Finding content ideas for a blog can be a nagging source of frustration and is a common problem for many. ‘Blogger’s block’ can affect both newcomers and seasoned pros alike.
Despite having a theme, subject area and raison d’être for my blog, I still find it difficult sometimes to find inspiration for ideas.
If I don’t happen to have a post planned in advance, I often find that the following places are great for generating blog post ideas:
1. Other people’s blogs
Take inspiration from thought leaders and experts in your industry, sector or niche.
2. Blog comments
Whenever I’ve read a thought-provoking blog post I always check out the comments to see how the conversation has developed. A lot of the time comments from others take a subject into interesting new directions and this can offer inspiration for further posts of my own.
Ideas for follow-up posts may also be generated based on a comment someone leaves on your blog. Great comments can offer a different insight or perspective on a subject and open up a swath of opportunities to expand on a new idea from someone else.
3. Social bookmarking
Simply visit one of the sites, type in a keyword/ phrase and see what people people talking about. From there, you can pick a subject and run with it.
4. Social networks
As well as getting ideas from people you follow directly, you can also use many social networks’ own search engines to look for specific topics being discussed in real-time.
For example, Twitter Search can be used to discover trending topics. If the X-Factor or Premier League football are being talked about why not write a post related to those topics and use a hashtag (e.g. #xfactor) to create awareness when you tweet about it?
When I’ve watched a great TED talk, presentation or webinar on YouTube, I’ve often been inspired to blog about it afterwards.
YouTube videos can also be used to form the centre-piece of a post. For example, Mitch Joel based a recent post of his about presentation skills around a humous video parodying some many of the common mistakes people make when composing and delivering a presentation.
I listen to a lot of business and marketing podcasts and I rarely come away from one without a few ideas of my own to blog about afterwards.
The great thing about listening to a diverse range of podcasts is that I’m able to collect ideas on a variety of subjects – from the latest in technology trends to macro economics!
Events are brilliant for picking up blog post ideas. For a start, good events will have a variety of different speakers with a nice mix of content. And secondly, they’re often the first places where people present new research and trends.
You can blog about the topics and issues raised at an event or even about the event itself.
8. Books and magazines
Books, industry magazines and journals are great places to find blog post ideas. They’re very subject-specific and contain high-quality content.
I’m a big fan of the Harvard Business Review. After a reading a very interesting article on social media strategy in July 2011, I was inspired to write a blog post of my own in which I reviewed and commented on the research I read in the journal.
9. The news
Newspapers, discussion programmes and news bulletins can be good for getting blog ideas about mainstream subjects or trends.
Back in the summer of 2011 there was widespread rioting across London and several other cities in the UK. At the time, some people suggested social media was partly to blame as it allowed rioters to organise themselves. This gave me the impetus to write a post on why social media wasn’t to blame.
10. Family and friends
Most of my friends and family don’t work in marketing. Because they’re not caught up in the intricacies of branding, social media and SEO, they often ask very simple, direct questions about what I do.
Although the answers to their questions might seem obvious to me at the time, they usually suggest that there might be a knowledge gap that could be filled with an informative blog post.