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So, last week included Halloween but in our house, it was a two-week half-term of horrors thanks to a nasty stomach bug that made its presence known, night and day. The challenges of being a work at home parent well and truly came to the fore, including finding time to blog, do my newsletter and keep up with social media.

This lack of time got me thinking about where blog content ideas can come from when you’re feeling overwhelmed and uninspired. Fortuitously, I realised that’s a blog in itself.

I’ve put together my 11 sure-fire secrets to generating more blog content ideas than you’ll ever be able to use:

Blog content idea 1: Keep a notebook

Keep a notebook for blog content ideasYou never know when inspiration will strike, so I have a notebook with me wherever I go just in case something pops into my mind while I’m out and about. I use OneNote as well (Evernote is great too) to park links to articles and jot down potential ideas that come to me when I’m working.

Blog content idea 2: Look at magazines for inspiration

“Originality is nothing but judicious imitation. The most original writers borrowed one from another.” ~ Voltaire

If you’re stuck for ideas, especially those all-important headlines, skim through a magazine and take a note of the headlines that leap out at you. How can you adapt the format to your business, industry and customers?

Why do the headlines work? Do they spark your curiosity? Promise to solve a problem? Speak to your fears?

Then think about what your customers worry about, what they want to know about, what problem you can help them solve and write a blog about this.

Blog content idea 3: Answer a question

In last week’s blog, I talked about Google Hummingbird and its focus on natural language searches, particularly questions.

It’s worth spending some time thinking about the questions new and existing customers always ask. Does your website answer them? Do your customers want more detail around a particular point?

Alternatively, is there something that your industry tends to shroud in mystery? It might be how you price a job or issues such as accreditation (e.g. you might be a business coach with practical, hands-on experience but no official coaching qualifications). Think about how you can build trust and authority by being transparent about something that your competitors save for their sales pitch.

Blog content idea 4: Talk about the future

As someone who spends all day every day immersed in their business, what insight do you have about how your industry is evolving? What trends do you predict? Where do you see Write blog content about future trendsyour business in five years’ time?

You could always write a blog about the big issues that will shape your business in the future and what this means to your customers.

Blog content idea 5: Read more

When I’m not writing, I spend A LOT of time reading. As well as reading fiction for the sheer joy it gives me, I read other blogs, copywriting articles, social media news and much more.

I have Google Alerts set up for topics such a ‘copywriting’ and ‘SEO copywriting’ and these daily emails are a great way of seeing what other people are writing about. These articles spark new ideas, challenge me to consider my opinions and often show what issues are at the forefront of people’s minds.

What have you read recently that is relevant to your customers? How can you put your own unique twist on this? How can your personal experience and knowledge underpin a topic and add value for your customers?

Blog content idea 6: Be controversial

Do you have a controversial take on something that’s affecting your industry right now? Perhaps you have a different view on a big news story or even just think that something other people see as negative could actually be a positive.

In one of my first blog posts, I wrote about why procrastination isn’t necessarily a bad thing. It went against all the articles telling us to quit procrastinating and is still one of my most viewed blogs to date. Admittedly, as controversy goes, it’s not going to change the world but it does put a different slant on a common (and very real) topic.

Blog content idea 7: Write a news round-up

Keep a note of all the articles you’ve read over the last week that have commented on something happening in your industry or would add value for your customers and then write a news round-up, referencing the original sources of information.

You can include all the top line information and build your reputation as someone with their finger on the pulse.

Blog content idea 8: Interview an influencer or customer

This week, I was thrilled to be featured as the first ever ‘Magnificent Mumpreneur’ in a new interview series the Mumpreneur Mentor, Nicola Semple, is running on her blog.

What Nicola’s realised is that her customers want to know about how other self-employed, work from home mums have managed to juggle family life and childcare challenges with running her business. The interview format answers this need.

So, could you run a regular interview series? Do you have contacts with industry influencers? Could you interview customers about how your products or services have made a difference to their life? Is there someone inspirational who has achieved something your customers are striving for?

Blog content idea 9: Recycle and reuse

Recycle blog contentIf you have been blogging for a while, you will begin to build up a valuable resource of past articles. Which blogs have been really popular? Which attract the most traffic or social shares? Is there something you’ve blogged about in the past that still has value but could do with updating?

You can always tweak old content or write about a popular topic from a new angle. Use the data available to you in Google Analytics and on your social media platforms to build up a picture of what matters to your customers.

Blog content idea 10: Ask for guest blogs

Guest blogs are a fantastic way of adding a new perspective to your content. Ideally, you should feature posts from guest bloggers who have a similar ideal customer to you. For example, I recently featured a guest blog by Chichi Eruchalu from Kanso Creative because she was able to talk about the design aspects that complement the content I write about.

Blog content idea 11: Turn to social media

What topics are creating a buzz on your Facebook page? What has got everyone Tweeting this week? What are people pinning on Pinterest? What’s hot news over on Google+?

Tap into this interest and show that you’re really engaging with what matters to your customers.

These are the blog content-generating ideas I always come back to. How do you come up with your content? I’d love to hear what works for you in the Comments below.

Notebook photo credit: Caitlinator via photopin cc
Crystal ball photo credit: manoftaste.de via photopin cc
Recycling photo credit: Blue Pylons via photopin cc

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Emma Heasman

Emma Heasman has been an in-house and freelance copywriter for the past 13 years and launched The Freelance Copywriter in 2003. Ever passionate about copywriting, she now works with small businesses to help them write copy that speaks to their ideal customers. Connect with Emma on Google+

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