As bloggers, we constantly need to come up with fresh content for our websites and we all can stuck sometimes! There are lots of different ways you can be generating writing ideas, the important thing is finding a method which works for you.
One method that works well for many people is mind mapping. A mind map is a:
“diagram for representing tasks, words, concepts, or items linked to and arranged around a central concept or subject. (source)
Generally, people work better with images than straight lines of text, especially when it comes to generating ideas.
“Pictures interact with text to produce levels of comprehension and memory that can exceed what is produced by text alone.”(Source – J.R. Levin, A Transfer of Appropriate Processing Perspective of Pictures in Prose, (in H.Mandl and J.R. Levin [eds.]) Knowledge Acquisition from Text and Prose (Amsterdam: ElsevierScience Publishers, 1989).
You can see by the image this mind map is about tennis. Tennis is the main subject then there are numerous branches representing all the different aspects of the game, from scoring, tournaments, principles etc.
You can do this with ANY subject, start with the central subject as your niche then gradually build the branches till you have a ton of ideas to write about! There are many software programs available, free and paid or, you can buy large sketch pad and some coloring pencils and get creative. You can also use this method to do keyword research.
Tony Buzan is well known as THE authority in mind mapping and you can learn more about this method over at his site (he has free stuff!)
When you’re doing your keyword research, there are always other suggestions that come up in the tool you’re using. For example, if you typed “knitting” into Google you’re going to get thousands of pages to view which cover every subject imaginable to do with knitting. From there you can create another branch:
types of stitches
purl, cable, moss, rib etc
You can either write this down in a linear fashion or make a mindmap, either way, you’re going to generate lots of writing ideas!
Free Content Research Tools
Google – again, Google is your friend here. You can see what other people are looking for, check out forums within your niche. You can also find out what questions are being asked and, if you’re writing a review get feedback on the products.
Soovle – is search engine for search engines! You can customize your searches and it will bring up suggestions from up to 15 seach engines.
Übersuggest – Übersuggest takes your base term, adds a letter or a digit in front of it, and extracts suggestions. You can click on these suggestions to get further suggestions.
Topix – produces results that include blogs, forums, news articles and question/answer sites. It also lets you set results local to your area.
Quora – Quora is a question/answer website where questions are asked, answered, edited and organized by its community of users. Here you can browse information people across the world share on most subjects. A great way to get content ideas!
Yahoo Answers – is another one like Quora but organized in a different way. You can choose from a category and then narrow that category down.
Out and About
One often overlook resource is using your eyes and ears when you go out anywhere! I’ll use knitting as an example again. Take a notebook with you and go into a local craft shop and visit the knitting section, observe:
- Latest offers
- New products
- Eavesdrop on staff and customer conversations (yes I do this!).
- Engage staff in conversation about best-selling products, new products on order etc.
- Take a look through some of the books and patterns, use your notebook to jot down ideas.
- Instigate conversation with another customer, it’s amazing what you can find out about your niche.
Finally, always carry a notebook with you, ideas can come from the most unlikely sources!
Do you have a method/s you already use for generating writing ideas? Share them with us by leaving a comment below, we’d love to hear about them!