We asked the ultimate problogger, Darren Rowse of Problogger.net for one of his juiciest blogging tips. He's co-author of the book Problogger: Secrets to a Six Figure Income and has just released a workbook with 31 exercises for bloggers to help them improve their blogs, 31 Days to Build a Better Blog.
Here's an excerpt from the workbook:
Ever Run Out of Things to Write About on Your Blog?
If your answer is yes, you’re not alone. One of the biggest challenges facing bloggers with blogs that have been around for longer than a few months is to come up with fresh content on a regular basis.
The key with this process is not to put yourself under pressure to come up with completely new and out-of-the-blue ideas for every post you write. Instead, this process taps into what you’ve recently written on your blog and helps you to identify ways to extend those ideas.
The beauty of this is that you actually end up building a sense of momentum on your blog, where your posts build upon and relate to what you’ve previously written rather than just writing a collection of posts that fail to grow in any one direction. Here’s the mind mapping method that I’ve used:
Grab a whiteboard, piece of paper, notebook, tablet pc or anything else to write on (there are also various mind mapping tools and software options out there, but I find a pen and paper can work just fine) and draw five circles across the middle of the page. In each circle write the titles of the last five posts on your blog (if you want to do this more comprehensively go back further and do it with more posts).
Extend Your Previous Posts
Now take each post in turn and spend a few minutes brainstorming ways that the post could be extended. Most posts that you write will be able to in any number of ways including:
- Picking up a question or idea that a reader asked in the comments on that post
- Exploring the opposite point of view from the post
- Taking a news post and writing an opinion piece about it
- Taking a theoretical type post and writing a piece that helps people to "DO" it
- Expanding upon ideas glossed over in passing in the previous post
- The list could go on. Really it’s about finding ways to take ideas in a previous post and expanding upon them.
For each idea draw a line out from the circle, draw a square (or use a different color) and write the idea inside it.
The key at this point is to let yourself be as creative and outside-the-box as you want.
Any idea is allowed at this point. Let me take an older post of mine (Why You Should Use AdSense on Your Blog) and show you how it might work:
At this point I have seven potential new posts to write that extend upon my original one. Coming up with them took me two to three minutes, but if I were doing this seriously I’d give it more time and come up with 20 or so posts.
These ideas are logical next steps for readers wanting to explore this topic, some of them based upon actual questions by readers. Do this with the other four posts you’ve written and you’ll have plenty of ideas for new posts to cover in the coming week or two.
You might want to stop this exercise at this point if you feel you have enough topics to keep you going. However, while you’re in a brainstorming frame of mind, why not take it a step further and think about how you might extend the topics you’ve come up with. The beauty of thinking forward even further is that you could quickly come up with a further 10 or so posts and be able to map out the next few weeks of blogging.
This is just one day in Darren's workbook which is packed full of tips and techniques to help you build a better blog - along with forums for you to report your progress and build your blog with the other readers of the book. Click here to learn more about 31 Days to Build a Better Blog.
Win a copy of Darren's book!
Write your top blogging tip in the comments below. Several lucky commenters will get free copies of Darren's workbook, 31 Days to Build a Better Blog!
Updated June 9: Thanks everyone who participated! I emailed the winners of the workbook. You guys rock!