If 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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