This post was guest blogged by Jamie Harrop, a blogger of five years who at Jamie Harrop Dot Com writes about blogging, life as a young entrepreneur, self improvement and travel.
Writers block is a problem for all bloggers. Novice or pro. Young or old. Every blogger has to overcome a lack of ideas and motivation at some point. After years of blogging, I’ve found that by having a set of easy to write content fillers my blog can have fresh content as often as I like. Here are eight types of blog post I consider when I’m struggling to find the inspiration for an authority post.
As I’ve previously spoken about in guest posts here, polls are fantastic content fillers and are also very useful for your readers. They provide a new depth of interaction and have the ability to share useful facts and figures in an easy to interpret format. They’re also very easy to setup. If you’re struggling for poll ideas, you’ll find plenty of bloggers who have started posts titled “Suggest a Poll Idea”. Even John did this not too long ago and you, his readers, came up with some great ideas. Find a few of these types of post and you’ll be flooded with new poll ideas. Read my previous guest post, How to Bring Interactivity to Your Blog to find out more about polls and how to set them up.
Each week, make a point of awarding the person who wrote the best comment on your blog for that week. Maybe even reward more than one person if you’ve received several excellent comments. Go through all the comments of the week, pick out the best, copy the comment(s) in to the comments award post and link back to the commentators blog. By doing so, you get to post something useful to fill in another post slot, the awardees get a link back and are made to feel cared about, and other readers are given something to work towards next week.
Maybe you could also make a point of linking to all your first time commentators. Quite often commentators will write one comment and then leave. By linking to their blogs, you’ll be able to bring them back to your blog and convert more of them to subscribers.
Blog Goal Setting
Try to set goals for your blog each month, then publish these in a blog post. I do this, and I do so for two reasons:
1. To keep me accountable. If my readers see I’m struggling to meet the goals I set out, they’re able to give me a virtual kick up the rear.
2. To fill in another post slot while I’m struggling with writers block
Each month, take the time to publish two or three goals. Maybe you’ll set a financial goal. Or a subscriber goal. Or like me, a goal to write X amount of guest posts during the month. Whatever your goals, make them measurable (attach an amount or a date. “X number of guest posts by X date”) and make them achievable. There’s nothing more satisfying than achieving your goals. I recently set myself a subscriber goal with a timeframe to achieve it “by the end of December”. I actually achieved the goal in the first week of December which gave me a huge boost of confidence and motivation. As much as your goals are about helping you improve your blog, they’re also about giving you confidence and motivation. They can’t do this unless you meet and surpass them.
It’s the classic blogging filler post. Over the course of the week, as you read your RSS feeds, take note of the posts that you enjoy most. By the end of the week you’ll have a good list of useful links for your readers.
When doing link love posts, try to provide a mix of links to blogs whose authors you know are already a subscriber at your blog, and those you know are not subscribers. By linking to those not subscribed, you’re enticing potential subscribers to your blog. And of course, by linking to blogs of your subscribers, you’re keeping your current readers happy and interested.
Thank all Your Commentators
Can you imagine John trying to link to everybody who ever wrote a comment on his blog? Rather him than me. But if your blog isn’t home to 40,000 subscribers you may well be able to, over the course of a month and piece by piece, link out to every single person who has ever taken the time to write on your blog. I’ve done it once, and yes, it was a lot of work, but the rewards were amazing. I saw lots of old friends come back to my blog who had once been subscribed but since moved on, or who once blogged but no longer did. It was like a school reunion from my first days of blogging.
But it wasn’t all hugs and kisses. I also gained many new subscribers. To get more work, companies send letters to past and present customers to tell them the company is still there and still cares. You can get new subscribers in the same way.
If you’re in a niche where new products and tools are continually released, you’ll never be short of news to write about on those days of writers block. The pro bloggers will often be the first ones to break the news as they receive the emails from the book authors or tool developers, so make sure you subscribe to large blogs.
Of course, try not to post too much news. Blog readers are looking for an opinion and a voice, as opposed to just another blogger talking about the same thing as everybody else. It’s rare I write about niche news, but if I do I try to keep it to just a few items each month.
Book reviews. Tool reviews. Ebook reviews. Blog reviews. They’re all great content fillers and, done well, can be very valuable for your readers. You don’t have to be sent a free copy and asked by the author in order to do a review. Find that old blogging book or self improvement book and write a review. You’re not talking about something new and testing. You’re just giving your opinion, which is easy even on a day of low motivation and writers block.
Email one blogger a week with a set of four questions, then publish their answers in a post, including some of your own thoughts as you touch on the points the interviewee spoke about.
Readers love interviews. Interviewees love interviews because of the exposure. And you should love interviews too, as they’re easy to conduct and publish.
Contrary to popular belief, you don’t have to be a super-power of blogging in order to conduct interviews. Pro bloggers are not a higher form of person who look down on new bloggers. They’re human, just like you. There’s absolutely no reason why a new blogger can’t and shouldn’t email a pro blogger with their four interesting questions.
So How Much Time Can You Fill?
Let’s imagine for a moment you use all eight of these ideas in one particular month.
Poll – You create one poll a week, so during the month you’ve filled four post slots
Poll Results – Of course, you also want to publish the results each poll and include some analysis and opinion. So that’s another four slots during the month.
Comment Awards – Once a week you give your commentators some virtual blogging love, so that’s another four slots.
Goal Setting – Once a month you set your goals. But half way through the month you’re readers are keeping you accountable by asking how you’re getting on, so you post an update. That’s two slots.
Link Love – There’s more than enough posts in the blogosphere to do a weekly link love post, so that’s another four post slots filled.
Thanking all Your Commentators – You’re not going to do it every month, but you decide to do it this month. That’s one slot.
Niche News – Assuming, in an attempt to keep news to a minimum, you decide to write one news piece each week. That’s four slots a month.
Reviews – You might do one review each month, so that’s another slot taken.
Interviews – Bloggers can often take time to get their answers to you, so you might do one interview every two weeks. That’s two slots a month.
With all that in mind, you could potentially fill 26 slots of your monthly blogging schedule with these types of posts. Assuming you’ve made a decision to post once per day (one slot per day), that means you could, in theory, post 26 times in the month with very little effort.
Now, I’m not saying you should do this. After all, readers want opinion and thought-provoking content, but you could quite easily use 15-20 slots a month for filler posts while providing 5-10 killer, authoritative blog posts.
Blogging doesn’t seem so hard after all, right? 🙂
What filler content do you use? How do you overcome writers blog? Let us know in the comments!