You sit down at your laptop. Your fingers poised over the keyboard like claws, hungry for action. But…
There’s jack squat in your brain but tumbleweed rolling around in a dusty breeze. And church bells ringing eerily in the distance. No ingenious ideas! No inspiration! No plan whatsoever! How will you please all those content-thirsty blog readers eagerly awaiting your masterpiece!?
We all know that content is king. And consistency is queen. But coming up with regular, awesome blog post themes can be a challenge for even the savviest of bloggers.
So as part of my epic, ask-the-experts series, I got 38 of the world’s leading content marketing masters to reveal their secrets to finding blogging inspiration, consistently. This stuff is gold, so pay attention.
#1. RAMSAY TAPLIN
I always find that I write the best stuff when it’s something that I know really, really well. And that usually means mucking around with new ideas as often as possible. Experimenting, taking risks, working from different places, meeting new people. The more “stuff” I do the more I have to write about. And the flip side to this is that if you can inject those personal stories into your work, people will be far more interested in what you’re writing. So I really think that inspiration comes from experimenting and just doing things related to your blog’s niche.
~ Ramsay Taplin is known as The Blog Tyrant, a 20-something-year-old guy from Australia who has sold websites for huge sums of money and now shares his methods for growing your blog and dominating your niche. Follow him on Twitter, Google+ or sign up for his email updates.
#2. GUY KAWASAKI
“Inspiration” is for wimps. Posting isn’t about sitting on wind-swept beach waiting for the muse to strike. Posting is hard work that’s a marathon, not a sprint, so get used to it.
~ Guy Kawasaki is the former chief evangelist of Apple and special advisor to the Motorola business unit of Google. He is the author of APE, What the Plus!, Enchantment, and nine other books. Kawasaki has a BA from Stanford University and an MBA from UCLA as well as an honorary doctorate from Babson College.
#3. PEG FITZPATRICK
Answer questions for people. Look for things that people are discussing on Facebook, Twitter, or Google+ and help them learn something. Providing value with your blog content is very important.
~ Peg Fitzpatrick is Head of Social Strategy for Canva, an awesome online design tool. She is also the director of marketing and social media manager for Kreussler Inc. covering the online brand management as well as traditional marketing methods.
#4. CINDY RATZLAFF
I find inspiration for my own posts by solving problems for myself or my clients. If something is blocking my progress or bogging me down because it’s hard, I search for an easy, inexpensive solution and then write about it. My whole brand is built around finding solutions to help authors promote their own work. I’m also an author. So I understand, from a very personal level, what frustrates authors, what stops authors from finding their readership and what tiny budgets authors have to dedicate to marketing. So whatever makes my life easier, will make my readers lives easier. So I write about what I do to make my author life more productive; tools, tips, strategies and techniques.
~ Cindy Ratzlaff was named by Forbes as one of the “Top 30 Women Entrepreneurs to Follow on Twitter” for her sound advice on brand marketing. She creates award-winning marketing and publicity plans for publishers, authors, websites and individuals.
#5. NATE RIGGS
Everywhere. I keep a blogging playbook with me so that I can jot down ideas as they come. This used to be on a moleskin but I switched to Evernote for ease of use.
~ Nate Riggs is the Founder and President of NR Media Group, a content marketing and social media consultancy that specializes in helping multi-unit restaurant brands and technology companies reach audiences and convert them into customers. Follow him on Twitter @nateriggs.
#6. MARS DORIAN
Do, do, do. Do interesting stuff first (e.g. writing a book, doing social media experiments) and then blog about it, instead of the other way around. Nothing inspires more than reporting about your own actions.
~ Mars Dorian is a great branding expert and one of the most original blogger in the world.
#7. SEAN OGLE
Listen to reader emails. What problems are they having? What’s working for them? What questions do they have? That’s my source for an unlimited number of posts.
~ Sean Ogle helps people build businesses they can run from anywhere in the world. Oh, and while he’s traveling around doing that, he also golfs as much as humanly possible in his quest to break eighty for the first time ever.
#8. COLIN WRIGHT
Life. People. Your work. Your play. Reading. Sitting quietly and thinking. It really runs the gamut. I carry a little notebook so I can quickly jot concepts when they come to me. From there it’s just a matter of figuring out how best to express it.
