30 Ways to Find Inspiration for Your Next Post
March 15, 2011 in Bloggers & Blogging
I get it, coming up with great post ideas can be a challenge. The hardest scenario? Coming up with great post ideas off the top of your head, with a blank post open and finding out that the creative juices are just not flowing.
There are times when I get the urge to write about something in particular, and so I do it, but that’s not always the case and so I like to have a bunch of ideas from which I draw on (I use this ‘bunch’ to create my editorial calendar at the beginning of the month).
Where Do I Get This ‘Bunch’ Of Ideas?
Sometimes, off the top of my head. No work required. Other times, I need a bit of inspiration before the ideas flow. These are 50 ways to get inspiration for your next blog post or article. Some I have used, others I am hoping to use.
On a general note, take a notebook wherever you go. It’s impossible to predict where your next idea is going to come from and you’d be surprised at how often you forget them!
50 Ways to Get Inspired
1. Use free idea generation, or the ’101 ideas’ technique. This is No.1 because you’d be surprised at how well it works. Here’s what you do: Open up a text editor and write a open list of at least 101 ideas. Write whatever comes to mind, regardless of how silly it might seem. This is one of the few times where you want quantity over quality. Don’t stop until you’ve reached 101 – only then can you start picking out the ‘good’ ideas.
2. Buy/borrow (and read) a magazine that is outside your usual area of interest. This could be anything from business to fitness to food – you might be surprised at where you find your inspiration.
3. No2 again, but for blogs. Read blogs that are outside your usual area of interest. Business & marketing blogs can be quite useful, and food and DIY blogs can be interesting.
4. Read the front page (further, if necessary) of your favorite 3 blogs, and try to figure out if you can expand on anything that they have written or take it from a new angle. I am not saying that you should copy them by any means, in fact, don’t be afraid to let them know that they’ve inspired you to tackle the issue.
5. Choose an upcoming event, or hot topic, and try to come up with 5 different angles you could approach it from. You may want to read my post on finding an angle for your next post.
6. Question things. Think of 20 different things related to your blog topic, say ‘fashion’ and come up with 20 questions about why things are the way they are, and how things work. What’s an ‘IT’ bag? What shoes are the easiest to walk in? What colours work best together? What are the differences in the different types of fabric?
7. Create unusual combinations between the topic/s of your blog and things that appear to be completely unrelated. This is an exercise in seeing where your brain takes you. Shoes and chocolate frosting. Nail polish and television shows.
8. Browse the Independent Fashion Blogger forums and take note of the questions that people are asking, could you address them?
10. Take a look at your own archives, and evaluate whether you can either expand on older ideas (and write a ‘part 2′) or approach something from a different angle.
11. Read Chris Brogan’s 100 blog topics I hope you write.
12. Solve a problem of your own, and share your experience. This may or may not be related to blogging, and could be something small like using a new plugin or larger like trying new promotion strategies.
13. Style an item of clothing. Choose something you like and style it in 3 – 5 different ways. Whether you take photographs of your own outfits or use Polyvore is up to you.
14. Read list posts. List posts tend to be more generalist than specialist, and you may be very well able to expand on a few of the points made.
15. Investigate whether any fashion related events are happening in your area. Fashion week isn’t the only big event, and there is often quite a lot going on all year around.
16. In fact, stay local and look into who your local fashion designers are. You may find someone who isn’t heavily written about, and perhaps even get to ask them a few questions.
17. Visit interesting stores and ask whether you can photograph their interiors.
18. On that same train of thought, visit cafes and restaurants and take lots of pictures. Never underestimate the power of food photography.
19. You could try cooking/baking yourself - but spice things up, rather than just repeat the recipe back to us explain what you found easy or challenging.
20. Write posts that are inspired by your commenters. Take note of what questions and trains of thoughts are being raised in the comments section of your blog.
21. Expand your comments-related inspiration to other blogs, what are the readers of those blogs asking/saying in the comments section of those blogs?
22. Actually, just ask people what they want to read! Take ideas from a variety of sources; Facebook, Twitter, IFB, your blog…
23. Think of a topic that’s been done to death and create a link round-up post of the most influential/useful posts relating to that topic. People love a resource integrator!
24. Ask ‘what did you find interesting today?’ on Facebook or Twitter.
25. Enter ‘blog post’ or ‘fashion blog’ into a Twitter search and take a look at what other people are talking about. This can be a bit hit or miss.
26. Be inspired by Google Analytics. If you have Google Analytics installed you can see what people are searching for that leads them to your blog. People search for the oddest things, and you’ll often find that they’re being led to your blog via search terms that relate to things you haven’t written about… yet.
27. Ask your closet questions. What is the most interesting piece you own? What was your best bargain? What do you regret buying the most?
28. Use mind-mapping techniques. Place the main topics of your blog in the middle of a sheet of paper. Then, start writing down things that are related to the topics in the middle (you might like to start with your blog categories). Then, keep expanding and writing things down until you’ve filled the sheet of paper / twenty minutes has passed. Whichever comes first.
29. Forget about your blog! Most of the time you more you think about something, the harder it is. The best ideas often come to you when you are completely engaged in something else, so give yourself a break and do something else.
No. 30? That’s Up to You…
How do you get inspired and come up with ideas when you have nothing to draw on?
If this post has inspired you to write a particular post, then I’d love to know to. Come back here and leave a link to your post – I promise to check it out!