While it is easy to think of ideas for your blog when it is new and fresh, a few months into the process, creative ideas don’t often flow as freely.
Don’t succumb to writer’s block, though, because there are a number of inspiring techniques you can use to cultivate material. Keep a list of these idea generators near your desk so you’re never stuck when it’s time to add a new post.
1. Related Photos
Peruse photos that relate to the topic of your blog. If your blog is about baking, go to Flickr.com and enter search terms such as “cookies,” “bread” and “cake.” Through the photos, you’ll find ideas that you’ve never considered before. Photos may bring to mind associations that may not occur using the tried-and-true “staring at a blank page” technique.
2. Magazine Headlines
Headlines are a creative tour-de-force. If your blog is about travel, and you spy a headline that reads, “Get off the Beaten Path in China,” use the idea as a starting point for an article about exploring little known beaches in Peru, for example.
3. Visit the Library
Browse the shelves for books that relate to your blog’s main focus. Check a few out and read the table of contents. Chances are, you’ll discover new perspectives on your topic to consider. You can also use this opportunity to review books that relate to your ideas.
4. Go Random.
Get out a dictionary or fictional book and flip it open to any page. Close your eyes and put your finger on a word. Think about how you can use that word to generate ideas for your blog. For instance, if the word you randomly select is “childhood,” you could use it to write an article entitled “How Your Childhood Shapes Your Financial Habits” for a finance blog.
5. Read the News
Review popular news articles each day. There may be a way that you can put your own spin on the story to make it relevant to your blog. Subscribe to RSS feeds of publications that relate to your blog so that you can get news ideas while they are still timely.
Mix it up. Ask what if? Get Metaphysical. A story about a beached whale can lead to a post that discusses software that is as effective as a beached whale, children who behave like beached whales when asked to clean their rooms or foods that can leave a reader feeling like a beached whale.
Great, you have ideas. Now what?
Generating the ideas are relatively simple. Tracking and cultivating existing ideas will help irrigate the mind during a dry spell in the future.
Capture the Beast
As you use these techniques, track all of the ideas that you develop. The good, the bad, and the ugly.
I prefer to drop interesting ideas in as a draft, then review those topics from time to time — culling the duds and rewriting those with promise.
Come Back Later
Review your idea list with fresh eyes to determine which stories would most resonate with your readers. As you continue to use these ideas to generate creative and prolific content, you’ll likely begin to find additional ways to get inspiration for stories, ensuring that your site will have a long and creative life.