Have you ever wondered what people really think of your blog?
Have you ever thought that it might be a bit, well, boring?
Of course, no one will actually tell you that. You won’t even hear the Sigh. Yawn. Click. as another reader closes your blog and disappears forever.
But let’s face it: your blog has seen better days.
But one thing’s certain. If you’re getting bored with your blog, your readers are too.
The good news is, it doesn’t have to be this way. Your blog doesn’t have to join the list of millions that have gone from boring and neglected to dead and buried.
All you need are some new ideas to boost your blog’s energy and win back your blogging mojo.
So let’s get creative! Check out our list of excellent starting points below.
1. Play with opposing viewpoints
You’ve likely shared your opinion many times on your blog. So let’s hear the opposing views. Play devil’s advocate on your post, or go one step further and dissect two opposing positions. Pull up a headline from Huffington Post. Pull up the matching headline from Drudge Report. Line up the two and enjoy the results! You – and your readers – will quickly realize how wording can change intent and bias in a headline. Simply by labeling the Affordable Care Act “Obamacare” in a headline can tip a discussion in a totally different direction.
2. Introduce a new theme
If you’ve been coasting on your regular routine for a while, introduce something new. Make it a point to post some off-topic ideas for inspiration every Thursday. Or take a two-minute dance break before a new post to share some different types of music you and your readers may enjoy. Mixing in something new can add a few new sprinkles to plain old vanilla topics. To boost readership, the Wall Street Journal underwent a similar transformation a few years ago when the hardnosed financial paper started introducing soft stories about celebrities, politics and other mainstream news.
3. Share old photos
As exciting as your current success is, it’s often more interesting to see where you were back then so we can all enjoy that weight loss or the new haircut. Pull out pictures and share a new one each week. Perhaps you can share the story behind the picture or tell us something motivational that came from the picture in question. “I remember when we went to Colorado. This was the first skiing trip when I realized I was faster than my peers – I could go farther and here I am today.” Shoemoney and his blog nailed this one by introducing his own weight loss journey publicly to engage readers.
4. Tell a story
If you’re sharing old pictures, you might as well start telling some stories too. Skip the advice columns for a day or two and just relive some old memories to make us laugh or ponder the greater meaning of things. Make up stories or share your own personal memories. They can tie into a bigger message or stand alone as something new and different. Who can forget the massive outburst that followed the controversial parenting posts by Amy Chua, the Tiger Mom?
5. Admit your faults
We get it. You make money. But it wasn’t always easy for you, was it? What have you done that’s terrible? What was the hardest lesson to learn? Give us some dirt to enjoy so we can relate to you and appreciate how far you’ve come and the hardships you faced along the way. How refreshing is it when we know that not everything you’ve done was perfect? Share your struggles with readers and you’ll be in good company – it’s no secret that Abraham Lincoln, Walt Disney and even Henry Ford all once declared bankruptcy and came back stronger for it. Just think of the motivation you might provide for readers.
6. Share a secret
You don’t have to be dramatic here, but draw readers in by sharing something that’s not well known. Admit that you’ve struggled with dyslexia. Share the hardships that came with divorced parents. Admit pride in yourself for stopping your smoking habit. Giving readers something relatable, especially something that others don’t readily share, makes your blog more enjoyable for the long term – it’s a more personal connection. Just be careful with your secret – telling people you’re adopting a baby is one thing. Revealing classified government secrets – like Edward Snowden – is a totally different ball of wax.
7. Play with image captions
Everyone loves pictures, so why not play around with some? You can do a lot by simply adding captions to awkward or funny pictures. Try to find some that aren’t already old online. Pictures of your pet, yourself or people on the street (while being respectful, of course) can all be excellent places to start some humorous caption contests or to show off your abilities with clever wording. Everyone from Nickelodeon to Reddit has hosted caption contests – some sincere and some a simple excuse for bad jokes, but all were fun and popular.
8. Create a photo story
Don’t just tell people what you want to say – show them. You can use some of the funnier pictures from the internet to give readers a sense of fun as they read or you can be sincere using more inspirational pictures. Talia Castellano, a cancer victim who recently died, became an internet sensation by posting YouTube videos of herself putting on makeup. Her story and her images are inspiring countless young women to overcome odds and their own struggles.
9. Make a meme as a post for your industry
We all know those silly pictures or those picture collages that show what life is really like in your job or in your city. Why not make one for your particular niche or industry? Not only will your readers get a kick out of it, but it may also go viral and get you some nice backlinks. Some of the best are the collections of pictures that show what my friends think I do. These are terrifically relatable for others who have similar experiences and they bring readers closer together.
