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Inspiration for blog posts can come in all shapes and sizes and from the unlikeliest of places.

Here are my proven ways for you to have that greater sense of achievement when you press that ‘publish’ button. I am here to make you more fulfilled and ensure what started as a commitment never becomes a, ‘I did it a couple of times in March.’

One of the biggest questions that I am asked is, ‘how do you not run out of things to write about?’ The simplest answer that I have is that I am relentlessly curious about how the world of marketing is shaping for small businesses in the mid part of this decade.

However, you may not be in marketing and that answer may not mean anything to you. Lets just cut right to the chase; you may only be here to read bold headlines and answers.

How can you create a consistent bank of original work that you can trace back to a bit of inspiration or just by digging deeper?

These are the places that have helped me write new articles every week since 19th January 2012. This is your very own route for blog inspiration.


 

Read

One of the biggest personal and professional changes for me was the moment that I started reading again.

Everything traces back to this book from Chet Holmes called The Ultimate Sales Machine (published in 2008). I picked this book up and since then reading has helped shape how I look at the world. More importantly every book I have read helps me become more creative and more strategic.

What I do is share what I have learnt and put my own interpretation on a theory into my daily life. Have a read of an article from 2013 that is simply ‘Why We Need To Read A Book’

Your Experiences

The week you experience is something that no one else can copy.

This provides the opportunity to almost create a diary of what you encounter and the people who are part of it.

No one is going to tell you that your week is wrong and whilst we are all being told to create original content, there is nothing more personal than documenting the challenges, rewards and frustrations you have. This is where your personality comes to the fore.

One of my quickest meetings to blog articles was from earlier this year when a company asked me, “Can Twitter generate an extra £150,000 per year?” This question made me think and realise the answer that I should have gave during the (wasted) meeting.

If you don’t want to read, the question made me realise that there is a new illiterate. It is our duty as businesses to adapt and continually learn.

a) Do Things b) Write About It

My whole human cannonball approach is to do things and then share what I have learnt.

I seem to have built a bank of blog articles that either link back to the Marketing Homebrew podcast, the Once Upon A Time event or the Content Revolution book.

This puts you in a position to document what you have done that no one else has achieved. This is the fingerprint that defines you and no one else.

See what I mean, it’s easy to tell someone how they need to create effective content, but even better if you can share what you have learnt by showing your own examples that doesn’t refer to Red Bull, Airbnb, Coca Cola or pulling out the Oreo Cookie ad.

Google Alerts

If we’re getting a bit into the Marketing 101 and travelling down the safe marketing path, setting up Google Alerts for your industry can uncover some hidden gems.

Here is an example that this works. When recommending this for a commercial interior company, you have to see beyond the ‘contract awarded to key word for $50m’ or the ‘how name of person transformed key word into a multi million business.’

The ability to share and comment on something that brings everyone together becomes content gold. Something still related to the commercial interior world, but from a different angle within Google Alerts becomes an opportunity to comment on the world’s first character branded colour, Minion yellow.

Your Passions

Nothing flows easier than believing in something and standing vehemently beside it.

This is what drives your enthusiasm. What you started (or starting) doing has to be more than, ‘I am doing this to make more money than the job I previously did.’ There has to be a reason and a purpose for what you are pursuing.

The thing that ignites my spark is the ability for businesses to persistently create something with limited barriers to entry. Companies now have the ability to build an audience that they have complete control of, what a fantastic opportunity for all of us. When looking over the blog topics, the majority of my articles are centred on businesses marketing as though it’s 2015 and owning what is theirs.

If you haven’t yet read The Content Revolution, download the opening section by clicking here that explains the situation we are in today and the opportunity it presents your business (no need for you email address, just download the PDF).

Categorising Notes

I know that I have lost hundreds of great ideas over the years believing that I would remember them. Trust me, you won’t remember them.

I started using ‘Notes’ on my Mac and iPhone, but now everything is synced via Evernote into categories. This could be links for articles that I need to read (but haven’t got round to), to noting ideas that come into my head, through to pages from books that introduce an interesting thought process.

Embrace Analytics

Looking back at what you have created and how it resonates with others is important to finding a thread to what can progress into a much more substantial topic piece.

Have a look within Google Analytics – Behaviour – Overview to see which pages and articles resonate and what doesn’t. For instance, my thread at the moment could potentially build momentum into a finely crafted sweater. The thread is based on the role an owned media approach has for business and what you have to consider for it to work.

I promise you that if you haven’t done this yet appraise where you are. If you have spent hours crafting the ‘About Us’ page, no one is bothered anymore.

Repurpose What Has Been Done

I have always stated that when I started blogging I was rubbish.

There was no theme to progress and was a stereotypical business related blog that had no individuality ie. how to be good at speaking, making Twitter work. They were pretty flat and done everywhere else. However, what I noticed was that there were seeds from earlier articles that could be progressed into more substantial work.

This fits the belief that we are always looking for the next idea, when we need to take stock of what we have already created and look at new ways to develop. Lets not get so fixated on creation, but curation of what you have uncovered that hasn’t been said elsewhere.

The Power Of Asking

If you are inquisitive about your industry, the channels that are available today lets you reach out in ways that you have never been able to before.

All it takes is to ask and for others to recognise that you are pursuing something that is far greater than expecting someone to tweet a link once they have contributed. This is how I have created my ongoing Talking Content Marketing series, since November 2013. This is intended to show a snapshot of where marketing is in the mid part of this decade and bring in the voices of authors and influencers from within the marketing industry.

A good space to ask and to also use as your content curation hub is Quora. This is an endless space of questions and debate. Who knows maybe an answer someone provides either becomes a contributor to your next article or the topic idea for your next post?

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Friends & Other Conversations

I don’t want to go all soft and twee on you by saying ‘friends’, but you never know where a throwaway comment from someone else can end up.

For instance, I have an article on Mark Schaefer’s {Grow} blog, titled, “No One Cares What You Know, Until They Know You Care.” Little did I know that this was a quote from former US President, Theodore Roosevelt, but that’s not the point.

What matters is that this statement was mentioned by a friend one evening over a beer and I took it from there.

It planted a seed for me to understand that to become a valuable resource to others you have to invest time, learning and understand how you can be of use to others.

Be Lazy (the cheat)

I’m not endorsing this 100% (as this article is about digging deep) but if you find yourself looking at a blank screen, don’t feel like signing up to anything and a quick tool to give that momentum, there are two places that I recommend.

Hubspot’s Blog Topic Generator

All you need to do is enter three words and the end result is a spark to ignite your writing.

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Portent’s Content Idea Generator

Sometimes you just need to throw in your topic area and see what comes back at you (guarantee that you’ll keep clicking to see what ideas are thrown at you)

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The sources for ideas and inspiration are all around you (don’t forget your in-box too).

I am sure that I have missed places that have possibly helped you. If I have, let me know or comment below. People are generating the momentum for something that they haven’t done before. When it comes to finding topics to write about, as you can see, there is an abundance of places. I can’t buy into the ‘but we have nothing to write about!’ lame excuse. I hope these are helpful to you.

Image at the top courtesy of Julija

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