I’ll clue you into a little secret. There’s no famous blogger out there who hasn’t struggled to find inspiration at one point or another. Literally everyone has days where their ideas run dry, or they’d just rather be sitting on a beach far from their laptop. Great content creators learn to find inspiration in unexpected and surprising places, regardless of whether they’re in business blogging or composing music.
This list might not guarantee that you’ll never hit feelings of burnout again, but it could help you discover ideas you didn’t even know you had the next time you’re experiencing creative exhaustion:
1. Refer to Personal Bloggers
Before business blogging existed, personal bloggers spent years publishing unique content to the web. Clive Thompson of New York Magazine estimates that the first blog was created in 1994 by a college student, even though the term wasn’t created for another 3 years. While the lines between personal and business blogging have become increasingly blurred in recent years as companies leverage independant content creators’ audiences for brand sponsorships, there’s still plenty to learn. Consider the following:
Authenticity: Personal bloggers live and die by their ability to provide an honest real-time overview of their lives. For most, there are topics that are off limits, but honesty is a true differentiating factor.
- Visual Content: Regardless of whether a bloggers’ focus is food or style, a steady stream of quality photographs is often part of the main appeal.
- Personal Relationships: Both business and personal bloggers are forced to fight to gain notice in a web that’s saturated with quality content. Most big-name bloggers have built their audience by being an active participant in other communities, doing social media extremely well, and attending every professional conference possible.
- Personal blogs gained dramatic popularity nearly a decade ago due to their honesty and reality. Strive to give your readers an equally compelling glimpse into your business.
2. Draw from Popular Media
Integrating memes, trending television shows and films, or even celebrities into your content gives you an almost unfair advantage. You don’t have to make AMC’s The Walking Dead popular, because it already is. If you’re struggling to come up with a creative way to recast your marketing automation software product, a battle against zombies may be the perfect analogy to get you feeling creative again and increase your chances of gaining meteoric social shares.
3. Take a Walk
One of the most-beloved writers of all time, Charles Dickens, was a great fan of walking well before Physicians and Scientists were aware of its health benefits. Stating “walk to be healthy, walk to be happy,” there’s probably no question that the practice also was key to his creativity and inspiration. It’s increasingly hard to unpug in our connected world, but if your Google news alerts haven’t yielded any inspiration for your business blogging, a few moments away from your screen could be key.
4. Google Trends
While Google has opted to protect much of their keyword insights in recent weeks, you can still access and utilize Google Insights for Search to develop ideas for your business blogging strategy. A quick visit to the website will reveal the concepts and ideas gaining the most attention worldwide, which you can quickly narrow to your industry with the help of a few key terms.
Metrics expert Dan Wilkerson uses this resource to find concepts to tie into his content marketing for instant and total appeal. He cautions against using any negative trends that could reflect poorly on your brand. The tool’s certainly worth a try!
5. Twitter’s Trending Topics
Is there anything that moves faster than the blogosphere? Well, actually there is - Twitter. The world’s most rapid stream of content can help you identify trending topics even before major news outlets pick up on ideas that matter:
You’ll need to sift through promoted insights and other topics that aren’t relevant to your business blogging goals, but you could be one of the first to pick up on major news stories, hot concepts, and memes that could provide inspiration and the possibility of going viral if you’re able to quickly create content around the idea.
The world’s most undderated social media network, Quora is a gathering place for the brightest minds in business to ask questions and discuss ideas that aren’t being covered adequately elsewhere. Think about that for a moment. Quora users are, by and large, incredibly savvy individuals. There’s an almost certain chance that they attempted a Google search to find answers before posing their question on the network. Become an active user of Quora for business blogging inspiration, and make a point using the website to identify questions that require content answers to gain thought leadership and improved seach engine rankings.
Also known as “the front page of the internet,” Reddit can get a bit of a bad rap among maketers. The website is known for it’s unruly members and “anything goes format,” where spammers are often quickly identified and blocked by the community. Reddit absolutely isn’t the right place to post links to your content in hopes of promotion, without joining discussions. However, it’s an incredibly smart place to find new and fresh inspiration for your business blogging. Stephen Streich of Eloqua believes that Reddit is something of an untapped resource for marketers, due to the fact that many memes and concepts gain discussion first in the “subreddit” forums.
8. Your Competitors’ Newsletters
Content creators are certainly busy people, and you may not have time to read each of your competitors’ blogs every day. That’s okay, because according to Nick Stamoulis of Brick Marketing, their email newsletter content is all you really need. Learn how to read between the lines of the marketing communications. There’s a good chance their featured content is there because it was gaining significant attention to begin with. Perhaps even more importantly, notice the topics they’re not covering so you can fill gaps in your industry.
9. Marketing Conference Twitter Streams
Even if you weren’t able to attend an important industry conference, get ahold of the event’s hashtag and monitor discussions from your office or home. The insights that event attendees are Tweeting about are being published for a reason - they’re fresh, inspiring, and have the potential to change their business blogging strategies. Read closely, and grab onto the freshest ideas for inspiration.
10. Your Competitors’ FAQs
When you’ve tapped your frontline employees for the most-common questions they receive from prospects and employees, how do you gain deeper insight and better ideas on content that’s tailored to your buyer personas? Head straight to your competitors’ websites and click on their “FAQ” pages to seek insight into the questions they receive most often. Look to see if there are any topics you can cover better, or if you notice any significant differences between the sophistication level of your respective buyers.
For more inspiration for your business blogging strategy, check out 35 Simple Blog Topic Ideas for You to Choose From!