I think I’m probably addicted to reading content marketing stuff on the Internet. No, really.
And the ones that always get me are the ones that say something like “X Brilliant Blog Topics to Help You Get Started.” If I think an article is going to give me no-questions-asked help with ideas, Imma read it.
I was actually doing just that the other week. It was a whopper, too; it was like 189 blog ideas. One of the ideas on that list was to write about how you come up with blog topics.
My immediate reaction was that that would be a brilliant idea, and I should totally write about that because I always struggle with it.
My secondary reaction was more along the lines of “wait a minute, how do I write a blog post about coming up with ideas when that’s what I struggle with?”
I wrestled with the idea for a while, but well, here we are so you probably know what I settled on.
1. I keep notes. Everywhere.
I’m not even kidding. I keep a list of notes on my phone (I use Google Keep), I have a packet of sticky notes on my desk at work, I have a notebook with a dozen different lists on my desk at home, and I have a billion drafts open on Google Docs.
I try to make sure I have as many places as possible to store ideas because if I don’t write them down right when I think of them, I will forget. And then I’ll spend about a week frantically trying to put myself in repetitive situations to intentionally give myself déjà vû so I can remember the brilliant idea I had.
2. I read blog idea posts.
Lists of blog topics are my favourite things ever, and I love people who make good ones. I love reading through them and finding things I think I could adapt into my own work.
It’s not too common for me to take ideas directly from those posts; usually I’ll give them a little bit of a spin, or I’ll try to think of ways to make them geek-specific. It’s more fun that way, because it doesn’t just feel like a writing assignment.
3. I read other blogs.
If there’s one thing I’ve learned about content marketing in my career, it’s that there are very few new ideas. It’s really common for people to borrow ideas from their favourite sources and turn it into their own version.
Actually, you see a lot of it on Instagram in the form of hashtag trends. People see someone post with a specific hashtag, and they adapt it into their own content to participate in a trend.
So when I’m feeling particularly stuck, I like to read through other related blogs and news sources to see what they’re talking about. I almost always find something that piques my interest, and that I can easily turn into my very own op-ed.
4. I follow social media trends.
I love social media trends for their ability to give me blog ideas. I follow a few key hashtags for gaming on Instagram, and once in a while, I’ll see a post pop up that immediately inspires me. Sometimes, it inspires me to make a similar picture, which then turns into a blog post that fits what’s in the picture.
And other times, I’ll see something in the comments or a part of the caption that gets my brain going a million miles a minute.
5. I make myself take breaks.
No one is creative all the time. A few weeks ago, I was feeling frustrated because I couldn’t think of a good gaming-related blog topic. I tried to just sit there and brainstorm, but it just wasn’t working.
Then I realized I hadn’t been playing anything lately. Like at all.
Pretty much all of my spare time had been going toward a bigger project (coming soon, don’t worry!), and I hadn’t given myself time to relax and get caught up in a game to even find something intriguing to talk about.
After that realization, I immediately jumped into the Sims, and it took maybe five minutes for me to think of at least three more things to talk about.
Now it’s your turn. How do you come up with topics for your blog? Or if you don’t have one, how do you come up with inspiration for your social media?