Maintaining a blog calls for a lot of creativity. Whether you publish daily, weekly, monthly, or at random, you need to come up with things to write about. So where might those blog post ideas come from?
Well, to start off, the ideas you come up with don’t have to be original. Any blog post you write should have your own original twist, but there’s no rule that you can’t write about something that someone else has already written about. Considering how much has been written over the years, chances are there are very, very few original things left to write about, so don’t waste your time trying to hunt for one.
There are prompts of all kinds floating about in the WordPress world; just search for prompts in the WordPress Reader and you’ll see all sorts. Besides being a great source of ideas, participating in prompts can be a great way to engage with the community. Prompts can also be a way to expand your horizons and try out different forms of writing that are outside of your comfort zone.
One particular type of prompt is question prompts, where there are a series of questions for you to answer. Blog awards would fall into this category. If you see a blog award post and you like the questions, feel free to do a post answering them even if you weren’t nominated for an award (just credit and link to whoever the questions came from). The questions can be fun to answer and are a good way for your readers to get to know a little bit more about you.
It should go without saying, but plagiarism is bad. However, other people’s blog posts can be a great source of ideas. You may want to write your own take on a topic someone else wrote about, or you may want to express a different opinion on the topic. Either way, credit the other blogger for the idea and link to their post, and then go to town with your own original thoughts on the subject. Chances are the other blogger will be happy to have a link back to their post.
Another way to take advantage of other blogs as a source of ideas is to pay attention to ideas that have been briefly skimmed over in someone’s post, and do a post of your own expanding on one or more of those briefly touched on ideas. This is a good strategy if you don’t feel comfortable borrowing the main topic from someone else’s post.
Bigger sites like The Mighty (for mental health stories) have a huge number of posts, so there are plenty of potential topic ideas.
And just to be abundantly clear, borrowing a topic is not the same as borrowing (or plagiarising) a post. Say you were going to use this post as an inspiration for one of your own. Offering some different tips on where to look for ideas would work, as would giving specific examples of how you’ve adapted ideas from different places to create your own posts. Writing a post with the same headings and just rearranging some of the words I’ve used would not be okay.
Even if you want to steer clear of politics and current events, human-interest stories or stories related to the same field as your blog may be useful starting points for a blog post.
HuffPost is a great site to go scouting for blog post ideas. They’ve got a mix of current events, lifestyle, and personal experience stories, so lots of potential inspiration.
Everything under the sun seems to get discussed on social media, so it’s a great place to go for blog post ideas. It can be difficult, though, to wade through the fluff to get to some good writing topics. I actually find Pinterest quite useful; I repin onto my own boards lots of other pins I see that are of interest, and this can serve as a great place to start.
Google Trends shows you the most popular search terms people have been using over the last few days. You can also browse the most popular search terms of the year for the last few years.
Hubspot has a blog ideas generator. You enter between one and five nouns, and it will come up with five potential blog post titles for you. I’m not all that impressed with it, but it can’t hurt to try, especially if the creative well is running totally dry.
The most important point is that ideas are everywhere – you just have to keep an eye out for them. I would suggest keeping notes, whether that be online or on paper, of ideas for posts to write in the future. You never know when inspiration might strike, and generally our memories aren’t very good, so make note of it!