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Blog Post Ideas: 5 Blog Topic Tips to Help You Create Unique Content


blog topic tips Recently, I was asked an interesting question:

How do you consistently come up with blog post ideas and maintain a high quality?

I’ve written over 750 posts for this blog alone, not counting the post I’ve written for other clients and my own blogs. So how do I keep the blog ideas rolling? And more important, how do I ensure that I’m producing unique content, not just boring, unoriginal content you can find on any number of other blogs?

1. Blog Topics and Formulas

Wait…how can you come up with topic ideas that are unique and interesting if you use a formula? Believe it or not, you can! Instead of a traditional blog post formula, however, look to other forms of media for formulas that are super successful and adjust them to your needs. For example, I wrote about 10 Movie Plots That Can Help You Write Better Blog Posts. Look at formulas used by television shows, newsletters, magazines, speech writers, etc. They’re successful for a reason!

2. Getting Inspired

Sometimes, you just have to get the creative juices going a bit. If you’re feeling blocked, here are 12 Places to Find Inspiration for Your Next Blog Post.

3. One Post or Many Posts?

If you write a 1,000-word post that can be split into a two-parter, you’ve essentially done double the amount of work in the same amount of time. Not every post (even long posts) lend themselves to becoming two posts, but look at everything you write with a critical eye. Is your message getting watered down because you’re trying to cover too much at once?

You can even use your initial post idea as the jumping off point for a series.

4. Blog Topics at All Eduction Levels

When you brainstorm a list of blog topic ideas, you’re really brainstorming a double list, because you could write both a beginner-level and advanced-level post for each topic. This is also a great strategy to help you link internally more often.

5. Stay Organized and Passionate: The Blog Ideas Will Flow!

My biggest tip, at least if you’re someone who thrives on organization, is to keep a close handle on your editorial calendar and work schedule. For me, not keep regular working hours in the past led to an inability to come up with great ideas, in part because I lost my passion for the topic. So, even though I could sleep until noon if I want, I now work a semi-normal 9-5 schedule and really remain committed to the craft. My mind is more focused, so I’m able to come up with unique content ideas on a regular basis.

How do you come up with unique content ideas for your blog? Share with a comment!

Image Credit: Bigstock

5 Ways To Generate Content Topics


As I coach talent, people often ask me, “Where do I find good topics?” It’s often a struggle of new talent and veterans alike.

Creating an entertaining podcast show after show, week after week, is a challenge (and the tips below can apply to blogs and video episodes, too!). You need to find a topic that holds your interest. Your topic must also be attractive to your audience. Finally, you need to present it in a way that is engaging. Every topic, every time. Even the most seasoned talent run into a sort of writer’s block from time to time.

When you hit a wall and have no topic readily at hand, where do you turn? How do you get past the block to create engaging entertainment? Where does the next captivating topic originate?

There are five primary methods I teach my clients to get past the topic block. These five questions will help you find quality topics for your show. If you take a few minutes before each episode to brainstorm these questions, you will have plenty of material for your show.

The key to each of these questions is awareness. Be aware when events, comments and ideas throughout your day capture your attention. If you are interested in something, you can usually deliver it in a way that will be interesting to your audience.

Keep these questions in your mind as you go through your day. I would also suggest you keep a little notebook in your pocket to jot down ideas. You never know when the next interesting topic might pop up.

1. What daily happenings capture my attention?

Things are happening all around you everyday. You may find yourself wondering why things happen like they do. Something might spark a laugh. You might learn something new. All of these things can lead to great topics. Be aware.

Jot down people you meet, things you see and ideas you learn that capture your attention. It is possible to turn it all into great topics.

2. What has happened in my past that created vivid memories?

You have tremendous experience in your field. That is why you create your podcast in the first place. Put it to work.

What are the things in your past that generate clear memories? Remember, many listeners that are learning from you are staring at the very beginning. They are in the same place you were when you began years ago. Help them learn.

Even if your listeners already know the information, your podcast will serve as a refresher course. Be confident in your material. Deliver it with passion, and your listeners will love you.

3. What articles have caputure your attention?

Read many articles from a variety of industries. Your topic ideas won’t always come from information within your field. Simply look for statements within the article that pique your interest.

Read with a highlighter. Whenever you come across a word, phrase or sentence that captures your attention, highlight it. When you’re done with the article, scan the highlighted parts for the most interesting one or two. Use that word, phrase or sentence to begin brainstorming. You never know where it may lead.

Let’s say you read an article about the correlation between the location of churches and bars. As you highlight the article, you highlight a phrase where a local councilman wants to pass an ordinance to keep bars at least 500 yards from any church. Your podcast is about hockey. How do we make the link to a great topic?

