list, it’s easy to revisit it, and after just a few seconds of scanning, you will get more ideas for new posts. Write them down. Again, don’t write anything but titles.
When it’s time to get a post together, simply visit your list. There’s something magical about a good title. When you have a title, the post often writes itself. Getting inspired is often the trouble, and this way you have a tool to stimulate that inspiration any time you need it.
That’s why it’s been so beneficial to me to separate the thought process from the writing process.
When I sit down with your list of hundreds of article ideas, all I have to do is scan that sucker and look for something that excites me. Many, many ideas may not be doing anything for me at the moment, but then I’ll see a title that grabs me, and bam…20 minutes later I have an article to post.
Admittedly this is a very simple system, but if you’ve had trouble coming up with content, I encourage you to try it out. There really is no magic out there, but simple systems in my experience are the ones you can understand and implement immediately, and that’s why they work. Just doing something with a little structure can free up your mind to produce good content whenever you need.
It’s very intimidating to look at a blank page with the need to produce an article. But when you have pages of ideas to look through, it’s easy to simply scan it and look for something that’s interesting. It’s a great way to get the ball rolling and the writing process started.
After doing content this way for a few weeks, I found that I have more ideas than I can reasonably produce for Next Level Blogger. So what’s happened is that the ideas have spilled out into other products. I created Professional Blogging Roadmap that way. A free ebook you can download here. It’s essentially a collection of about 30-40 different article ideas that I put together and organized into an ebook. I have another ebook coming up that was produced this way as well, and a paid information product I hope to release near the end of the year or early in 2010. And Next Level Blogger has only been up for a couple months or so. The way I see it, if it’s produced this type of results for me, it’s worth sharing, and I bet it can help you as well 🙂
Other Sources for Ideas
• You’re subscribed to all the top blogs in your space, correct? If not, you definitely should be. Writers read. And bloggers…read blogs. If you’ve not yet developed a strong voice and an ability to crank out quality content at will, make sure you’re reading other writers in your niche. Being regularly exposed to quality ideas is a great way to develop your senses for great article ideas. Just scanning your rss reader can be a great way to get inspired as well.
• Ask your readers! I did this recently with my email subscribers…I really like to converse with my subscribers as much as possible. I simply said “Hey I’m writing an ebook…” And I described the topic I’m covering, and I asked, “…anything you want to see covered?” I got a ton of great ideas in response. I really appreciate that feedback! A lot of that feedback is going to end up being in the new ebook, and a lot of it will turn into future posts on Next Level Blogger. Don’t overlook your subscribers; believe me, they’ll tell you what they think if you just ask!
Not only is the prospect of continuously producing new content an occasion hurdle for bloggers, but it’s also something that intimidates would-be bloggers. It can keep some people from getting started blogging, when in fact, setting up a new blog just might be the most powerful and smart thing they can do to promote their business. Hopefully this post can show how simple it can be to crank out an unbelievable amount of quality content for your readers. There really are no limits beyond your personal energy.