10. Post success stories
Tell us how it all went down. Where did you come from and what choices did you make to get you where you are? Often these stories are inspirational when we’re all down in the dumps and working hard to get ahead again. Your story might just inspire some others on your blog – free guest posts, perhaps? Countless stories about successful marketing strategies and business plans are out there. Think of how inspired you are when you read about someone just like you who made hard work pay off – and this is the real story, not the scripted ads that pretend to have a real message.
11. Focus on letters from readers
If you’ve had some thoughtful comments from readers, why not respond to them publically? Choose a few similar questions and answer them in a new weekly series where you outline some answers and share your experiences and wisdom. Or enjoy the drama that open letters and their responses can create. Business Insider has enjoyed countless open letters and responses including scathing missives between the Church of Scientologists and celebrities like Paul Haggis and Leah Remini.
12. Make “Top 10 Best” lists
Top 10 lists never get old. Of course you don’t have to make the same list that everyone else has made. Get creative and make people think, or get really creative and make people laugh. Use contentious or unusual topics to stir up a bit of controversy and discussion, or go with praise-worthy lists and stir up some industry love. Perhaps you’ve heard of Newsweek’s College Rankings? Or who can ignore the Best Red Carpet fashions after any fashionable event?
13. Make “Top 10 Worst” lists
If you’ve given your readers some good things to think about, why not give them the opposite? Make a list of the worst disasters in your industry or the worst players in the game. Make a list of the worst things you can possibly do and then see what sort of reactions you get – especially if you use your list as a way to call out some people who are less than reputable in the industry. Want to start a real controversy? Try Forbes’ approach when they created a list of colleges that had the worst return on investment. They certainly stirred the waters.
14. Write a fake letter
You don’t have to actually connect with someone to write a powerful letter. “Dear Customer Who Returns Everything” might be a great start to a humorous piece for others in your niche. Or “Dear Lady Who Ties Up Customer Service” might be a nice way to segue into some tips about more effective phone service for your readers. Even Tupac rocked this theory out in a pretty meaningful way in his rap ” Letter 2 My Unborn.”
15. Make a video post
Quit typing and start talking. Wouldn’t it be fun to see what some of our favorite bloggers really look like? Have a bit of fun and introduce a video every now and again just to see what your readers think. You can show yourself or just do a voice over if you’d like to shake things up a bit by adding more media. The economists at Freakonomics have been doing this for a while with a collection of videos and podcasts posted even more frequently than standard written responses.
16. “If [Famous Character] worked in this industry…”
Play around a bit and think outside of the box. What if Al Gore worked in your industry? What sorts of global considerations would he be concerned with? What if a famous athlete joined your work team? Use the opportunity to poke fun at yourself and your business, or offer up some unusual perspectives and ideas instead.
17. Start a new audio series
If the first few posts are successful, you can add a full audio post to your regular blog. Perhaps you can interview others in the niche or the arena where you’re working, or just explain your thoughts on a particular topic. You can use your audio series as a way to answer questions, offer tips or just amuse your readers with humorous anecdotes. The Next Best Book Blog has the concept of an audio series down to a science – the series features authors reading excerpts from their own novels.
18. Integrate the blog with a podcast
So you realize how much you love talking instead of writing. Fire up a full podcast of fun and favorites and post it on your blog. This way you can talk every morning for a little while and then blog about your topic more easily. Multiple forms of media are also attractive to readers who are looking for something new and interesting to follow. Again, Freakonomics has an excellent Podcast that rivals, if not surpasses, the popularity of their traditional posts.
19. Do an industry interview
Why not see what the other guys are up to? Ask around for opportunities to interview those who have a lot to say. The best interviews are the ones where nobody else has had a chance to talk to a certain person, or nobody ever thought they might have something valuable to say. Look for the quiet players or the ones who have done dramatic things behind the scenes and then get some valuable insight from them as to what you can share with your readers. Working in the environmental field? See what some of the people at the various programs have to say and post it.
20. Interview customers and target audiences about the niche
Sure, you’ve talked to other pros in the industry, but has anyone ever talked to the customers? Ask customers about things that your readers would be interested in. Why does the real customer buy the things you’re selling? What is he looking for when he comes to your site? You may even find out something so valuable that you don’t want to share it right away. Consider a survey on a site like SurveyMonkey or watch for reviews on websites like Ripoff Report or Pissed Consumer to check for any negative feedback.
21. Create a hilarious interview unrelated to the normal material for your market
Interview someone who is big in your industry or someone who has great credentials. Then, blow up the interview with all sorts of strange questions and humorous responses. This is obviously all just for fun and games, but every industry can use a bit of fun now and again. The folks at Reddit are great at this with the AMA (Ask Me Anything) series that the forum enjoys even when they go wrong.
