“Creativity is nothing but active listening,” says Scott Ginsburg in an interview with Susan Young. “I make observations, I listen, I write everything down. I’ll always have a full reservoir.”

How’s your reservoir? Is it at capacity or in a drought alert? Do you find yourself staring at the monitor, brain bereft of any inspiring thoughts and deadlines looming on the calendar? Judging by all the recent posts on blog content ideas, you are not alone. Here are a few that address the dreaded blogger’s block.

I can’t think of anything unique to say.

Does that sound familiar? Get over it! My outline and notes for this post were sitting in draft for a few weeks; during that time, several posts were published about finding content ideas. However, I know this is a hot topic for many of us and no one has time to read everything, so it’s perfectly fine for me to share my take with my readers. Don’t let the unique excuse become a barrier to publishing.

writer's block topics

flickr photo by Alyssa Miller

Kick start your content creation.

What are some of the most frequently asked questions by your members, customers or attendees? What problems do they have? Create a system to keep track of the questions or concerns that come into your organization:

  • Phone calls to your main number, information or customer service desk
  • Emails to staff
  • Website form
  • Questions in blog comments

What are the common search terms or phrases leading folks to your website or used on your website search engine?

What are other industry blogs talking about? What’s your take on the issue? See if there are any new questions or ideas raised in the comments that you can write about.

Gather ideas by polling your members. Send out an email with a link to a survey. Create a quick poll for your home page. Distribute one-question survey cards at your events. Ask members directly while on the phone or in person.

  • What do your members, and particularly those new to your industry or profession, want to learn more about?
  • What issue confuses them?
  • What don’t they understand about your organization or its policies, your industry or profession?
  • What keeps them up at night?
  • What are they curious about?
  • If they could ask one question to the CEO or another industry VIP, what would it be?

Review the tweets of those you follow for the kernel of an idea. Scan the hashtag stream from a conference or twitter chat. Don’t limit your review of conference hashtags to those related to your industry. I’ve seen many interesting ideas in tweets from the keynote speakers of the most random conferences. Read tweets from ongoing TEDx conferences for a diverse selection of thought-provoking ideas.

Is anyone doing something innovative or unusual in your industry or profession? Has anyone come up with a solution to a common problem? Write about the successes of your members if there are lessons to be learned from those stories. If members are willing to share, write about failures and lessons learned; provide the cloak of anonymity for those unwilling to be publicly forthcoming.

Review a blog, event, book, or resource that your audience would appreciate.

When all else fails, suggest some good reads from other blogs. Provide the author’s name and link to the post with a descriptive blurb. If you have enough to say about the post, turn it into a short post. Always give credit to the blogger by linking to the original post.

Build up a stable of guest bloggers. Or ask another industry blogger if you could publish an excerpt of one of her posts with a link back to her blog where your readers can read it in its entirety.

Have monthly blog brainstorming lunches with your colleagues. Capture all the ideas flying around the table. If an idea won’t work now, it may work in the future or with some tweaking.

Where do you get your blogging inspiration?

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