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Saturday, December 15, 2018

Five Things That Help Me Develop Blog Post Ideas

I write a lot of blog posts. Over the last decade I've written more than 15,000 of them. That's 1,500 per year for an average of 4.1 per day for ten years. Naturally, I am frequently asked, "how do you come up with blog post ideas?" Here's an overview of where my ideas for blog posts originate.

Questions from Readers
Every week I receive a few dozen emails from readers who have questions about a wide array of ed tech topics. I also get a lot of questions sent to my on Twitter and Facebook. I develop blog posts based on the questions that I think could appeal to other readers.

Press Releases
I am inundated with press releases. About 95% are total rubbish. The 5% that aren't rubbish will inspire a blog post or two. (If you want to get on the mailing list for a PR firm, just send them a note. They always want more email addresses in their databases).

Reading Books
There's something about reading a physical book that helps me develop blog posts. I don't read books about blogging. I mostly read history books and biographies. I'm re-reading Theodore Rex right now. Somehow as I'm reading thoughts about blog posts creep into my head. This morning I was reading Theodore Rex and when I read a passage about railroad travel I got the idea for a blog post about making a virtual tour of a railroad journey.

Writing in a Paper Notebook
In the past I've talked about this on my YouTube channel. I take time every week to sit down with a coffee and my paper notebook to brainstorm blog post ideas. I make lists and webs of ideas for blog posts.  I refer to that notebook on those days that I can't think of anything to write about.

Scrolling Through Feedly
When I was getting started in blogging I spent a lot of time reading RSS feeds via Google Reader. I switched to Feedly when Google Reader was shut down. I don't spend as much time as I did five years ago scrolling through RSS feeds, but I still spend 20-30 minutes a day scrolling through the sites that I like the most. When I find something on blog that inspires a blog post of my own, I mention that either in the body of the post or as a hat tip at the end.

You can learn more strategies for developing blog content in my online course, From Blog to Job. It's a self-paced course that is currently on sale at 25% off!