Ever run out of ideas for topics to write about?
Of course you do, unless you have magic tricks up your sleeve, in which case, email me your secret.
The problem with building an online business is that you have to create content.
And sometimes creating all those blog posts, podcasts and sending out those newsletters can tap you dry.
However, worry not, because the 60 ways below will help you.
If not, you may want to resort to harder substances.
One of the interesting things is that most ideas are generated when you relax, or when you’re in an “altered state.”
Why do you think Thomas Edison took all those naps?
With that said, let’s dive into the idea bonanza, shall we?
- Brainstorm. Also known as mind-mapping. Start with a topic you write in the middle of a piece of paper and write down related ideas. Something else I also like to do is to just start brainstorming related words and connections between words. Kind of like a form of freewriting.
- Write Your Morning Pages. In the book The Artist’s Way, the author talks about writing your morning pages, which is basically dumping your thoughts on paper each morning to clear the debris. You can also do it online at 750 words.
- Comments. Go through some of your old posts and look at the comments. You’ll inevitably see a pile of questions you can answer and expand upon. If your site is brand new, then you have my permission to visit other blogs and look at their comments.
- Email. What are some of the most common emails you get? Even if you’re new, you probably have people asking you something about your topic. Take a quick look and see what you find.
- Meditate. Sit, focus on your breathing and let your thoughts come and go. It’s not that you don’t have ideas or inspiration, it’s always there. You just have to let it in. I wrote about this here.
- Read. You know those things called books? They are amazing creativity boosters. I keep a notepad near me at all times while reading. And don’t limit yourself to books in your market. Go crazy and read something you truly enjoy. In my case it’s sci-fi.
- Focus. Instead of trying to cover everything in one article, focus on just one idea. If you have a cluster of ideas, create a series. The more focused your posts are, the easier they are to read, remember and share. Don’t overwhelm your readers. Instead, simplify.
- Twitter Search. What questions are people asking? What problems are they facing? What do they like, don’t like? What’s trending, and what’s not?
- Problems. What are some of the biggest problems your readers and customers face? What do they really struggle with that if you could help them would make a big difference in their lives? Write and solve those problems!
- Fears. What are some of the biggest fears people have in your market? What are some of your biggest fears? Maybe you could share some of your stories of how you overcome some of your initial fears or how you didn’t but are still alive?
- Movies. Take a break, and watch a movie that inspires you. Some of favorites are Rocky, Rambo and Star Wars. They don’t make movies like Rocky and Rambo anymore, although they do make Star Wars, which is cool.
- Write. Yes, write. When you get into motion, you get inspired, and ideas sometimes pop up out of nowhere. If you’re completely stuck, just write whatever comes to your mind and you’ll get warmed up in no time.
- Freewrite. There are many ways to freewrite. You can write (freely) about a specific topic, a problem, or even your lack of ideas for blog posts. Open up a document, start writing without censoring yourself and without stopping.
- Magazines. Look at magazines. Not only are they great for headline ideas, but they give you a good idea of what people want to read. You may even find something you disagree with that you can write about. You just never know.
- Exercise. Ever take a walk, jog, or swim, and come back feeling refreshed and energized? Of course you have. Ideas come when you relax, and exercise helps you do that. Plus, it’s good for you, so off you go!
- Music. There’s something magical about really good music. Listen to some Iron Maiden, Ludovico Einaudi or Dire Straits, close your eyes and enjoy. If nothing happens after you do this, you may want to check your pulse. Also, your music preferences may differ.
- Meaning. Write about what’s meaningful for you. Why do you do what you do? Why do you want to help people? Why did you start your business? Your readers and customers want to know.
- Personal Stories. What’s a personal story you can share to motivate, entertain or educate your readers? Personal stories do well, because they’re honest.
- Nature. There’s something about being out in nature. Take the time to take a stroll in the woods, or sit at a lake and listen to the birds tweet. Remember to bring something to record your ideas with (more on this below).
- Blog Archives. When I run out of ideas, I often take a look at popular blogs and their archives. I look at their post headlines and I’m instantly struck by ideas for posts of my own.
- Popular Posts. Another sneaky thing you can do is go to related blogs in your niche and look at their most popular posts. That should give you plenty of ideas. Write something with your own spin on it and watch your post fly.
- YouTube. We already spend too much time on YouTube watching cute puppies and baby sloths taking a bath. Use that time to get ideas for your blog posts. Look at some of the most popular videos, and the (intelligent) comments left on them. Anything you could expand on, or cover on your blog?
- Ask Friends. Friends have opinions. Sometimes too many. Ask them what they would like to know about your topic. Chances are many of your readers are wondering the same thing.
- Ask Mentors. If you have a mentor or a coach, ask them what’s missing in your content. Any topic you could cover that you haven’t? It’s always easier for someone to look outside in.
- Simplify. Don’t be afraid to cover the absolute basics. It doesn’t matter if others have covered the same topics, because you write from your unique perspective, and your readers want to hear from you, not from someone else.