When you begin brainstorming, your thoughts will lead in many directions. Within your freeform writing as you are considering new laws, you write, “People are always looking to change the rules of the game. Are more rules really good for the growth of the sport?”

Suddenly, you’ve gone from church and liquor to the rules of hockey. You now have a great topic. Topics can come from anywhere.

4. What conversations have you had today that were truly engaging?

If a conversation engaged both you and your counterpart, there is a good chance it will also engage your audience.

Conversations tend to wander in many directions. You might start discussing the news of the day. That may lead the discussion into a movie you want to see. Suddenly, you’re discussing classic leading men. Any part of the discussion might lead to a good topic. You simply need to be aware of the parts of the discussion that are most interesting.

5. What questions are people in your industry asking?

You can find questions on a daily basis even if you aren’t regularly talking to people. The internet is your friend. Search the discussion boards to find the questions.

Help those in your industry solve their problems. You don’t need to answer the question verbatim. Let the question lead you to great topics.

If you find a question interesting, but not completely engaging, rephrase it. Mold the question a bit until it becomes an entertaining topic. It doesn’t matter that the question is not exact. It only matters that it is compelling.

When your listeners e-mail questions to you, answer the question as it is stated and give credit to the individual that asked. If you feel the need to change the question to make it more engaging, briefly answer the original question, then move on to the rephrased version. Say something such as, “Yes, it is possible to do that. However, the more important question is ‘should you do that?’”.

Brainstorm your notes

Great topics can originate in many places. The topic might not jump out at first. However, you can brainstorm the topic until it becomes engaging.

If you get curious about something, there is a good chance your audience might be just as curious. Jot down things that strike your interest as they happen in daily life. Then, brainstorm a bit to really flush out the idea.

As you write, let your thoughts flow. Don’t critique.  Simply write.  Let the ideas flow to the paper.

You may start writing about your experience at a restaurant and by the end of your brainstorm wonder why we learn calculus. That’s ok. You simply want to find the most interesting topic related to your podcast. It doesn’t necessarily need to have any relationship to your original observation. Your topic only needs to be interesting.

Be aware of all that happens around you. That next great topic could come from anywhere. You’ll miss it unless you are looking.

Keep a notepad in your pocket. Write down everything that captures your imagination. Take ten minutes before your podcast to brainstorm your topic. You will get past the podcast topic block and create engaging entertainment with your content.

Overheard on #Blogchat: Controversy (@hugmeup)


With all the BlogWorld Expo work I’ve been doing, I haven’t had time for Overheard on #Blogchat for a few weeks. Glad to be back this week!

Do you participate in #blogchat? Every week, this weekly discussion on Twitter focuses on a specific topic and bloggers everywhere are invited to join in. Because I often have more to say than what will fit in 140 characters, every Sunday night, I post about some of the most interesting #blogchat tweets. Join the conversation by commenting below.

(Still confused? Read more about #blogchat here.)

This week’s theme: Generating interest in your NEW blog

While at BlogWorld Expo 2010, Chris Garrett and Darren Rowse both mentioned that polarizing topics on your blog can help drive traffic. On tonight’s #blogchat, a similar topic was mentioned.

hugmeup: I’ve noticed that controversial topics gain a lot of interest quickly

Controversy can definitely be good for your traffic. But is it good for your blog? Consider the following:

  • Is the topic going to pit your readers against you?

Chris and Darren talked about polarizing topics, but that’s not necessarily the same as controversy. Polarizing is controversial, but the opposite isn’t always true. If you have a political blog and talk about pro choice versus pro life, that’s a polarizing topic. If you say that you support killing babies, you’re not going to get support from any of your readers – that’s just controversial. It’s not that I think you shouldn’t speak your mind, but if you’re trying to foster community, you don’t want to pit yourself against your audience.

  • Do you know the facts?

If you’re going to get controversial, make sure you have the facts straight. Trust me; on the Internet, if you’re wrong or even incomplete in the information you present, your readers will let you know. And most of them aren’t very nice about it. Cite as many sources as possible and think ahead to the debates you’ll have to face so you’re prepared to defend your position.

  • Are you controversial for controversy’s sake?

Posting something controversial can drive a lot of traffic, but if that’s your sole motivation, you’re not doing anything good for your blog. Believe in what you post. Otherwise, you’re not providing quality to readers, and eventually, they’ll figure out that you’re a fake.

  • Is the topic relevant to readers?

