If you have a blog or if you are someone that writes daily, then you probably know what a writer`s block is and how frustrating it can be.
As you know content is the lifeline of every blog and can either make or break it but what should you do if you run out of ideas? You want and need new ideas daily if you are to keep you head above water.
After reading and implementing some of the ideas described below, you`ll have more content ideas than you`ll know what to do with. You will have enough topics that you can even plan the next couple days or the next week of writing.
The concept of Mind Mapping is an interesting one to me. If you don’t know what a Mind Map is, don’t worry. I will explain. A Mind Map is a way to visually represent ideas and concepts onto a sheet of paper. A Mind Map will help you to:
- Structure Information
- Better analyse information
- Better comprehend information
- Generate new ideas
Here is what a Mind Map actually looks like
This Mind Map represents the idea of Mind Mapping and the main elements that are used. Does it seem like Mind Mapping is too messy or too much work? If you bear with me till the end, you`ll see that it is actually a lot of fun and not a lot of work either
I will approach Mind Mapping from two approaches. One is the classical approach and the other is a more specific approach for us – The Bloggers. So here they are.
The Classic Approach to Mind Mapping
Take a piece of paper and draw a circle in the middle. I would recommend you use the paper in a landscape (horizontal) orientation. This way you`ll have more space to write out your idea.
Now write in short your main topic in the middle of that centre circle you just drew. Use preferably one or two words. If you really cannot use one or two words, then you can make it longer. Although, your Mind Map will be more effective with short and descriptive words.
Now you can brainstorm and develop the subtopics. Encircle each subtopic in a balloon and link that to your main topic.
You can keep going if you feel like you have more ideas now by connecting the subtopics to sub-subtopics. There is really no limit to how deep you can go but keep it practical.
Here are a few guidelines to make your Mind Map more effective and visual.
Vary the text size and the thickness of the lines you use to connect the topics. You can point out the importance of each topic this way. More important topics should have thicker lines and bolder text and less important – the opposite.
Make your Mind Map visual. If you can, draw a picture instead of writing out a topic. I don’t mean that you should draw a piece of art but rather something that will help you remember what the topic was.
Use various colours and symbols throughout the Mind Map. Whenever you see an opportunity to use colours and symbols to better memorize a topic, you should make use of them. You can use colours for the connecting lines to emphasize importance and symbols next to the circles again for the same reason or just to memorize the topic better.
The Simplified Approach for Bloggers by Darren Rowse
All right, If all of the above seems too complicated, you can approach the whole Mind Mapping concept from another angle and break some rules. Unlike the classical approach that begins from a fresh idea, this one focuses on starting from your latest posts and logically working your way forward.
You can of course use any of the guidelines stated in the classic approach to Mind Mapping here as well if you think that it will help you.
This approach goes like this:
Draw five or more circles with your latest posts. You can use as many words as you like but keep it practical. These circles will act as your main topics.
Now you can create subtopics (sub-post ideas) by developing each main topic. Just like in the classical approach except that you don’t have to colour, make symbols or drawings and limit yourself to short words unless this will help you.
See where this is going? Now you would have generated at least four article ideas for fresh content for your blog.
Brainstorming is another method that you can use to generate some new topic ideas for your blog. You are probably familiar with brainstorming to some extent. You might have done it at school or work before.
In case you are not familiar with the concept of brainstorming here it is in a short and structured list. I will adapt these steps to make them as relevant to bloggers as I can.
- Set a timer. You could use your phone or any old clock you have lying around the house. The time that you set can be anything that will give you enough time to produce some good ideas. 5-10-15 minutes – really anything you wish.
- Now write down on top of the paper a topic that you want fresh ideas for. This could be anything you want. If it was me brainstorming, I would take one of my categories as a main topic. SEO, Social Media, Monetization or Video.
- Start your timer and start writing ANYTHING that comes to your mind. I really mean anything. Even ideas that might seem silly or stupid. If you really don’t have anything, just continue to write “I don’t know, I don’t know”. You will eventually come up with something. The idea here is to not stop and keep your creative flow going.
- Describe the terms used. Don’t assume that the terms are self-explanatory. The idea here is to create more depth.
- As you begin to slow down start reviewing what you have just written. Highlight interesting ideas with a highlighter. You might find that something previously written needs more explanation or provides you with a new idea.
- When you are completely done organize the best ideas. You can use sticky notes, Microsoft Word to type out your ideas or any other method you wish.
That’s the whole concept of brainstorming. Of course feel free to modify or invent a complete new way of Brainstorming. The only thing important here is finding a good way to brainstorm that suits you.
Browse your favourite blogs for fresh ideas
I think every blogger has a favourite blog or couple that they are following. Go through their latest post, read through, and perhaps you`ll end up with more than a few ideas about future posts that you want to write.
I would also recommend that you visit BloggerScope and look through the latest articles there. BloggerScope is a collection of 60 top-blogs for internet marketing. If you are not in internet marketing, perhaps you can still find some topics that will generate some fresh ideas that will work for you.
I am sure that if you implement a couple of these content generating ideas, you`ll never run out of fresh topics to write about. Mind Mapping and browsing through some of my favourite blogs works well for me. Sometimes I even brainstorm but I am more of a Mind Map guy.
TIP: Write all your ideas down and create a schedule of what you are going to write about the next day or week. You can even go further and plan your subheadings.