#9. JOEL RUNYON
I tend to pull inspiration for my blog posts from my life. My blog is a good gauge for how much I’m pushing myself in real life. If I find its hard to write on my blog, it’s most likely because I’m not pushing myself hard enough in real life.
~ Joel Runyon is the founder of IMPOSSIBLE and where he helps people & businesses push their limits in fitness, gritness & business.
#10. CHRIS GARRETT
Get to know your audience and they will tell you what they want to know. If you are in tune with your market you can spot a good story.
~ Chris Garrett is Chief Digital Officer at the legendary Copyblogger Media. He helps run Copyblogger’s educational programs like Authority, where he develops guides and tutorials to support Copyblogger customers in growing their businesses. Connect with Chris on Twitter.
#11. IAN BRODIE
Everywhere. Comedians, singers, writers all find inspiration from their own life story and the world around them. Bloggers can do too. “Live experiments” always work well. If you’re writing about leadership – try accepting a pro-bono leadership role yourself and report back on your experiences. If you write about marketing, show the actual results of doing what you recommend.
~ Ian Brodie helps consultants, coaches and other professionals to attract and win more clients. He works with busy professionals who are brilliant at what they do, but need help growing their confidence and competence at marketing and sales.
#12. PEEP LAJA
Your work is the best source. Don’t be just a blogger, be a do-er. Whatever your blog is about, make sure you do it and experience it. It’s so easy to be just a blogger, but half of what you write is BS since it’s just theory. When you come across actual real problems that you and your customers/partners experience, that will be an infinite source of inspiration.
~ Peep Laja is an entrepreneur and conversion optimization expert. He’s been doing digital marketing for 10+ years in Europe, Middle East, Central America and the US. Today he runs a conversion optimization agency Markitekt.
#13. CHRIS SAVAGE
We look to our mission for guidance. When we are trying to come up with ideas for posts we ask ourselves how we can further our mission with our content. Our mission is to help everyone get more from video, so we look for other topics that can further parts of the mission that we haven’t covered. For example, maybe we should help people learn which lenses are best for interviews or we should help people learn how to get more comfortable on camera. There is an unlimited number of thing we can talk about that will help further our mission.
~ Chris Savage is the CEO and co-founder of Wistia. He lives and works in-and-around Cambridge, MA.
#14. JACOB CASS
Inspiration generally comes from what I am reading / learning about at any point of time. I also jot down ideas when I have them to come back to.
~ Jacob Cass is a logo, Web and graphic designer from Sydney, Australia, who freelances under his business Just Creative Design, which doubles as a wildly popular design blog.
#15. CHRIS GUTHRIE
Almost every one of my articles are written based on my own experiences through either success or failure. Yet another “10 ways to sell a website” style article is worthless but “Here’s how I sold my website for six figures” is valuable.
~ Chris Guthrie runs a blog at entrepreneurboost.com which covers all of his internet marketing super tactics, such as making money with Amazon’s affiliate program, buying and selling blogs and heaps more.
#16. ZAC JOHNSON
The best way to come up with content for your blog is through your own personal experiences. This may vary depending on the type of content and blog you have. However, if you are a “make money online / wordpress” type of blogger, than you should have plenty of stories and resources to share. Stay away from writing basic articles that everyone has already written about, share and create real experiences for your readership to better relate with you.
Look within as you are your best audience.
~ Sunil is the author of ExtraMoneyBlog.com. He maintains a portfolio of profitable online and offline businesses and blogs about how successful individuals can expedite wealth building through multiple streams of active & passive income. You can connect with him on Facebook.
#18. DAVID MEERMAN SCOTT
~ David Meerman Scott is a best-selling author and popular keynote speaker on the topics of viral and online marketing as well as the convergence of web marketing, digital media and online PR.
#19. MICHAEL CHIBUZOR
I get my inspiration from reading marketing books, attending seminars, conferences and jotting down ideas from my fellow Speakers. I also derive inspiration from catchy headlines on financial newspapers.
~ Michael Chibuzor is a creative Freelance writer and the editor of content marketing blog. If you want to grow your business, make good sales and generate buyer-leads, hire Michael to write quality and persuasive content for you.
#20. PAUL BIEDERMANN
The more you learn to capture the moments that move you — then and there, as you are really feeling them — the better it will translate into writing that people can’t resist. Inspiration is everywhere, you just need to learn to recognize it.
