Blogging about the same subject for years is reaching into a bottomless well.
That’s because content is continuously being generated with different approaches. But how do you, as a blogger and writer, create content that is interesting for you to write and compelling enough to get followers and clicks?
I began blogging on a weekly basis in 2012 at WordPress as Shell’s Ink about the writing and editing process and the writer’s life. When I first started, I methodically explained the elements of a fiction manuscript, such as plot, character, setting, dialog and storytelling. I blogged about finding ideas to write about, the inspiration and motivation to do the work and the habits of successful writers from setting aside time each week to write to making sure to revise the work—a rough draft is not a final, readable draft.
To generate ideas for the blogs:
- I keep a running list of ideas by browsing through articles clipped from writing magazines and thumbing through my books on writing.
- I ask other writers what they want to learn about writing and editing and respond with a blog.
- I pay attention to the topics brought up in my writers group and book club, such as how to combine different point of views in the same scene.
- I consider what I need to learn about writing and editing to improve my own work and write about it.
- I look on bookseller websites to see what’s trending in literature and write about the topic—such as why young adult fiction is gaining ground in the publishing industry.
- I review old blogs and recycle some of the content to come up with another blog from a different angle.
- I guest blog on my friends’ and co-writers’ blogs and post those blogs on my site.
Here’s how else to find subject matter:
- Read other blogs about the same topics you’re writing about and put your own spin on the material.
- Carry a notebook with you and write down ideas as they come to you, because they will once you state that you want to write.
- Read a snippet of a news article or a dictionary definition and apply it to your blog topic.
- Eavesdrop and use the bits of conversation for a blog, first doing a little more research (this is very entertaining, but be sure to pretend you’re busy and into your own stuff, head down, fingers on the laptop).
- Take another blogging topic and use that angle to write about your topic.
- Blogging is best done once a week with content at 500 to 700 words about the same subject matter, but veering off topic every few blogs can bring in other readers, too.
- Breaks from blogging are acceptable; feel confident your followers won’t give up on you.
For example, I blogged regularly over the past five years, but took a break during a surgery to my hand in early 2016 and again in early 2017. I didn’t lose any followers but seemed to get more clicks in February and March when I came back on line.
I took the break this year to launch my writing and editing business, Shell’s Ink Services, and also have a blog on that website. That blog is more business-oriented with advice on writing and editing for those who may not love writing but want to give it a try and to explain what I do as a professional.
I started with my top 10 tips for writing and then for editing. To continue generating the content, I’ll keep digging into that well of ideas to make sure I have content that is fresh, engaging and interesting.
Shelley Widhalm is a freelance writer and editor and founder of Shell’s Ink Services, a writing and editing service based in Loveland, Colo. She has more than 15 years of experience in communications and holds a master’s in English from Colorado State University. She can be reached at shellsinkservices.com or firstname.lastname@example.org.