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21 Ways to Develop Fresh Content Ideas for Your Blog

21 Ways to Develop Fresh Content Ideas for Your Blog

Writer’s block can strike without warning, whether you’re a newbie or a seasoned blogger, and when you’re confronting a blank page and a fast-approaching deadline it’s easy to get disheartened.

But don’t panic—here are 20 ways to rekindle your mojo and start wowing readers with your awesome content.

1. Survey your readers.

There are a few easy ways to do this: you can use a tool like Survey Monkey, or ask a question on Facebook or Twitter. Alternatively, if you have an auto-responder system set up, invite new subscribers to reply and tell you what they’re struggling with or what questions they’d like to ask. The more you engage with your readers, the easier it will be to create content they want to read and share.

2. Create a challenge.

Are you a health coach? Challenge your readers to run 20km a week or quit sugar for a month. A financial advisor? How about 3 months to a healthier bank balance? Each week, provide your readers with tips and inspiration to help them achieve their goals.

3. Get yourself on Pinterest.

This site is full of photos, posts, and inspirational quotes that are bound to get your creativity flowing again. It’s a fantastic hunting ground for ideas, especially if you’re a food, lifestyle, travel, or fashion blogger. Check out the kinds of content people are re-pinning and commenting on, but make sure you give yourself a time limit; this site can be addictive!

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4. Whom do you admire?

Write a post about them and the reasons you find them so inspiring. You don’t have to make it about one person, either—you can create a whole list of people whom you find inspirational. A great example of this is Nicole Antoinette’s 100 Lunches Project; her quest to have lunch with 100 people she admires before her 30th birthday.

5. Watch movies, attend concerts, live a little.

I’ve read some great blog posts inspired by movies like Moneyball or performers like Lady Gaga and Adele. Inspiration is everywhere if you take the time to look, and time away from the office will stimulate your mind and reboot your creativity, especially if you feel burned out (which let’s face it, is when blogger’s block tends to strike).

6. Write a love letter to your readers (seriously!)

You don’t have to go overboard, but tell them how much you value their loyalty and feedback. Offer them a freebie. This could be something simple like an eBook you’ve written or a free consultation. Make them feel appreciated and inspired to engage with you.

7. Make a list of frequently asked questions.

Which questions are you asked repeatedly by clients, readers, or potential customers? Make a list and answer them one by one on your blog, providing examples to illustrate your point, or write up a couple of case studies.

8. Who are your readers, and what are they most concerned about?

If you’re not sure who your readers are yet, think about who you want them to be, and create content that’s very specific to that audience. For example, say you’re a careers coach and you want to attract people who have recently been retrenched; you could write a post entitled “7 tips for getting back into the workforce after redundancy”.

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9. Interview experts and bloggers in your industry.

Who would your readers be interested in hearing from? If you’re a fashion retailer, you could interview a stylist. Or how about your favorite author, online entrepreneur, or blogger? You can record your interviews, turn them into podcasts and publish them on iTunes, which is another great way to drive traffic to your blog!

10. Write a personal story.

Make it relevant and honest. Are you a relationship coach? Write about how you dealt with a relationship drama in the past. An online entrepreneur? Maybe you’ve made mistakes others could learn from. Turn your past struggles into inspirational blog posts that resonate with your audience.

11. Visit your Linked in or Facebook groups.

Check discussion threads. What are people talking about? What questions do they have? What could they use more information on?

12. Create a tutorial that’s mind-blowingly useful.

What do others struggle with that you find easy? What have you learned through trial and error that your readers would find valuable? Highlight your expertise. Pat Flynn’s Podcast Tutorial is a great example of this. Make your tutorial simple to follow and offer actionable tips.

13. Write a list post that offers solutions to a common problem.

Like this one. Other examples include: 11 Actions You Can Take Today That Will Drastically Improve Your Health and 5 Tips to Stay Ultra Productive at Work.

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14. Pay attention to your blog comments.

Be sure to check the comments on other popular blogs in your industry in addition to your own, and take note of the kinds of problems and concerns people are sharing. This is a great way to take the pulse of your audience and find out what’s really bugging them.

15. Hone your observational skills.

Once you start paying attention, you’ll find great blog ideas everywhere. Maybe it’s the way online orders from your favorite boutique are always packaged so beautifully, or the amazing service you received at that new restaurant on Friday night. Real life stories are blogging gold.

16. What do people always ask for your help with?

What advice do you find yourself repeating? It may be something you take for granted, but sharing your wisdom could mean a lot to your readers.

17. Read magazines and newspapers.

Check what’s trending and look out for stories that tie in with your topic. Maybe there’s a new angle you can develop on a current news event? Magazine headlines also come in handy when you need inspiration to come up with a catchy blog post title.

18. What bugs you about your topic or industry?

What are you itching to do something about? Get it off your chest, have a rant (just don’t get too whiney) and put your opinions out there.

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19. Revisit your archives.

If your audience has grown since you first started your blog, it might be time to introduce them to some of your old content. Don’t let your archives languish unread (they’re too good for that, right?). You could put a new spin on an old post or simply republish a piece your readers enjoyed first time around.

20. Write a review.

I don’t know about you, but I always Google a product before I buy, so why not review a product or book for your readers? It could be anything from the latest marketing book everyone’s talking about to a cool new gadget or productivity tool.

21. Become an expert content curator.

Search for interesting content around the web to share with your readers. Who has time to trawl the internet for articles every day? Become a go-to resource, and try to include posts that your readers haven’t seen a million times already.

I hope these tips help to get your ideas flowing again.

Do you have any tips to add to the list?

If you’re still stuck you can read more about How to Work Through Blog Burnout.

