8 Generic Blog Post Ideas That (Usually) Work
Ever run dry on ideas for blog posts?
When you’re writing a daily blog, coming up with content for every day can be difficult. Every now and then, you might want to quit brainstorming for a bit and fall back on a post template that works.
That’s why I’m here to help.
Most of these post “templates” are pretty common—some even to the point of cliché. I didn’t create them, but I have been known to use one or two when I’m trying to think up new content.
Buzzfeed has mastered this. For them, it’s a straight traffic grab. Numbered posts tend to generate more traffic. I wouldn’t write a numbered list for the sake of writing a numbered list, but if you can fit it into the context of your blog, then go for it.
Open Letter To That Person Much More Famous Than You And/Or That Person Who Has No Chance Of Ever Seeing Or Responding To Your Letter .
There’s a theory that says 97% of the internet is cat photos, Mark Twain quotes, and “open letters” from bloggers to celebrities. I’m not sure why it’s called an “open letter”—of course it’s open…it’s on the internet!
I’ve never written an open letter—I prefer closed ones—but if that’s your thing, then do your thing. (Examples: An Open Letter To Paula Deen. An Open Letter To My Toddler Regarding His Use Of My iPhone. )
What X Can Teach You About Y.
The X and Y here implies that they are two very different things. Like, “What can blacksmithing teach you about being an accountant?” Or “What can ‘your momma’ jokes teach you about writing a novel?”
Here on 101 Books, I once wrote a post called “What inspires you to write?” that discussed how my love of writing and running worked together. Just last week, Michael Hyatt wrote a post called, “What I learned about leadership from a fight with my wife.“
Here’s my weakness. I’m the king of serial posts. You find an idea that works (maybe Your Search Questions Answered, Twenty Questions, Bookish Pet Peeves), and you keep going back to it. The key here is not to overdo it and burn out your audience (and yourself) on the same stuff.
I space my serial posts out a month apart, minimum. This is content that schedules itself, so it takes a little pressure off creating something from scratch for at least a few days each month.
The Negative Nellie.
Flip the script. People naturally focus more on negative stuff than positive stuff. Keep that in mind with your posts on occasion. So instead of titling your post “5 reasons the Red Sox are awesome,” title it “5 reasons the Yankees suck.” See what happened there? It’s a list post AND a negative Nellie post. The double whammy!
I’m not saying to turn your blog into the epicenter of depression, but I don’t see anything wrong with going negative every now and then. Keep in mind: I might make the headline negative, but I usually try to keep the content within the post mostly positive. (Examples: One Mistake Many Writers Still Make. Do You Hate Yourself? Read This Novel.)
Don’t just report the news. There’s like 8 trillion places on the interwebs to get news. Put a spin on it. Take an obscure story out of the news and talk about how it relates to your blog’s theme. Or write about a unique angle from a popular news story. I do this all the time. Use a pull out quote to give your readers some context. Then simply dig in.
The more obscure, and the narrower the focus, the more interesting the post in my opinion. In other words, don’t try and write one blog post about the NSA controversy—dig into one small part of it. A lot of readers love that. (Examples: Study Says Creative People Are A Little Crazy. They Paved Paradise And Put Up A Parking Lot.)
The Guide To X.
I’ve done this type of post a lot. Usually, I offer a lame attempt at humor with it, but you don’t have to do that. The idea here is to talk about a niche subject about which you know a few things, and about which other people might be interested.
Here’s some made-up examples: “My guide to getting out of a traffic ticket” (someone please tell me how to do this) or “The guide to not getting addicted to french fries.” (And real-life examples: The Art of Reading While Watching Football. The 101 Books Guide To Carrying An Embarrassing Book In Public. )
A post about a post…or a post about the blog.
This is what I’m doing right now. When I was in college and was completely tapped out on coming up with a good topic for my creative nonfiction essay, I wrote a 1,200 word essay about trying to come up with a good topic for my creative nonfiction essay. The essay inadvertently carried a theme of “trying to find my voice” that worked really well.
I don’t know what this looks like on your blog, but here at 101 Books I’ve used this a few times, like when I talked about the process of one of my posts going viral. Very similar is my Your Search Questions Answered series–that’s almost user-generated content that I pull from my blog’s search terms directory.
You may already use some or all of these. You may just “write from your heart” and avoid all such blogging nonsense like this.
But if you run into a creative wall—and don’t we all at some point—try a few of these ideas out.