Shut up and blog: How to create endless ideas for content

Learn the trick to turning real life experiences into blog posts.

I’m going to share a subtle but important secret on how to develop an endless supply of fascinating social media content. It’s a practice that seems obvious, but I haven’t seen it discussed before.

I have a backlog of nearly 200 possible blog post ideas. I hardly dip into this treasure trove because every week I come up with even more ideas that turn into the posts of the day. How do I keep the ideas coming?

It’s a simple routine, but a discipline you must hone each day. I am aware of ideas that interest me and consider how the experiences of my day could turn into a story.

Perhaps it would be easier to show you. Here are examples where being aware of my environment led me to great blog post ideas.

  • I saw a headline on a magazine cover — “Shut Up and Dance.” What if I wrote a post called “Shut Up and Blog?” What would that look like? I captured the headline and here we are today.
  • PR pro Ann Deeter Gallaher was preparing for a speech and emailed me to ask for my opinion on upcoming digital trends. I copied and pasted my answer into WordPress and my email response morphed into “7 Digital Marketing Trends to Embrace Now.” (At last count, this little post had received more than 2,220 social shares!)
  • My friend Alex Lavidge described the following experiment on a Facebook post: For the next 100 days he will handwrite notes to people who have affected him. I loved this idea and saw the potential for an interesting guest post. He’s agreed to work on it.
  • At a basketball game, I saw a confused basketball player score a basket for the opposing team. I thought to myself how awful it is to execute well against the wrong goal and this became ” How Do I Develop a Strategy When the Target Keeps Moving?”
  • The top source of posts is simply to pay attention to the questions people ask me. If they are curious about a subject, perhaps the readers of my blog are too. When somebody asks a question my first response is to wonder if it would make a good post.

My catalog of new post ideas reflects an awareness of my environment and a developed nose for news.

Think about it this way. Millions of sensory stimulations bombard you every day: people, conversations, images, events, surprises, websites, stories and data. Isn’t it likely that one or two of these experiences could become an interesting and relevant story? The key is to activate your mind’s “blog” setting and not ignore these daily provocations.

Anybody can develop this habit. Any time you think to yourself, “Wow that is cool (or interesting or disturbing or inspiring),” consider how the emotion from that moment can be translated into a blog post. And then write it down!

What process do you follow to create new content ideas?

A version of this story first appeared on Mark Schaefer’s blog, {grow}.

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