14 Tips to Create a Full Schedule of Blog Posts
How to Avoid Dry Spells and Build an Ongoing Topic List and Blog Schedule
Fresh and frequent content is one of the most important things you can do to create a blog that keeps readers coming back, but as many bloggers will tell you, it can be tough to constantly come up with new topics.
The best way to avoid dry spells in your publishing schedule is to build idea generation into your daily routine. Set aside a small segment of your day to keep a pulse on what’s going on in your company and industry, and in no time, you’ll have a useful running list that you can refer to whenever you need a new topic.
There is no “best way” to do this, but here is a list of tricks that have worked well for me:
- Set aside ten minutes a day to brainstorm blog topics. I grab a cup of coffee and start by writing down ideas as fast as they come to me. Don’t let your inner critic scratch them out as your write. Just write. I keep my topic list in a notebook and revisit it on a regular basis.
- Bookmark articles or posts for future reference. If you come across interesting subjects or titles while your surfing the internet, use your web browser’s bookmark tool to save them for later review. I’ve created a series of online folders for the topics I’m interested in and refer back to them when I’m digging for ideas.
- Ask your co-workers. I try to do this on a regular basis because co-workers are a gold mine of ideas, often with entirely fresh stories I hadn’t thought about. Just be sure to accept any and all ideas while you’re asking, without censure. You can scratch topics off the list later without running the risk of shutting down your co-worker’s input.
- Scan your competitor’s blogs. It’s a good place to find relevant topics and also, gaps that you can take advantage of by writing about first.
- Read trade journals and note interesting topics. I try to reserve out 30 minutes once or twice a week to catch up on the latest issues. I don’t delve in deeply while I’m doing this; I simply skim the articles and either bookmark or print them for later use.
- Use short case studies. Take longer case studies and convert them into a shorter problem/solution summary that’s easy for the reader to digest on your blog. Offer a link to download the full case study.
- Invite others to write a post. Jot down a list of potential contributors. This could be co-workers or industry associates. When you’re working with outside sources, be mindful that it can take a little more planning up front.
- Look for relevant industry surveys. Survey results are always popular, but you’ll build more rapport if you take a few minutes to tailor the survey topic to your readers’ interests. Write your own introduction and include some observations that tie it into their wants/needs. Don’t forget to cite your sources on any survey results that you use in the post.
- Interview thought leaders whether they’re in your company or work elsewhere. If you don’t know them personally, ask someone you know to help with introductions. You can also talk to the marketing directors of relevant industry associations for suggestions.
- Reshare other interesting blogs. Again, make sure to tailor it to your audience so that it’s more than just a repost.
- Break a white paper down into a series of short blogs. A white paper featuring “Six Tips to ….” can become six posts, with an offer to download the full white paper.
- Summarize new trends seen at a recent industry event or trade show. If part of your job is to work at tradeshows, walk the tradeshow floor with an eye for what’s new and exciting to your readers, then write a short blog about it.
- Feature a Q&A session with customers, key employees, industry experts. One 30-minute or 60-minute session can generate enough content for several posts.
- Read LinkedIn, Twitter and other social media channels to get new ideas and reshare content where it makes sense. Cite the contributor in your reshare – it’s a professional courtesy and a good way to extend your own network.
All of this, taken together, sounds like a ton of work, but I don’t do all of these things all at once. I spend a small portion of each day doing one or a few of these things. Some of these examples will require more work, while others can be turned into a blog relatively quickly.
Keep an Idea Calendar
I use a basic calendar to build a full schedule of blog posts and mix the easy-to-dos in with the harder-to-dos. Once the posts become official, I put them into my online content and scheduling calendar.
If you have any questions, please contact me. I’d love to chat and hear your ideas.
Paula Heikell is a professional content writer and author of marketing book, Mastering Content Generation: How to Write Quickly and Build a Rich Marketing Content Library. To read more of her blogs visit: www.wordwell.net.