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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!

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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”.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Last Updated on December 3, 2019

7 Powerful Steps to Achieve Career Success

7 Powerful Steps to Achieve Career Success

I often hear people say, “I want to be successful but don’t know where to start” or “I’ve achieved career success yet I’m not happy.” And then I ask, “what does career success mean to you?” And many have a hard time articulating their response with much conviction.

It’s common that people lack clarity, focus, and direction. And when you layer on thoughts and actions that are misaligned with your values, this only adds to your misdirected quest to achieve your career success.

A word of caution. It’s going to take some time for you to think about and work on your own path for career success. You need to set aside time and be intentional about the steps you take to achieve career success. In my opinion, this step-by-step guide is apart of your life philosophy.

1. Define Career Success for Yourself

Pause. Give yourself time and space for self-reflection.

What does career success mean to you?

This is about defining your career success:

  • Not what you think you ‘should’ do
  • Not what people may think of you
  • Not adjusting to friends and family’s judgements
  • Not taking actions based on societal or community norms

“A flower does not think of competing to the flower next to it. It just blooms” – Zen Shin

When you strip away all your external influences and manage your inner critic, what are you left with? You need to define career success that best suits your life situation.

There’s no fixed answer. Everyone is different. Your answer will evolve and be impacted by life events. Here are a few examples of career success:

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  • Work-life balance
  • Opportunities for growth and advancement
  • Feeling valued that my contributions had an impact

Now even as you reflect on the examples above, the descriptions are not specific enough. You’ve got to take it deeper:

  • What do you mean by work-life balance?
  • What do you consider to be opportunities for growth and advancement?
  • How do you like to be recognized for your work? How do you know if your contributions have had an impact?

Let’s take a look at some potential responses to the questions above:

  • I want more time with my family, and less stress at work
  • I want increased responsibilities, to manage a team, a higher income, and the prestige of working at a certain level in the company
  • I’d like my immediate leader to send me a thank-you note or take me out for coffee to genuinely express her or his gratitude. I’ll know I’ve made an impact if I get feedback from my coworkers, leaders and other stakeholders.

Further questions to reflect on to help narrow the focus for the above responses:

  • What are some opportunities that can help you get traction on getting more time with your family? And decrease your stress at work?
  • What’s most important for you in the next 12 months?
  • What’s the significance of receiving others’ feedback?

Now, I’m only scratching the surface with these examples. It takes time to do the inner work and build a solid foundation.

Start this exercise by first asking what career success means to you and then ask yourself meaningful questions to help you dig deeper.

What types of themes emerge from your responses? What keywords or phrases keep coming up for you?

2. Know Your Values

Values are the principles and beliefs that guide your decisions, behaviors and actions. When you’re not aligned with your values and act in a way that conflicts with your beliefs, it’ll feel like life is a struggle.

There are simple value exercises that can help you quickly determine your core values. This one designed by Carnegie Mellon University can help you discover your top 5 values.[1]

Once you have your top 5 values keep them visible. Your brain needs reminders that these are your top values. Here are some ways to make them stick:

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  • Write them on cue cards or notes and post it in your office
  • Take a picture of your values and use it as a screensaver on your phone
  • Put the words on your fridge
  • Add the words on your vision board

Where will your value words be placed in your physical environment so that you have a constant reminder of them?

3. Define Your Short-Term and Long-Term Goals

When writing your short-term and long term life goals, use the SMART framework – Specific Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-bound. Treat this as a brainstorming exercise. Your potential and possibilities are limitless.

How you define short-term and long-term is entirely up to you. Short-term can be 30 days, 90 days, or 6 months. Maybe long-term goals are 4 months, 1 year, or 10 years.

Here are a few self-reflection questions to help you write your goals:[2]

  • What would you want to do today if you had the power to make it the way you want?
  • If no hurdles are in the way, what would you like to achieve?
  • If you have the freedom to do whatever you want, what would it be?
  • What type of impact do you want to have on people?
  • Who are the people you most admire? What is it about them or what they have that you’d want for your life or career?
  • What activities energize you? What’s one activity you most love?

Remember to revisit your core values as you refine yours goals:

  • Are your goals in or out of alignment with your core values?
  • What adjustments do you need to make to your goals? Maybe some of your goals can be deleted because they no longer align with your values.
  • How attainable are your goals? Breakdown your goals into digestible pieces.
  • Do your short-term goals move you towards attaining your long-term goals?

Get very clear and specific about your goals. Think about an archer – a person who shoots with a bow and arrows at a target. This person is laser focused on the target – the center of the bullseye. The target is your goal.

By focusing on one goal at a time and having that goal visible, you can behave and act in ways that will move you closer to your goal.

4. Determine Your Top Talents

What did you love doing as a kid? What made these moments fun? What did you have a knack for? What did you most cherish about these times? What are the common themes?

What work feels effortless? What work do you do that doesn’t seem like work? Think about work you can lose track of time doing and you don’t even feel tired of it.[3]

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What are your desires? Try it out. Experiment. Take action and start. How can you incorporate more of this type of work into your daily life?

What themes emerge from your responses? How do your responses compare to your responses from the values exercise and your goals?

What do you notice?

5. Identify ‘Feeling’ Words You Want to Experience

Do you have tendencies to use your head or heart to make decisions?

I have a very strong tendency to make rational, practical, and fact-based decisions using my head. It’s very rare for me to make decisions using my emotions. I was forced to learn how to make more intuitive decisions by listening to my gut when I was struggling with pivotal life decisions. I was forced to feel and listen to my inner voice to make decisions that feel most natural to me. This was very unfamiliar to me, however, it expanded my identity.

Review this list of Feeling Words. Use the same technique you use for the values exercise to narrow down how you want to feel.

Keep these words visible too!

Review your responses. What do you observe? What insights do you gain from these responses and those in the above steps?

6. Be Willing to Sit with Discomfort

Make career decisions aligned with your values, goals, talents and feelings. This is not for the faint hearted. It takes real work, courage and willingness to cut out the noise around you. You’ll need to sit with discomfort for a bit until you build up your muscle to hit the targets you want.

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Surround yourself with a supportive network to help you through these times.

“These pains you feel are messengers. Listen to them” – Rumi

7. Manage Your Own Career

Not to be cynical, but no one can make you happy but yourself. If you don’t take control of your career and manage it like your own business – no one will.

Discern between things that you can control and what you can’t control. For example, you may not be able to control who gets a promotion. However, you can control how you react to it and what you’ve learned about yourself in that situation.

Summing Up

For many who have gone through a career change or been impacted by life events, these steps may seem very basic. However, it’s sometimes the basics that we forget to do. The simple things and moments can edge us closer to our larger vision for ourselves.

Staying present and appreciating what you have today can sometimes help you achieve your long-term goals. For example, if you’re always talking about not having enough time and wanting work-life balance, think about what was good in your work day? Maybe you took a walk outside with your co-workers. This could be a small step to help you reframe how you can attain work-life balance.

Remember to take time for yourself. Hit pause, notice, observe and reflect to achieve career success by getting deliberate and intentional:

  1. Define Career Success for Yourself
  2. Know Your Values
  3. Define Your Short-Term and Long-Term Life and Goals
  4. Determine Your Top Talents
  5. Identify ‘Feeling’ Words You Want to Experience
  6. Be Willing to sit with Discomfort
  7. Manage Your Own Career

“When you stop chasing the wrong things you give the right things a chance to catch you.” – Lolly Daskal

Good luck and best wishes always!

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Featured photo credit: rawpixel via unsplash.com

Reference

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