3 Creative Ways I Come Up With Blog Topics

I’ve been blogging since January 12, 2005. I wrote my first post entitled, Making A Difference on my first blog (studentlinc.net). The site is now an archived home for my first few years in blogging.

I switched over to this site, timmilburn.com a year ago. Since that time, I’ve written about 150 posts.

As you may have noticed, most of my posts don’t really have much to do with me. I write a lot about leadership, a bit about technology, and a little on culture and productivity.

I was recently inspired by John of Tentblogger with the following questions as an inspiration for writing a blog post:

How do I come up with ideas? What does it look like?

So I took a few moments to jot down some of the ways I determine what I write about.

1. The Imaginary Interview
I write a lot about leadership within the context of student leadership because it’s what I do on a daily basis. I work closely with student leaders. So when it comes time to write a post, I often picture one of my students sitting across the table from me. Based on their current circumstances and the situations they’re facing, I imagine them asking me what they should do…or what they should do next.

2. Conference Advertisements / Brochures
I receive all kinds of advertisements from various training organizations. Each one lists a variety of workshops or seminars that are being offered. Within the title of the training and the description are a wealth of topic ideas.

For example, I might see an ad for a seminar entitled, 6 Ways To Increase Influence On Your Campus, followed by a descriptive list. Each participant will learn:
a) The one word that gets everyone’s attention.
b) The five people you need to meet on the first day of school.
c) How to get people to show up to that new event.
d) Create a presence on campus through presents.

Now, all I do is fill in the blanks from my own experience. I’ve been doing this long enough that I have a pretty good idea what I’d teach in each one of these seminar topics (and in this case, what I’d write). So before you toss all of those conference/seminar/webinar advertisements because you think they’re spam and junk mail, take another look. There might be a good title or topic that gets your creativity flowing.

3. Build On A Previous Post
I will often go back through and look at my most popular posts. You do realize that popular posts are popular for a reason. If you try this idea with unpopular posts, you’ll probably end up creating more unpopular posts. Just a little common sense for free!

I’ll look at the topic and ask myself a couple of questions:
a) Is there more that I could write on this topic?
b) Is there a comment that I can build a new post around?

When I build off a previous post, I will make sure and link back to it in this new post (this helps your popular post continue to grow in popularity). I also try to keep my posts short and pointed. It helps with readability and with staying on topic. This also means that there’s probably more that I could cover on a topic, but I have to save it for another post.

There you go. Try one of these out. Thanks John for the great question. If you are a blogger, share your creative ideas in the comments. Or write a blog post based on one of these ideas and post the link in the comments.

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