Three ways to find it in your previous posts.
Writing blog posts can be a bit like playing roulette.
A bunch of ideas spin around your head until you decide to place your bet on one of them and hope it hits.
But you can improve your odds.
The best way to come up with a great idea for your next blog post is to study your previous posts.
Here’s how to do that…
- Analyze People’s Reactions To Your Previous Posts
The value of a blog post extends beyond the number of people who read, like, or share it.
It’s also a market research tool you can use to guide you to future great ideas for other posts — if you know how to analyze it.
Every blog post is packed with both quantitative and qualitative data.
Ask yourself the following questions:
- What in the post did readers most respond to? If the post is on Medium pay special attention to what people highlighted.
- What in the post did readers ask you about?
- Who liked, commented on, or shared the post? What’s their demographic or psychographic? What kind of people did the post most resonate with?
- When people shared it on social media, what did they say about it? How did they describe its focus or value?
The answers to these questions can directly lead you to your next great post idea.
For example, if you wrote about entrepreneurship and a bunch of people highlighted a sentence about the struggle to hire people, you know that may be worth deeper exploration in a future post.
If you wrote about getting married and a reader asked how you set a wedding budget, then you can assume there would be interest in a post specifically about that topic.
If you wrote about social media strategy and noticed authors sharing it on social media, you may want to consider a new post about social media strategies for authors.
Published blog posts give you an opportunity to stop guessing what people are interested in and start writing about things you KNOW they care about.
The more you publish, the more data you have to analyze, and the more great ideas you’ll discover.
- Vertically Expand On A Previous Post
A simple way to come up with a great idea for a blog post is to look for ways to vertically expand on a previous post.
Pick out individual ideas within an old blog post and expand on them in a longer, standalone post.
For example, in my recent post about how to write something useful to others, I share seven tips including to use a “How to” headline, write something actionable, and write about something universal.
The post includes a paragraph or two about each of those concepts and how they help you write something useful.
Any those tips could be expanded on in much more depth in a future post.
I could write a whole post about effective headline writing, share a deeper dive into how you actually write something actionable, or break down how to figure out if a topic is universal.
When you look at previous posts through this prism, you realize in addition to working on their own, they can serve as a blueprint for future posts.
- Horizontally Expand On A Previous Post
Just like you can vertically expand on a post by drilling deeper into its core ideas, you can also expand horizontally by considering the challenges readers encounter before or after the idea contained in the original post.
To do this, consider where the reader is at in their journey when they find value from your original post.
In the case of my previous post about how to write something useful, I can assume people who read it are interested in writing something useful and likely attempted to do so (and hopefully succeeded!) after reading it.
With that in mind, I can find great ideas for future blog posts by considering where readers were in their journey a step before (or after) reading my post.
For example, for a person to get value out of a post about how to write something useful, they first have to summon the courage to publish anything at all.
So that might lead me to write a post about Why Writing Blog Posts Is Worth Your Time or How To Find The Courage To Press Publish because those would resonate with people a step earlier in their journey.
A likely step after reading my post about how to write something useful would be to run into another challenge: How do you figure out what to write about?
So that could inspire me to write a post like…wait for it…this one!
That’s right, this post about How To Find A Great Idea For Your Next Blog Post is an idea that came about as a horizontal expansion of my last blog post.
It’s the next logical step in a journey for a person who originally wanted to learn how to write something useful — it addresses their next challenge.
See how this works?
There’s One More Awesome Thing These Tactics Will Do For You…
These tactics will help you find a great idea for your next post, but that’s not all they’ll do.
When you look to previous posts to inspire a new ones, you create a loop which ensures your posts are relevant to each other.
That creates a natural symmetry which makes it likely people who read one will then want to read the other.
This doubles the traction you get from each post, makes it logical to cross-link, and quickly deepens your connection to your audience.
If you do this for multiple posts (for example, imagine if I expand all seven of the tips in my how to write something useful post into their own standalone posts and wind up with eight related posts on the subject), you create an engine around a particular topic.
That engine can fuel traffic, branding, leads, sales, awareness, or whatever your ultimate goal may be.
Obviously, you don’t have to only write posts inspired by your previous writing.
You’re welcome to keep playing roulette with your ideas and I’m sure they’ll hit plenty of times.
But if you want to stack the odds in your favor, your previous blog posts are the cheat code.