7 Places I Find Blog Topic Ideas

blogIf you have a blog that you write for regularly, you know how difficult it can be to come up with creative and interesting post ideas. Writer’s block hits me often, especially since I write for several different blogs, mostly on small business, freelance and entrepreneurial topics. It can be challenging to keep the content unique and fresh across all of the sites.

One thing that has been invaluable for me in coming up with post topics is my idea file.  It’s a document that I use as a dumping ground for ideas, brainstorms and inspirations. I have several pages of ideas, some better than others, and refer to this almost every day. Sometimes, just looking through the list will get me thinking in a new way that results in a great topic.

But finding fresh topics and frequently updating my idea file is key, otherwise it doesn’t do much to help me. So I have a series of places I go to generate new ideas when my file starts to look a little sparse. I thought I’d share my resources with you, and hopefully it will help you beat writer’s block the next time it hits you.

Other Blogs

I’ve mentioned before that I subscribe to a lot of blog feeds. I rarely have time to read through all of my feeds, and usually just skim the post titles to see if anything inspires me. For the posts I do read, sometimes an article topic is developed as a response to what someone else wrote, a continuation of a similar idea, or a different viewpoint.

Books and Magazines

Business books and other publications are an obvious source of ideas, but you have to look beyond the table of contents to get to the real value. I’ve found inspiration for topics in the “fine print,” advertising and supporting copy, and even in non-business books.

TV and Movies

Topic ideas can come from anything you watch, even if it’s not directly related to your blog’s focus. My recent post, The Kathy Griffin Guide to Business Blogging, is a good example of how this worked for me.

Social Networks

My Twitter stream is full of great posts written by very creative and forward-thinking professionals, and that can inspire ideas for my own writing. Plus, using the search feature for keywords or hashtags can generate some new ideas. I use Facebook in a similar way.

On LinkedIn, I have found tremendous value in the news and discussions posted to the groups I belong to. I’ve also used the search function when digging for ideas.

Comments

I read every comment I get on my posts and feedback provided through other outlets as well (social networks, email, etc.). Sometimes readers will suggest a specific topic, and I always try to accommodate those requests. Other times, feedback and discussion can provide new ideas I may not have considered before.

News

Things that are happening in the world that are related to business as well as those that are not can provide timely post ideas. I use Google alerts to keep track of my chosen keywords, and scanning the day’s headlines is also a great way to spark an idea.

Family

I’m lucky to have family and friends who are very interested in what I do, and they frequently ask questions about my business and for advice if they’re contemplating starting their own. Many times, these conversations spark topic ideas.

And let’s not forget about the kids. My kids always inspire me, especially with work/life balance topics.

Generally, I tend to think in terms of writing and possible post ideas in most things that I do. I’ve found that a post can be inspired by anything, if you’re able to think creatively and with an open mind.

What’s your favorite place to find topic inspiration for your blog?

Image credit: jaylopez

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  • http://www.laughingliondesign.net Jennifer Farley

    Hi Alyssa, very timely post indeed :-)

    I think books are a really important source of fundamental information and underused. It might seem like it, but not everything is on the internet. So that’s definitely one of my main sources of info.

    And on the other side of the coin, for up to date and breakings news, it’s really hard to beat Twitter, isn’t it?

  • http://www.optimalworks.net/ Craig Buckler

    And let’s not forget the SitePoint forums!…

  • Mariano DiFabio

    Hi Alyssa,

    Good post and some great ideas on where to get inspiration. I also look for inspiration from my customers, because they always ask good questions that don’t necessarily get answered in my day-to-day posts. One other area for inspiration is that I host a monthly meetup, free to anybody, which acts as a forum on a social media topic where I’m the moderator. Some really interesting topics come up there that sometimes prompt the thought, “I should blog about that!”

    One of the hardest things I find, though, is keeping an “idea file.” So, I’d like to submit as a suggestion for a future blog article (maybe as inclusion in your “idea file”!) is what kind of methods you use to organize your ideas so that you don’t forget to put them in your idea file (e.g. do you make notes on your phone when you’re on the go?). Would love to hear it.

    Thanks!

    Mariano
    @avelient
    “The Web and You”

  • Zoe Feast

    Great post and I use all of your examples to generate ideas. My very latest blog post inspiration come from an article I read in Scientific America about impossible colors, bluish yellow and reddish green. As a designer – whose life seems to revolve around color, it was very fitting and I thought is would appeal to the readers of my blog.

    One area I get inspiration from you didn’t mention are photographs and images. Take this example where I take a photograph and talk about building a palette of colors from a brand.

  • http://www.avertua.com Alyssa Gregory

    Some great suggestions!

    @Mariano – Yep, you just made the idea file. :-) I will cover more about my “idea management” process soon. Thanks for the suggestion!

  • jswainst

    For me, there is no better place to organize ideas than in OneNote.

  • Rinaldi

    Some great source for you to get an idea. Experience and experiment i think the great thing to get an idea.

  • http://www.billbolte.com bbolte

    does anyone use Evernote.com for this type of thing?

  • Nina Krimly

    Totally helpful, thanks :)

  • John De Senio

    Now we know the secrets how to write the quality content of article. As professional article writer we should read the blog that relate to web site when we’re thinking the new topic of article but don’t copy the content from other blog. We should read the feedback or comment from reader to improve our writings in article. We should aware in trends and latest news. The most important is be inspire to our love ones when we writing the article.