Advertising
Advertising

21 Ways to Develop Fresh Content Ideas for Your Blog

21 Ways to Develop Fresh Content Ideas for Your Blog

Writer’s block can strike without warning, whether you’re a newbie or a seasoned blogger, and when you’re confronting a blank page and a fast-approaching deadline it’s easy to get disheartened.

But don’t panic—here are 20 ways to rekindle your mojo and start wowing readers with your awesome content.

1. Survey your readers.

There are a few easy ways to do this: you can use a tool like Survey Monkey, or ask a question on Facebook or Twitter. Alternatively, if you have an auto-responder system set up, invite new subscribers to reply and tell you what they’re struggling with or what questions they’d like to ask. The more you engage with your readers, the easier it will be to create content they want to read and share.

2. Create a challenge.

Are you a health coach? Challenge your readers to run 20km a week or quit sugar for a month. A financial advisor? How about 3 months to a healthier bank balance? Each week, provide your readers with tips and inspiration to help them achieve their goals.

3. Get yourself on Pinterest.

This site is full of photos, posts, and inspirational quotes that are bound to get your creativity flowing again. It’s a fantastic hunting ground for ideas, especially if you’re a food, lifestyle, travel, or fashion blogger. Check out the kinds of content people are re-pinning and commenting on, but make sure you give yourself a time limit; this site can be addictive!

Advertising

4. Whom do you admire?

Write a post about them and the reasons you find them so inspiring. You don’t have to make it about one person, either—you can create a whole list of people whom you find inspirational. A great example of this is Nicole Antoinette’s 100 Lunches Project; her quest to have lunch with 100 people she admires before her 30th birthday.

5. Watch movies, attend concerts, live a little.

I’ve read some great blog posts inspired by movies like Moneyball or performers like Lady Gaga and Adele. Inspiration is everywhere if you take the time to look, and time away from the office will stimulate your mind and reboot your creativity, especially if you feel burned out (which let’s face it, is when blogger’s block tends to strike).

6. Write a love letter to your readers (seriously!)

You don’t have to go overboard, but tell them how much you value their loyalty and feedback. Offer them a freebie. This could be something simple like an eBook you’ve written or a free consultation. Make them feel appreciated and inspired to engage with you.

7. Make a list of frequently asked questions.

Which questions are you asked repeatedly by clients, readers, or potential customers? Make a list and answer them one by one on your blog, providing examples to illustrate your point, or write up a couple of case studies.

8. Who are your readers, and what are they most concerned about?

If you’re not sure who your readers are yet, think about who you want them to be, and create content that’s very specific to that audience. For example, say you’re a careers coach and you want to attract people who have recently been retrenched; you could write a post entitled “7 tips for getting back into the workforce after redundancy”.

Advertising

9. Interview experts and bloggers in your industry.

Who would your readers be interested in hearing from? If you’re a fashion retailer, you could interview a stylist. Or how about your favorite author, online entrepreneur, or blogger? You can record your interviews, turn them into podcasts and publish them on iTunes, which is another great way to drive traffic to your blog!

10. Write a personal story.

Make it relevant and honest. Are you a relationship coach? Write about how you dealt with a relationship drama in the past. An online entrepreneur? Maybe you’ve made mistakes others could learn from. Turn your past struggles into inspirational blog posts that resonate with your audience.

11. Visit your Linked in or Facebook groups.

Check discussion threads. What are people talking about? What questions do they have? What could they use more information on?

12. Create a tutorial that’s mind-blowingly useful.

What do others struggle with that you find easy? What have you learned through trial and error that your readers would find valuable? Highlight your expertise. Pat Flynn’s Podcast Tutorial is a great example of this. Make your tutorial simple to follow and offer actionable tips.

13. Write a list post that offers solutions to a common problem.

Like this one. Other examples include: 11 Actions You Can Take Today That Will Drastically Improve Your Health and 5 Tips to Stay Ultra Productive at Work.

