Developing Creative Content for Your Blog

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Almost weekly I am asked “Where do you come up with this stuff that you write??”  It is mostly by people with straight jackets in their hands.  Each time those suckers get that dang jacket on me, I have been able to quickly slide out of it like Houdini hungry for some linguini.  I really have never sat down and told the people that ask about my secret vault of ideas and methods of conjuring up the nonsense I lash out at this blog week after week.  When Christina from A Closet Writer approached me to be one of the six “Blogging Mavens” to address the issues of developing content for blogs without a straight jacket in her hand, well, I knew it was time to come clean.  I have never written specifically about blog writing in the Break Room, so if this turn of events today is making you cranky, feel free to watch Falco’s 1984 “Rock Me Amadeus” video and come back later this week.  I realize that not all of you that read this blog are actually bloggers…

Falco – Rock Me Amadeus
Uploaded by trashfan. – Music videos, artist interviews, concerts and more.

Are you still here?  HIGH FIVE, MAN!  Okay, the Blogging Mavens are comprised of the five lovely ladies (plus me) pictured in that nifty little box at the top of the page who are joining together for a week-long “blogging basics” series.  Each day we are addressing a different topic regarding blogging.  Missy with Wonder, Friend wrote a very informative yet entertaining post yesterday about grammar, spelling, punctuation, etc.  Over the next three days, Liz, Crystal and Holly will be addressing other issues related to blog writing that you will not want to miss!  You can find their awesome blogs by clicking on their names above.  But today, class, we are talking about developing creative content for your blog.  Although it may be obvious, I believe in order to do this, you must…

Be true to your THEME

Before you can begin to generate content for your blog, you have to decide what type of blog you want to write– humor, health, fitness, sports, parenting, etc.  I am drawn to blogs that are consistent in the type of information they provide.  I know I can always turn to The Flying Chalupa, The Blog O’ Cheese and Not Worth Mentioning for funny and original content.  I know that I’m Gonna Kill Him will amaze and entertain me with her wonderful and humorous writing about her husband.  Fun stories about raising children, great recipes and blogging tips will always be found at Kludgy Mom’s place.  There are so many blogs out there that I love reading each week because I know what I can expect to find there.   Before you can create great content for your blog, you need to decide upon your overall theme. 

Be true to your AUDIENCE
If you are familiar with your theme, then you are likely familiar with your audience.  Who is reading your blog?  Who is it that you want to read your blog?  Do you want mothers, fathers, singles, men, women, ‘tweens, grandparents, bagggage checkers, taxi drivers, pizza deliverers or florists to read your blog?  Think of them when you type out your post.  I have often heard or read about bloggers saying that they will just write whatever it is they want and if people like it, great.  If they don’t, great.  I obviously believe you should be true to yourself when writing and write about topics and ideas that are reflective of your interests.  However, if you want people to return to your blog, you should give a rat’s rear about your audience and pay close attention to the comments you receive on your blog.  Which type of posts attract most of your readers and comments?  The key to great content is tailoring your post to fit your audience.
Be true to your BOUNDARIES
It is important to make a deal with yourself about topics, issues or people you will or will not cover on your blog.  For example, I have strong opinions when it comes to faith, politics, raising children, economics and the like.  Not long after starting this blog, I decided that I did not want to broach these topics on my blog, though I am not opposed to engaging in conversations about them elsewhere.  In addition, I decided that I would not share really personal stories about people that I love, including my parents, sister, husband and children unless the story fit in with the theme of my blog and was approved by them first.  Deciding upon boundaries for your blog helps it be more consistent and also helps you narrow your focus when choosing a topic.
Be SPONTANEOUS!
Once you’ve focused by being true to your theme, audience and boundaries, it is easier to think freely about writing topics.  When I say to be spontaneous, I mean that you should not be afraid to explore a topic that pops into your head that might seem too silly or ridiculous or difficult at the beginning.  As I mentioned earlier, people often ask me where I come up with the stuff I choose to write about.  Like most, when thinking about writing topics I reflect on common life experiences, current events, etc. but when some random idea pops up like manatee magnetic dolls, I go with it! 

Although you have probably heard it before, you should definitely write ideas down as they come to you.  If you are driving down a busy interstate, for goodness sakes, stop the car in the middle of the lane and scribble your idea down before it’s gone!  Those blasted ideas sometimes choose to creep up on you while you are doing the strangest things, like cutting your grass with scissors, launching water balloons full of red paint onto the side of your neighbor’s house, hiding from store employees in the toilet paper aisle, etc. so be ready, for cryin’ out loud.  Be ready!

With that said, I believe everyone deals with writer’s block from time to time.  The question is…are you going to karate chop that block?  Huh?  Huh?  One of my favorite blogs, Hyperbole and a Half, wrote a recent post about generating content for her blog that you can find hereAlso helpful is the awesome “Idea Bank” that you can find over at Kludgy Mom.  Gigi hosted a six-week blogging series which produced this awesome collection of writing topics.   Even if you don’t choose a particular topic from the list, going through it may trigger another idea that you like better.  It will surely help the creative juices flow.  Bottoms up, bottoms up, you better grab a cup- you’re about to tear your blog up! (It all comes back to hip-hop with me…)
So, that’s it.  That’s all I got for you today.  I hope you found the post to be helpful!  To help you remember my tips, I developed a little handy acronym- TABS Theme, Audience, Boundaries & Spontaneity.  There are options here, however.  Don’t despair!  If you are more of the violent type, go with STAB.  If you like flying, blood-sucking animals, go with BATS.  Maybe you don’t like acronyms that make words, so go with ATBS.  Maybe you don’t like acronyms at all, so just forget I said anything…
Toss in your $50 (you think I’m settling for 2 cents, homie?) and let us know what inspires YOUR creative writing!

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