Finding new ideas is difficult! Is it? Well the answer is, No! There is no shortage of ideas around. This world is full of ideas. No matter which niche you are in and what you write, ideas are always out there. The problem is that people do not see the ideas lying around and think "Oh My God! I have no idea to write a post. What to do?"
But they just overlook ideas around them. In this post, I will discuss 10 techniques that you can use to attract ideas like a magnet. Again and again and again and again and_________ (add as many "again"s as you like and proceed to list.)
1. Read Comments
You blog's comment section is an idea mine. Most of the comments have hidden ideas in them. All you need is to read them with some attention and new ideas will always pop up.
Once a week, take some time and look through comments area. You will find a lot of blogging ideas.
Here is a good example from one of our post's:
Writing content related to consumer products/services probably helps more than anything (placement and ad size is huge, too, but those are easy fixes). Writing about products (reviews, consumer information, etc) attracts visitors who were already thinking of buying that product. They’re a lot more likely to click on an ad than someone who surfed in for idle entertainment. - Lindsay.
Idea: A post can be written about using articles to promote the products. I can also integrate my experience with it. I have done it for Chitika and had good success.
2. Participate in Forums
By participating in forums, you get a lot of exposure and lots of ideas! People generally ask about their problems and you can also get some idea of missing things in your niche.
3. Read Niche Blogs
Blogs in a similar niche are very helpful when you run our of ideas. Most of the posts contain what I call "openings". An opening is basically a topic left untouched or not covered in much detail. Posts can easily be developed with these openings.
Just write in detail on these and you will never be out of ideas.
One of my posts, How to Blog Again After Long Absense was born because of a post on Write to Done, 10 Mistakes that Could Be Killing Your Blog . Second point was "Infrequent Posting" and third point was "Writing about infrequent posting." I thought that it just the tip of the iceberg and went on to expose the whole iceberg (in other words, I took inspiration from the two points and wrote a post! )
I have left an opening in the above point! I just touched the topic and left it. You can get some inspiration and write "How to take Advantage of Post Openings" or "Get Ideas Everytime With Post Openings".
4. Browse Archives
If you are regular blogger and have a good archive list, you will always find ideas there. Reading an older post can give you many new ideas. And if you are in hurry (you should never be!), even the titles alone can give some great ideas!
Take a look at these these titles from our archives and how they have hidden ideas:
- How to Make a 'Professional' Logo for Free: I wrote this tutorial a while ago but did not mention how you can add the logo to your blog theme/template. This can be helpful to many newbies who might be unfamiliar with template/theme structure!
- How to Create a 125x125 Ad for Your Blog: SBA wrote this tutorial a while ago. After reading it, the idea came to my mind that you need to use the image for something too (Why would someone make a 125x125 ad for blog without any use in mind?) Result? Where to Use Your 125x125 Ad.
5. Analyze Lists
List posts are good for promotion. What I like most about them is the fact they are not detailed! You can pick a good tool/resource from the publiched list and write a post about it. However, it is better to not overuse this technique because this will make your blog look like a review site.
Here are some examples of how lists give ideas:
- 101.5 Free Tools and Services for Bloggers: In this post we covered 101 tools and services for bloggers(+1 little one, hence 101.5). It was impossible to cover every service/tool in detail. Imagine 101 points each with a 2 paragraph detail for it. But some of the tools were really good. For example, Google Ad Manager, which is the best ad serving tool but is designed with corporates and big guys(with sales force) in mind. This renders it a bit confusing for newbie and small blogs. (It even took your dear writer 2 hours to get familiar with interface). A good tutorial can be posted on it.
- 50 Must Have Plugins for WordPress 2.7: Similarly like 101.5 Tools list, it featured some excellent plugins like WP-Note and Zemanta which can be used for a full post or a small list with details. HeadSpace, my favorite plugin is very feature rich and at the same time complex. A good tutorial can be written on it too!
Twitter = short! Short posts, short urls and lots of short(and open) ideas.
Friends from this network can also help you a lot!
When we were compiling the "Top 100 Articles to Help You With Blogging" post, I wanted a strategy to find good posts in categories (nothing would have been worse than a list of 100 random articles) . I tweeted about it and moments later, RamKarthik from Blogging Tune (@RamKarthik came up with really good advice.
Also, some of my friends tweet a lot about blogging tips and since everything can not be summed up in 140 words, I get many good ideas from there too!
7. Listen to Readers
Keeping an ear towards your readers will never hurt. In fact, many readers will drop some good ideas into your ear (Caution: Bigger Ideas may Hurt Your Ear! )
Creative Junkie asked me about Social Bookmarking icons and asked if I could write a tutorial on that. This is a really good idea as tutorials get more comments (and more complaints about them not working too!).
8. Watch Your Surroundings
As I said in the beginning, the world is full of ideas.
If you are really passionate about your niche, you can get ideas from almost anything!
Don't believe me? Then read this real world example(of mine):
I was in my village one day and was getting bored! It was hard to pass the time since I had no computer (or anything close to it, e.g. calculator!). I was thinking of some good ideas for blogging and in the process, I saw a bicycle. The idea hit my mind and Bicycle Approach to Blogging was born!
Two hours later, I began to feel sleepy. And guess what, another good idea, Beware: Are You a Sleepy Blogger approached me and will soon see the daylight on Blogging With Success!
StumbleUpon lets you discover new (and cool) websites on the internet. Since there are a lot of categories, and when you surf for some time, you can always find something for your niche. Combine the "openings" method with it and you can have a really good post ready in no time.
Example? I knew you would ask for it! So here it is: After SBA and Fransiska forced me to Stumble (I was and am a loyal Opera user and fan but StumbleUpon toolbar doesn't love Opera! ), on first day, I found Newspaper Clipping Generator which was really fun! So I stumbled a bit more in internet tools category and found some similar tools and complied them into 6 Fun Image Generators for Bloggers.
10. Keep Eye on Social Bookmarking Services
Social Bookmarking websites like Digg, Del.icio.us, Reddit, Furl etc. have some of the best articles in their listings. You can easily find realted articles about your niche and can either compile a list (Top 10 Articles about _______ , Top 10 Websites for______) or write a post inspired from them.
I decided to compile the 50 WordPress Plugins list after I noticed that WordPress was popular on Del.icio.us and many posts about WordPress design and plugins were bookmarked a lot.
Its not always necessary to go with popular choices but social bookmarking services give you insight on the trendy topics on which you can write.
Blogging With Successs Readers, Your Turn Now:
These are the top 10 techniques I use to get post ideas. It's your turn now. What techniques do you use? Tell us in comments.
This very post should give ideas for a month's worth of articles. And now, give us permission to leave. Hope to meet again in your feed reader! Subscribe Via RSS.