Photo by turtlemom4bacon
For most of us blogging is a labor of love, personally, it’s one of my few productive activities in which I take pleasure in. Most of all I love the fact that I can make my voice felt and known in the world, I actually help make a difference in the world; something that wouldn’t be possible in normal conditions. Blogging is very rewarding from so many points of view, even financially for some lucky few of us, however, at times it can be a very frustrating task, especially when you’ve ran out of things to say.
After months of enthusiastic and passionate blogging, in which you’ve laid down into words a bundle of ideas, it’s pretty normal to find yourself a bit short of post subjects from time to time. As some of you may recall, I’ve written about the subject a few months ago when I dwelt upon blogging burnouts and how to get past them. In the respective article I told you all about how you can emotionally and mentally prepare to get back in blogging shape, but didn’t talk as much as I wanted about how to come up with new content. If you feel like you can’t produce new blog posts because of blogging burnouts and depressions please read this article, before continuing.
Brainstorming And Inspiration
Photo by Petoo
If you’re writing on niche blogs, that depend on current events, like technology, entertainment, sports etc, it’s virtually absurd to say you’ve got nothing to post about, because there’s always something going on. On blogs that require a certain degree of originality and uniqueness from behalf of the blogger, the situation is a bit different, often depending on the blogger’s mood, knowledge and of course inspiration. Let’s see how we convey all the little things around us into blog posts:
- Read a lot! Bloggers are notorious for being extremely ambivalent, they’re content writers, designers, programmers, editors, podcasters and God knows what else, but a good blogger is a good researcher too. Blogging is a constant learning experience, a endless learning curve, that requires a lot of documentation, awareness and a up-to-date status with various events in the respective field. So, the more you read, the more information you assimilate, the more knowledgeable you become, which in term will not only lead to a constant flow of posts, but a very well written ones too.
- RSS is your friend. Take advantage of the marvel that is RSS and subscribe to the leading, most authoritative blogs in your niche. Look for blogs that produce constant original and unique content and religiously follow them. Don’t just read their most recent work, but confidently scour through their whole archive, if possible from the very first post. I did this with Problogger a year ago and most recently with Skelliewag, when I read all their archives from day one. The amount of knowledge and insight, that I’ve been able to gain, was truly immense and not only helped me develop a great deal as a blogger, but also provided inspiration.
- Change your working environment. It’s possible to get idea blockage, from a subconscious level, because your brain got used to the same working environment. I usually don’t come with post ideas at my work desk, but rather in different places; on the street while I’m taking a walk, in a club with my friends (I seem to get really inspired when on alcohol :D) or while I’m making a sandwich in my kitchen. Isaac Newton managed to elaborate some of the most important principals in physics after he was studying under a tree and a apple fell on his head, thus inspiring him to write the laws of gravity. Also a change of schedule may also do wonders. The main idea would be the to escape from your daily working routines.
- Traditional media.The various forms of conventional, non-internet, media can prove to be quite useful and insightful for brainstorming. Books, newspapers, magazines, TV etc all have the potential to inspire ideas for new content. You don’t necessarily have to read stuff in your field either, as even the most contradictory of topics may provide the necessary boost you need. Everything is connected and related to each other, you just have to connect the dots between them.
- Always be on the lookout. Remarkable things happen every day around us, but most of us go right past them unnoticeable. Take a moment, ignore all of your tasks and just experience life to its fullest. If that doesn’t bring any ideas I don’t know what will.
- Ask readers. Community projects can be a great way to come up with new blog posts. Make polls and ask questions to your readers, if possible every weekend, like what’s their opinion on a certain matter or better yet ask them what they’d like to read on the blog. I’ve got a lot of posts written after readers e-mailed me to answer certain questions, that proved to be quite interesting and post worthy material.
- Make features. I’ve found that making features on a blog, not only fantastically relates to readers, but are also fairly easy to maintain and write up. Don’t make them too complicated or else they’ll consume too much of your time; keep it simple, like short weekly columns, link roundups, video conferences and podcasts.
Photo by sharaff
- Search engines. If you’re feeling a bit dry on content, you can always try to open a search engine, enter a keyword or series of keywords, related to your industry or particular subject you might be interested and hit search. Browse through various pages and articles and read, read, read! Also you can always look on what people searched for the most during a specific time frame, although I wouldn’t recommend writing about something that’s already been done over and over again. To check for top searches try Google Zeitgest and AOL Hot Searches.
- Mind mapping. This is the most fruitful technique for developing new content. It consists in picking a broader topic and then laying down various related subjects around it. In example you can choose “New Content For Your Blog” as a topic and then you can try associating related posts around it, like “7 Inspirational Locations,” “6 Lost Brainstorming Techniques,” “101 Resources To Inspire You” and the lists could go on and on. It’s all about deriving, spinning and regurgitating content so that you come up with new and at times unique content. A more detailed explanation of the phenomenon has been written by Darren Rowse.
- Follow web trends. Much like search engine top results, web trends help you find out what’s popular on the web now, taking in consideration not just search results, but also traffic and other measurable data. This is not only a great method to come up with fresh content, but also, by seeing what’s popular among a targeted audience, you could also start new blogs in the respective fields. Be careful what niche you choose though. For web trend information I like to use Technorati Most Popular and Blog Pulse.
- Write from your ideas notebook. If you’ve got one, like any respectable blogger, then finding things to post about isn’t difficult at all. If you don’t … well you better start making one and fast. We humans get a myriad of thoughts and ideas crossing over our heads, that most often remain unexploited and well, forgotten. How many times did you get a fantastic blog post idea, while jogging, but then completely forgot about it? I’m gonna take a wild guess and say a lot. Be smart and keep track of your ideas whenever something pops out, no matter how stupid or foolish it my seem at the beginning, just write it down and review it home. You don’t necessarily need a notebook, although I prefer using a pen and paper, you could use your PDA, phone, blackberry whatever, just store the ideas somewhere. When taking notes of ideas, I’d recommend you add some additional, secondary lines, next to the main idea, so that you can, from the start, make a incipient post structure.
- If all fails turn to content recycling. If you’ve searched through your whole mind and found that there wasn’t anything interesting left to post about, can’t imagine how though, you can always try to mimic some one else’s subjects and content. Don’t copy, but rather “recycle.” Don’t just re-arrange the words either, you have to come up with your personal insights on the subject of the blog post you’ve been inspired from. Also through thorough research, try to bring something more to the article, then the original author did.
Photo by PrASanGaM
Here’s a list of websites that contain solid, constantly updated content, that’s sure to aid you in your quest for new content, sorted by categories:
- Online Newspapers
- New York Times
- Yahoo News
- Google Alerts
- Google News
- Internet News
Various Social Media Resources
- Blogs of the Day
Various Search Engine And Aggregation Data
- Google Blog Search
- Yahoo Blog Search
- Blog Top Sites
- Rocket News
- Blogarama Blog Directory
- Search Engine Colossus
- Blog Search Engine
Content creation is never easy, but when fueled with inspiration and bliss, words just seem to fly away. How do you come up with blog post ideas? Do you have any special techniques? I’d appreciate any form of feedback.
If you found this read useful, then please consider stumbling or bookmarking it to del.icio.us.
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