- Search Engines. You can set up Google Alerts in your market to receive updates on new articles, or you could use the search engines to find new blogs, new ideas, and new inspiration.
- Pattern Interrupt. Do something out of the ordinary and interrupt your routine. When you’re stuck in your life, you can easily get stuck in your writing, and in your work. Do something out of the ordinary. Go skydiving, eat strawberries with butter, or enjoy a sauna.
- Focus on the Mundane. Write about something so mundane that it’s rarely covered in your niche. Think about what an absolute beginner would have trouble with.
- Yoga. Stretching relaxes your body, which relaxes your mind. When your mind is relaxed, you forget about the worries, fears and stresses of the day, and ideas happen. If you’re not into yoga, just stretch and breathe.
- Quotes. Write a post around some of your favorite quotes. Or use quotes for a list post like I did with Bruce Lee.
- Update. Revise and update some of your older posts or articles. Start with your most popular posts and articles. You could even write a follow-up to an old post that got a lot of attention. If you’re new, you can go to someone else’s blog and pretend to update one of their older posts (but don’t plagiarize, obviously).
- Repurpose. If you’ve written ebooks, recorded podcasts, or created videos, you can turn those into blog posts. There’s nothing wrong with repurposing content. In fact, most of your readers will be thankful for it, because not everyone can or wants to watch videos or listen to podcasts.
- Ask Your Readers. You know that your readers are waiting to share their opinion, right? Write an ‘Ask the Readers’ post and ask them something interesting. Make it something where you know there will be discussion.
- Passion. What makes you come alive? When you write with passion, it shines through the computer screen. People know when you’re passionate, and when you’re not. Write about something in your niche that you’re passionate about. Maybe you don’t agree on something that’s common knowledge. Let the world know!
- Drill Down. It’s easy to write in a generalized way, so go back and take a look at some of your older posts (or some popular posts from another blog) and see if you can’t drill down into one of the sub-topics covered in the post. If someone writes about 10 ways to do something, pick one of those ways and write an article about it. Go into depth and detail.
- Chunk Up. Do the opposite from drilling down and go up. Instead of diving into great detail, give readers an overview of how something works in your niche. In short, go up, up, up.
- Forums. You can eavesdrop on your potential customers in forums. Look at what questions they are asking, what answers they are getting, and how satisfied they are with those answers. Not all markets have great forums, but some do, and when they do, it’s like being in a candy store.
- Find the Intersection. Find lessons in strange places, and write posts like “What Learning a New Language Can Teach You About Online Business,” and so on. Blend together topics that spark curiosity and get people to read your articles.
- If You Could Start Over. What would you do differently if you could start over? Your readers want to hear about what you did, what you wish you did, and what you wouldn’t do again if you had the chance.
- Biggest Mistakes. What are some of the biggest mistakes you see people make in your niche? What are some of the biggest mistakes you’ve made, or make constantly? Write a blog post on some of the biggest mistakes and how to avoid them.
- How You Do Things. How do you do what you do? Believe it or not, people want to know. What does your day look like? How do you think? What do you do when problems arise?
- Things You Used to Do. What have you done in the past but no longer do? And why not? Why did you change? Dive into the small details of your own life as it relates to your market and you’ll find a treasure trove of ideas.
- Your Opinion. Share your opinion on something. Is there something that constantly bugs you in your niche? Tell people what you really think and take a stand. People want a leader who has opinions, even if they aren’t always right.
- Tools. What tools do you use? Why do you use them? Go through your favorite ones, how you found them, why you decided to use them, and what you think about them. This works well in almost every market out there.
- Review. What’s something you use that you can review? This is perfect for tools you have, and an opportunity to use an affiliate link (if appropriate) and earn some extra cash.
- Debunk Myths. What are some of the common myths and lies that you can debunk? Do people think they can get rich quick, or become an overnight success? Cover some of those myths and debunk them once and for all.
- Link Post. Link out to some of your favorite posts and articles online. Introduce your readers to some new blogs, websites and businesses. It’s hard to find good material, so even when you’re sending people away from your blog, they’ll thank you for it.
- Best Of. Write a post linking to some of your best articles. New visitors rarely go through your old posts, so linking to them from time to time ensures that your goodies don’t go unnoticed, and helps new readers realize how awesome you are.
- Negative to Positive. What’s a subject that’s constantly seen as negative? Take that subject and turn it into something positive. You don’t necessarily have to publish it, because just writing it will give your brain some exercise and get the ideas flowing.
- Analytics. Look at your analytics, that’s to say, your traffic statistics, especially the ones coming from search engines. What keywords are people using to find your site? Look for words and phrases that you haven’t yet written about. It’s an easy way to increase traffic from search engines (and satisfy more readers).
- Keyword Research. Use Google’s free keyword tool and explore some of the most popular searches relating to what you do. It’ll not only give you ideas, but help you, once again, increase traffic from search engines.
