Jim Gibson - Publishing Partner, Online Media Today
By Jim Gibson - Publishing Partner, Online Media Today

For most bloggers, especially those new to the blogosphere, coming up with ideas to write about on a regular basis can be a big challenge.  We’ve all faced it at one time or another: The equivalent to traditional writers block, trying to figure out what to say stymies many and unfortunately leads to a lot of us to completely abandoning our beloved blogs. 

You’ve undoubtedly seen this through the countless blogs that have limited blog posts and/or lengthy gaps between blog articles.   Surveys indicate that the first things people generally notice about blogs, before they read the first word of a post, are the number of blog entries and the date of the most recent post (# of comments rates equally high).  In the world of blogging, there is one thing we know for sure.  If you are not blogging with any degree of regularity, rest assured your site visitors are more likely to click away faster than you can say “I’m a blogger”.  

For those of you who want to be known as a blogger, or simply as someone who wants to get more people to read what you have to say, developing a method for generating ideas for new content is the key to getting your blog read by more visitors.  Fortunately, there are tons of great resources available to help you come up with great ideas without having to re-invent the wheel.

If you have a weblog, you probably already know the value of adding dynamic content to your site.  From a search engine perspective, developing fresh content in the form of regular blog posts helps to generate more relevance and potentially get your website listed higher up in the search engine results pages (SERPs) for your desired niche.  In fact, unless you have an ecommerce site where products are continually changing, your blog becomes the most likely part of your website to change with any regularity.  That’s why it’s so important to make sure you are always developing fresh ideas to incorporate into your blog.
So how do you efficiently generate new ideas for your blog?  Here are a few tips to help you get started:

1.     Decide what you want to write about:  If you have a weblog, you probably already know the answer to that question.  Still, coming up with new ideas can prove difficult.  The good news is you may have great content in waiting just with the things you experience in your daily routine.  In the course of a normal work day, you may have attended meetings, fielded customer service calls, spoken with co-workers, watched the news or witnessed a real life event unfold.  Make a mental note of the things you are exposed to and consider some of them as material for your blog.

2.     Get ideas from other writers: Read newspapers and magazines to learn what other people are writing and glean ideas from content that is already out there.  If you like to blog about small business ideas, pick up a copy of Entrepreneur Magazine and read what experts in the industry are already writing about.  Formulate your own opinion about the subject and write away!  (NOTE: Do not copy their article with only a few minor changes and make sure if you use any material from the original article you give full attribution to the source)

3.     Research content aggregators: A great way to find good content is to browse websites like Technorati, Delicious and Stumble Upon.  Content is continuously being fed into sites like these and they include a plethora of highly targeted subject matter for fresh blog ideas.

4.     Use LinkedIn Groups: Another great online resource for ideas is LinkedIn Groups.  Thousands of thought leaders introduce minions to great content through highly interactive group dialogue and can be a great source of ideas.  Make sure to browse through the group responses as many offer additional value that might not have been considered by the source of the discussion topic.

5.     Create online “Alerts”: Both Google and Yahoo offer free alerts targeted to specific keyword phrases you consider important.  Setting up alerts funnels relevant ideas to your email inbox that the search engines have picked up while indexing the web.  These alerts can serve as a trigger for timely content and, like #1, help to create ideas to write about.  

6.     Conduct interviews: Find subject matter experts in your field of interest and ask them to do a short interview.  People are looking for ways to generate low cost publicity and most are totally willing to share their views with you on your blog.

7.     Invite others to blog: A new trend in generating blog content is to invite guests to blog on your site.  Whether it’s other experts in your chosen field or regular readers of your blog, asking for blog content is a great way to add more content, create “link juice” and help drive more people to read your blog.  If you do ask someone to Guest Blog, since they are getting free exposure on your site, make sure to ask for a return favor by having them link to your blog from theirs.

8.     Develop a list: Creating a Top 10 list for things that relate to your niche is an excellent way to create content ideas and drive more interactions on your blog.  If you blog about dogs, create a top 10 list of the best dogs for seniors.  Invite comments to your blog and ask people to share their own feelings about your list.

9.     Write tips on how to do something better: Do you have a special way of preparing salsa for party appetizers?  Share your “secret sauce” with your readers.  One of the most important things you can do with your blog is to give the reader something of value.. a take-away that helps them to remember you and, more importantly, not feel as though they have been marketed to.

10.  Create a post on your top posts: Kind of like “the year in review”, summarizing your best blog posts for a specific period of time (or subject matter) offers readers the opportunity to consider and connect with multiple posts in one article.  Make sure to link to your individual top 10 posts within the new summary article.

The bottom line is you don’t always have to come up with revolutionary ideas to generate great content.  There are tremendous opportunities that already exist to aid in creating great new content ideas for your blog.  All you have to do is observe what is already being generated and develop your own perspective to share with others.

About the Author:

Jim Gibson is a certified search engine marketing professional and serial entrepreneur.  In addition to Online Media Today, Jim is a principal at GibSEM Group (http://www.gibsem.com) and has founded several internet properties including online B2C directory, Service Omni, Inc. (www.serviceomni.com) and QuakeDog, Inc. (www.quakedog.com), a network marketing company focused on the sale of personal survival gear.  You can reach Jim at: jgibson@gibsem.com or follow him @GibSEM.
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