Technical writing services by Espirian

5 ways to think of ideas for your blog

Do you struggle to come up with content ideas for your blog? I’m going to give you 5 ways to get your creative juices flowing.

Despite working in what some see as a boring field (technical writing), I’m creative when writing content that explains how things work. I hunt for simplicity and clarity – that’s as much art as it is science.


Lack of inspiration is a common problem

I talk to a lot of people who are in Tony’s position.

They realise that creating content is the best long-term strategy to help them demonstrate their expertise and promote themselves in a non-salesy way.

They’re just a bit unsure about topics that they can write about.

The internet is awash with articles about how to do targeted keyword research, so I thought I’d take a different tack here and give you some creative tactics to help your brain switch into the right mode. (If you’re looking for a good keyword lookup tool, check out KWFinder.)


⚡️ Be ready to capture ideas

Always have a way of making a note of good ideas.

Whether it’s a physical notepad or something like the Notes app on your phone, it’s essential that there’s a quick and easy way to capture your thoughts.

iOS has a voice memo app if you’d rather speak than write.

Another alternative is to hold down the Home button to engage Siri and then say “take a note” followed by the text you want to capture.

⬆️ Back to top

Tip 1. Use a distraction activity

Trick your brain – do something other than writing

Don’t stare at a blank screen. Do something completely different rather than worrying about what to write.

If you give yourself a task that requires some physical activity but no mental effort, you’ll leave your mind free to wander.

Here are some examples:

OK, I’m a writer, not an artist. But it’s not bad, right?

I almost always come up with my best blog ideas while doing some sort of distraction activity.

🔍 Why this works

These activities are simple enough that your brain won’t be working too hard while you’re doing them. Let your mind wander and see what turns up on the horizon.

⬆️ Back to top

Tip 2. Turn a sentence into a short story

This one’s simple but powerful:

  1. Pick a book (fiction works best for this) and select a sentence from anywhere in it.
  2. Spend a few minutes constructing a short story based on that sentence.

🔍 Why this works

A mundane starting point can lead to an interesting outcome. Someone else has come up with the initial source content (the sentence) and you’re just developing it a bit.

It’s almost as though you have permission to be creative because you’re riffing on someone else’s idea. But what you write might be a complete departure from that starting point.

This is an excellent creative exercise and is particularly relevant for bloggers who want to turn a base idea into lots of additional ideas.

⬆️ Back to top

Tip 3. Do some word association

This classic method lets your mind run free:

  1. Think of a word (related to your business or not).
  2. What’s the next word that comes to mind? And the next?
  3. Construct a chain of words by thinking only about the previous word.

Try it for a minute or so, ideally saying the words out loud. If you want to capture the process, do it in a voice memo.

Once you’re done, consider the chain of words. You shouldn’t have thought too deeply about any particular link in the chain, but the whole sequence together might make for an interesting examination of what’s in your head. What further ideas does it give you?

🔍 Why this works

Again, you’re freeing your mind, and you don’t know what the outcome will be. The creative process may reveal an idea that was lurking in your subconscious.

⬆️ Back to top

Tip 4. Think of 50 uses for a brick

Take something boring and think of new uses for it. A brick is the classic example, but it could be anything. Look at whatever it is and think about it differently. Give your brain a workout and have some fun.

Let’s stick with a brick. What could we use it for:

Least inspiring image ever

🔍 Why this works

This method gets you to look at things from a different angle.

A new perspective is sometimes needed to help you understand a topic, and that can give you ideas for what to write about.

⬆️ Back to top

Tip 5. Think up ideas for a completely unrelated business

Take the pressure off yourself by thinking about a job that’s completely unrelated to your field.

It doesn’t even have to be a real job – you could make one up. Here’s an example:

⚠️ Made-up job alert

Imagine someone whose job is making decorative flags out of custard.

They might write about the following topics:

Makes me think of Greece 🇬🇷

Some of these ideas might sound whacky and stupid, but remember that producing the same boring content as everyone else isn’t going to help you stand out or be remarkable.

Look for opportunities to add some personality to your content – it will make you more memorable and, over time, can help you to attract the sort of clients who ‘get’ you. Remember: be less boring.

My editorial buddy Louise Harnby and I will be having some fun on this topic when we present our introduction to content marketing at the SfEP conference in September 2017.

Make yourself stand out; no one chooses to engage twice with drear. Don’t say: ‘I can’t promote myself like that – it’s too out there, too off-brand.’

Think deep until you find a way to make it on-brand. There’s always a way.

🔍 Why this works

It’s easy to be stressed about your own business, but taking the shackles off and thinking about something unrelated can be empowering.

Once you’ve done the exercise, you’ll probably find that you can come up with similarly creative ideas for your own business. It’s often just a case of giving yourself permission to be creative.

⬆️ Back to top

Let’s wrap up

All of these tips are about taking actions that boost your creativity. Sometimes, the results won’t last long, so you need to keep practising.

Remember that the brain is like a muscle. If you add creative practice to your writing routine, you may find that ideas come to you quite naturally, because your brain may read the “I’m going to be creative now” signals and jump straight to giving you those moments of insight.

What methods do you use to come up with ideas for your blogs? Let me know by leaving a comment below.

Thanks for reading,

Subscribe for tips

Join 417 others on my free Espresso ☕️ email list to receive:

  • blog updates
  • free ebooks
  • discounts on consultancy
  • offers and secret stuff

🔒  No spam, I promise • privacy policy