The wonderful thing about writing a regular blog post is that you have a steady writing assignment. The challenging thing about such a gig is that you need constant streams of fresh content. How can you generate endless new ideas – ideas that seize reader attention, reel them back in for more, while, oh by the way, convince them to take appropriate action? The challenge is identical whatever you are promoting, whether a product, an idea, or behavior change. Fortunately, unexpected sources of inspiration surround you. One way to manage this is to reference whatever excites your audience, and then, while your reader is nodding in pleased recognition, lash that idea or concept to the underlying purpose of your blog.
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Use the News
Scan the news each day for stories that work people up. In journalism, the old saying is that “if it bleeds, it leads”. The vast number of comments that almost all news stories accumulate reflects people’s avidity to air their own take on the events and trends with you or with other readers. For instance, imagine that you blog for a young adult audience. News coverage of the ongoing evolution of high stakes assessments such as the SAT, as one example, could trigger engaging blog posts on a whole constellation of related issues potentially relevant to your site or your client’s. What about testing anxiety, test prep, changes in math and language arts pedagogy, the predictive value of test results for adult success, inequities in college admissions and efforts to offset them, and on and on? Somewhere in that list, there is something that many blogs could latch onto for a topic that will ignite interest. Listen to NPR or the BBC for an effortless brain feed of credible stories.
Use Social Media
If you have a Facebook account, you have blog content. What are your “friends” on Facebook discussing or posting? Grab it. Your Twitter account, as well, is a direct line to the unconscious of literally millions globally. What is trending? Duck-faced selfies? Consider how this might relate to the general subject of your blog.
Are you familiar with AskFM? This anonymous message board attracts mainly the middle and high school set, but if your blog deals addresses this demographic, then you need to be connected. While tending to the trivial and profane, but there are nonetheless important topics embedded in this tween/teen stream of consciousness. Dip into AskFM to illuminate what consumes youthful minds and time, for example, perpetual discussion of games, whether the sort that people play on hand-held devices or the multi-player variety. What a great entree to discussing the new addictions, the lure of hand-held devices, the new ways of spending discretionary time, the opportunities for advertising on such game sites, and a myriad of other cool topics!
LinkedIn may not necessarily be your go-to site for blog ideas. However, remember, people on this professional/social site post pictures and news snippets about their industries and workplaces. Use these as a launching pad for your next blog post.
Use Internet Videos
YouTube is another social media that reflects, albeit indirectly, what shocks and amuses people, day by day. Watch what shows up often – and check out another site called YouTubeNation. This regularly features videos on related topics, usually genuinely hot, for example, on developments in internet privacy, always an explosive topic. You could blog on protecting one’s online identity, or advocating for greater protection.
Use the visual freebies posted by others
iFunny is another source of content – especially visual material. iFunny displays what seems like an unending stream of memes and pictures, visual jokes, and anything else that strikes the global funny-bone. Sometimes too racy for family-friendly blogs, these images/cartoons/memes reflect what folks are worried about, angry about, or amused about, thus make great blog fodder.
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Integra has been denigrated as Twitter for the illiterate, but it is nonetheless a terrific window into the popular mind. Granted, the vast majority of hash-tag topics seem to deal with Hobbits, lunch platters, kittens, and Justin Bibber. Nonetheless, there are plenty of serious topics as well. Be aware that many of the joyously uploaded photos are actually proprietary. Check for copyrights, please. The main benefit here is inspiration. What obsesses that many people will interest someone in your blog – consider the phenomenon of photo-bombing. What does this say about modern society?
Miscellaneous Sources of Great Blog Ideas:
The Style section of The New York Times’ includes wildly diverse stuff, like Daniel Jones’ Modern Love column, featuring reader essays. Reference these juicy fashion and relationships insights in your own blog posts. Check out the Sunday Review of Books as one exemplary free source of the newest literature in your field.
The Federal Register records all the actions of the US Congress and Senate, which sounds deadly. Actually, it airs daily idiocies of the nation’s highest bodies. Check for the equivalent in your jurisdiction. And speaking of political sites and publications, almost all politicians will happily send you newsletter of local or regional machinations.
Reddit.com is where many young people head for news – so much the worse for the legacy news organizations! This mix of totally amateur stuff and some rather more serious items can inspire innumerable blog posts in almost any subject area.
Use your readers’ good ideas, whether through guest posts, competitions, or a survey.
Courage – “the world is full of a number of things”!