Advertising

14. Pay attention to your blog comments.

Be sure to check the comments on other popular blogs in your industry in addition to your own, and take note of the kinds of problems and concerns people are sharing. This is a great way to take the pulse of your audience and find out what’s really bugging them.

15. Hone your observational skills.

Once you start paying attention, you’ll find great blog ideas everywhere. Maybe it’s the way online orders from your favorite boutique are always packaged so beautifully, or the amazing service you received at that new restaurant on Friday night. Real life stories are blogging gold.

16. What do people always ask for your help with?

What advice do you find yourself repeating? It may be something you take for granted, but sharing your wisdom could mean a lot to your readers.

17. Read magazines and newspapers.

Check what’s trending and look out for stories that tie in with your topic. Maybe there’s a new angle you can develop on a current news event? Magazine headlines also come in handy when you need inspiration to come up with a catchy blog post title.

18. What bugs you about your topic or industry?

What are you itching to do something about? Get it off your chest, have a rant (just don’t get too whiney) and put your opinions out there.

Advertising

19. Revisit your archives.

If your audience has grown since you first started your blog, it might be time to introduce them to some of your old content. Don’t let your archives languish unread (they’re too good for that, right?). You could put a new spin on an old post or simply republish a piece your readers enjoyed first time around.

20. Write a review.

I don’t know about you, but I always Google a product before I buy, so why not review a product or book for your readers? It could be anything from the latest marketing book everyone’s talking about to a cool new gadget or productivity tool.

21. Become an expert content curator.

Search for interesting content around the web to share with your readers. Who has time to trawl the internet for articles every day? Become a go-to resource, and try to include posts that your readers haven’t seen a million times already.

I hope these tips help to get your ideas flowing again.

Do you have any tips to add to the list?

If you’re still stuck you can read more about How to Work Through Blog Burnout.

More by this author

5 Cut n’ Paste Scripts for Dealing with Awkward Business Situations How to Nail Your Personal Introduction Without Sounding Shady 21 Ways to Develop Fresh Content Ideas for Your Blog

Trending in Work

1 10 Essential Soft Skills That Will Help Advance Your Career 2 The Savvy Employees Guide to Asking for a Raise 3 Why You Feel Stuck in Your Career After Staying in a Job Longterm 4 10 Simple Yet Powerful Business Goals to Set This Year 5 How to Make Career Decisions That You Will Not Regret for Life

Read Next

Advertising
Advertising
Advertising

Last Updated on April 17, 2019

10 Essential Soft Skills That Will Help Advance Your Career

10 Essential Soft Skills That Will Help Advance Your Career

What’s the secret of professional success? Some of it lies in the mastery of your discipline and all the technical skills you have to carry out your job; but a much bigger part lies in the soft skills list you possess.

Soft skills are your people or relationship skills—how well you get along with others and your ability to communicate and collaborate—as well as the personal characteristics you bring to the job, such as optimism, a can-do attitude and the motivation to work hard. These skills are not always easy to point out, but their absence can cause serious problems and negatively affect the whole work atmosphere.

They say that hard skills will help you get the job, but soft skills will help you get along—and get ahead. With that in mind, here’s the top-10 essential soft skills list to help you advance your career.

1. Communication Skills

Communication skills are hands-down the most sought-after soft skill that bosses want, and this one ability covers a lot of ground.

To communicate well, you have to listen carefully, interpret the context of the conversation, express yourself clearly, persuade others of your point of view, check your body language and use an engaging presentation style that won’t intimidate or bore your audience. That’s a big ask!

Your personality traits can influence the way you communicate with others. For instance, some people get straight to the point and center their arguments around facts and logic; others are cooperative and sensitive to how others feel. Both these approaches are equally valuable but there can be misunderstandings if you don’t understand where the other person is coming from.

Taking a comprehensive personality test can help you understand why you communicate the way you do and where your blind spots are. It can also help you understand other communication styles is so you can tailor your communication to the person you’re dealing with.

After all, connecting with your conversation partner is the hallmark of good communication.

