You’ve found inspiration for a blog post idea, but how do you know if it’s a good idea or not? How do you evaluate an idea to judge its strength for a blog post?
Some ideas you may have for writing a blog post will work out great. The words flow right onto your screen as you write, and the post brings you lots of traffic. With other blog post ideas, you might think they’re great, but they turn out to be weak. They’re difficult to write, you just don’t feel the connection, and very few readers care about the post.
How can you judge blog writing ideas so you have more of the first kind and fewer of the second kind?
I’ve talked previously about where to find blog post ideas, how to focus ideas, and how to develop your ideas. A couple of keys are to always keep your eyes and ears open for new ideas, write them down on a list, and think about your focus and what you want your reader to walk away with.
Now, let’s talk about how to evaluate an idea so you can separate the good from the bad.
Here are eight ways you can assess your story idea:
- Where did it come from? Is it based on facts or research, something you saw on another blog, or something you’ve thought of?
- Is it original? Can you find a new angle?
- Does it surprise you? If so, will it surprise your readers?
- Does it have movement? Does it have change or something new that people are interested in?
- Is there tension or conflict? Is there a problem to be overcome or a mystery to be solved?
- Is there a story? Is there a tale that readers can relate to? Does it have a beginning, middle and end?
- Is the story true? Or is it a fictional or hypothetical scenario?
- Do you like the idea?
An idea doesn’t have to have all of these criteria to be worthy of exploring further. But if you can answer yes to several of these questions, you’re on your way to a strong idea. Let’s expand on some of these assessment tips.
For blog writing, it doesn’t matter whether the story came from facts or research, or it’s just something you came up with. Any source of an idea can have equal merit, but keeping in mind where it came from can help you think about how to approach the idea.
In these days of so much content online, it’s hard to find a completely original idea. It’s important to do a search to see if it has been written about, and what has been written about it. If it’s been covered before, find a new angle to make it fresh and interesting. See if it can be updated or given different treatment.
With so much online content, it’s also hard to surprise readers. If you have an original idea, this is easier to do. But even if your idea has been written about, you can still surprise readers with new facts, with your opinion, or by injecting your unique personality and perspective.
Readers like to see movement, change, or conflict on an issue. They like to see what’s new, or what side you’re on. They like to see whether they agree or disagree with you. They also like to see if your post solves their problem. If your idea can do one or more of these things for readers, they’ll probably enjoy reading it, and you’ll enjoy writing it.
Readers also like to read stories. We relate to stories, both our own and other people’s. If you can tell a story with your idea, you’ll draw the reader in. True stories are the best, but if you don’t have a true story, fictional or hypothetical stories can still strengthen your idea. Just be sure to be ethical and tell the reader whether the story is true or not.
Finally, you need to make sure you like the idea. We focus a lot on making sure the reader likes your posts, but you the writer should also like them. If you don’t like your idea, how are you going to make the reader like it? You’re going to spend a lot of time on it, with writing, editing, posting and promotion, so make sure you’re interested enough to keep your readers interested. If you don’t like the idea, chances are it will flop.
Not every idea will turn out perfect. With all the judgment and evaluation in the world, an idea still may not turn out as well as you anticipated. But I hope these tips help you have more good ideas than bad ones. By assessing your ideas for their strength, you can keep yourself and your readers connected to your blog posts.
Readers, how do you evaluate ideas? Have you ever written about an idea that didn’t turn out so well? Or one that did great? Let us know in the comments!