~ Paul Biedermann is creative director/owner of re:DESIGN, a boutique agency specializing in strategic design, brand identity, and visual content marketing. Named one of theTop 100 Influencers in Social Media, Paul is also managing partner and editor-in-chief of 12Most.com.
#21. THANH PHAM
~ Thanh Pham is an obsessed productivity geek, systems thinker, blogger, avid reader and a world traveler. He specializes in time management for organizations and personal productivity for executives. Read more about him over at Asian Efficiency.
#22. FARNOOSH BROCK
~ Farnoosh Brock is an entrepreneur, published author and yoga devotee who helps people find their passion and live their dreams at ProlificLiving.com. Check out her brand new blog: http://www.fasttrackpromotion.com/blog which teaches you how to advance in your career, the fast way!
#23. DAVID CAIN
Read books about your topic. Not blogs — books. Blogs are written by anybody, but books are written by people dedicated enough to their topic that they’ll devote a year or more creating a single work about it. If you want to be an authority on your topic, pick the ten best-reviewed books on the subject and read them all. You’ll know more than almost everyone about your topic, and be overflowing with things to write about.
#24. ERIC T. WAGNER
In my mind, writer’s block is a myth. If you’re truly passionate about your area of interest, and delivering valuable content to readers who share the same passion, you should have no trouble writing posts. However, if you do, try this: jump out of your environment and immerse yourself in something new. Stealing ideas from other walks of life and ‘conceptually blending’ them into what you do is powerful. Basically, it will help light the fire under your seat…
~ Eric T. Wagner is the Founder and CEO of Mighty Wise Academy: A Virtual Academy For Entrepreneurship. He is also a mentor and advisor for multiple startup companies.
#25. TYLER TERVOOREN
I get my inspiration from everyday life, really. Conversations. Things I see. Random thoughts in my head. I have far more inspiration for my topic than I have time or energy to process. If you struggle to find inspiration, it’s probably a sign you’re not writing about something you care about enough.
~ Tyler Tervooren is an independent entrepreneur and founder of Riskology.co. He has started 7 businesses and traveled to more than 20 different countries.
#26. ADRIENNE SMITH
My inspiration actually comes from what I learn so I’m always eager to share that because that’s what my readers and subscribers are eager to know as well. I’m very fortunate in that respect. I do listen to what people ask me though and will write about those topics too. Really you can get inspiration from almost anywhere if you just pay enough close attention.
~ Adrienne Smith is an entrepreneur whose passion is to help others achieve success online through sharing her own experiences using her blog. She loves building relationships with her readers and was even named the “Engagement Superstar” in 2011.
#27. BARRON CUADRO
I started with a list I brainstormed on my own. I wrote down 50 topic ideas, and then banged out blog posts. I also knew my target market, the guy for whom I was writing my articles. I simply thought of what he needed to know. Once I had an audience, I asked them what they wanted me to write about.
~ Barron Cuadro designs and builds sites for bloggers, entrepreneurs, and small businesses. He is a Founding Editor of Effortless Gent, a site dedicated to men’s style, and Co-Founder of Fifth&Brannan, a menswear label based in San Francisco.
#28. DANIEL SHARKOV
Most importantly you need to have genuine interest for the niche you blog about. You need to have a wide variety of resources, you need to participate in discussions and you need to listen to what your readers have to say. With that in place, the only thing left is a tool like Evernote or the simple Sticky Notes (the Windows tool) to capture the ideas. Add to that the WordPress Editorial Calendar and you won’t have to fear about running out of content ideas.
#29. CALEB WOJCIK
From everywhere. I always make sure I have a way to jot down ideas for things to create (blog posts, podcasts, videos, etc.). If you always have a way to document your ideas, you’ll get them more often.
#30. CELESTINE CHUA
a) Internal — A big part of my blogging and coaching philosophy is to teach based on what I have learned myself — because if I haven’t experienced something , how can I then comment about it? Hence, I often write content based on the problems that I’ve faced and have overcome before. What issue did I face? How did I feel then? How did I overcome this issue? I then translate my lessons into my blog posts so that people in similar situations can learn to tackle those problems as well. b) External — At times I check out other blogs in the personal development niche, spot the posts that are doing very well, and observe the factors that make them “tick”. Then I try to replicate these factors in my future posts.
