Randfish has a useful post over at SEOmoz with 10 Web Tools to Help Generate Blog Content Ideas. In it he lists a variety of tools including Google Groups, Technorati, Craigslist, Del.icio.us, StumbleUpon, Google/Yahoo News, Keyword Tools, Wikipedia, Digg/Reddit and Yahoo! Answers.
I’d add to the list Topix.net (which offers some similar tools to the above) as well as Bloglines ‘search’ feature which lets you set keywords that will show blogs talking about those words in a folder.
Having said that – the majority of posts that I write these days come from other sources. Here are 9 more idea sources to add to randfish’s 10:
- Conversations – it’s amazing how many ideas come from the chats I have with other bloggers, co-workers, readers, friends and family both in real life and via IM or email.
- Reader Questions – related to this is responding to questions asked by readers
- Reader Comments – similarly, the comments left on your blog can be a treasure trove of ideas for future posts
- Other Blogs – like this post, I find the writing of others often stimulates posts that build on, extend or bounce off their ideas. Don’t forget to dig around in other people’s archives also as it isn’t only current posts that are places where you’ll get ideas. Of course always give credit to the source of your ideas.
- Books, Newspapers, Magazines – I’m increasingly finding inspiration in offline sources of information
- Mad Ideas – ever been laying in bed at night and get a crazy idea! I don’t just chuckle to myself when they come – I get up and write them down. It’s amazing how many of them end up being key posts for me later.
- Experience – a fairly large proportion of my post ideas come directly out of an experience that I’m having on the topic. Problems, achievements, challenges and mistakes are often the best source of useful posts as you’ll find readers relate well to them.
- Brainstorming – I take time out each week to specifically come up with ideas to post about. While most of my posts ‘just come to me’ through my day to day rhythm – I’m a big believer in working hard on story ideas also and have a folder permanently on my desktop filled with text documents that have little else in them except for a topic idea and perhaps a few jotted down notes – all to work on later.
- Archives – dig around in your own blog’s archives and you’ll be amazed at the opportunities that you’ll find. Look for half finished ideas, opportunities to update your ideas or even topics that your newer readers wouldn’t have seen before.
Where do your ideas for posts come from?