Note: This post was originally written by Steve Farnsworth as part of a collaborative series of videos and posts called “The Digital Marketing Minute”.
Staring at a blank screen when you are trying to come up with your next post can be as frustrating as it is pointless. That’s why I don’t do it, and neither should you.
My Post Idea Generation Go Tos
My first stop is often LinkedIn, Quora, and sometimes Twitter. I see if there are any questions that I think are interesting, and that I can write to.
If one of those rich resources doesn’t have a nugget that inspires me I head to plan B. A leisurely perusal my ideas folder full of bookmarks. I read a lot and regularly come across posts that are based on an interesting premiss. If I think I can add a different perspective, or take the idea another way and make it uniquely mine, I save the post for future inspiration.
A New Content Idea Tool
Usually as I start to write I’ll end up going a different direction from where I began. The post becomes merely a springboard, and that is how I usually “find” my best post topics. Which is why I like SEOgadget’s Daniel Butler’s Content Strategy Generator Tool (CSGT).
The CSGT is short on strategy, but big on topic specific post starter ideas. Using a Google Doc spreadsheet, Daniel set CSGT up to populate with news and blog posts from around the web recently published on your search term. You now have dozens of titles that are hot and fresh. The best part is CSGT is free.
It tracks Google News, Bing news, Reddit, hot YouTube videos, topics trending on Topsy, Digg, Twitter, a number of blog aggregators, and several other sources.
It is very easy to use. Follow the simple instructions Daniel provides and you are ready to roll in about 3 minutes.
- Access the tool here
- Log in to your Google account
- File > Make a Copy
- Enter keyword into cell “B3” and hit return. (for multiple keywords use the “+” operator e.g. Banking+Fraud)
Growing Topic Seeds Into A Blog Post
- Enter your search term
- Review the article titles (I don’t read a post if I save it to my idea folder. I always worry about incorporating the post’s individual ideas into mine. So much so it’s very distracting when I’m writing. For me it’s easier to go back and review the original post after I have my first draft.)
- Read the articles if you choose (Not all results have links back to the original article, but you can easily Google the title and find the source if needed).
- Then ask yourself, “What can I add that is interesting, insightful, or more useful?”
- Spend 10 minutes doing guided freewriting to flesh out your idea.