2. Flexibility

Change is an essential part of any business. Companies need employees who are flexible enough to work with new initiatives, open to new ideas, and generally are able to tough it out when things don’t go as planned.

Research has found a link between job performance and flexibility over the long term because there will be times when you have to step outside your routine and rise to fresh challenges that didn’t exist before.

Being flexible doesn’t mean you have to hop into a new task or job role like an expert. Rather, it’s about showing you’re willing to accept new responsibility and learn different things.

Advertising

Bosses look for people who are prepared to step outside their comfort zones and are open to alternative solutions when their first idea doesn’t work.

3. Being a Team Player

Working on a team can be challenging but learning to do it well can definitely help you get ahead in your career. Employers look for people who can negotiate, cooperate and manage conflicts with other people to achieve a common goal. That includes the ability to build lasting relationships with customers and clients.

What makes a good team player? Essentially, it’s someone who knows the goal and knows her role. Employers look for evidence that you know your strengths, your responsibilities and how you can best contribute to the team, then put those skills into action by sharing ideas and communicating in a respectful manner. That’s the definition of being a good team player.

This is another area where taking a personality test can help you get ahead. When teams work together, each member brings a unique set of skills and qualities to the group. Research has shown that different combinations of personalities affect how teams collaborate and how productive they are.

Knowing who you are, and how you work on a team, can drive new insights and open the door to better teamwork.

4. Positive Mental Attitude

There are plenty of things you can’t change at work, like the people you work with or the fact that the printer is broken again. The one thing you can change is how much you let these things bother you.

Bosses like people who are calm, rational and upbeat—those who diffuse tensions in the workplace, not get all grouchy and go around slamming doors.

Studies show that people who maintain a sunny disposition have better relationships at work, are happier in their jobs and make better decisions than those who whine and complain. Some suggest that a positive mental attitude can also make you live longer—which means it’s beneficial for every area of your life![1]

It’s not always easy to keep a “glass half full” mentality when work is stressful and the deadlines are piling up. But there are some things you can do to help maintain a positive attitude. Laughing at your unfortunate circumstances keeps the work environment positive, and taking “sanity” breaks can help you keep your cool in high-pressure situations.

Managers look for positive mental attitude in a team member that is ready for a promotion, so it really does pay to keep your cool in challenging situations.

5. A Strong Work Ethic

People with a strong work ethic are committed to the role, persevere when things get tough and are inspired by challenge. These people are ambassadors for the organization, and will always be seen as top talent and ideal candidates.

Advertising

If you can exhibit this skill, then expect to be seen as a great candidate, eligible for new opportunities and positions throughout your career.

Since a strong work ethic can mean different things to different people, it helps to show specific examples of your exceptional work ethic during a performance appraisal or interview. For instance, you might talk about:

  • A time when you persisted in the face of challenges and did not shy away from hard work.
  • How you volunteered to help with projects even though these tasks did not form part of your job description.
  • The networking, workplace learning and skills betterment you’ve undertaken, which shows ambition and drive (people with a strong work ethic have those qualities in spades).
  • How you own your mistakes and never, ever point the finger of blame at others.

For help with building a strong work ethic, check out these tips: How to Build a Reliable Work Ethic

6. Public Speaking

Who’s terrified of public speaking? Pretty much everyone, since public speaking is America’s number one fear, ahead of death at number five and loneliness at number seven.

Yet, according to Warren Buffett, mastering this one skill you could increase your personal value by 50 percent.[2] That’s huge!

If you’re not natural at public speaking, you’re in good company. Buffett had to work hard to overcome his stage fright and once dropped out of a public-speaking course before it started—because he was afraid of public speaking! He eventually realized that he needed to build up his confidence by just doing it; over and over in front of small groups.

For a more structured approach, Toastmasters International teaches public speaking and leadership skills through a variety of pathways. Membership of this non-profit looks good on your resume but the real payoff will come when you can put your newfound skills to use on the job or in the interview room.

