Even the most prolific writers are sometimes caught with nothing to share when trying to generate regular content for a blog. Most writers have tricks and tactics they when they need inspiration. Here are some tips on where to find content ideas from our friends at The Daily SEO Blog, at SEO MOZ.
In order to remain in their audience’s good graces, bloggers need great posts – and that means they need great ideas. SEOmoz has produced an average of more than 2 unique posts each day for the last couple years (~1500 posts over ~740 days) – but it’s no easy task. Sometimes ideas for content come to you and it feels as though you can’t write enough. Other days, you have to force yourself to find meaningful content. After you’ve built an audience, the responsibility becomes even heavier – you’ve created expectations that must be fulfilled.
Even the most experienced blogger can feel overwhelmed sometimes when sitting down to write a post. Personally, when I’m stuck in a rut for content ideas, the following web tools have helped me get the juices flowing:
- Usenet / GG Groups – http://groups.google.com/
The discussions that take place at Google Groups bring diverse perspectives and have a significant history to draw upon. On occassion, I’ll search for a specific topic, but more often, I’m simply browsing through the SEO, search engines or Google specific groups.
Among all the tools listed here, Technorati is possibly the best for researching the most current topics or thoughts on the web. Their rankings of blog posts by date means that even a basic search for SEO or AdSense or NFL will bring up highly relevant, timely posts. Sometimes, these posts spark debate or disagreement, other times, they open up a whole new idea for information to be shared. Their latest feature – hot tags this hour (on the tags page) – can also be a source of inspiration.
When I visit Craigslist for blog ideas, I almost always refer to three sections – jobs, services and the discussion section. You can see a sample search for SEO at all three – 1, 2, 3. Craigslist, like Technorati, is up-to-date, but it’s a less tech-savvy and often more “average joe” crowd, which can make for an interesting dichotomy. Changing towns and search terms will get you even more material. (BTW – If you’ve ever wondered where the SEO spammers and scammers live, it’s right here)
Del.icio.us’ popular page has become so well read that it’s no longer a great source for unique topics. The specific tag pages, however, function much like Technorati, in that they provide timely links to pages that people have bookmarked. Pages like those for SEO, Google, Web2.0, business and even economics frequently features blog-worthy material I can leverage.
The best way to use StumbleUpon is to follow their Discover page and use the “tag” option in the toolbar. Stumblers often have a preference for humor and the absurd, but nothing says that can’t make for good blog inspiration.
- Google / Yahoo! News
The news services from Google & Yahoo! provide access to tens of thousands of press releases and news articles every day. Search is the best way to go, although I’ve also been known to use the tech tab at Yahoo! and Google’s Sci/Tech section, too.
- Keyword Tools
If you’re seeking a direct path to what users want to find on your blog, searching for potential topics broadly at tools like Overture, MSN AdCenter, SEOBook’s & Digitalpoint’s makes it easy. The insight you can achieve is invaluable – despite the inaccuracy of the numbers, the number of questions I’ve found that need answering by searching for “keyword” or “google ranking” or “search engine” suggests a treasure trove waiting to be uncovered.
The obvious choice here is to look only at the articles, but I find that many times the discussion can be equally interesting. The search function is the best way to go, as the categorization structure isn’t very user-friendly, yet.
- Digg & Reddit
Both sites take user submissions and user votes, and both are best referenced using a search. You can sort by category at Digg (i.e. tech industry news or business & finance) and use several subreddits (though these are not great). The better option is to search.
- Yahoo! Answers
Like Google Groups, but with a better interface, and oftentimes more mainstream questions, Yahoo! Answers is a feedbag for the content-hungry blogger. I like using the Internet category as well as searching (i.e. SEO, Google ranking, etc.)
Give these ideas a try and see what they do for you. Oh, and let us know what you think.