Maybe Twitter was being boring that day or maybe I was just trying to put off whatever work I was supposed to be doing. But I was inspired recently to take on a daunting task that we here at Image Freedom had been putting off: Come up with 50 new possible blog ideas to write about.
We try to drill the SEO cliché into the heads of our clients: “’BLOG’ stands for ‘Better Listing On Google.’” We continually remember that we need to practice what we preach.
At first, the idea of coming up with 50 fresh, interesting blog ideas seemed impossible. Yeah, yeah… “The longest journey begins with the first step” and all that good stuff. Thanks, fortune cookies and Joel Osteen. But, still, I didn’t think I could do it.
So I just started. I didn’t need to go meditate in the woods for two hours first. I just starting typing and let my creativity take over. Just like the rest of your body, your brain won’t get going until you start warming it up.
Compiling the list wasn’t always easy and sometimes I got stuck or let myself get distracted. (Who started that change your Facebook profile photo to a cartoon thing, anyway?) But I pulled it off and I was pretty proud of myself when I finished.
If you decide to come up with your own list of 50 (and I really recommend you do), it may help to keep these tips in mind:
1) Not every one of your 50 blog ideas has to be golden.
It was temping for me to stop and ask myself, “Would we be good at writing something like this?” or “Would this blog topic attract people to the Image Freedom SEO site?” You’ll frustrate yourself and waste time if you over-analyze every single one of your ideas as you go along.
Remember that you’re not writing the blog right now. You’re brainstorming a whole bunch of ideas and seeing which of them will stick later. That’s why you’re coming up with 50 ideas and not five. Let the law of averages work for you.
2) Don’t be scared of bad blog ideas.
I knew there was a good chance that my boss would only like some of the ideas I came up with. I might even think some of my ideas were stupid later on. That’s fine. Nobody likes to have their ideas rejected. But imagine how much worse you would feel if you had tried to be “safe” and come up with only a small number of ideas that you were absolutely sure would be awesome only to have them rejected. If you were in school, 15-20 percent would be a pathetically horrible failing grade. But having 15-20 percent of your blog ideas taking off isn’t bad at all.
3) Don’t worry about “copying” someone else (not yet, at least).
One thing that may slow down your brainstorming marathon of awesomeness is wondering whether someone else has already blogged about a topic you came up with. Then you’ll be tempted to search for similar blog entries to make sure your idea is original enough.
Don’t waste time getting bogged down by this while compiling your list of 50. Once you decide (later) that you’re going to write about a particular topic, you can then research and see if someone else has already written something similar. It’s highly unlikely that what you want to blog has never been written about before in the history of mankind, but even frequently written about subjects can be presented in your own unique and original way.
4) Don’t be afraid to be weird.
Image Freedom is an SEO company, but our blog would be really boring (both to you and to us) if all we talked about was SEO-related stuff. Instead, our blog is a mix of SEO industry discussion, videos, social media commentary and – what we may be most (in)famous for – extremely candid personal blogs from our founder, Matthew Egan. The latter leads nicely to my last suggestion:
5) Maintain a healthy tension between all-business and all-personal on your blog.
When you’re brainstorming blog ideas, don’t try so hard to limit yourself to one subject area. I would have bored myself if I limited my list of 50 blog ideas to only SEO or business-related topics. Like it or not, we’re living in a day and age where professional and personal online “brands” are merging.
But, remember, it’s your blog, not a MTV Real World audition tape. You don’t need to post the photos from Saturday night’s party of you passed out drunk after a mischievous joker drew phallic symbols on your forehead. However, bringing that personal touch to your blog — that small peek behind the Wizard’s curtain — will help you create a rapport of trust and genuineness with your readers.
So get to work, people! Come up with your awesome list of 50 possible subjects that you or your company can blog about. Leave a comment or tweet me at @CatholicDan to let us know how easy or difficult it was for you to come up with your list. Tell us what worked for you and what didn’t.
You can do it!