A few months ago, the WordPress/Thesis debate was definitely a controversial topic that many blogs covered, including this one. But did I post about it on the video game blog I manage? Nope. Sure, some of our readers might be interested, but does it make sense to further our blog? Not at all. If you’re really passionate about a controversial topic that doesn’t exactly fit your blog, think about guest posting instead! You’ll still drive some traffic to your site, but you can write something for a more relevant audience.

I’m someone who doesn’t shy away from controversy. Often, what I post here and on my other blogs is in direct conflict of the popular opinion. Do I do it for the traffic? I’d be lying if I said that it doesn’t cross my mind. Strong opinions are usually extremely good for traffic, and that’s definitely something you should take into consideration. Just make sure that your controversial posts have a purpose beyond cheap hits. Otherwise, the traffic spike will be just that – a spike, not sustained traffic.

Is Your Blog a Drunken Sorority Sister?


Having a big personality can actually work to your advantage if you’re a blogger. Wallflowers have a hard time standing out in any niche, both online and at conferences like BlogWorld. For some bloggers, though, it’s a fine line between being a blogger with presence…and the drunken sorority sister.

We’ve all seen them – the girls at the party who’ve had just a little too much to drink. They’re saying things that are outrageous, they’re taking off their tops, they’re making out with guys in a dark corner, they’re jumping in the pool…and they’re throwing up in the bathroom. If you’ve never seen anything like this, just watch an episode or two of Jersey Shore.

Worst of all, they’re laughing and having fun, thinking that they look sexy and cool…but in reality almost everyone else is embarrassed on their behalf.

The blog equivalent to this involves less puke (hopefully…though I’ve seen some bloggers who’ve had too much at conferences, so it can be a problem). The result is the same, though. You’re being outrageous and think you’re cool, but everyone else is just embarrassed on your behalf. This comes from not being able to reel in your personality to give readers a composed, thoughtful version of you.

This manifests itself in a number of ways:

  • You write posts about things that you really care about, but which have no relevance to your niche, leaving your audience saying, “Um…what was that?”
  • You get involved with some kind of blogging feud, not posting your opinion, but posting something that turns into a back and forth routed in name calling or false statements, not fact or logic.
  • You get defensive about a comment because you’re unable to take the criticism and grow as a blogger.
  • You ramble, getting way off topic and never actually coming to a clear point in your post, but rather just ranting or raving about the topic.

As you can see, there’s one common factor in the ways your drunken sorority sister blogging personality can come out – emotion.

Emotion is a good thing. I personally believe that the best blogs out there, regardless of niche, are ones written by people who are emotionally invested in their topics. There’s a fine line, though. When you find yourself getting emotional, it’s easy to write posts or leave comments that don’t show yourself in the best light.

So what can you do to find the strength to write about emotional topics without making a fool of yourself?

  • Outline your posts. Have an intro, some supporting paragraphs, and a conclusion. This will help you stay on topic. Remember, you don’t have to post about every single thought you have relating to the topic. You can do multiple posts or address issues at a later time. Focus on a specific point you want to make and edit out anything that doesn’t fit.
  • Write a post, but wait a day before hitting the publish button. Sometimes, something that makes us really emotional in the moment isn’t as big of a deal when we go back and think about it at a later date. Tap into your emotions while they are happening, but reread your post the next day to ensure you’re saying what you want to say in a classy, dignified way.
  • Ask a friend to read your post. I’ve done this multiple times in the past, to ensure that what I’m saying is clear without being too offensive. When you’re dealing with a topic that you’re passionate about, offending people is bound to happen, but you don’t want to do so because what you’re saying is unclear or mean.
  • Do your research. One of the biggest mistakes you can make is posting about an emotional topic, but having your facts wrong. Read what other people are saying, but find direct sources to confirm the story. You come off looking foolish if you’re passionate about the wrong facts.
  • Don’t have too much to drink at BlogWorld.

Ok, that last tip might not fit well at the rest, but it is certainly relevant. We’re all hoping to have a fun time, but make sure you’re 1) safe and 2) able to remember the good time you’ve had. After all, if you’re a drunken sorority sister (or frat brother) at BlogWorld, you aren’t doing your blog justice.

Overheard on #Blogchat: Controversy and Blogging


Do you participate in #blogchat? Every week, this weekly discussion on Twitter focuses on a specific topic and bloggers everywhere are invited to join in. Because I often have more to say than what will fit in 140 characters, every Sunday night, I post about some of the most interesting #blogchat tweets. Join the conversation by commenting below.

Something that is always on my mind when I blog is whether or not I’m being too antagonizing. So, this tweet caught my mind:

propickup I think too many people hide from controversy when blogging

I think propickup is right – and why is this the case? Are we worried about offending people or losing readers? Is it too much effort to defend a controversial post when the comments start rolling in? Are you worried that advertisers will desert?