Or, you can check out this advice: The Ultimate Public Speaking Tips to Hook and Impress Any Audience

7. Integrity

From a manager’s point of view, the two integrity skills that will set you apart are:

  • Always doing what you say you will do
  • Owning an error instead of minimizing or hiding it

…even when no one is around to check up on you.

There are lots of people who have climbed the ladder without scruples, but they are not the people who others trust, respect and support when promotion time comes around.

Advertising

Behaving with integrity is a safe and consistent way to enhance your reputation and achieve your professional goals.

8. Managing Your Time

Phone calls, texts, Slack pings, meetings, huddles, side projects, multitasking—we are busier today than any generation before us. There’s no denying the workplace is an incredibly distracting place to be.

A lot of us have traded effectiveness for busyness which we wear as a badge of honor, both as a proxy for productivity and to show our value to the company. But what bosses want, what they really, really want, is someone who actually gets stuff done on time.

Time management is not merely the art of being on time, but of managing your time so you focus on the projects that really matter and add value to the business. This means prioritizing well, sticking to schedules, delegating, and not getting distracted by tasks that are easier to perform or less important. It means planning ahead and learning when it’s appropriate to say no.

Time management can be a tough skill to maintain, but not a difficult one to pick up. Monitor your actions for a few days—how long do your tasks take to finish? What’s interrupting you? What causes you to lose focus? Once you have the answers to these questions, you can set a schedule for yourself to make sure you’re spending your time wisely and this valuable asset is never wasted.

These 20 Quick Time Management Tips to Super Boost Your Productivity are also great to try.

9. Assertiveness

In any workplace, you typically will find people with the following conflict styles:

  • Passive: Those who go out of their way to avoid conflict.
  • Passive-aggressive: Those who express their negative feelings through actions rather than words.
  • Aggressive: Those who respond to conflict in a hostile and rude manner. These people get their opinion heard but they won’t make any friends in the process.
  • Assertive: People who stick up for their rights while still respecting the rights of others.

Managers look for assertiveness above all other styles because it allows decisions to be made without conflict or alienating people.

How do you use this information for yourself?

It starts with understanding your personality so you can anticipate how you will react when conflict arises and address your own shortcomings. Then, you can start influencing the team for top results, and securing your own career advancement in the process.

Learn how to be assertive and gain respect:

Advertising

How to Be Assertive and Stand up for Yourself the Smart Way

10. Creative Thinking

LinkedIn recently analyzed over 50,000 skills that employers search for when looking for candidates to find out what skills are currently in demand.[3] Taking the number-one slot on the 2019 soft skills list was creativity: the ability to solve problems and think outside the box.

Creativity is about bringing fresh, and sometimes unorthodox, ideas to the table. This helps companies to innovate, and companies that do not innovate will not survive very long.

How do you showcase your creative thinking skills? The golden rule is to participate.

Be brave and share your ideas during group brainstorming sessions. Volunteer to run a society, networking event or recruitment drive. Ask “what if” questions: “What if we add this information to the client welcome pack?” “What if we eliminate step 3 from the process?”

These activities demonstrate that you’re prepared to go beyond “business as usual” towards creative problem solving—an ability that will serve you every day, all throughout your career.

You can learn to unleash your creativity power:

What Is Creativity? We All Have It, and Need It

Final Thoughts

The good news? Every item on this soft skills list can be learned. Although you may feel lacking in certain areas, taking an inventory of your strengths and weaknesses will allow you to focus in on the areas that you’ll benefit from developing.

So take an inventory of your personality, skills, and talents. This will give you a baseline for your communication style, attitude to change, conscientiousness and more. You can then identify your weak areas and develop strategies for improving your team-building, assertiveness and conflict skills.

The better news? The effort is worth it. Developing your soft skills opens the door to a new job or a promotion, and helps you succeed once you get there.

More Articles to Help Advance Your Career

Featured photo credit: Rachael Gorjestani via unsplash.com

Reference

Read Next