22. Do surveys for market research and report back
Rather than just talking to one person, why not offer up a survey and talk to hundreds? Or at least dozens of people and see what sort of data you get. You might be the first to break some interesting trends in the marketplace or predict something that is coming up just around the corner. H&M does this regularly on its Facebook account. The retailer often tests new fashions and colors and allows followers to vote or comment on the choices.
23. Flashback to a year in your industry
The blogging world moves fast and ecommerce moves faster. Use your blog as a time machine and go back a year to see what the big news and headlines were in your niche and your field. What were people buying? How much was it? Was that before or after the big updates? Pull from the archives and see what you can find. What do you think the big SEO blogs were saying a few years ago in the Pre-Penguin and Pre-Panda days? It was a different online world back then.
24. Find excellent quotes and apply them to your work
Learn from those who have gone before – way before. Look up some of the most interesting and inspirational quotes of all time about industry, freedom, work ethic, and money and see how these quotes still apply to what you’re doing today. You can also filter in a bit of history to add interest. Pinterest is a treasure trove of quotes and meaningful expressions. Mine some good quotes and work from there.
25. Mention the biggest players in an industry
Give out a bit of link love to others in your industry who have already made a big name for themselves. Give a short bio of each so your readers can see how they got where they are and what they are currently contributing to the field you’re in. Everyone from Business Insider to Time Magazine loves to pull together a list of major players and ponder why and how they got so big.
26. Find upcoming individuals and ideas to watch for
Take the next step and tell us who we should be looking out for over the next year or two in your niche or throughout the entire internet. You can even make this into a regular series focusing on different industries and areas where new stars are being born (and perhaps burning out.) Magazines and blogs from Entrepreneur to Esquire compile lists of rising industry stars, or musicians and celebrities to watch over the next month or year.
27. Study your business in action and document with images and words
Take your camera with you and see how much you can catch through pictures and action. Find people actually using your product and take a picture. Go inside the office and take some pictures of the staff you mention frequently or some pictures of the latest conference you attended. We all like pictures, so find some good ones about what you do and who you’re doing it with.
28. List “Players Who Are Played Out” in your industry
Be the mean one and share who you think may be on the way out. This is a great way to lose friends, so be careful who you’re naming. But you can indeed create some thought-provoking conversations as well. You can also start in your industry and then move into other similar industries as well if you’re looking for additional ideas. Heard much from Sarah Palin lately? Enough said.
29. Do a round-up of industry news
Everyone likes to have the news delivered easily to their door. Make your Monday posts a compilation of everything that’s happened over the weekend, or perhaps on Friday do a weekly roundup of news so that you can see all of the main catalysts in your industry in a single location. Business Insider does exactly this with a weekly What you need to know this morning post of everything newsworthy that’s happened in the last twenty-four hours.
30. Make far-fetched predictions of what is to come
Have some fun playing Nostradamus and make some wild predictions. You can do this in a playful way or you can be a bit more serious and see if you can call some streaks and trends that you see developing over time. Then, you can always come back and follow up on your predictions as you get more news or see more clues as to what will happen next.
31. Predict emerging trends in the industry
Rather than making half-serious predictions, do some digging and see what you can find in terms of true industry predictions. Where are people making money? What are the practices that everyone is trying and nobody is talking about? Why not be the one who breaks the news on the latest and greatest developments or at least points out some of the biggest trends that are emerging over time? Think back to the days of AdSense. Then Facebook ads. What are the biggest trials going on now? I’ll bet your audience would like to know.
32. Create emergency plans for “what would happen” scenarios
Again, this is a chance to be serious or be humorous as you plan for the worst case scenario. What would you do if a hurricane hit your office and shut things down? What if we had a terrorist attack? What if wild bees attacked or your administrative assistant ran off to get married unexpectedly? Make public plans and stir up some discussion on the topic as well. This is a common approach used by major players like the Washington Post and Slate on a myriad of topics.
33. Write seasonal posts
Use those pictures and captions again to make seasonal posts. Throw up some holiday pictures of the office staff and add some fun captions. Showcase your Halloween customers, or offer some great seasonal tips – perhaps the best presents from your line or easy ways to offend customers over the holidays. Even the brainy MentalFloss gets into this one with pictures and posts about the worst holiday party stories from readers.
34. Ask a kid’s opinion on just about anything
Want some innocent, lighthearted humor? Ask a child something about your industry or your business. Everyone likes to hear the silly things kids say, so even if it is your own kid, go ahead and see what sort of silly phrases you can pull out for everyone to enjoy. Some of the funniest forwards and pins out in cyberspace are the silly things kids say about love, marriage, work, money and school work. Why not create a few of your own?
