Starved for Online Content? 7 Ways to Feed Your Need

Been staring at your computer screen for 10 minutes, waiting to ideas to materialize? Go out and find your online content.

It happens to everyone, even the most prolific of bloggers: You just plain don’t know what to write about, whether it’s posts for your blog, content for your website, or even just those little tweets and other updates you do on social media sites.

The first piece of advice the experts give you to combat this lull is to always create an editorial calendar that projects at least a month ahead. Some even say that you should always have a stockpile of content stored up so you never run dry.

Good advice, both of those helpful hints. But where do you get the ideas for your editorial calendar in the first place? What happens when what sounded good in your calendar doesn’t pan out? And if your content isn’t evergreen and must be posted by a certain date to be timely, what if it keeps getting bumped for other, more timely stories?

The second and third questions involve logistics that you’ll just have to occasionally do battle with. But the first – where to get content ideas – has a whole lot more than ten responses. Here are some of them:

  • Read, read, read. “They” say that one of the best ways to improve your writing is to read. And “they’re” absolutely correct. So become a fan, a supporter of the best blogs you know of in your particular niche. Subscribe to their RSS feeds. Not only might these visits trigger good content ideas of your own, but they’ll introduce you to various blog-writing styles.
  • Once you’ve identified the most timely, insightful bloggers, ask them to write a guest post for you in exchange for one of your own posts. If even one agrees, you’ve made a good contact and provided a service to both sets of readers.
  • If you haven’t already, create Google Alerts for the companies and other keywords in your industry. (While you’re at it, make sure you’re watching for content that has your name in it with an additional Alert.)
  • Visit Q&A sites that have questions related to your industry. Yahoo Answers is one of the best, but a thorough web search will help you find more. See what your audience wants to learn about.
  • Use StumbleUpon to do a stream-of-consciousness exploration of pertinent topics.
  • Study your exciting feedback. If you have a newsletter, see what topics get clicked on the most. Pay attention to your Retweets and Likes and every other tool that registers interest on the part of your audience.
  • Finally, always, always have a notebook with you, be it paper or digital. There are undoubtedly a wide variety of “triggers” in your daily environment, comments or pictures or current news or any other kind of sensory input that might make a good post or update. Record these and refer back to them when you’re stumped. Let the world around you be your muse, and you just might stop banging your head on your desk at deadline time.