I have violated one of my own best-practice rules for bloggers. Inadvertently. Accidentally. But still…
What have I done? I find myself without a list of article ideas for a rainy day. I keep this list, of course. When I have an idea for a blog post, but no time to write it, I jot it down for future use. That way, when I feel the need to write something, but the muse isn’t visiting, I can always come up with something worthwhile to write.
Problem is: I’ve misplaced the list. You’d think this would hardly be possible in this age of electronic communications and filing, but apparently it is. It’s an electronic file, and yet I can’t find it. It takes a remarkable level of disorganization to lose an electronic file, but apparently this is one of the ways in which I am remarkable.
The result? You’re reading it. A blog post about the need to always have ideas for blog posts. (I’m making lemonade here, so sit back and drink.)
One of the first rules for any blogger – whether an individual or an organization – is to have a content plan. Content attracts audience. It’s why people come to your blog.
So you start with a general content mission – whether to educate people about a particular topic, reinforce the value of your organization, draw people to your website, whatever. And then you develop articles that fit that mission. You want to post regularly – there are a million good reasons for this, which I might tackle some other time – and you want to be sure to stay true to your mission. The best way to do this is with an editorial calendar.
For those who don’t know, an editorial calendar is simply a content plan for your site: what you’re going to write and when. It can be more or less formal, but at the minimum it should identify specific topics you plan to write about and target times for publishing. If you blog on behalf of an organization, or to support your business, you probably need a more formal editorial calendar than someone who simply blogs for personal pleasure. But without anything at all, you’re likely to find yourself at some point thinking that you really should publish something on your blog, but having no idea what to write about.
Enter the list of future story ideas. Anytime something comes to mind that would make a good blog post, jot it down. If your editorial calendar is fairly formal, you can work those ideas into the calendar where they make sense. If your calendar is less formal, you might find yourself simply looking to the list on a regular schedule, as I do, to see what grabs your imagination. You’ll be less likely to find yourself in a creative drought, struggling to think of something you want to write about.
Unless you lose the list entirely.
Then I really can’t help you.