How to Find Blogging Inspiration (Without Copying Everyone Else)
I have a love/hate relationship with the internet. It's noisy and distracting, and sometimes it makes my introverted heart want to throw my laptop out the window and sit in blissful silence for the next three months. It's also a place teeming with valuable opinions and smart conversations, a place where you can cultivate real relationships with people across the country or around the world. And, ya know, it's hard to run an online business without actually spending time online.
It's a hard balance to strike when you're a creative entrepreneur. You're trying to make real connections with people and sell your services, deliver amazing free value and differentiate yourself from every other blogger-business owner who's doing the same thing.
What are you supposed to blog about that will help your business grow without adding to the noise? The answer is different for everyone, but my go-to sources of blogging inspiration are a great place to start if you want to be an intentional business blogger, not another copycat shouting at everyone.
10 Places for Creative Entrepreneurs to Find Blogging Inspiration
1. Your journal
Many of your readers have experienced similar struggles as you. Browse through your past journal entries and see if anything stands out to you. Even if readers aren't going through the exact same situation, they'll likely resonate with the emotions you've felt at some point or another, like feeling like a fraud or being afraid to fail. Since your journal is 100% yours, it's the perfect place for unique inspiration!
2. Your inbox
Your readers will often tell you exactly what they need help with. The topics that pop into your inbox from clients or blog readers are things readers would probably love to hear addressed on your blog. Not everyone who has a question is going to reach out and email you, so if one person is looking for your advice on something, chances are your other blog readers will appreciate hearing about it, too.
3. Facebook groups
I don't use Facebook much for business (I don't even have a business page!), but I do love interacting in groups there. Many FB groups have active, helpful communities. Joining a few groups where your ideal readers (not your peers!) like to hang out can be a great place to get blogging inspiration. Scroll through the group discussion and take note of any recurring problems or questions, or post your own question asking if anyone is currently having trouble with something in your area of expertise.
4. Your blog comments
Past comments on your blog posts can be a great indicator of the types of topics your readers are interested in. List the five posts that have the most comments. Do they have anything in common? Are they all posts where you were extra vulnerable or addressed the same topic? Reader engagement is a great sign that you're on the right track, so try to do more of the same in your future blog posts.
5. Books you've read lately
You don't have to run a book blog to take advantage of inspiration from a good (or bad!) book. Nearly any book can spark an idea that turns into a blog post---even fiction! Keep a notebook handy while you read and jot down any quotes or ideas that seem interesting. You never know when your bedtime reading could turn into your next post idea.
6. Pop culture
Readers are three-dimensional people who love your favorite TV shows, bands, and award shows just as much as you do. Let current events in pop culture spark an idea for your next post! Readers love fun posts that entertain them while sharing valuable information. Don't keep everything you learned from Gilmore Girls to yourself---share it with your readers!
7. Your friends
Chances are that your ideal readers are people you'd want to be friends with in real life. That means your IRL friends and your blog readers have a few things in common! Pay attention the next time you're getting coffee with your best friend. What's she into these days? What does her schedule look like? What's lifting her up or dragging her down? The next time you write a blog post or newsletter, pretend you're writing to her. Ideas will flow much faster than if you're trying to connect to a faceless crowd of people you don't know.
8. The blogs you read for fun
Huge side note: These should be blogs you love reading that are not in your industry! (The goal of this is to break away from what everyone else is doing, remember?) Some of the best inspiration comes from what bloggers in other industries are doing with their posts. How can you apply the best elements of your favorite fashion or gardening blog and apply them to your own posts?
I know not everyone enjoys spending time in the great outdoors, but most creatives will tell you they'll be refreshed and ready to work after a long walk or a weekend spent camping. If you're feeling blocked about your blog, get outside and forget all about work. Enjoy the sunshine, smell the flowers, and stop working so hard to make inspiration smack you in the face. Sometimes taking your mind off your blog is the perfect way to generate new ideas!
10. On a blogging break
This is unpopular advice, but I'm going to say it anyway: Your business and blog will not die if you take a break. Can we just take a moment to acknowledge how ridiculous it is to fear that your life will end if strangers on the Internet will stop reading what you have to say? Writing from a place of burnout is never going to encourage readers to stick around or buy from your business. You're better off taking a week or two (or more!) away from your blog and coming back once you actually have something to say. (---> Learn how to take a blogging break without losing readers!)
Did you find new blogging inspiration?
Notice what didn't make this list? Pinterest. Instagram. Other blog posts from within your industry. The millionth webinar you've been invited to this month. Not that those things are bad, but there's no shame in stepping away from the noise so you can find your own voice again.
If you're still struggling with what to blog about for your creative business, grab your copy of Blogging for Business: A Content Strategy Workbook for Creative Entrepreneurs. This DIY answer to "What should I blog about?" is only $15!