For the umpteenth time this week, you wake up in a cold sweat. It was the same, all-too-familiar nightmare again, and over the deafening drumbeat of your heart, you can still hear their mocking chant: “Inconsistent…inconsistent…inconsistent…”.
How long has it been since your last blog post? A week? Two? A fucking month??
Hoping against hope that the sheer intensity of the moment will spark a sudden burst of creativity, you fire up your MacBook. Inspiration will come if you just…focus…focus damn you!
After writing and rewriting the introductory paragraph eight times, you slam the notebook shut and shuffle off to the kitchen a broken and defeated man. The kitchen won’t judge you. The kitchen understands.
Okay, let’s turn the drama down a notch.
You’re going to be just fine. Everyone has a creative dry spell every now and then, so back away from that party-sized bag of potato chips (“Comforts Even the Most Profound Failures!”) and go find some inspiration over at:
Quora is one of the best places to mine for content ideas.
When you sign up to join the Quora community, you can choose the topics that you are interested in, and you’ll be served questions curated from these topics.
For example, if you indicated that you’d like to follow the copywriting topic, Quora will present you with questions about copywriting.
This is an absolutely fantastic way to get ideas for your blog posts as you will be presented with a fairly good snapshot of the most common questions and conversations happening around your topic(s) of choice.
Moreover, you can really boost your reputation as a subject matter expert by answering questions in your niche. If you play your cards right, you can even funnel traffic to your blog or website by posting (relevant and context-appropriate) links in your answers.
If you’re not spending a significant amount of time on LinkedIn, chance are you’re not only missing out on powerful leads and fantastic networking opportunities, but you’re also ignoring a rich source of fresh content ideas.
The great thing about LinkedIn is that, at least for now, it’s maintained its integrity as a gathering place for professionals and thought-leaders, meaning that the quality of the conversations happing in this space is generally quite good.
You (hopefully) won’t find any memes of Minions dishing out (generally terrible and asinine) life advice on LinkedIn and, for the most part, interactions are civil and aimed at building rapport in a professional context.
But mostly the memes thing.
To summarize, LinkedIn is a place where the conversations that matter are happening, and by witnessing – and, ideally, taking part in – those conversations, you’ll be tapping into a rich vein of ideas for your next blog post.
Google Trends is often overlooked as a source of inspiration for blog content, but Google, Inc.’s trend-watching facility will tell you what the most talked-about topics are by geographical area. Crafting your next blog post’s theme around what’s currently trending is also a great way to boost reach and engagement.
The fact that something has been written about before shouldn’t ever deter you from putting a fresh spin on it.
Think about it: topics such as space travel and the World Wars have been written about hundreds of thousands of times, and yet people are still finding ways of making those topics their own and adding to the existing literature in a meaningful way.
To be clear, I’m definitely not saying you should rehash content, but there’s absolutely nothing wrong with turning to established blogs in your niche for inspiration.
To give you a very practical example, you can take this article and use it as the basis for your own article on where to find content ideas. It’s like Blogception!
Forums are online environments in which members of a particular community get together to ask questions and discuss issues relevant to their shared field of interest. Forums exist for virtually every niche under the sun, from 4×4 owners to fishing enthusiasts and everything in-between, and they represent a fairly reliable way for community members to obtain quality information from dependable sources.
For example, I drive a Hyundai (because it’s the best car in the world. Duh).
If this vehicle suddenly started experiencing a problem which I deemed to be uncommon or unusual, I might search online for a Hyundai owners’ forum in an attempt to find out whether others have ever experienced this issue and, if they have, what they did to fix it.
Forum vary in the degree to which they are moderated, the level of participation, quality of the discussions, etc., but the more “official” examples generally offer quite a nice variety of topics and may very well be able to administer the dose of inspiration that you’ve been searching for at the bottom of a bag of potato chips.
Quora contributor Moses Yoon provided some truly excellent tips for finding quality forums in your niche, which you can check out here.
Still struggling to get those creative juices flowing? Then check out my article with 6 Tactics for Overcoming a Creative Block.