Maybe a little all of the above. Bloggers shy away from controversy at times because we just don’t want to stir the pot.

But isn’t that part of the reason why we’re blogging in the first place? Earlier tonight, I talked about another #blogchat tweet talking about how a blog is your own creating, and you get to make the rules. So, it follows that you should be able to voice your opinion.

While that’s certainly true, we also blog because we want people to read what we write, either as entertainment or to help them learn something. If you don’t want people to read what you write, why put your work online? It’s just as easy to type your thoughts into word processing programs. So, with that in mind, I think it’s important to always think about how you approach controversy. Some tips (this is a bit of a brain-dump right now, so add to them with comments!0:

  • Don’t rant for the sake of ranting. If you have something important to say, really passionate ideas, that’s one thing. If you’re trying to drive traffic by saying things that are shocking, you’re barking up the wrong tree.
  • Research! Before you go off on a subject, make sure you full understand it. Read about the topic from multiple sources and even spend some times talking about it with  friends or other bloggers so you can formulate and educated post.
  • Avoid defensive comments. If you write something controversial, you’re probably going to get comments calling you stupid. Some of these comments may even make good points. Before you reply in a really defensive, angry way, take some time to ensure you’re adding value with your comment, not just defending yourself.
  • Address weaknesses in your argument. This is debate 101! If there weren’t weaknesses, there wouldn’t be controversy. Talk about good points that the “other side” has in your post.
  • Don’t single out readers or other bloggers (in most cases). If you’re going to attack something, attack an idea, not a person.
  • Edit, edit, edit! When you’re passionate about a topic, as is often the case with controversy, it is easy to write 7,000 words about the topic. You don’ t have to limit yourself to a few hundred words, but create something that people will actually read, not something that’s so long it turns off readers. If you truly have 7,000 worth of points to make, split it up into multiple posts.

We don’t have to be afraid of controversy. Often, controversial topics are the best, and even people who don’t agree with you will come back again to read more of your work. Be thought-provoking and don’t be too afraid of making people mad.

Check out “Overheard on #Blogchat” here every Sunday to read about some of the most interesting tweets from participating bloggers.

5 Ways to Encourage Blog Comments


You’ve been blogging for months, but no one’s responding. It’s as though all of your great writings are wasted.

Shirley George Frazier of SoloBusinessMarketing.com Years ago, I found myself with the same problem, but readers started responding with blog comments when I tested ideas shared by BlogWorld Expo attendees.

So, before you ditch that blog, follow these five tips to get people talking.

  • Ask a question.

    Do you end posts with a summary statement or a method that encourages reader interaction? Questions get people thinking, and that makes their fingers type a response.

    All of my posts donít end with a question, but most do, and it’s almost guaranteed that someone will share their views or experience. Forming a question in the last sentence is just as easy as writing a statement. Try it in your next post.

  • Tell a story.

    There’s a reason why great stories are passed down through generations. People enjoy putting themselves in the storyteller’s shoes to virtually re-live the experience. This works best when describing a situation that relates to your readers.

    One of my highest-commented posts occurred because of my rant about running a business and sharing a car. The advice poured in. When readers relate to your story, they happily get involved.

  • Offer a prize.

    You’re thinking “this is bribery,” right? Not really. Prizes are linked to contests, and contests are a blog favorite to such a degree that the event can deliver huge notoriety through tweets and other social media postings.

    Ask readers to submit a comment or video about your blog’s topic, and add the prizeís value so that more people participate.

  • Critique another person’s post.

    One way to get people to visit your blog is to comment about a topic featured on someone else’s blog. Most bloggers allow this soft-siphoning technique as long as your feedback relates to the original post and doesn’t resemble a spam comment.

    This is one of the methods I trusted to bring readers to my blog, resulting in more comments and RSS feed subscribers.

  • Expose the truth.

    For years, I’ve encouraged my sister to start a blog about her expertise, which is the sweet-and-gentle craft business. “Everyone’s blog talks about how fun crafts are,” I told her. “Let your readers know what it’s really like to deal with unruly customers, horrible booth neighbors, and overnight security that helps themselves to merchandise.”

    There’s another side to every topic. If you uncover it, your blog will become a hot spot.

Which of these tips will you try right away to get blog comments?

Shirley George Frazier is chief marketer at SoloBusinessMarketing.com and author of Marketing Strategies for the Home-Based Business: Solutions You Can Use Today. Read Shirley’s Solo Business Marketing blog, and follow her on Twitter @ShirleyFrazier or Email info@solobusinessmarketing.com.

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