By @TheMarkDalton

The need for people to produce content online in order to stand out, build brand reputation so they can generate brand equity and business is growing. More and more content is being produced every day and businesses are starting to come around to the idea of creating their own content. 

With this in mind a lot of people are going to start experiencing that feeling you get when you just can’t think of what content to create next. The white screen, a flashing cursor. What will I talk about next? What will I talk about a week from now? What will I do to keep providing content? It is so hard!

That is 100% right, it is hard. It is terrifying at times when you push fresh content out to the world. Are people going to judge you? What will they say? Will my content get a negative response?

You put yourself out there and put your content out there, people will always be waiting to combat what you say though they don’t put out content at scale themselves. That is life my friends, that is part of how it happens now and that is just something you need to deal with yourself.

Meanwhile that cursor is still blinking on a white screen.

I often get asked where I get my ideas for new content, how do I keep rolling and how do I keep fresh ideas coming out of nowhere? Well, I have been publishing online content for a little over 10 years now on a variety of blogs and websites and over that time there are several tactics I have developed to keep the ideas stored away and keep the new content coming.

Write down blog post ideas on file

Keep a document or a notepad with your blog content ideas somewhere. You don’t know when you are going to get inspired. I have had times where I am banging out top quality content piece after piece. The all of a sudden the ideas dry up and I am scrambling to get the next idea out. That happens to all of us, your mind is not an ever flowing waterfall of inspiration.

Keep a file of ideas and when you have something, no matter how rough the idea is, then jot it down. You will end up soon with a list of ideas and when you are looking for inspiration you can take the file out and expand upon or flesh out some ideas you have written down there and turn it into content.

Not every idea you get has to be turned into content straight away!

Take inspiration from others

Don’t take the content, but the idea. Have you ever noticed how online publications can sometimes run pieces on what appear to be similar or overlapping ideas? Unless you read a lot of blogs, probably not. However it happens all the time.

People get inspiration and ideas from others. Use a feed reader (I like Feedly) to subscribe to a whole bunch of blog RSS feeds and check it every morning before you start. See what others are creating content about and see what inspiration you come up with yourself around those topics.

Just don’t steal their content. That’s not cool.

For example, I may go on Feedly and see someone talking about how to use Twitter to execute great customer service. Then I go and brainstorm my own ideas around that particular topic, come up with my zingy headline and write my own content with my own opinions, ideas and tips around that topic. You can learn a lot from watching what others do. Just don’t take content unless you ask them first.

You will find that most online publishers and bloggers are pretty chill when you ask if you can reblog their content – as long as you give credit and link to the original, the answer is more often than not – “yes”.

Throw it out to the audience

Really stuck? If you have an active audience which likes to participate then open the question up to them. Ask them what they would like to see you talk about and see what comes back. That way you know you are catering exactly to a form of content they want and they will offer up some free ideas for you to use.

Even if you don’t have an active audience at the moment, throw the question out there anyway. You never know what may come back.

Whats trending?

Keep an eye on what is trending around the web each day. If you see what is hot online at the moment then it gives you scope to focus on a piece of content around that trend and possibly piggyback some success off the back of what people are talking about at the moment. Seek out opportunity.

Educate

Educate others in your craft or field. When you are stuck, think about how you can help others. How-to guides are always a popular form of content online, especially if they are well written and provide images or video of what you need to do. When people want to know how to do something step by step they turn to the internet.

Do things that others are afraid to do

People like to read about what they may be afraid to do themselves. We like to see someone else try it and see the results before we go and do it for ourselves. Take the risk and write about them, that can grab people’s attention regardless of whether they agree with you or not.

Last week I spoke about the rising cost of Google Adwords, a product that I know a lot of people swear by and for good reason too. Google Adwords is a great product which can produce results. However some time ago I decided to stop using Google Adwords and stopped advising others to use it when the topic arose. Was it scary to make the decision to ditch a good advertising model to seek value elsewhere? You bet it was.

However by writing about it I knew that it would grab attention regardless of whether people agreed or not, simply because there are not many people right now who would agree with my Google Adword stance. So don’t be afraid to write about things that others may not do, it grabs attention.

Don’t lose heart when you are struggling for new content

It won’t always be easy, you won’t have ideas bursting to get out every single day. So try not to get disheartened when you are struggling with what to come out with next. Use some of these tactics and see what works for you, maybe you will find a new way of seeking inspiration for new content. This is the system I use and it hasn’t failed me yet.

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