Photo by Massimo / CC BY-SA

I have a group of friends who meet to brainstorm monthly. Several make their living writing, and nearly everyone in the group writes. One of the writers has written scores of posts about… beans. I’ve written 40 blogs about sunglasses, and another has written about the insurance industry for several years. How do we keep from running out of ideas?

Use an Editorial Calendar

TKO posts three blogs per week. Between guest posts and freelance, I write five-six blogs per week. Some of my friends write this many in a day. How does anyone keep track of this? By using an editorial calendar. When you have a plan, it’s much easier to concentrate on specific topics. I schedule our calendar one month in advance – others, much further. At TKO, we simply use Google Calendar, which is accessible to the entire marketing team.

Create a Blog Idea Log

I use Microsoft Word, some use pen and paper. It doesn’t matter how you create an idea log, it’s that you create it. I include the following sections:

•    In Edit — Completed posts, which I’ve sent to the our editing team
•    First Draft — After the first draft, I let most posts sit for 24 hours before reviewing again.
•    Ideas — for future posts

Under the ideas section, I have subheads, which includes 10 topics covered in TKO’s blogs from graphics to social media. I also have subheads specific to our industry, such as customer questions, industry news, etc. I store ideas under every subhead as they come to me. You can create your own subheads by reviewing previous blog topics. What do you write about, and what COULD you write about?

Keep Your Comments

I comment almost daily on other blogs. When I comment, I copy and paste the comment and the URL of the blog. When I’m stuck for ideas, I’ll review the comments, which help generate new material for more posts. Simply reviewing comments can get the creative juices flowing.

Understand Your Creative Cycles

When I’m stuck, I take a drive. This almost never fails. I simply think of a blog topic, and I’ll have several ideas from 10 or 15 minutes of driving. One of my friends gets her best ideas on the edges of sleep and keeps a notepad by her bed, while another gets ideas in the shower. According to a Lifehacker article, How to Find Your Creative Sweet Spot, “It’s thought problem-solving comes most naturally when you’re unfocused and you allow your brain to wander.” What are your creative cycles?

Stay Ahead of the Game

This is a no brainier. Seriously, write posts in advance. It takes the pressure off and allows you to be more creative. I’ve been on both sides of this fence and, believe me, being ahead makes a huge impact.

Everything You Write Could Be a Blog Post

OK, almost everything. Keep in mind that emails, press releases, answers to inquires, presentations, meetings, and web content may all be possible blog posts with a little adjusting. Always consider what may be sensitive material, and what may require permission to make public.

There you have it — five easy blog topic generating ideas. If you’re reading this post, you probably run out of ideas now and then, so take it a step further; don’t just read this — DO it. If a writer can write scores of posts about beans… what can you do?