Where I Get Blog Post Ideas

After blogging for over 17 years, how do I keep coming up with blog post ideas? Through reading, answering questions, and planning ahead.

When I talk to people about starting a blog, newsletter, LinkedIn posts, or other content marketing, they often confess that they’re worried they don’t have anything to write about. They ask how I come up with ideas, especially when I’ve been blogging so long. I’ve been blogging since December 2006–seventeen years ago! Surprisingly, I feel like I have more to write about now than I did after one year of blogging. Of course, I get stuck on writing sometimes, just like everyone else, but I’ve figured out ways to work through those blocks.

Where I Get Blog Post Ideas

AI generated image of a woman with brown hair and glasses working on a computer while iridescent bubbles and gold threads float into the computer

This image was created in Playground AI and edited with Affinity Designer.

Use multiple sources for blog post ideas

I have a long list of blog topics to help me when I’m in a rut. It’s always easier to start from an existing list of topics than to start with a blank page. My ideas for posts come from several sources.

  1. Reading: I write about things I’m reading and learning about. When you read an interesting article and want to share and comment, that can become inspiration for a blog post. If you’re struggling with a problem and learning new skills along the way, that can be great blog fodder–even if you don’t come up with a perfect solution. I also bookmark articles for my posts of curated links.
  2. Online Discussions: When someone asks a good question online on LinkedIn, reddit, eLearning Heroes, etc., that’s another source of inspiration. If you see several people commenting on a topic, that’s a sign people are interested in learning more.
  3. Questions: I get a lot of questions via email from blog readers and clients. When you explain something to a client or another ID (especially any question that comes up repeatedly), that’s a potential topic to write about.

It also helps to sit down sometimes and just brainstorm topic ideas or potential post titles. Not all of those will become posts, but it’s another place to start when I’m feeling stuck.

Recycle content from other sources

Sometimes I save time by recycling content. If I take 15-20 minutes to write a long response in a forum or email, I already have a good start on a blog post. I always rework it and flesh it out more on my blog, but it’s still faster than writing from scratch. In fact, part of the content for this post came from a question someone asked me on LinkedIn.

Create a series of posts

Series of posts give me momentum and a direction for writing. When I write a series, I know where I’m headed next. This also helps when I find I have too much to say about a single topic; I can split it up across multiple posts. A post series also has the benefit of natural places for internal links for more information.

These series of posts all helped me plan in advance and gain momentum in writing.

Plan ahead with a blog post idea schedule

Since 2015, I have worked from a blog post schedule. I create a tentative plan for topics that helps me stay on track. I never follow that plan 100%; sometimes other topics come up or I shift things around. However, it’s easier to sit down and write when I have an inkling what I’m writing about than looking at a blank screen.

A schedule shouldn’t feel restrictive, but it gives you a structure to start your planning and brainstorming. I plan out ideas for posts at least a month or two in advance.

Create patterns for easier planning

I also follow some general patterns. I don’t follow these patterns rigidly, but they give me a starting point for planning and scheduling. These patterns reduce the cognitive effort of planning.

  • Alternate brand new posts with revisions and updates of older posts.
  • Link posts every 4-5 weeks
  • Presentation or podcast recordings at least once a quarter. I try to avoid sharing recordings in two consecutive weeks, but sometimes it happens that way anyway just because of timing.
  • Update my list posts of presentations or podcasts when I don’t have new recordings to share
  • Update my book list in November (usually before Thanksgiving and the major holiday shopping season)

Sample blog schedule spreadsheet

Here’s a snapshot from my schedule spreadsheet so far this year. The left side is what I planned; the right side is what I actually posted. As you can see, my ideas on the left are sometimes a little rough. In one week, I hadn’t decided on what post to revise in advance, so the plan is blank other than flagging it as a revision.

  • Green: New posts
  • Blue: Revised and updated posts
  • Yellow: Link posts
  • Purple: Recordings (presentations or podcasts)

Originally published 12/22/2015. Updated 3/28/2024.


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7 thoughts on “Where I Get Blog Post Ideas

  1. Blog: Instructional Design

    Below are three brief critiques and overviews of three different blog sites or resource sites that may be used to help understand instructional design.

