Whenever I’m struggling for inspiration, I’m reminded of Sting’s autobiography. In it, he describes the torturous route from living and sleeping rough in his transit van through to meeting his future band mates and their subsequent rise to fame.
Throughout the journey, you are always reminded that inspiration can strike at any time and the most important tools in a songwriter’s armoury are the humble pen and paper to jot down the inspiration when it occurs.
There’s nothing worse than sitting down to write your blog post and finding yourself completely devoid of ideas.
Trying to think of something to write, without any prior research or thought, is going to put you in an awkward situation because you are losing time trying to come up with the perfect idea.
The solution is to have a publishing calendar and a list of ideas that you've written down and accumulated. Whether you are a new blogger or a company CEO who wants to establish a web presence for their business, having a publishing calendar solves many problems and leads to a content of much higher quality.
For the modern day digital marketer, you can substitute the gig itinerary with the days and dates you want to publish a new article – that’s easy to do you, you can use google calendar for that.
As for the content – I like to use Microsoft OneNote to record all the ideas I get, and over time it builds up a list of article ideas that I’ll never run out of.
You can use OneNote on your PC, Mobile and Tablet and synchronise so that your new ideas are always available.
Here's the way I like to do it:
Make a Notebook in OneNote for your website or project. I have a notebook for personal reminders like shopping lists and reading lists where I save interesting looking things for browsing time. This is the default notebook where "quick notes" are saved to. If you are out walking the dogs and inspiration strikes, then it's easy to make a quick voice note and remember the idea. Sometimes ideas come at you thick and fast just as you are going to sleep, so it's very useful to make voice notes and not worry that you are going to forget the idea.
Then I have a notebook for each website project I'm working on. When I come across new ideas for content, it all goes on the "to do" list page for that project. Sometimes ideas are big enough to have their own dedicated pages.
Once you get used to recording all your ideas you need to schedule a time to review them and plan which ideas are going to be acted on. I like to do this on a Sunday afternoon and plan out the publishing calendar for the week after next so that I always have a full week of posts in reserve to write and they are timely and compelling.
If you are stuck for an idea, one great technique I like to use is to schedule time to go over your oldest posts and update them. Giving them fresh links to new content you've produced and updating outdated information is a great way of keeping your site fresh.
Using a combination of OneNote and Google Calendar will give you all the free tools you need to create a great publishing schedule and never be stuck for an idea.