Brainstorming Techniques for Bloggers

As bloggers, we all face the challenge of creating unique content that will keep readers coming back for more. The first step to writing a blog post is coming up with an idea, but many times this part of the process is taken for granted and sufficient time is not spend on idea development.

Original thoughts, or the lack thereof, can make or break a blog, especially in saturated markets. One of the best ways to help yourself to find interesting and new ideas is to brainstorm before the writing process begins.

By brainstorming you can find topics that will engage your readers, and you’ll also be able to approach common topics from a new perspective that doesn’t just repeat what everyone else is writing.

Here are a few different methods of brainstorming that you can use to identify potential article topics for your blog:

Problem Solving

A proven way to find loyal readers is to help them solve problems that they are facing. If you’re looking for some ideas for new posts, start with a problem or question that is common for your readers. Now, write down all of the possible answers or solutions that you can think of. See if you can find relationships between some of the different solutions so that they can be tied together into a new blog post. Once you find a solution, or a combination of solutions, that you think is appropriate you can dig deeper into it. This process can be repeated for different problems and questions until you find a suitable topic for a post.

Freewriting

Freewriting is letting your thoughts flow onto paper (or computer) without judgment. Don’t focus on actually writing a blog post, just start writing about anything that affects your readers. With freewriting you don’t want to worry about format, punctuation or spelling. You’re simply writing to get your mind moving and generating ideas. Set a specific length of time that you want to freewrite and don’t stop until the time has elapsed. Hopefully when you are done and you look over what you have written a few potential topics will have arisen.

Think Like Your Readers

Your readers are the ultimate judges of the quality of your blog posts. The most effective bloggers are able to understand what will interest their readers, and then deliver a quality post. If you’re trying to come up with ideas from your own perspective, take a step back and try to put yourself in your readers shoes. What would you want to read? What information could help you? What haven’t you read about on every other blog you subscribe to?


Clustering

With clustering your goal is to find different pieces of information that you can cluster together to create new ideas. Start with a blank piece of paper and a general subject. On that piece of paper you want to write down words or short phrases that apply to that particular subject. Write as many as you can think of. Once the paper is full you’ll try to find relationships and connections between the different words and phrases. Circle related terms and connect them with lines. When yo’re finished you’ll have a lot of related ideas on a particular topic, and probably a few topics for quality posts.

Listing

Start with the specific topic of your blog and create a list of anything that you can think of that is related to the topic or to your readers. As you create the list, create sub-lists under items to take it one step further. For example, to use this method for my blog I might list website design, internet marketing, blogging, and SEO (a longer list is preferable, this is just a short example). Under blogging I might have a sub-list that includes promotion, writing, increasing subscribers, getting comments, and RSS feeds. The idea “writing” might lead me to the topic of brainstorming to come up with ideas for writing blog posts, and now I have an idea for an article – brainstorming.

Ideally, you’ll use a few of these methods at different times to come up with new ideas. Regardless of which method you choose, here are a few tips for your brainstorming:

Set aside time each week or month for brainstorming. If you make idea generation a priority, you will have a unique blog that readers will watch closely.

Set a time limit. Although brainstorming is necessary, it is more effective when a time limit exists. Force yourself to open your mind for 15 or 30 minutes and then look at what you’ve done. Creating the content is still important and you need to leave time for writing.

Don’t judge yourself or your ideas. The point of brainstorming is added creativity. If you’re judging your ideas as you think of them you may be overlooking potentially good ideas. Keep an open mind.

Aim for quantity and quality. Don’t be afraid to write down and idea because it’s not quite complete. If you have a lot of ideas you may be able to mold them together to create even better ideas.

Write everything down. Brainstorm helps you to come up with a lot of ideas in a short period of time. Write everything down or you may forget some of your best ideas.

