This guest post is by Kiesha of WeBlogBetter.
Many of my readers have asked how in the world I come up with such creative ideas for my blog content.
If you’ve read:
- “The Walmart Guide to Increasing Time spent on your Site,”
- “Can your blog Pass the Salad Test?”
- “Attract Readers to your blog like Mosquitos
- “What the Sims Taught me About Social Media”
- “How to Solve the Blogging Puzzle” (a post that compares blogging to a jigsaw puzzle)
…then you’ve probably figured out by now that there are no limits to the subjects I’ll squeeze a blog post out of.
I often challenge myself to find the most unlikely subject and see what blogging lessons I can squeeze out of it. While some things are a complete stretch and really won’t work, there are some surprising lessons you can pull from just about anything, if you’re creative enough.
I’m going to be honest: I’m using the phrase “creative enough,” but really what I mean is this. If you have a brain that has the capacity to think deeply enough to write a coherent paragraph or two, then you’ve got “enough creativity” to pull this off.
I’ll tell you how, but first let me tell you about a book that I read that really informs how I write today. It’s called The Medici Effect. This book talks about how it’s not completely new ideas, but the intersection of two seemingly unrelated ideas, that make a real difference in innovation.
I’m really simplifying the complexity, so you’re going to have to check this one out yourself to really get this and fully grasp the secret to creating meaningful and engaging content.
Here’s my secret formula for creating those zany analogies and surprising comparisons that I write about.
1. Pay attention to the surrounding environment
Every good writer is so because they pay attention to the details of life around them. They use those details and describe them with words that evoke the five senses: sight, smell, taste, sound, and touch.
Being able to describe an experience is key to hooking readers and keeping them engaged.
2. Squeeze lessons from personal experience
This is a direct extension of step one—if you’re paying attention your environment, you’ll discover that life’s lessons are everywhere. Blogging, like Kung Fu, is in everything!
You can pull lessons from any subject and then think about the ways they are similar to your blog topic.
This is easier if you make a list. For example, think of all the ways your experience in college is similar to your blogging experience. If I were to list mine I’d say:
- Both were baffling at first.
- Both required time studying alone.
- Both required commitment and dedication to a schedule.
- Both required one to stretch his or her thinking beyond the ordinary.
This list could go on and on. I might start with a really long list, but then I would narrow it down to the most important points, since only so much can go into a blog post if it’s to remain engaging.
3. Overcome fears and ignore the inner critic long enough to write
This step is extremely important. If you’re sitting there worrying about how crazy people will think you are or how much someone might think your analogy sucks, you’re not going to be able to do much writing. When you kick your inner critic to the curb and decide to just have fun with writing, it will come through in your writing. Confidence or lack thereof can be sensed and can weaken your credibility and authority.
4. Brainstorm catchy titles
If you’ve selected an interesting topic, then half of the work is done for you. At this point you just need to think of ways you can capitalize on those phrases that people love and that are also search engine friendly.
5. Revise and polish
This works best if I’ve allowed the post to sit for a couple of days. This gives me fresh eyes and since the mental load of revision is far less than writing, it also allows me to think of ways to inject humor, think of details I’ve left out, choose better words and also consider ways to extend the post if possible.
6. If you canít think of ideas to combine, try a dose of randomness
Randomly pick two items and think of ways they are similar and can complement each. Then boldly consider ways you could use the combination to your advantage. You may need to try this exercise a few times before you arrive at something you believe to be true genius that you can passionately use to separate yourself from your competitors.
It was the combining of seemingly random, unrelated ideas that sparked the idea to change up the blog contest game and do something different. I suddenly got the idea that I should host a reality blog contest where bloggers will team up and work together while simulaneously competing for a Grand Prize. I got that idea while reading The Medici Effect, specifically a passage that talked about what makes a good contest. It discussed the evolution of the game show over the years until it eventually turned into reality contests and shows—that immediately sparked a eureka moment for me!
That’s what combining unusual ideas should do for you and your readers. It will help you create super-engaging content that your readers won’t be able to resist.
Kiesha blogs at WeBlogBetter, offering writing, social media and blogging tips. She’s currently holding an exciting new type of contest on her blog—the first ever reality blogging contest called “Surviving the Blog”. Visit her blog for details.