February 24, 2017
Inspiration and motivation always seem to be the first things to go when you’re burnt out on blog writing. Trying to flesh out some content ideas, staring at the computer screen with disdain, wondering if there’s anything to say that hasn’t already been said…sound familiar? If so, then it’s probably time to revisit where and how you look for inspiration.
If you dabble in the digital sphere, your work/inspiration/motivation flow is something that needs to be tweaked and fine-tuned over time. Just as the world of blogging and online marketing is constantly evolving, so must your work flow adapt. The good news is that there has never been a better time to look for inspiration, information, or ideas because there are so many resources available to you. Here’s how you can tap into them.
I’m not talking about lighting candles and drawing yourself a bubble bath to hunt for ideas. I’m talking about setting yourself up for success by creating an inspiration-friendly environment. When you’re putting on your creative pants and hunting for inspiration, it’s important to be working in an environment that supports the idea-sparking mindset. For some, that might not mean sitting at a desk scouring the internet for topics that will inspire brilliant pieces of content. Try these tips to set the mood for your next big brainstorming day:
It might seem obvious, but it is often ignored. Nothing throws off a creative workflow like the constant ping of group text alerts or a random call from an out of town number. Give yourself a chance to stay focused and lose yourself in the exploration of ideas and information by eliminating unnecessary distractions.
If you’re sensitive to environment like me, then you probably don’t find your desk ideal for creative stimulation. Some of my best ideas/thinking/writing happens when I’m sitting crisscross-applesauce on the floor or working from a patio on a laptop. Whether it’s posting up at a coffee shop, spreading out on the floor, or munching on a mountain of snacks at your desk, do your brainstorming where and how you do it best.
Where inspiration is found is personal to the writer, so I won’t pretend there’s a master list of resources or an idea farm out there. This is simply a list of popular places buzzing with questions, trends, and topics that make them great places to look.
It feels like the last place you should be looking for ideas, but it’s really the first place you should look. First and foremost, look at your analytics and identify your top performing content. Then, spend some time “massaging” those top pieces of content. Is there a new angle you can take on it? Can the topic be expanded? Could it be turned into an infographic, tutorial, or series? Sometimes looking at the ideas you’ve already had and you know have performed well can reveal new angles and options for content.
This tool is particularly useful for finding the types of content and topics users are engaging with the most. You can search a specific domain or a general topic, use some filter options (language, content type, date, etc.), and Buzzsumo will pull up a list of the highest performing topic for the selected time period. By looking at the top headlines of your industry, you can get a pretty good picture of what your target audience is looking for.
If you need something to talk about on your blog, why not look at the latest and breaking news within your industry? Identify the leading authorities and websites in your industry that are quick to cover updates and news, and then use that to guide your own content. Weigh in on current issues, give your perspective on events and happenings, and then find a personalized spin on it that you can use for your own blog.
One of the best ways to get content ideas is by answering questions, and that’s why Quora is such a great place to get inspiration from. The question-and-answer site is constantly buzzing with chatter, thoughts, ideas, and, of course, questions. A good way to flex your content/creativity muscles is to filter down to the categories most relevant to you, start answering questions, and see if there are any that can be turned into blog-worthy topics.
It’s a fun app for exploring random topics, but there’s also a lot of useful information to be found on Reddit. Similarly to Quora, users actively post questions and engage in discussion on any and every topic. Despite being a little more chaotic than other resources on this list, it’s a great place to harvest potential content ideas.
Most social media platforms have a built in “trending topics” component that shows you what other users are talking about. This can be used to your advantage, especially on Twitter, because it can give you an immediate idea on what people within your audience are reading and talking about. Plus, tapping in to trending, popular topics is a good way to snatch some traffic.
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