Social media can be used for so much more than just sharing pretty pics. It is a blog generating machine. I found another great blogger who was willing to share an incredible knowledge bomb with all of you. Serious, KNOWLEDGE BOMB! Lise Cartwright from Hustle and Groove has the scoop on how to use social media to generate UNLIMITED blog post ideas.
How frustrating is it—each week—when you sit down to write a blog post for your website, only to draw a complete blank on what to write. Instead you're faced with a white screen and that annoying blinking cursor... taunting you with your lack of ideas.
Sure, you've got this awesome content calendar in place... it's meant to help with this sort of thing, but lately you've been finding it less than inspiring and not really on-point in terms of what's trending in your niche.
So you may as well not have a content calendar, right?
Wrong. You should definitely have a content calendar, but rather than creating one for the entire year ahead of time, it's better to constantly think of ideas for your content calendar and only plan it out 4-6 weeks in advance.
And if you're anything like me and dread the white screen/blinking cursor scenario from above, the ideas part is where you hit struggle-town. Coming up with fresh, new blog post ideas is not easy, particularly when you've got a ton of other stuff on the go.
And let's face it, you'd probably rather be doing something else than writing on your blog... unless you're a full-time writer like I am ;-) When I'm lacking inspiration for blog post ideas, or when I need a fresh perspective, I turn to social media. And if you're all tapped out of creative ideas, you're gonna love what I'm sharing with you below...
How to find inspiration for your blog posts from social media platforms
Before you jump on your social media feeds, you should attempt the following exercise.
Grab a piece of paper, notebook or digital page and set a timer for 30 minutes
Write down as many ideas and thoughts that pop into your head around your niche. Don't self-edit, just write whatever comes to mind
Think of this as brainstorming, you're just writing down everything that pops into your head about your niche or about what your potential readers might want to know
This is a good place to start for your content calendar. But it's also limiting...
You only know so much, and I bet towards the end of that 30 minutes, you were writing down similar ideas or maybe even the same ideas from when you started the exercise. This happens often. We get tapped out inspiration wise, which is why I love looking at social media for ideas.
But you need a strategy — otherwise you'll find yourself watching cat videos and sharing G.O.T. meme's rather than information gathering! So set yourself a timer of at least 30 minutes for each of the ideas below and don't get distracted.
Blog Post Inspiration: 5 Simple Ideas
This is probably one of the best places to start with on social media platforms, particularly sites like Twitter, Facebook and Instagram where hashtags are used regularly.
Think about the hashtags that you use in your own social media accounts when sharing content. Those are the types of hashtags you should be tracking to get more inspiration for blog post ideas.
But how do you keep track of them or find them?
You can start by doing a simple search on Twitter or Instagram for your hashtag. That's a good place to start. But what if you wanted a daily feed so that you could spend 10 minutes each day grabbing the ideas that jumped out at you (Pro Tip: you should definitely be doing this!)?
Depending on your social media scheduling tool, you might already have the ability to do this.
If you're using Hootsuite, you can create several 'streams' of hashtag inspirations, although that's really only going to work for grabbing those from Twitter.
If you want to take it a step further, then check out tools like Keyhole, which allows you to track hashtags used on Twitter and Instagram, or Tagboard, which tracks hashtags from several social media platforms, including Twitter, Google+, Instagram, Facebook.
Both of these tools provide limited data for free, but the paid options provide the whole shebang... but if you want to avoid adding ANOTHER paid tool to your business expenses, you could easily integrate a Zapier zap or IFTTT rule to capture your hashtags too.
Use whatcha momma gave ya and grab the option that works best for you. This is by far one of my fave strategies for getting blog post inspiration.
I'm quietly confident that you're already on Pinterest. Particularly if you love visual imagery like me. If you're not on Pinterest, then you need to get your tush over there, stat! Pinterest is one of the best places to find blog post inspiration, particularly if you're following a bunch of group boards in your niche, or following boards that your readers would follow. Pinterest is a literal goldmine of ideas, just waiting for you to discover.
Start by reviewing your own feed. If you've been smart, you've been strategic about what you're following and who you're following so that your feed is filled with ideas that relate to your niche. Everything that you pin to a board is worthy of further investigation, particularly if it's got a lot of repins and likes.
You can also search hashtags in Pinterest by using the guided search bar at the top and entering ideas related to your content. For example, if you're freelance writer providing services for blog writing to interior design companies, then you'd want to search things like "interior design inspiration" or "interior design blogs". This will provide you with a ton of pins that have those hashtags mentioned in the description.
Pinterest is also a good option if you're looking to create a curated post. You can find thousands of ideas to come up with a list post of relevant content for your readers. They will love you for it.
If you're working with a lot of corporate companies, then LinkedIn is yo' friend!
If you're not already, join a bunch of LinkedIn groups that your readers are hanging out in. Don't make the mistake of thinking that your peers are who you should be hanging out with. Sure, you'll find information about running your business, but you won't be connecting with your target audience... unless they are your target audience of course.
The best way to make a LinkedIn group work for you is to participate in it for a couple of weeks, so that people get to know who you are, and then you can pose the following question:
"What advice in [insert your niche/topic here] do you think would be important to receive?"
Gather all the information you get back and generate blog post ideas from there... you'll probably be able to generate some paid products out of this exercise too, because your audience is literally telling you what they want!
You could apply this to any other social media groups you're in, like on Facebook and you could also ask your followers on Snapchat or Periscope this same question.
#4: What's Trending?
If you're looking for fresh ideas and want to stay slightly ahead of the curve, check out what's trending in your topic across social media by using a tool called Buzz Sumo.
The free version will provide you with enough information to hit the ground running. You enter in your topic or keyword or a URL into the search bar.
Once you enter your search, you'll be presented with a list of blog posts that are trending right now, based on social shares. You can refine further by choosing only to show blog posts, or other media, such as video or news articles. You can also change the time, so that you're only looking at current trends being talked about in the last 30 days.
All of these will provide you with of options for blog post inspiration. The paid option provides you with a lot more detail and also allows you to monitor your own brand, but at $99 per month, it's a fairly costly tool.
You could also use Google Trends to find even more information about what's trending now and what's trending in your specific topic.
Have you ever had a question that your friends and family just couldn't answer? Did you know there's a place where you can get it answered... and it's Quora.
Quora is literally a minefield of ideas for your specific topic, if you spend the time to find and answer these questions. Not only is it a great place to find blog post ideas, it's also a great place to share your best content, getting great backlinks to your site.
If you haven't joined Quora yet, do it now. Set up your profile and make sure it's properly optimized for your specific area of expertise and then start answering questions.
Use Quora to help find topics that your own audience might be interested in getting answers on and use questions as the basis for some of your blog post ideas.
You will NEVER run out of blog post ideas if you just use Quora.
Once you're all setup, you can subscribe to specific feeds, which means you'll receive daily emails of questions from those feeds... this is a great idea if you're looking to do one blog post each week that answers a specific question that your target audience would be interested in a response to.
You should always link to the original question on Quora and provide your own response in the Quora question with a link to your in depth blog post answer.
Quora also provides a "trending now" area to the left of your main feed, which is also another way to find topics that might interest your audience.
There are so many different ways to generate blog post ideas using social media, the above ideas are just scratching the surface.
You should also look at other places like Tumblr and Stumbleupon too. Basically any platform where your audience might be hanging out is a great place to generate ideas from.
Make sure that your content calendar is only planned out 6 weeks in advance, so that you're not missing out on trending topics, or alternatively, plan out your calendar for the next 90 days, assigning themes to each month and then checking your social media feeds once a week to make sure you're not missing anything.