It used to be called writers block, but I think that Blogger’s Cramp is slightly more fitting. Yes it sounds like something you REALLY should see a doctor about as soon as possible, but it still conveys that horrible sinking feeling you get when you realise you have not had a unique blog thought for over 48 hours… and that’s a long time in blog speak!
So let’s get straight to the point, because one of the reasons you may be reading this post is for the same reason you read the last 7, hoping against hope that some spark of genius will come to you as a result and you will have that brilliant idea for a blog post that has been eluding you for the last few days. My experience has taught me that simply reading other blogs and surfing the net in general has never really borne too much creative fruit, so I set about to find out what it was that DID spark that creative genius in me. So without further ado I give you the top 6 ways to get the blog post ideas flowing.
1: Take notes as you go
What I like about this method is that by its very nature you are required to actually DO SOMETHING. I think the reason that 97% of online marketers fail is not for some profound psychological reason but for the fact that 97% of people don’t actually do anything once they ‘activate their autopilot cash generating system’! But I digress.
I know it probably speaks for itself but you will be surprised how many post ideas you will have written down after just a few hours of say ‘marketing your blog on social media’ Think about it, everyday you do a myriad of things to market your blog and build your brand, surely some of them are going to be great to talk about.
2: Stop assuming.
It amazes me how much I learn each day just by ‘doing’. (refer back to point 1) The only thing that amazes me more is how quickly I assume that everyone out in internet marketing land already knows this. Too often I see posts with great feedback and I thought, I knew that – never thought to make a post out of it, but I knew that. Well “yay to you Alex, glad everything’s all cheese and biscuits for you over there.” And I quickly sulk into a corner and wonder why I never thought to turn that knowledge into a post.
Moral of this point: Everything you know is valuable, no matter how insignificant it may seem. I guarantee that it will be a little nugget of help to someone out there. Want an example? OK -Want your comment replies to sit under the actual comment they pertain to? Simply tick the ‘threaded comments’ option in wordpress. Insignificant knowledge to me but I bet someone reading this just went ‘omg! Brilliant Alex!’ …SEE
OK this is the grand daddy of all content idea generating resources – if there is such a term.
What I am letting you in on here is a little secret of mine that I have been using to help generate ideas for content on my niche sites. About.com is … about as big as a website can get, and their sitemap is basically a listing of every sub category you could ever imagine and then some. If you are stuck for ideas of basic topics, check out the niche you are writing for within About’s sitemap and simply scroll down the thousands of sub categories until one stands out as an interesting topic.
4: Answer your own bloody questions!
This is my indirect way of saying that it is quite hard to find good post ideas in the forums. Granted there are the occasional gems hiding in the wings, but generally the questions are the same old rehashed ones, with an undertone of ‘this is too hard, can you just do it for me’ and this attitude reflects the blogger who goes around wondering what went wrong.
If something goes pear shaped, figure out what happened, investigate, read, Google (remember him>)…in short, LEARN! This gives you instant post material AND help assert your position of authority within your niche – double win!
Oh, by the way – if nothing ever goes pear shaped for you then you’re doing it wrong
5: Look at what you already have.
The grass is always greener on the other side, but you still need to mow it and it still needs weeding, so forget about the neighbours for five minutes and check out what’s in your own backyard. OK analogy aside, one of the best methods i have used to generate awesome content ideas is to look at the tools and resources I am already using and write about how I use them. I took a while to do this because I knew others had already written about the tool, but what I now realise is that how I use the tool is unique and might be of benefit to someone else. Besides, the readers I have might never see the post about tool x on the original blog so it’s a good thing that I am sharing it again.
6: Leave a real comment
I would hope that you leave real comments anyway, but you know even the real comments are sometimes without substance. Taking the time to leave a thought provoking comment is not just for relationships and traffic, you will be amazed how many ideas you will have for posts of your own whilst writing that insightful response to someone else’s. Try it sometime – you might just surprise yourself.
There are hundreds of little tips you can get to help you generate ideas and brainstorm topics for discussion, but really in the end it comes down to being engaged and engaging others. Through the process of simply ‘taking part’ you will be amazed how much you are constantly learning, and how much you can constantly teach others. You just need to open your eyes to it a little more.
- What tips do you have for generating content ideas?
- Can I add ‘writing about what to write about’ as number 7 on this list or is that a cop out?