Saturday, November 12, 2011

Where do you find inspiration for your blog posts?

Virtual Musings: Today's Cure for Writer's Block
The next step in creating an interesting, engaging blog, one that speaks to your target audience with relevance and significance, is to decide what you want to blog about.  Well, that one's easy...I want to blog about my writing services.  The question I really should be asking is, "How will I come up with ideas for my blog posts"? 

As I have discovered, sitting at my computer doesn't guarantee that I will find instant inspiration for my blog posts.  Sadly, I have wasted countless hours staring at my computer, an emply blog post screen glaring back at me, wondering what the heck to write?!?  Other bloggers make it look so easy, with their miles and miles of blog post archives taunting me as I search for some sort of inspiration and insight.

What did I do, you ask?  How did I find the answer to my question?   I returned to my academia roots, once again, and conducted my own research.  I spent hours, mostly pleasurable, some grating, researching blog post ideas.  I condensed my extensive findings into my five favorite musings, basing my top choices on their ease of use and far-reaching implications:

  1. Blog Post Comments:  Yes, that's right!  I am sure we all read and respond to each comment made on our blog posts!  Well, take note of what your readers are saying.  Are they asking you questions?  Do they provide you with alternative perspectives?  Bloggers are some of the most intelligent, well-written people in our ever-shrinking virtual world.  Why not tap into this resource and use them to inspire your next blog post? 
  2. Google Adwords and Alerts:  Amidst all the tools and toys provided by Google, their Adwords Tool and Alerts provide great ideas for blog posts. 
    • On the Google Adwords page, under the Tools and Analysis tab, you will find the Keyword Tool.  Simply plug in your keyword or phrase and you will get a listing of Keyword Ideas.  Once you have some relevant and interesting key words and phrases, such as "writing jobs online", simply rephrase it as a question, "How do I find writing jobs online?" and you have your blog post.  The only catch is you have to have an account with Google; luckily, it's both easy and free!
    • Google Alerts allows you to sign up for email updates of all the latest news on whatever key words you choose.  You can filter your results by Source Type, how often you wish to receive the alerts, the volume, and how you wish to be alerted.  It's a great way to generate blog posts based on current events in your targeted market!
  3. Linkedin Answers:  As a member of Linkedin, you can take advantage of their many, many resources.  I could write a whole series of blog posts just on Linkedin but for the purpose of this list, I suggest using their Answers feature, more specifically, the "Advanced Answers Search".  On your Linkedin Home page, click on More.  The first option under this tab is Answers.  From there you can click on "Advanced Answers Search" and type in your choice of keywords.  It would be great if this tool had a filter option to display questions that are asked most frequently but I still love it!
  4. Facebook Friends and Fans: While many people find Facebook to be the more fun-loving branch of the social media family tree, it can still provide you with great content ideas for blog posts. 
    •  One way to tap into this source of inspiration is to pay attention to which updates your friends and fans are most interested in.  Which ones spark the most conversations?  The most controversy? 
    • You can also pose a question or take a poll with the "Ask Question" tool.  Leave your question open-ended, inviting a wider range of responses, or, make it multiple-choice with the Add Poll Options function.  Either way, you are sure to generate plenty of ideas for future blog posts.
  5. Blog Post Archives:  If you have been at this for a while, you might find that your musings and inspirations are drying up.  This would be a great time to take a stroll through your archive alleys.  Here, you might find an old post that could use some revamping, or a post that wasn't very well received.  Maybe you wrote a post about social media back when MySpace was the virtual "it" place.  Write a new post describing how far social media has come since its pioneer days.  Or, take that post that generated little, if any, dialogue with your followers and see how you can spice it up to stimulate more thoughtful responses.
Well, this is my list of top 5 inspirations for blog post ideas.  But remember, no matter where you get your inspiration for blog posts, always, always write with an unwavering passion!  Writing from a place of passion will radiate any topic, drawing readers to you like you've never imagined possible.

I am always looking to expand my repertoire of resources, so do share your ideas and inspirations for blog posts!

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