Keep what you write. The thoughts and ideas you write down are valuable not just for today, but for the future as well. Your efforts may have given you some great new ideas for your next several blog posts, but don’t throw away the rest of your ideas that aren’t used right away. You may be in the same situation in a few days or weeks with nothing new to write about. If you keep your ideas you can revisit them and try to build on them.

Try some of these methods and see if they help you to come up with some new, original ideas for blog posts.

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30 Responses

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  • Felix Ker, October 1, 2007

    Always when driving, I think and brainstorm ALOT! and will have ideas to what to write on my blog, but when I’m online, I forget them all.

    Next time I think of something, I will just jot them down on a sheet of paper or write into my mobile.

  • Vandelay Design, October 1, 2007

    Yes, it’s much easier to forget ideas than it is to come up with them. Thanks for your feedback.

  • pelf, October 2, 2007

    I may think of a lot of ideas whenever I’m driving or in the shower or shopping at the market or having dinner. But when I sit in front of the computer, all I wanted to do is to blog-hop, read the news, communicate with other bloggers (via social networking sites), reply emails, etc.

    I never seem to sustain the enthusiasm to develop my ideas into posts. Almost all my posts were written “on the spot”.

    I guess everybody functions differently =)

  • Vandelay Design, October 2, 2007

    Pelf,
    I’m glad the on-the-spot writing works for you. A lot of my articles tend to be long and I think if I skipped out on preparation they would be pretty unorganized.

  • pelf, October 2, 2007

    It has to work for me because other methods don’t! LOL.

  • Madhur Kapoor, October 3, 2007

    I try to maintain a diary . So whenever an idea occurs to me , i write it there so i dont forget it .

  • Vandelay Design, October 3, 2007

    Madhur,
    That’s basically what I do too. I have a notepad with all of my ideas for posts.

  • Felix Ker, October 5, 2007

    You’ve been sharing tips on blogging. Why not share some design tips? =D

  • Karen Zara, October 5, 2007

    Problem solving is a technique I’ve been trying to use lately. I’ve been taking some timid, hesitating steps towards this direction, but I still have a long way to go.

    Being a fiction writer, I’ve read lots of advice on freewriting, as it is said to do wonders for an author who needs to get his/her “creative juices flowing”, as they say. I do think this method can be great for bloggers who focus on fiction, poetry and personal rants. For other types of bloggers it might not be as benefitial. But I may be totally wrong about it, of course. :)

    I’ve only recently developed the habit to write down all my ideas, and it’s been making quite a difference for me.

  • Vandelay Design, October 7, 2007

    Felix,
    There are some design-related articles coming soon.

    Karen,
    Thanks for your feedback. I find the writing down my ideas and creating lists of ideas are the best methods for me.

  • Wendy Card, January 9, 2010

    Vandelay Design: After writing on my blog for 6 months, I “googled” steps to improve it because of the lack of comments. I know people are visiting but their comments are few and far between. I understand that it comes with time and marketing, but I’m getting frustrated.

    I believe I found the solution to my problem in your article – getting back to basics by writing about problem solving.

    Thank you for reminding me to step back and brainstorm as I used to. Great advice!
    WS Card

  • Raheem RiK, December 13, 2011

    hey vandelay its raheem from pakistan i am reading your this article in the end of 2011 i am studenr of class 8 and owner of blogginginpak.blogspot.com. i am unable to creal my own quality content I never got any traffic from any where. i wanna full fill there requsts but no one is comming to my blog I had created too much blogs I am working very har for my niches I was directed to your blog for how to get original contant keyword plz help me plzzz I hope you understand My feelings
    thanks,
    Raheem khan

    • Vandelay Website Design, December 13, 2011

      Hi Raheem,
      We have a lot of articles in the blogging category that may help you. I can’t go into too much detail in a comment, but basically if you are having trouble with content you need to find out what your audience is interested in, and produce the best content possible. Try to make some friends that have a similar audience, guest post at their blogs, exchange links, tweet links to each other’s posts, etc.