Blogging requires a cup full of creativity, two cups of inspiration, and a third of dedication to keep the content fresh and interesting.
It’s SO EASY to read your favorite blogger and take their inspiration as yours; heck, it’s even EASIER to swipe a few article ideas or, better yet, take their words and re-purpose them into your own blog (no one will notice, right?).
I’ve been seeing in the last several months a few cases of indiscretion — bloggers “currying favor” with power bloggers and repurposing their content. While that may be the nicest form of a compliment; uhm, it’s not — that really sucks.
Just last week I saw my friend Erica Allison’s post on upcycling content to make it fresh again and, lo, a leading A-Lister blogger had an extremely similar post the next day. Coincidence or not really?
I have no idea whether the words I write or the ideas I come up with are re-purposed by others. I do see the tweet words or blog comments I make re-purposed on occasion. I don’t police for that, but then again, I’m not as prolific as Gini Dietrich, for example. We’re all guilty of the above in some way, shape or form. It could be subliminal because we take inspiration from others’ writings.
If you’re struggling with how to freshen your blog content or nudge your creativity for something new (because we do live in an echo chamber!), here are some ideas you may want to consider:
1. Read, read, read. When I started in public relations agencies at Manning, Selvage & Lee in Chicago, my bosses told me to read. I really never knew what that meant or why. It probably took me 10 years to understand why reading is so important. And, it probably took me 10 years to mature into a better practitioner to incorporate reading into my daily routine. When you read, you’re better versed to impart insight to your blog.
2. Scan headlines. If you don’t want to read, then scan headlines (and include the first graph in that exercise, too). When you scan a headline, think about its relevance to your daily work. If you represent clients in healthcare, scan the headlines in the AMA Journal to see what’s current. This exercise helps spark ideas both for your employer, client or blog.
3. Select a topic and focus in-depth. Facebook is all the rage these weeks and so is Google+. Everyone is talking about timelines, business profiles, fan pages and the like. If you’re adapting your work to accommodate the new features, then write a story about it with a “how-to” piece or share a case study about how you implemented something for a client or your company. EVERYONE wants someone to teach them, and if you have a step-by-step process showing how to do something, you can watch your analytics rise exponentially.
4. Get Clicky. I was absolutely kicking and screaming on implementing a back-end decoding device (that’s not what this is, really). When you install Clicky on your blog, you can see why people come to visit. The key words they’re honing will appear in your dashboard, and you’ll find the information valuable to develop new posts. I was a non-believer until I saw the data on day one; it’s fascinating. So, thanks Gini, Brankica and Erica for pushing me over the brink.
5. Comment Love. When you engage on others’ blogs in comments, invariably, you will generate a rich trove of new ideas and blog fodder. If you happen to disagree with the blogger and others in the community also are debating your views, this becomes automatic fodder. And, wow, look at that opportunity — instead of debating in another bloggers’ comment system, bring that discussion to your house and state your perspective in an original post. Invite those same commenters from elsewhere to join you at your house, and voila! A new thread of interest comes alive.
6. Don’t force it. I’ve not blogged in awhile, and that’s because it’s been a tad rough with the client side. When you are not feeling your blog, DO NOT WRITE. There’s no hard or fast rule that says you must share your sorrows on your blog just because it’s been dormant. Respect your own boundaries and know that people want to read uplifting and inspirational content; they’d prefer not to engage in down-spirited bloggers. If you are inclined to write when you’re down, you are forcing your hand, and it shows.
7. Pick tried-and-true topics. This is a real-live personal tip from today — because I’ve not blogged in awhile, I selected an easier topic I knew I could write about comfortably to get back into routine. I have many ideas and blog posts started; but, because they’re under-developed and would take too long to complete, I selected something quick written this morning.
What might you add from your experiences?