35. Pay it forward by helping others who have shown good faith
Make a point of helping others on your blog. Honor people with your words of recognition. Offer your support of a particular program or start a foundation with a matching offer of your own for a cause that is close to your heart. Smallfoundations.org exists to allow networking and awareness of causes started by those who need some support and recognition.
36. Take a position on a hot topic in current affairs
Sometimes we steer clear of hot topics for fear of alienating our readers. But perhaps you can tackle one or two hot topics just to see what sort of stir you can make in the industry. Just be sure that the position you take is one that you can keep for the long term. This isn’t just a silly opportunity, but one that might clarify your standing in the industry or stir up serious discussions with readers. Consider the buzz over Chick-fil-A owner, Dan Cathy (9. Political Maelstrom), when he publically stated his opinion on the biblical definition of marriage a year ago.
37. Post your resolutions and goals for the month, the week or the year
Regular readers would probably like to know what you’re thinking about or trying to do over the next year or two. Why not reveal some upcoming goals for your personal business or your industry? You don’t need to give away industry secrets, but you can certainly be a leader in the niche and help others find inspiration. Steve Jobs was known to publicly discuss his vision and goals for Apple before his death in 2011.
38. Match media with messages in the industry
Keep an eye on the news and when something big breaks, see what you can do to match your industry to the news itself – no matter how unrelated they might seem. You can do this as a fun six degrees of separation or you can take a more serious tack and show how well marketing can really work by riding some of the news to new sales.
For example, after the Boston Marathon bombings, Dunkin Donuts, headquartered near Boston, posted their thoughts and prayers for the victims followed by three days of silence. The company then announced a large donation to the cause before spending more time in silence to allow appropriate time for grieving. Finally, six days later, the company resumed posting.
39. Be a secret customer for your own company or the competition and report back
Put on your wig and hat and head out as a secret customer. Go through the order process for your own company and then return the item to see exactly what the customer experience is like – especially if it’s somewhat automated or involves another site. If you really want to have fun, do the same thing for your competitor and then report back on the experience. This can be tricky though – you don’t want to cause a lawsuit if you say something slanderous. The television show “Undercover Boss” is the perfect example of how well this particular scenario can work, although that may be too big of an undertaking for a smaller company.
40. Share what you do outside of the office
Take us outside your business for a post or two and share your other adventures. You might not just be a successful blogger and business owner, but also a pro with a paddle board or a world-class chef in your own kitchen. Share some of your stories and experiences so that your readers can get to know you on a more personal level. How many of your social media marketing readers would relate to your weekend trip to Comic-Con? Probably more than you can imagine.
41. Find something truly amazing and share it
We all need something inspirational from time to time, so keep your eyes open for possibilities. These don’t just have to be stories from your business or your industry – mention anything that is truly amazing and worthy of sharing. If you can tie it back to your normal topics, great. If not, consider it a welcome sidetrack worthy of sharing.
42. Try something totally new and document the experience
Be the guinea pig for the industry or your readers and try something new. This goes beyond testing free samples that might be mailed to your home. Actually order something and then post a detailed review about your experiences. You can always write off the expense for business purposes. Entire websites are dedicated to this model, such as the Consumer Reports website and blog.
43. Make a list of inspirational music or movies
What are the movies that make you more productive? What songs put you in the right mindset for writing? Music and films are excellent ways to relate to audiences and make business just a bit more personal or personable. Make a list of the most inspirational movies. Or the songs that allow you to push through writer’s block when it comes around. Perhaps you can take your list and put together an excellent product on Amazon Listmania.
Remember, you don’t need to start a new blog to do something fresh and exciting. You already have an excellent foundation. All you need to do is take advantage of it.
You have endless ways to breathe life back into your blog. Some are simple and some are more labor intensive, but you don’t have to do it alone.
Even if you only have a few minutes per day to dedicate to your blog, start making some small changes today.
Every little change will add up over time to develop into the solid, steady change that will make your blog truly feel like an exciting extension of you and your business.
Perhaps this is the wakeup call you’ve been waiting for – your big chance to bring your blog, your audience and perhaps even your client base back to life.
What will you try first?
The concept of blogging isn’t new, and thousands – perhaps millions – of individuals and companies have started blogs only to let them fall into disarray, grow old and tiresome and become more of a hindrance than a help.
Sure, blogging can be a challenge at times, but keeping up with a blog has huge benefits, not to mention being fun as well. Don’t let repetition and boredom drag you down – all you need to spice things up is a change of scenery and a bit of refreshed enthusiasm.
Remember – you don’t have to change everything all at once to make huge changes to your blog.
Even simple, small changes will put you on the path to renewed greatness and fun.
You may soon discover that doing a standard post takes the same amount of time as trying something totally new.
It’s simply a matter of making up your mind to give it a try.
So, what will you try first?