~ Celestine Chua is a life coach and founder of Personal Excellence, #1 site for people passionate about achieving excellence in life. Celes grew her blog from 0 visitors to over a million pageviews a month in less than three years; she has since created Blogging Success Program to teach bloggers how to get their first million pageviews online.
#31. DAVID RISLEY
I get mine from a bunch of places. First, I get it right from my own readers. I watch and reply to comments. I also have an email in my autoresponder which asks what their struggling with and I get a TON of replies to that. On top of that, I also get ideas on my own and I note them down into Workflowy whenever it happens.
~ David Risley is a professional blogger, entrepreneur, and online marketer. Having generated over $1.3 million online as a blogger, today he teaches bloggers how to turn their passions into a solid, profitable business through a combination of blogging and internet marketing. He is the the founder of the Blog Marketing Academy.
#32. YARO STARAK
Do things. Taking action, such as making offers, gives you experiences and problems to solve. The more problems you solve, the more things you have to write about.
~ Yaro Starak is the author of the Blog Profits Blueprint, a report you can download instantly to learn how to make $10,000 a month, from only blogging 2 hours per day. You can find Yaro on Facebook, Twitter and Google+.
#33. JENNY BLAKE
Daily life. What do you struggle with? How do you work through it? What gets you most excited? Angry? What bucks the status quo?
~ Jenny Blake is a bestselling author, career and business strategist and international speaker who helps smart people organize their brain, move beyond burnout, and build sustainable, dynamic careers they love. You can find her at JennyBlake.me where she explores systems at the intersection of mind, body and business. Follow her on Twitter @jenny_blake.
#34. HEATHER LLOYD-MARTIN
People say that Facebook, Quora, Twitter and Google+ are great for idea generation – and they’re right. I think it’s also important to open yourself up to the moment. What do you read/see/experience that inspires you – and how can you share this with your readers? I’ve been inspired by (and written about) such diverse topics as South Park, infomercials and running. I’ve used those experiences to tell a story – and then tied everything back into writing better SEO content. Those “spontaneous idea” posts tend to attract the most comments, too.
~ Heather Lloyd-Martin is CEO of the SEO copywriting agency SuccessWorks. A first-generation search marketer, she is considered the pioneer of SEO copywriting and speaks frequently at worldwide events. You can follow her on Twitter at @heatherlloyd.
#35. STEVE SCOTT
Most of my content comes from my personal experiences. When I find something that personally works for me, I’ll blog about it. Yes, this means I don’t publish on a regular basis. But when I have something to say, the content is usually at a high level.
~ Steve Scott is a world traveler and has been a successful affiliate marketer since 2006. He regularly blogs on Steve Scott Site where he reveals every secret he has learned to become a successful authority affiliate marketer.
#36. JAMES CHARTRAND
~ James Chartrand is the founder and owner of Men with Pens and Damn Fine Words. She manages the entire team with quick wit and a level head, personally overseeing every single client project for high-quality results.
#37. PAMELA WILSON
My best source of inspiration is conversations with my readers. I offer personal coaching services, so I get to spend many hours a month listening to their frustrations and helping them make progress. Some of these frustrations inspire blog posts, or articles in my weekly newsletter. I’m fortunate that many readers reply to my emails and share their comments and questions. I get inspiration for blog post topics directly from these interactions. I have worked with small business owners for over 25 years, so many blog post topics are inspired by the questions they’ve asked, or the challenges I’ve seen them experience over all those years.
~ Pamela Wilson believes your business may be small, but your brand can be BIG. Get her free Marketing Toolkit here.
#38. Joseph archibald
I am focusing on a small handful of other blogs right now, rather than what was previously my key blog (josepharchibald.Com). The way I find inspiration is generally to read other blogs within the same niche, irrespective of what that particular niche might be. Frequently, you’ll find that by making this regular time investment, you’ll glean tons of really good ideas which make a solid foundation for blog posts.
~ joseph archibald lived in the uk for most of his life, but now he lives in the tropics of malaysia. His main blog is at http://josepharchibald.Com.
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Oh – and if you missed the other posts in this epic series, they’re waiting for you here:
22 Content-Marketing Experts Reveal the Secrets to Writing Killer Blog Posts.
38 Blogging Masters Reveal Their Number One Tip For New Bloggers!
18 Content Marketing Gurus Reveal the Secrets to Making Blog Posts Go Viral!