Dude, How Do You Find Enough Stuff to Write About?
This post originally appeared on the FCR blog on November 15, 2016. Click here to read the original.
As a blogger I often get the question, “Dude, how do you find enough stuff to write about?” While I typically spend most of my time swimming in the customer service, customer experience, and contact center lane, I thought it time to take a break and talk about the act of writing about those topics for a bit.
Before I talk about where I get ideas for things to write about, I want to first share a handful of ground rules that are required for success as a blogger. Here they are in no particular order:
- Find your passion- If you’re going to start a blog or contribute to a blog, it’s essential that you tap into something you’re passionate about. You don’t need to have a wealth of experience but you do need to have a desire to dive in and learn.
- Not too broad, not too narrow- If the subject matter of your blog is too broad, you risk being random and will have difficulty attracting a consistent group of readers beyond your mom and dad. Too narrow and you might struggle to find enough stuff to write about. It’s your blog so you can still do whatever you want with it.
- Blogging still requires discipline- One of my blogging heroes is Seth Godin. He writes every day generally about marketing-related topics. While I’m sure he loves thinking and writing, there’s definitely discipline required to think of topics and then write every day. Blogs don’t magically happen. If you have something to say, you need to set goals as to how often you’re going to say it and stick to it. This might mean getting up earlier or staying up later— whatever it takes to get it done.
- Variety is great- While posting rich content consistently is important, the format isn’t nearly as much. Sure, essays are great, but so are quick, profound thoughts, book reviews, video blogs, interviews, and whatever else you can dream up on your topic.
- Keep a running idea list- I keep a running list of topics I want to write about. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve gone for a run and wrestled with something going on at work and come home with 2-3 ideas for things to write about. I typically don’t have time to write 2-3 blog posts right after a run so I instead add them to my idea list before I forget them. That way when I’m ready to blog, I have ideas to choose from.
With those ground rules out there, here are some sources I turn to so I can find topics to write about:
- Work experiences- My topic happens to be about my work so that makes this convenient. While I always recommend consulting your boss and using extreme caution when writing about your work, there are lessons being learned all of the time that are worth noting and sharing.
- Life experiences- No experiences are off the table. I learn lessons about customer service from my wife, kids, friends, strangers and other businesses all of the time. Don’t miss the lessons and learning opportunities unfolding right in front of you. Obscure analogies are fair game as well. I oncecompared customer service to a port-o-potty and so can you!
- Read- Read blogs, articles, news, books, webinars, and social media posts. Sure, maybe you are using someone else’s thoughts and expertise on a topic. While you must always give the author credit, when you demonstrate how you learned and applied their thought to your own work and life, it also becomes a bit of your own.
- Networking- If you really want to get the creative juices flowing, find ways to network with likeminded folks. Conferences, networking events, LinkedIn, and Tweet Chats on topics that are relevant to you or will even stretch and push your thought forward are great ways to get new ideas. There’s tremendous power of community when we are able talk with other people who have similar experiences as us.
- Try new things- I’m as guilty as anyone of being a creature of habit but too closely following the same routine day in and day out is boring and forgettable. I’m not telling you to go skydiving or get a weird body piercing. But maybe take a class on something you know nothing about, or take a different route home on Wednesday, or try contacting a company by social media or text message instead of the phone, just to see what you learn. This is a great way to get the creative juices flowing.
I’ve frequently heard others say (and said it myself at times), “I don’t have anything interesting to say about that topic.” If you catch yourself saying that, turn your hands over and look at your finger prints. While others may have similar patterns, no one has the exact same fingerprints as you. In the same way, no one has the same combination of family, job, interests, background, and life experiences as you. You may just have more to say about your topic of interest than you give yourself credit for. If this article sparks an interest in you, leave me a comment and I’d love to help you develop that thought more.