- Interview. If you’re completely dry for blog topics, even after reading this, you can always interview an expert in your market, or several experts. Get them to cover a sub-topic each in your market. It gives you great content and it gives them publicity. It’s a win-win.
- Free Coaching. Give away some free coaching or consulting to your readers. It’ll help you dive deeper into what they have trouble with and give you deeper insight. You could do this via email or via phone. Phone is better though. Don’t be shy.
- Talk to Peers. Talk to other bloggers, business owners and entrepreneurs. When you listen to the problems and struggles they face, you’ll inevitably come up with a dozen ideas of your own, guaranteed.
- Take a Shower. I prefer jumping in the sauna, but if you don’t have access to one, take a hot shower. It helps you relax, and as you may already know, a lot of people come up with their ideas in the shower. You might, too.
- Pictures. We’re used to writing a post and then finding a picture, but what would happen if you did it the other way around? Take a picture that inspires you and write about it in a way that educates your readers.
- Pay Attention. Life happens when you’re busy trying to come up with blog post topics, so pay attention what happens during the day and notice what thoughts come up. Be mindful.
- Release Fears. What stops most people writing truly great stuff is fear. They’re afraid they’ll look dumb or that someone will criticize them. Remember, the people that mind don’t matter, and the people that matter don’t mind.
- Record Your Ideas. Above all, constantly record your ideas. We’re walking idea machines, and if you aren’t capturing your ideas on your iPhone, a Dictaphone, or on a piece of paper when you get them, they’ll float off to someone else.
- Take a Nap. If all else fails, just take a short 15-30 minute nap. At times I’m so exhausted from work that I need a quick reboot. Your brain may need one, too, after reading this article and all of these tips, so treat yourself and have a nap.
Those are all the ideas I have for you today.
I recommend you take a few of the tips above and try them right away.
Tuck the rest away for a rainy day, or try a new one every day.
The more you apply what you’ve just read, the more you will internalize and make it automatic.
Share, Print & Enjoy!
To make it easier for you to print and share this article, I’ve put it into PDF format which you can download below.
Please do share it freely, because there are people out there without article ideas, and it’s our duty to help them.
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All the best,
P.S. Would you like to learn the framework I use to write blog posts that my readers enjoy? Check out my book Write Blog Posts Readers Love on Amazon.
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Lee Buck Miller says
These writing ideas are great. I’m going to print out your list and go through it and check off each method as I put it to use. Some tips I can check off now as I recognized some tips that in the past I have just happened to use naturally as I was thinking about what I want to write about. Then Boom a idea comes and I’m busy writing.
One of my recent ideas for a new blog that I will be doing came after I completed an article on my recent experience with Forgiveness for my blog. I had an awakening that opened my consciousness to a need that I can fulfill with a new blog.
Thanks for all of the great ideas that you share with your readers, including me.
Great stuff, Lee. Keep rocking!
Bob Baillargeon says
I brew a fresh pot of good English tea or a good coffee and kick my feet up for a spell. I contemplate and imagine what’s not being written on other blogs and usually kick starts a burst of ideas for future articles – it’s important to write them down before you forget; then later go back and do short outlines for those ideas.
Great stuff Henry!
Good addition, Bob!
Christine Fortin says
I am a new business owner / consultant for emerging entrepreneurs and professionals and I must say your writing gives me great inspiration. Love it. Thanks, Christine
Thanks Christine 😉
This is really REALLY helpful. I have been doing a brainstorming session every Saturday which has helped me a lot. But this list provides a whole plethora of new ways to come up with content.
My 2 favorites which, now that I think about it, help me a lot are exercising and heading out in nature. This last weekend I took a huge hike in the mountains. On that alone I thought up three different posts that I feel very good about.
I am a very new blogger and am slowly discovering the hard way that sitting down at my desk and trying to force myself come up with ideas is a really bad way to come up with content. I am bookmarking this article because I will be utilizing the many strategies presented on a regular basis.
Walking in nature is a good one.
Just don’t forget to bring a notepad or something to record your ideas with.
Wow, huge list of ideas …I like your idea about intersection posts. What is the power or function of this type of post in your opinion ? And what are the thought processes that go into creating such a post ?
I see a lot of people write stuff like “What Lord of the rings can teach you about PPC” or “Why Competing In The Eurovision Song Contest is like running an Online Business” and things like that. The titles work because they are quirky and kind of promise to be entertaining but many that I have read are a bit lame. The author thinks of a problem/s in PPC and then overlays it onto the movie. I think these sorts of posts really have to be inspired (maybe by personal experience) and can’t really be templated out.
The people that template it out and make it formulaic seem to refer to this as infotainment marketing because it teaches, informs or markets in a circuitous way which is believed to be more accessible. What’s your view on this ?
There will always be people that try to follow formulas, and it’s normal, because that’s how we learn.
First we have to suck, then we learn to do things on our own.
The best intersections are those that create a stronger bond between you and your audience. If your audience loves Star Wars, then obviously one of those posts on Star Wars would be cool, if you also love Star Wars.