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Last Updated on March 30, 2020

How to Mind Map to Visualize Your Thoughts (With Mind Map Examples)

How to Mind Map to Visualize Your Thoughts (With Mind Map Examples)

Traditionally, when you have a lot of ideas in your mind, you would create a text document, or take a sheet of paper and start writing in a linear fashion like this:

  • Intro to Visual Facilitation
    • Problem, Consequences, Solution, Benefits, Examples, Call to action
  • Structure
    • Why, What, How to, What If
  • Do It Myself?
    • Audio, Images, time-consuming, less expensive
  • Specialize Offering?
    • Built to Sell (Standard Product Offering), Options (Solving problems, Online calls, Dev projects)

This type of document quickly becomes overwhelming. It obviously lacks in clarity. It also makes it hard for you to get a full picture at a glance and see what is missing.

You always have too much information to look at, and most often you only get a partial view of the information. It’s hard to zoom out, figuratively, and to see the whole hierarchy and how everything is connected.

To see a fuller picture, create a mind map.

What Is a Mind Map?

A mind map is a simple hierarchical radial diagram. In other words, you organize your thoughts around a central idea. This technique is especially useful whenever you need to “dump your brain”, or develop an idea, a project (for example, a new product or service), a problem, a solution, etc. By capturing what you have in your head, you make space for other thoughts.

In this article, we are focusing on the basics: mind mapping using pen and paper.

The objective of a mind map is to clearly visualize all your thoughts and ideas before your eyes. Don’t complicate a mind map with too many colors or distractions. Use different colors only when they serve a purpose. Always keep a mind map simple and easy to follow.

    Image Credit: English Central

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    By following the three next steps below, you will be able to create such mind maps easily and quickly.

    3 Simple Steps to Create a Mind Map

    The three steps are:

    1. Set a central topic
    2. Add branches of related ideas
    3. Add sub-branches for more relevant ideas

    Let’s take a look at an example Verbal To Visual illustrates on the benefits of mind mapping.[1]

    Step 1 : Set a Central Topic

    Take a blank sheet of paper, write down the topic you’ve been thinking about: a problem, a decision to make, an idea to develop, or a project to clarify.

    Word it in a clear and concise manner.

      What is the first idea that comes to mind when you think of the subject for your mind map? Draw a line (straight or curved) from the central topic, and write down that idea.

        Step 3 : Add Sub-Branches for More Relevant Ideas

        Then, what does that idea make you think of? What is related to it? List it out next to it in the same way, using your pen.

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          You can always add more to it later, but that’s good for now.

          In our example, we could detail the sub-branch “Benefits” by listing those benefits in sub-branches of the branch “Benefits”. Unfortunately, we already reached the side of the sheet, so we’re out of space to do so. You could always draw a line to a white space on the page and list them there, but it’s awkward.

          Since we created this mind map on a regular letter-format sheet of paper, the quantity of information that fits in there is very limited. That is one of the main reasons why I recommend that you use software rather than pen and paper for most of the mind mapping that you do.

          Repeat Step 2 and Step 3

          Repeat steps 2 and 3 as many times as you need to flush out all of your ideas around the topic that you chose.

            I added first-level (main) branches around the central topic mostly in a clockwise fashion, from top-right to top-left. That is how, by convention, a mind map is read.

            In the next section, we are covering the three strategies to building your maps.  

            Mind Map Examples to Illustrate Mind Mapping

            You can go about creating a mind map in various ways:

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            • Branch by Branch: Adding whole branches (with all of their sub-branches), one by one.
            • Level by Level: Adding elements to the map, one level at a time. That means that firstly, you add elements around the central topic (main branches). Then, you add sub-branches to those main branches. And so on.
            • Free-Flow: Adding elements to your mind map as they come to you, in no particular order.

            Branch by Branch

            Start with the central topic, add a first branch. Focus on that branch and detail it as much as you can by adding all the sub-branches that you can think of.

              Then develop ideas branch by branch.

                A branch after another, and the mind map is complete.

                  Level by Level

                  In this “Level by Level” strategy, you first add all the elements that you can think of around the central topic, one level deep only. So here you add elements on level 1:

                    Then, go over each branch and add the immediate sub-branches (one level only). This is level 2:

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                      Idem for the next level. This is level 3. You can have as many levels as you want in a mind map. In our example, we only have 3 levels. Now the map is complete:

                        Free-Flow

                        Basically, a free flow strategy of mind mapping is to add main branches and sub-topics freely. No rules to restrict how ideas should flow in the mind map. The only thing to pay attention to is that you need to be careful about the level of the ideas you’re adding to the mind map — is it a main topic, or is it a subtopic?

                          I recommend using a combination of the “Branch by Branch” and the “Free-Flow” strategies.

                          What I normally do is I add one branch at a time, and later on review the mind map and add elements in various places to finish it. I also sometimes build level 1 (the main branches) first, then use a “Branch by Branch” approach, and later finish the map in a “Free-Flow” manner.

                          Try each strategy and combinations of strategies, and see what works best for you.

                          The Bottom Line

                          When you’re feeling stuck or when you’re just starting to think about a particular idea or project, take out a paper and start to brain dump your ideas and create a mind map. Mind mapping has the magic to clear your head and have your thoughts organized.

                          If you can’t always have access to a paper and pen, don’t worry! Creating a mind map with software is very effective and you get none of the drawbacks of pen and paper. You can also apply the above steps and strategies just the same when using a mind mapping tool on the phone and computer.

                          More Tools to Help You Organize Thoughts

                          Featured photo credit: Alvaro Reyes via unsplash.com

                          Reference

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