You can be a great writer but your stuck in the mud if you don’t have something to write about. Normally, brainstorming new ideas isn’t a problem if you write weekly. But what if you write 3 or more posts a week? Yep…that’s when that dung hits the fan.
Here are 7 of my best methods for generating a nice list of blog post idea starters in about 30 minutes. Some of these you know but I’m sure there is at least one new idea that you can use.
(1) Visit general news sites and navigate to your interest area’s section
Every general news site (i.e. CNN, USAToday) have sub-sections devoted to specific interests such as finance, health, careers etc. Visit the section that is a close match to your niche and scan the latest articles. Look for opportunities to rebut an argument, add your point-of-view, or extend a subject.
Any idea or topic can be turned into a blog post by:
+ Arguing the opposite opinion
+ Adding resources, tips, and links
+ Addressing unanswered questions
+ Connecting the topic to another idea or subject
Keep these methods in mind while reading this list
(2) Review the news from interest specific websites
Almost every subject has a dedicated site or blog. Visit these sites and take note of articles that are getting comments and social shares. Now review these articles to find something the author has missed. Note any ideas, preferably in headline form, and set-them aside for future post writing.
(3) Scan your Twitter activity stream
Create a Twitter List of thought leaders and consistent content publishers in your niche. For example, I have a list with Tim Ferris, Guy Kawasaki, Jay Baer, Brian Clark, Leo Widrich, and others. Create a stream in Hootsuite for your list. Now you can quickly scan this stream to find idea starters for your posts.
Aggregators like Hacker News, Redditt and Inbound take article sharing to the extreme. Contributors are rewarded with traffic if they consistently share high-quality news and content. While these sites tend to cater to the tech savvy crowd, their subdirectories often have less-technical articles.
Quickly search these subdirectories to find articles could use a fresh approach. Note that interest aggregation sites let users up or down vote articles. Articles that stay on top for more than 12 hours are great to review for post ideas.
(5) Flip an old post
Check your archives for subjects you haven’t wrote about in a while. Remember that 60% or more of your visitors are brand new. New readers tend to read 2 or 3 back posts and then wait for your new ones. So you can write a variation or update to an old post without upsetting your current readers.
(6) Add different viewpoints to LinkedIn Group discussions
LinkedIn has done a great job helping thought leaders create valuable discussion groups. These groups attract business professionals who ask great questions. I suggest selecting 2–3 groups that are well moderated and have consistent activity. Pay close attention to questions that have attracted a lot of answers from the group’s membership. These questions are often great post topics.
(7) Add value to Facebook Group discussions
Facebook groups are also getting better over time. Savvy B2C marketers are creating Facebook groups to attract loyal customers and entice potential prospects. Join a few of these groups and keep track of their newsfeed.
Look for questions. Check links that get shared and liked by group participants.
Some of my best post ideas have come from responding to Facebook group questions.
Have you joined the Pushing Social Facebook Group yet?
Keep a List
Open a text document and add any new idea. Every idea should go on the list. I’ve found that stupid ideas today turn into workable ideas tomorrow, and kick-butt ideas 2 days later.
Don’t worry about turning this list into an [editorial calendar] yet. Just make a list. Once your list grows to 30+ posts then start sorting them into a calendar.
We are on Day 2 of the 30 Day 30 Posts challenge. You can join here