It’s amazing to me how the weather can swing from one extreme to the other so quickly here. As I was out walking this morning I was thinking it might have been nice to have put on a jacket. Just you wait. It won’t be long before I’m complaining about just that thing: so chilly I have to wear a jacket.
You may discover, too, that once you’ve made the decision to write blog posts on a more regular basis or publish an ezine on a regular schedule, that you run hot and cold, too, especially when it comes to deciding what to write about.
It’s the number one thing I hear that stops people from publishing an ezine or committing to a blog writing schedule: thinking you don’t have enough to write about.
So I thought I’d share a few ideas with you about how I come up with ideas for what to write about for this ezine and at my blog and that this would help you come up with ideas, too.
Keep in mind that first and foremost, you must understand who is reading your stuff or who you want reading your stuff. It’s the old “know thy audience” admonition.
And truthfully, I could probably sum all of this up by just telling you to go read stuff. I find that I’m always running across an anecdote or a quote or some idea expressed in something I’m reading that gives me an idea for my own take on the same or a similar subject.
Oh, and before I forget, make sure you always have something handy to write on when you get an idea. If you’re anything like me at all you think you’ll remember but then you don’t. Happens to me all the time.
Just remember, too, if you carry around a little notebook in your pocket, be sure to take it out of your pocket before you wash your clothes. That little tidbit of advice comes courtesy of a recent experience. (Need I say more?)
Read magazines. You can find a wealth of article and blog ideas in magazines. What kind of magazines do you and your prospects and your clients read?
If you’re a life coach like I am, take a look at magazines like Woman’s World. They feature little sidebar type items like “7 Days of Inspiration” where you could write something based on an item from their list like this one featured recently — You do some good every single day.
Doesn’t that spark some idea that you could expand into a whole article?
On the other hand, as a business coach, I’m an avid reader of business-related magazines like SUCCESS, Inc., Entrepreneur, etc. and something always sparks an idea that I can expand upon.
Listen to interviews and podcasts. This is a great way to pick up anecdotes and quotations from people that you can either quote in your article or expand into something new related to their topic of expertise.
Read books. Even novels. I’m amazed at the ideas I get from reading books of all kinds. Because my focus is on my life and business coaching practice, my best ideas generally get sparked when I’m reading something that is either business-related or in the area of personal development.
Watch a movie or a TV show. I was recently watching a movie in a theater when I heard something I wanted to remember. I knew I’d forget it before the movie was over so I very stealthily turned my phone back on and wrote myself a note. Luckily, no one shouted at me.
You can very often find an analogy or an idea that will jump out at you that you can, in turn, write about later.
Read other people’s blogs, ezines, and newsletters. And not necessarily in your same industry.
A great exercise is to go to your local public library and peruse magazines that are not related to your business or industry. Read about what other folks are saying and doing in their fields for inspirational ideas you can translate to your own field.
The same is true of blogs, ezines, and newsletters. Subscribe to a few that aren’t in your regular purview to see what topics they are writing about. That’ll likely spark some ideas of your own.
Watch the news and read your local paper. I know, I know. It seems that the news these days is nothing short of depressing, especially if you watch local news or read your local paper, but you may run across something you can share with your tribe that they would find interesting.
One of our favorite “news” shows on TV is CBS Sunday Morning. It’s mostly feel good stuff, and the interviews they have with notable people are worth watching. I’ve gotten lots of ideas for articles I’ve written from watching this program. (It might make you cry from time to time but in a good way.)
Pay attention to the world around you. There’s so much happening all around you at all times that article ideas are just there for the plucking.
The other night I saw the International Space Station flying overhead and it was quite a thrill for me. I’ve been a “space junkie” since I was a little boy living close enough to see rocket launches from Cape Canaveral from my childhood home. I’m sure I’ll be writing about that soon although right now I have no idea what I’ll be saying or what I’ll relate it to.
But it’s written down on a 3×5 card that I keep for just those purposes, so I’ll remember that I want to write something about it one day.
Share a secret about yourself. I’ve been accused of sharing too much about myself sometimes but doing so really humanizes you. Getting a little personal about yourself helps people relate to you as one human to another and tends to build relationships and trust.
Just keep in mind that there are some things you should never share publicly, especially to a business audience or clients, but sharing about mistakes you’ve made or struggles you’ve had will go a long way to solidifying your relationship with your readers.
Anecdotes from your own life. This goes along with sharing something personal but any time you can relate something to your audience that has happened to you, the more interesting you become. The operational word there is “relate” as your readers will often discover what they share in common with you.
I tend to talk about my grandson from time to time and the lessons he teaches me or share things my father said to me over the years, or things that happen in my day-to-day life. I especially had lots to share when we were living and traveling full-time in our RV.
My goodness! I could go on and on but hopefully by now you are getting the idea. Ideas for articles and blog posts are all around you if you just pay attention.
The real key is in training yourself to be tuned in to whatever is happening around you — including things you are reading and watching — and to capture those sparks of ideas that will surely jump out if you’re paying attention.
Where do you find inspiration for articles and blog posts? Please share your ideas in the comments section below. Thanks!
And by the way, if you’re challenged with getting an ezine started or in getting an email marketing program off the ground, I’m available to help. You might be interested in my 4×4 Mentoring Program. It’s an affordable way to concentrate on a specific project or issue you’re facing in your business so you can stop thinking about it and start implementing it! Discover more here.