If you follow my blog you’ve probably realized I write a lot. At the moment, I’m posting every single day. And my plan is to continue that for the entire year. Yep, 365 days straight…
And, when I tell people this I often hear the same reply:
But what are you going to write about?
For me, this is not a problem. Ideas pour out of head like water out of a tap. Just press the button, turn the dial or punch that keyboard and out pops another one!
And, whilst I’d like to present this as my in-built genius coming out, it’s really not that clever. I have specific strategies, and you could even say a system, for coming up with ideas and for writing blog posts. Here are nine ways that I create endless ideas…
1 Create a Context
I’d like to suggest the ‘Ideas Paradox’. I think it’s easier to come up with ideas when you narrow the context. If you said I could write about anything I would be lost in the endless horizon of possibilities. I’d rather have a theme, and for me this year it’s Ideas Marketing. And, in particular because I have identified the eight elements of Ideas Marketing, I have instantly at least eight things to write about! Which one will it be today…
TIP: Choose or create a context or theme to write about.
2 Map the Landscape
This is similar to the previous point. Given I’m writing a book about Ideas Marketing, my blogging is effectively me writing my book and publishing it one page at a time. This is important because it gives me the motivation and drive to write. It’s not about the blog post; it’s about the book. Plus, if you map out all the ideas you have for a book then you will soon have a wall full of ideas to write about.
TIP: Map out the broad landscape of your topic and pick off ideas to write about in individual blog posts.
3 Be the Teacher
One of the great mistakes people make is that they think they don’t know enough expertise to share. I think the mistake here is whom they’re comparing themselves to. I suggest if you already have clients then you absolutely know enough to be writing. Remember, you only need to be one step ahead of your audience to be able to offer value.
TIP: Act as if you are a teacher and share from this perspective. What does your audience want or need to know?
[Tweet “How to have endless ideas #unlimitedideas”]
4 Know Your Types
If you think about how a magazine is created, there are consistent categories each month. For instance there might be an editorial, a feature article, some news, resources, some book reviews and maybe even a crossword. I use a similar structure. I review books, comment on TED videos, write about the eight elements of Ideas Marketing, create case studies, share my podcast… The list is almost endless!
TIP: Think of yourself as a magazine editor and identify the regular features that you’ll publish each issue. Then create a schedule so you know what to create and when.
BONUS: Collect examples or write multiple posts in advance. For example, find 3 TED videos to publish on the next three Mondays.
5 Read Something!
I read. I read a lot. I read 50 books a year. That’s an enormous amount of fuel for ideas. Are you reading enough? And, it doesn’t have to be books. Reading online articles and other people’s blog posts works too! Then I can share what I read and add my thoughts about what I’ve read in my own blog posts.
TIP: Read! And share what you learn…
BONUS: By sharing and commenting about what other people write you build connection with them and grow the overall conversation. It’s an easy way to position your expertise!
[Tweet “A nine point system for generating ideas for blog posts #blogging”]
6 Take Time Out
One of my biases in life is that I love ideas. And, on top of that I’m an introvert. This in part means that I internalize things and this is a fancy way of saying I think a lot. Best of all, I give myself a chance to think by having downtime. Too many people are too damn busy to reflect on what’s going on. This is a huge, huge, huge mistake as it limits your potential to come up with new ideas. And, this is backed by neuroscience! This is the scientific explanation for why we have ‘aha’ moments when we have a shower or go for a walk or when we’re doing nothing in particular.
TIP: For more ideas take some time out to reflect. Wander don’t walk. Take a break. Play a game.
7 Capture Your Thoughts
It’s one thing to have ideas. And they’re completely wasted if you don’t capture them and use them. I may or may not have more ideas than you and I’ll bet I do capture more of them!
TIP: Create a file for possible future blog posts. Look at this when you need some inspiration. I currently have over 50 blog ideas in my file sitting patiently waiting for their moment to be fleshed out and published.
TIP: Carry a notebook or use an app on your smartphone to capture the ideas you have WHEN you have them. Don’t rely on remembering them later – that trick never works!
TIP: Add these ideas to the map you might have created in point two.
[Tweet “How to create unlimited ideas for your blog posts #bloggingideas”]
8 Re-use Your Existing
Not all of your ideas need to be brand new. You can recycle old ones, repost them in new formats (eg turn a podcast into words) and you can re-publish them in different places. One of the great opportunities is to comment on other people’s posts on Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, Blog Comments… And, you can then use these comments as text in your next blog post.
TIP: Copy what you post on social media and re-use this in your blog posts. At the least, copy them into your blog post idea file for later use.
9 The world’s greatest source of ideas
I’ve deliberately left the best source of ideas to last! Are you a hermit that lives under a rock? I didn’t think so. And, this means you have conversations with people during the day, right? So… What do you talk about? The world’s greatest source of ideas are the conversations we have with other people everyday. I had a fabulous conversation with a friend and colleague the other day that gave me at least 10 blog post ideas. Today’s post is one of them! All I did was write down the questions she asked and the answers I gave. Sorry, it’s such an obvious answer. And, the best ideas usually are!
TIP: Have conversations with other people. Talk less and listen more. Capture the questions, write your answers and share the results.
COMMENT: Which one of these nine ideas has sparked some er… ideas for you?