Earlier, Steve wrote where he’s getting blogging ideas from. I am guessing it is now my turn to share my opinion on this topic.
The most important factor, which defines how much ideas you get is how much you think about the topic. Sure, you may be an expert in your industry and know a lot. But what to do, when you have written about most of the topics that interest you? Here comes interaction with the outside world.
Let’s see how you can interact with the surrounding world:
- communicate with people
- observe and contemplate about the surroundings
- live your life (do something)
The easiest way to communicate is to meet real people and talk. Preferably, you’d be talking with a person, who knows the industry as well. It can be a colleague, a partner or even a customer. Phone calls, e-mails also work. However, the amount of people you can converse this way is fairly limited.
Another way is to read. By reading you learn the ideas of other people about certain topics. By reading industry blogs, forums (which is both conversational and informational), articles, journals and such you not only learn about some topics (the latest news, for instance), but also learn how other people think about your field.
Though you may not find the topic interesting, or may even disagree with the author, you can still blog about it. Sometimes, one article can even start a series of posts on your blog.
Quite often, in your real life, you may be thinking about a variety of things. But now that you are a blogger, you can start spotting topics for your blog posts as well. Topic ideas can stem from certain thoughts, ideas or points of views about your surrounding reality. For example, you can notice that social networking is a very efficient way to get a job or assistance, so you start thinking about social marketing or social networking.
Live your life
The beauty of this method of finding ideas for content is that you can find a topic literally every second of your life, not only when you are behind a computer. You can find a topic while you eat, while you are doing your sports or when taking the trash can out. The amount of ideas can be limitless, but the trick is to remember the topics you wanted to write about.
Sometimes, which makes conversation and reading interesting, you can spot a topic for your next blog post not from the idea of the post author, not from the article title, but from something as simple as a principle the author has applied to the topic and you found a way to apply it to your interests.
If you have trouble getting ideas anyway, you can try thinking about your target audience (or your customers, if you have them). Check out this ideas example of what can be written about a toothpick for inspiration.
Using your ideas
The trickiest part in putting your ideas into content is remembering them. Quite often, an idea can occur in quite an inconvenient moment (such as while washing the dishes or while guesting at your friend’s house), and you won’t be able blog about it. What can you do?
As Steve suggested in his post, you can write the idea down. This is a useful technique to keep your ideas recorded and will provide an unlimited amount of the ideas you can use.
However, there’s one objection. You may not be interested in writing about the ideas when you get to writing. While you record all your ideas, you can get plenty of them. Will all of them be worth writing about, when you get to writing? Will you feel the same about it? How do you separate the worthy ones from the ones not worth about?
Suppose, you do your ‘topic ideas’ days for a while. You are accustomed to reading lots of stuff to get topic ideas and you write them down as they occur. Then you settle down and get to writing. If some time passes between the time you have an idea and the moment of writing, you will probably think differently, or you won’t be excited about the idea any more. Or you would write something completely different you’d write about, if you had written the post when you’d got the idea.
The point is, when you record your ideas, you chance to rely on your notes than on your actual emotions, feelings and knowledge. Now we can recall that it is wise to use your memory to keep it sharp and the brain active, but that’s another story (about people who use calculators and those who can 23*19 in their brains easily).
Thus, I’d recommend remembering your ideas. Then the chances are you’ll be remembering the ones you’d be passionate about, that’d be really important and you’d have something important to say. You don’t want to spend time writing down the ideas and later finding more important topics to blog about (I have a couple drafts sitting in my blog, since when I tried pre-writing posts).
It’ll be hard at first, especially if your memory is quirky, but it’ll get better. If you do know your industry, you should be overflowing with ideas to share anyway. Just remember to focus on providing value to your readers via quality information.