Are you stuck for what to write, during this time of uncertainty, isolation, infection, riots, and recession? You may feel like there’s nothing you could say to help your blog audience. But you’re wrong – there are great blog post ideas you can use to help your readers, right now.
Nobody is expecting you to cure COVID-19, or turn back the clock to the time before it came. But you can help your readers find the strength to keep going. You can lift them up (or at the very least, provide a needed distraction).
What blog-post ideas are winning now? Here are a few tried-and-true categories of blog posts that will help build your authority and make your audience feel you’re their go-to blog, during these tough times:
1. Giveaways & contests
If you do just one thing with your blog right now, be generous. Give until it hurts. Figure out what resources you could offer free, to help people. Assess your existing content and see how it could be repackaged into a useful takeaway – for instance, scroll through your popular tags to see if you have a set of blog posts that could be turned into a quick, free e-book.
There’s one watchword for how to burnish reputation today: Be magnanimous.
Keep the goodwill flowing. The secret is, each of these generous things you do also promote your blog, bond your readers to you, and make them more willing to buy things in future.
Give, give, give. In the weeks after Covid hit, I made 2 of my e-books free for 5 days, then gave out 1-week free passes for my paid community, then wrote and released a new, permanently free e-book.
Look at the resources you have, and the resources you could easily create. Ideally, set up a calendar of regular giveaways. Your posts can announce each of these magnanimous handouts.
If not a mass giveaway, consider running a contest and giving a few prizewinners some goodies. All readers get exposed to the fact that these items exist – and some may buy them as a result.
2. Inspiring stories (including yours)
Everyone is looking for something to feel hopeful about, right now. If you’ve been struggling to cope but have discovered some productivity hacks, or a new way to be successful, share it. If you meet someone who has an uplifting story, ask them to guest post, or interview them and publish a Q&A post.
This is a great time to be human, personal, and relatable. Acknowledge that it’s been hard, and describe how you found the way forward.
Check your newsfeed and you’ll see that good publications never let things get too dark – they always include the stories of hope that come out of tragedy. You can, too.
3. Easy How to’s
Can we all just acknowledge that we are braindead? Also bored.
So if you can provide any sort of simple checklist or how-to guide for something your readers need, you will be a hero.
Just to share a personal experience of my own: My daughter is a super-picky eater. And I am a heavy-duty isolation baker. She hates whole grains. How could we find something to do together that would keep her fed? I was frustrated. Nothing like having a kid who turns up their nose after you bake all day!
Then I discovered an easy, no-knead recipe for homemade focaccia bread in my recent Oprah Magazine… tried it, and it was a huge hit. So it’s not health food – but it was easy, fun, and brought me a chance to bond with my daughter. Guess how I feel about Oprah right now? #lifesaver
How-to posts can be simple – in fact, the simpler, the better, right now.
4. Let them vent
This is a wonderful time for user-generated content. Create a post that asks a provoking question, and then let your readers take it in the comments. They’ll feel heard, and like your blog is the sounding board they need in hard times.
The big advantage here is that the post is usually short and easy to write. Right after the protests turned to riots, I saw one coach who helps black women become entrepreneurs just simply open up the floor, to check in with her readers. Hundreds of comments poured in, about how people were feeling, struggling, what they planned to do next.
There were also lots of thanks expressed, for asking how they were doing. You’ll never go wrong saying, “I want to check in with you – how’re you doing with all this?”
5. Document success
When times are hard and people don’t know how to succeed, case study posts get a lot of eyeballs. In a way, this is another kind of how-to, but in the form of a personal journey.
There can’t be too many specific details in case-study posts. Help us imagine the situation, see what they wore, how they felt, what they did, step by step. Featuring success stories makes readers feel your blog is a place they can come not for pie-in-the-sky platitudes, but for authentic optimism that success is still possible.
6. Bring the funny
As with all hard times, humor is highly prized these days. If you can post a satirical piece or a funny video (or maybe curate a roundup of those), your audience will love you for it.
If you have any graphic ability, funny cartoons, gifs and memes are crushing it, everywhere I look. Laughter is good for the immune system, and people remember who helped them laugh when they needed it most. This isn’t my personal strength, and I’m seriously in awe of bloggers who have that humorous edge!
7. Tell the future
Have you got an opinion about how this is all going to play out? Because people love writers who can give them a vision of what will happen next.
We’re confused, lost, it seems like the future is completely veiled in mystery, right now. So if you’ve got a forecast, tell it.
Not a good prognosticator? Round up 5-10 people who are, and feature their predictions. You still get credit for finding thought leaders to guide the way. I do an annual forecast post of this type, and it’s always one of the most popular posts on my blog, every year.
2 Ways to Make Your Blog Post Ideas Stand Out
You may be wondering what makes these types of blog posts rise above the noise and truly shine. The answer is two key things most bloggers never do: Interview live humans, and find (or create) fresh research.
Recycling things we’ve all seen 100 times before online doesn’t build relationships with readers who’re looking to you for hope. Fresh information makes your blog a cut above, and a must-read.
Think about which of the ideas above would resonate best with your readers. Then, create posts that attract readers by being magnanimous, informative, hopeful, and inspiring.
Carol Tice writes the Make a Living Writing blog. Her new e-book is The Recession-Proof Freelancer: A 12-Point Plan for Thriving in Hard Times (from a freelance writer’s who’s been there). Get your copy here: Free E-book: The Recession-Proof Freelancer