A foolproof way to get ideas for blog posts

Gold PanningI don’t know about you, but it’s a lack of time rather than a shortage of ideas that stops me blogging so frequently.

It used to be the other way round. Before I set up my own business, I had plenty of time on my hands but very little idea of what to write about.

Then I solved the problem. Whenever I was short of ideas, I’d take two contrasting concepts and make them collide.

It’s an idea I got from one of my old university tutors. A poet with a brilliant mind (it does happen), he used to terrify every member of his tutor group by forcing them into original thought.

None of us liked it. At least not to begin with. It sort of hurt.

But there’s no denying it was effective. We’d be sitting in a terrified line, each of us trying to look absorbed in some Shakespeare play, when voice like a Glaswegian doodlebug would detonate in the silence.

“YOU!” it would screech as it hurtled towards its target. “Compare the plot of King Lear to the workings of a bicycle.”

If the chosen person didn’t start saying something damned good within about 50 milliseconds, then the task would pass on to the person sitting next to them.

And within no time at all, we all became adept at taking one idea and crashing it into another “” often with hilarious, sometimes with insightful results.

So when I get short of ideas for blog posts, I use the same principle.

When I wanted to write about the streets near where I lived, I livened it up by walking the shape of a rude word (‘BOLLOCKS’ as it happens) and describing what I saw along the way.

When I got interested in Booth’s poverty maps, I walked the same route as the original inspectors and compared what they wrote with what I saw over 100 years later.

And when I wanted to write about making good use of the envelope when you write a sales letter, I wrote about love letters I used to get nearly two decades ago.

The result: original blog posts that give you a fresh insight, that people enjoy reading “” and which don’t fall into the boring, boilerplate ‘5 ways to…’ or ‘How to…’ posts that cover the blogosphere like a stratum of waste paper.

It works commercially too. All you have to do is take the name of the sector you’re writing for and make it collide with something you can see out of the window.

A post on ‘Copywriting in your hammock’ anyone?


19th June 2012

Jackie Barrie

You have a hammock outside your window? In the UK? How optimistic!

19th June 2012

Ben Locker

I brought it back in shortly after writing this post. I’ve had about an hour in it all summer…

29th June 2012

Jamie Graham

I hope this post will lead to a bunch of very interesting blogs from PCN members in the coming weeks Ben. My mind is whirring now as to how I can make copywriting and golf collide.

What do you think?

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