Sometimes you want to write a blog post, but you’re feeling completely stuck on ideas for… well, anything.
It can be a confusing place to be, because you’re a smart person. You know your stuff – so why can’t you think of anything to write?
The reasons for your stuckness don’t really matter – because the solution is the same:
Use something external to stimulate the creative part of your brain so you can get writing again. Once you have a new idea, you’ll be ready to roll.
But where do you find these sources of inspiration to jump-start your brain?
Here are 10 answers that can get your blog moving forward, full speed ahead.
1. Your clients & customers
Any communication you have with clients and customers is a gold mine for blog post ideas – if you pay attention to what’s going on and capture ideas as they come up.
(In fact, this post was inspired by an email I wrote to a potential client this morning for content planning.)
These conversations are full of questions they ask to you, answers you provide, and lots of little things that you say that get a “Wow, I didn’t know that” response.
This doesn’t have to be real-time, either – you can review old emails and think back to recent conversations on the phone as well.
(Bonus points for capturing these in The 1-Hour Content Plan and turning each idea into a series of posts.)
2. Your own sales pages
Whatever you’re selling, your sales pages are chock full of things that you’re telling customers or clients that they’ll get as a result of their purchase.
Scan down your sales page and write down the outcomes that you’re promising your customers, or the things they’ll learn, do or experience as a result of what you’re selling.
Those outcomes can trigger ideas for blog posts on those topics in all kinds of ways, giving you a constant stream of practical ideas for content.
(And each blog post can link back to your products and services as well – so you get great content and a chance to make a sale at the same time.)
3. Reading other people’s blog posts
There’s no denying the inspirational power of simply consuming other people’s content. Other people’s ideas are the ultimate food for thought.
Find people who are writing about the kinds of topics you write on, and read through their posts with an eye for “aha” moments. You’ll know when those happen when your mind lights up thinking “Oh, I could write about THAT.”
It’s important when you do this that you create original thought, and not copy the ideas that the other people write about.
You’re not looking to copy their ideas, but use them as a springboard.
Example: If you’re a food blogger and you’re reading someone’s post called 12 Easy Vegan Dinners For Busy Nights, don’t use that for a “12 Dinners” post of your own.
Instead, you can look at the recipes and ingredients and write about how to steam broccoli just the right way, or how to cook different varieties of quinoa, and so on. That’s springboarding.
Whether you’re looking at the comments section of your own blog, or someone else’s, there’s a practically infinite stream of ideas swimming around in there.
People are giving opinions, asking questions, relating their experiences… and that’s all fertile ground for inspiration.
This works outside of blogs, too – scroll through the YouTube comments of videos on your topic area and see how much conversation is going on there. You could be in topic ideas for years.
Comment skimming works well with the templates in Plug & Play Blog Posts, too – keep your Master List of Templates by your side, and you’ll see ideas related to the 25 blog post templates popping out at you everywhere.
As long as the internet has existed, somebody on it has been wrong. (Just because a person can type words out and click “Publish” doesn’t mean they have a lick of sense.)
Consuming other people’s content – whether it’s on a blog or on YouTube – will give you plenty of opportunities to think “That’s just plain wrong.”
These disagreements can lead to amazing blog posts. You can write about myths in your topic area, or explain why one approach doesn’t work (and what does instead). Or, you can write a contrarian viewpoint about something.
Disagreement is like plant food for your blog. You could fill an entire content plan with it overnight.
6. Tables of contents
An old copywriting mentor of mine taught me to look at the tables of contents of books to inspire ideas for content and products.
The simple act of looking at a table of contents jogs your memory and reminds you of all the things you already know. It’s an idea FACTORY.
For example, if you have a blog about training for a marathon and you’re experiencing writer’s block, when you open up a copy of Running Your First Marathon you’ll see that the first few chapter titles are:
- Running Gear
- Fueling Your Body
- Proper Running Form
Then you put the book down and ask yourself, “What do I already know about these topics? What information or guidance could I give if someone paid me $100 right now?”
You don’t even have to read the book – and you shouldn’t, because you don’t want to copy ideas. Instead, you’re using the chapter titles as writing prompts.
7. Re-reading your own blog posts
Simply reading over your existing content can be a quick and easy way to write your next blog post. You don’t even have to leave the comfort of your own website.
Pick a piece, read it over carefully, and look for places to create spin-off posts. These new post can be things like:
- Instructions for doing a thing you talked about
- Explaining a concept in more detail
- Things that come up before, during and after what’s covered in your existing blog post
- Common questions that people ask about what you’ve talked about
- Best practices for doing one thing that you mentioned in your post
Spin-off posts are quick, easy, and highly linkable to the original piece of content, so you’ll keep people on your blog longer. Win-win!
8. Forums and groups
Just like with blog comments, forums and groups are an excellent place to pick up new ideas for blog posts.
Again, simply scan what’s there and write ideas down: questions you can answer, ideas you can expand on, things you disagree with, and so on.
It’s also a great place to pick up client and customer language – you can use their exact description of their problems, questions and circumstances and incorporate them into your content.
(And if you want to take it further, work that same language into any relevant sales pages you have as well.)
9. Social media scanning
You can use the “table of contents” strategy on social media as well – just pop onto your platform of choice and see what other people are talking about.
You don’t have to read the articles – just look at the titles. Let your brain simmer for a moment on the topic, and ask yourself “What could I easily talk about in relation to this?”
It doesn’t even have to be on the exact same topic, either – you’re free to have their idea make you think of something completely different.
10 minutes on social media could give you a dozen new ideas. And they’re all based on what you already know, so they’re easy to write.
(Oh, and if you’re on Twitter, drop me a line!)
10. Watching other people
Sometimes, simply watching other people in action can give you all the ideas you need.
Whatever your topic area, observe other people in the act of engaging with it. Do some people-watching and see what it makes you think of.
Sometimes you’ll see someone doing something well, and that will give you ideas for “best practices” content. Or the opposite – you’ll see mistakes that trigger a new blog post idea. Or you’ll see something completely unexpected in the wild that generates a brand-new idea for you.
Any way you slice it, you’ll end up with seriously valuable content ideas.
Content doesn’t have to be hard if you get inspiration from these key places.
When we have writer’s block, what we’re really experiencing is a form of stuck-ness that makes our otherwise brilliant brains dumb.
Every time you find yourself in that stuck place, think of your brain as a car battery that just needs a jump start to get going.
Then tap into these sources of inspiration, and you’ll get the spark you need to create amazing content that your readers will love.