This blog introduces you to my special brand of BIKE. I show you how to find your Best self, access your Inner strength, tune in to your Killer instincts, and use your Expressive voice. It's inspiring, spiritual, quirky, and it's all in your head. It's about ATTITUDE, not exercise, though that might be a side benefit.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

How and where to find content for a blogathon

As we count down to the last days of the blogathon, and as some of you may be having a difficult time wondering how to fill those last days out on your blogs, here is a list of ideas about how and where you can find content for 31 days of posts.

Michelle Rafter incorporates theme days throughout the month to help make the event more interesting, and to help you come up with topic material. But it also helps to consider using a theme for the full month. I've done this several times. Choosing an overall theme that fits the focus of your blog will help you come up with material even on the days when you're not feeling particularly inspired. All you have to do is think about the word or the phrase you've chosen. My topic is "joy" or joyful living. It's a sure bet you could sit down and write out a list of 31 things that pertain to joy. I bet you could do the same about "fiction" or "breakfast foods" or "technology for dummies."
The reading material you have on your desk or on your bookshelves can be an excellent source of topic material to write about during the blogathon. You can even review a book for a blog post if you like. Perhaps you're reading a chapter right now that has you perplexed about an idea. You can write about that. If you use the right tags, you might even bring in new readers who are also curious about that same book. No matter what you find inside the pages of a book, you'll surely find content to comment about, and then that could lead to an interview with the author perhaps.
Do you have favorite quotes that pertain to your blog topic? Post a quote for the day, followed by your thoughts on what it means to you and why. This will engage your readers to comment.
Pose a question to your audience. Make it as simple as that. You can take it a step further and use this as a weekly event, your own "Question of the Week" series the occasional "Question of the Day." That's what I've done, and it always makes for good conversation, which is the whole point of blogging. It's about interacting with your audience, engaging them about your topic, and furthering their knowledge, or having them further yours. 
Of course you want to use graphics anyway, but if you're having a difficult time deciding what to write about, then just post a picture. An idea will generally stem from that alone. 
Use your Google Alerts to find news items worthy of discussion or editorializing. Dissect what you've read. Post an opinion. Add links to updates about a news item you covered earlier in your blog. Sharing an opinion on a controversial topic is a great way to pull in readers. Don't worry if they agree or disagree. Just be glad they'll come to your blog to discuss the matter with you.
Perhaps your topic is getting a lot of press because of new research or surveys published. Find the links to this research, read about it, find out what other people are saying about the new developments, and add your two cents.
Finally, let's end the list with something that's very helpful in building a bigger audience for your blog, and that is visiting other people's blogs. But don't just go there. Stop and stick around. Read what the bloggers have to say. Post comments. And if something really catches your eye, blog about it.
If you have additional thoughts about how to fill out 31 posts in a month, list your ideas here. It could help us when we regroup next year.


lisa said...

Great ideas, Jackie! I particularly like the asking your audience a question one. It really gets people engaged.
And since I'm off on a little break for the next week, I scheduled posts ahead of time, all except for one day. I might be using the picture idea that day!

BIKE LADY said...

Have fun on your break, Lisa.

Anjuli said...

Really great ideas. I've scheduled posts til the end of the blogathon due to very busy schedule- however, these ideas will help even after the blogathon!!

Tia Bach said...

I've printed your post! Great ideas. I'm such a newbie and didn't know anything about Google Alerts. Thanks to you, it's now set up. What would I do without my blogger friends? Thanks! (and I love the idea of a theme month or week)

Kids and Mental Health said...

This is awesome, Jackie, thank you for the excellent content-generating suggestions.

Tara said...

Great list. I am scraping the bottom of my idea barrel, and this will help a lot.

Mikaela D'Eigh said...

Thanks for the tips! I think about "stuff" all day long but it doesn't always occur to me that others might be thinking about the same things and looking for answers or just someone else who is wondering the same things.

Going to use these ideas!

Jen @ My Morning Chocolate said...

Great ideas, Jackie! Posting questions is my favorite thing to do when I'm short on content. I think it makes it easier for people to comment too when they have a direct question to answer.

I also use a weekend day to post links to other blogs that I enjoy or have just discovered. I use my time for research instead of writing, and I get to discover great new blogs. It's a win/win!

Michelle Rafter said...

I swear by theme days and I'm leaving the blogathon with two new ones that I'm adding to the Friday recommended reading posts that I've done forever. I started running guest posts once a week during the blogathon and will continue to do that most Tuesdays starting in June. I'm also continuing an advice column called Dear WordCount that I'd run off and on before and published on Thursdays during the blogathon. I started it because I found myself constantly answering questions from less experienced bloggers on writers' message boards and it occurred to me that I could spin those answers into a column because (a) there was an obvious need for it if people were asking those questions, and (b) it would be easy to do because I could write it from my own experience.

This month on days where I didn't have standing features, I stuck to one topic. Once the blogathon is over, I'm going to round up all those posts and use them as the basis for my first ebook.

The more I do this, the more I look at it as an editor and publisher: it's all about getting maximum yield for minimum effort. That's not being lazy, it's being smart.


BIKE LADY said...

Michelle, good comment. I love the theme days. It helps build momentum during the Blogathon and helps people think of other ways to use the blog. Plus, it's fun to see how creative you can get. Good for thinking of an e-book next. This has been a month of experimentation for me and mine. I have several in mind, but this month was work for a specific one, like a focus group experiment. I love the Blogathon because it always generates new ideas and better ways to run a blog. Thanks for starting it four years ago.