    The Rapid E-Learning Blog

    The Rapid E-learning Blog is a blog by Tom Kuhlmann. Mr. Kuhlman has a “Master’s in Education Technology from Pepperdine” [p. 1]. Pros. The blog is an early search result at Google.com and has a plethora of images and diagrams helping to focus on key themematics of e-learning and instructional design. Cons. The presentation of the blog makes difficult determining if Mr. Kuhlman is focusing on educating young children, teenagers, young adults in their 20s or main steam employees or older working professionals with established careers. The content of the different resources Mr. Kuhlman provides seems to be able to be used with any age group or demographic but the images used tend to indicate the content is for kindergarten, elementary, and junior high school students.

    E-Learning Industry

    The E-learning Industry resource site has a large number of articles for people looking at beginning a instructional design project. For example “Rapid Prototyping” or “Dick And Carey Systems Approach Model” [p. 1]. The site also contains a article titled, “A 6-Step Guide To Start Planning eLearning Projects.” Pros. The site has a large set of articles compared to other sites that I have seen helping the visitor understand instructional design. Cons. The site has a large number of third party advertisers such as Floor planning or construction project management software [E-Learning. com, 2022, p. 1]. The advertisements create clutter and make using the site difficult.

    EXPERIENCING ELEARNING

    EXPERIENCING ELEARNING is a blog by Christy Tucker. Christy Tucker has a Music Education degree with minor in German from Wesleyan University, Illinois (2022, p. 1). Christy Tucker helps readers understand where to get ideas for blog articles involving instructional design and where to find other blogs and resource sites that contain instructional design articles. Pros. her blog article on, “Where I Get Blog Post Ideas” is short and to the point explain how she uses some blog content from one post i another. When content is valuable reuse is advised and desired. Cons. The front page is filed with hyperlink images that can feel overwhelming given the variety and number.

    References

    Articulate Global, LLC . (2022). The Rapid E-Learning Blog.

    https://blogs.articulate.com/rapid-elearning/rapid-e-learning-101/

    E-Learning Industry. (2022). E-Learning Industry.

    https://elearningindustry.com/ideal-instructional-design-

    models-elearning-project-planning

    Tucker, C. (2022) EXPERIENCING ELEARNING.

    https://christytuckerlearning.com/about-me/

  2. Christy,
    I love the information you are sharing here with novice bloggers such as me. I came across your blog through one of my classmates who felt that your blog was a great resource for instructional design students; I am currently enrolled in the Masters of Science in Instructional Design & Technology program at Walden University. As a requirement of the course, I had to create my own blog and complete assignments using my blog. This is the first time I ever created one and had to research some of the blog sites that allowed me to create a blog. I selected the WordPress site to create a blog because I felt that it was user friendly and easy to navigate through the site. As a first time blogger I was hesitant about posting information in which I felt that my blog would not be like individuals who have been blogging for many years, such as you. However, over the last couple of weeks I have become very comfortable with blogging and have been able to search the internet and find some great blogs that focus on instructional design. The first question I asked, like the question of people you have spoken with, was what will I write about. I was too worried about having information posted that would spark the interest of my possible readers. Even though we are given things to post about every week, I thought about continuing by blog after the course was completed. For the first couple of assignments, I used the tip you provided about brainstorming possible titles for posts. I thought this was a good idea because if a title is catchy enough readers may take the chance and click on the post and see what it is all about. Also, if I am able to come up with a good title, there is a possibility that I can come up with some information to go along with the title to share with readers. This is indeed a learning experience and I am ready to take on the challenge. Experienced bloggers such as yourself are viewed as mentors by novice bloggers like me. I really think that blogging has become one of my new hobbies and I continue to follow you and other experienced bloggers.

    1. You’re actually in a great position to blog about what you’re learning. Think about how useful it would be for you to read the blog of someone who was in grad school, talking about challenges and what they learned. In another year, the blog could talk about the job search process and the transition to a first job, explaining what they learned on the job, what from grad school was useful (and what wasn’t). Wouldn’t that be helpful for you to read if someone had written that blog? The thing is–you could write it for some future student to follow in your footsteps.
      Many people believe they need years of experience prior to writing anything valuable that could contribute to the conversation. I started this blog in late 2006, when I had only 2.5 years of experience. I was hardly an expert. I started my blog to reflect on my own learning, and that turned out to be valuable to others too. Write about what you know right now, what you’re learning, and what questions you have. Your voice is an important part of the conversation.

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