Sometimes it can be hard to sit on the computer and force yourself to write a high-quality blog post. I’m sure the bloggers out there can relate to this and know exactly what I’m talking about. You are sitting there, spinning your wheels, trying to figure out what to write about that your readers will like. Well you are in luck! If you are in need of some places to find inspiration and passion for your next blog post, check some of these places.
Start with Your Blog
That’s right, start by looking through your old blog posts to see if something sparks an idea. It may be that you wrote a post 2-3 years ago and there could be an update you could write to that post or maybe there is a better solutions for something you wrote about in the past. There also may be a post that you can branch off from and write an extension or part 2 of the original post.
Your RSS Reader
Start browsing through your RSS feeds and see what others are writing about. It may trigger a topic or theme you could write about. If there is a post that you particularly liked, you could try writing a follow up to it, by adding your own two cents and posting it on your blog.
Events and Networking
Have you recently attended an event or seminar? You could write a post about the topic that was covered or discussed. Try going to Meetup.com or Craigslist and see what industry events are happening. Pay attention to the topics that are being discussed. For a lot of session topics try going to a big conference website like SMX or SES.
Popular Social Sites
Many times I will go to sites like Tweetmeme, Digg, Delicious and StumbleUpon to see what content is being shared and goes viral. It can also be a good way to keep up with industry news and blogs since popular blogs tend to gain 1st page rankings on these social sharing sites. Do a few searchers for keywords and topics that you cover on your blog to quickly scan hot posts.
Fill in the Blank
If you have a list of catchy blog post titles, great…if not, do a search for something like “great blog post titles” and start collecting interesting post titles.
Here are some good examples:
- Greatest ‘topic’ Tips of All Time
- ‘topic’, What It Can Do For You
- Avoid ‘topic’ Disasters
- x Tips To Simplify ‘topic’
Sometimes if I just look at a bunch of these starter titles, I can fill in the blanks and it gives me an idea for something to write about.
Start reading comments people leave. You will start to notice that many comments are people asking questions about a post or topic. This can be an easy way to get ammo for things to write about. Copy and paste the questions into a word doc and try and create a blog post around each topic.
Keep a Notebook Close By
For me, new ideas for blog posts never seem to come when I am staring at a computer screen. It may come when you are watching a movie, tv, listening to music, driving, shopping, etc… When a light goes off in your head, have a way to jot down a note so your remember it when you go to write.
Go to search.twitter.com and enter a keyword that you write about. Sit and monitor what people are saying for 5-10 minutes. Are they asking questions? Are they discussing a certain theme? Just watching what people are talking about can trigger lots of different things you can write about. To speed up the process, add a column in Hootsuite, Tweetdeck or Twitter client of choice and monitor things you are passionate about.
Books and Whitepapers
Usually if I am reading a industry book or whitepaper, I will jot down some notes in my notebook of things I found interesting or could apply to my daily routine. At a minimal once you finish the book, write a review and highlight the things you liked the most about it. Write a post on a compelling quote you read in the book.
Read Your Newsletters
On average I probably receive anywhere from 10-15 industry newsletters that go into my inbox every few days. This can be a great place to scan a bunch of topics and find things writers are blogging about.
The Darren Rowse Way of Finding Blog Topics
I wrote about this in a past review on the popular e-book 31 Days to Build a Better Blog. Basically it is where you take one blog post idea and you keep branching off that topic.
“10 SEO Tools to Help You Identify Backlinks”
From this post you can brainstorm ideas that could relate to this post.
“Using Linkscape to Analyze Competitor Backlinks”
From this post you can branch off even further.
“How Linkscsape and SEOmoz Tools can Help with SEO Research and Anlysis”
You can keep doing this excise and come up with tons of great blog post topics to write about.
Listen to Clients
If you deal with clients on a daily basis, I’m sure you spend a lot of time educated clients on your services. Write down questions clients have or about a real life example of what happened to a client and how you resolved the issue.
Mark, thanks for a great article! I currently only use 20% of your recommendations (networking events). Will definitely try the rest of the arsenal. Thanks a bunch!
One thing that I often do for inspiration is during the design/development process, I try and make notes on things that I struggle on/or do throughout the day. So if I can find a good tut on something, I make one as I go.
I always used to save all my ideas into my phone notes when I was at work. It was a fantastic way to remember my ideas while I wasn't near a computer!