Feeding the Monster: Where to Get Content for Your Blog

The following is a guest post from FMF at Free Money Finance, a comprehensive personal finance blog that helps readers grow their net worth by making and saving money.

Let’s face it, having a blog or any other site that consistently needs updated content on a regular basis is like the plant in Little Shop of Horrors, constantly wanting to be fed. And while feeding the blog monster won’t cost anyone their life, keeping up with the regular demands of providing fresh content can certainly be a drain on even the most prolific blogger.

So where can you get content when you’re feeling a bit empty? Consider the following sources:

  • Commentators on your blog — I’ve had many readers leave such great comments on my site that I’ve known they could write a piece that my readers would love. I drop them a quick email and more times than not, I have a great piece for posting within a week or two.
  • Commentators on other blogs — The results above don’t have to be confined to your blog alone. How about contacting a good commenter from another blog you read and asking them for a piece? Or maybe even simply taking their comment and adding your own thoughts to it. In no time, it’s a piece worthy for posting.
  • Other bloggers — It’s a fact of life that smaller bloggers want to post on blogs bigger than theirs (case in point, me posting on JohnChow.com.) If you see regular bloggers from your niche commenting on or linking to your site, contact them and ask if they want to do a guest post. Many will jump at the chance.
  • Authors — Authors LOVE to offer book excerpts because such posts 1) encourage book sales and 2) cost them nothing in time and effort since the content already exists. Find a book that you like, then Google the publisher and/or track down the author. Offer to post some excerpts (even include what pages/subjects you like best) and see what happens. My experience is that most times they’ll agree, and often will provide enough material for many blog posts. The key: always tell them that you’ll link to their book’s product page at Amazon.com (or other bookseller.) A book sale is a win for you both if you have an affiliate program set up with the retailer.
  • Readers — Three or four times a year I make a general announcement to readers that I’m accepting guest posts. Since I get 7,000+ readers a day, you can imagine that this alone nets a good deal of response. In the end, I usually get 10-15 decent-quality posts from this method alone, freeing up much-needed time for me to market my blog or make tech changes that I haven’t had time to get to.
  • Anyone — After years of having guest posts, I finally developed a post on how to write a piece for Free Money Finance. I then linked it to the about section in my sidebar. Simply doing this, I’ve already received three pieces of content in the past month for almost no work at all. In addition, this post helps me with all other writers as well since I can point them to this post for details on my criteria for guest posts.
  • Twitter followers — I recently clicked through to someone who was following me at Twitter. A few clicks later I was at her website, saw that she was covering a topic my readers would love, so I dropped her a note. A couple emails back and forth and I had a piece I knew my readers would enjoy.

These are most of the ideas that have worked best for me, but there are probably more content creation suggestions you can add in the comments below. The point in all of these: we can defeat the constantly hungry blog monster with a little ingenuity and a bit of initiative!

Good blogging to you all!


32 thoughts on “Feeding the Monster: Where to Get Content for Your Blog”

  1. Hmmm, although I don’t have any intentions on allowing guest posts on my blogs (I like keeping them personal and aligned with my own thoughts) this is some good advice that I’ll share with a friend who’s getting into blogging.

      1. Well I probably spoke to strongly in my original comment – I don’t like saying I’ll never do anything, but at this point in time I feel it’s better for readers to get know me for the content I create.

        I’m also worried that I’d use guest posts as a crutch and just post them onto the blog because it’s easier than writing instead of working to create my own quality content.

        1. Hey it’s FMF! One of my favorite blogs. From reading your blog, I was already aware of your routine method of harvesting comments for post ideas. I’ve also used it on my site, picked it up from you. Thanks!

  2. diabetic man says:

    that’s good idea…..all is in front of my eyes,thanks

  3. Gary Lee says:

    Probably want to check out sites like nytimes, latimes, techcrunch and sphinn then offer your opinion on what’s going on! You’ll get initial traffic and hopefully loyal readers because of it.

  4. Jonk says:

    I spend a lot of time on Google News searching for topics that interest me.. It has tons of stuff on Facebook; I just have to look for the weird and bizarre stuff which provides a good base for my content !

    Jonk
    http://fbcrazy.com

  5. Mahesh says:

    Good Idea.. Will try on guest posting some day!

  6. game-girl says:

    All the sourses of getting new content are absolutely available and easy.Thanks for the list.

  7. I love the idea about contacting authors to post book excerpts. This is quite innovative, and you’re right… most authors understand the value of free publicity, so why wouldn’t they want you to post excerts.

    I do wonder, though… have you ever encountered difficulty dealing with an author’s publisher when using this strategy? I would imagine that the publisher would want to have a say in this… I’ve published three books so far, and I’d be hesitant to allow a blogger to post excerpts without running it by my publisher.

    Just wondered. This was a great post, BTW, and I look forward to hearing more from you!

    1. FMF says:

      I have had a few publishers require some sort of legal wording that they own the material, etc. Ultimately, we negotiated it to two sentences and that was acceptable to me. But this has happened only twice over the past few years, so it’s not common.

  8. Ben Pei says:

    Yeah when I run out of content, I would look at my comments and answer any possible questions that I might have missed out. As a blog post..

    1. Ben Pei says:

      Hmm John, if you don’t mind me asking, why my comments don’t get auto approved anymore?

      1. Yes John, mine too. Is it across the board i.e. you’ve now changed to moderate comments although I’m not sure how you keep up to it. You’ve tons!

        Peter Lee

      2. Tushar says:

        Probably because John’s not able to be on the Internet like usual and doesn’t want a flame war or anything starting.

        1. Ben Pei says:

          Oh no wonder.. I was worried for a moment, thought John began to hate me or something lol!

          1. Ben,

            You’re such a nice guy I don’t think anyone will have the heart to hate you.

            Peter

  9. Great ideas, especially the one about comments. I think I’ll give it a try some day, thank you

  10. andrew says:

    Good piece of information. Sometimes we can really run dry of ideas to write

  11. firedupblog says:

    great post. good for blogger running out of content. I think a blog is like a baby you need to feed it and take care of it until it grows up and is able to take care of itself 🙂 Thanks

  12. Sometimes I visit my favorite forum and ask a thought provoking question. There’s plenty of responses on such questions and I could easily make a post out of it.

    Peter Lee

  13. Pete says:

    Too bad it doesn’t work as well for my history research related website =[

    Good guest post though, good job FMF.

  14. wyche128 says:

    How about paying for content? That could be a possibility. Also could be expensive but I have found Craig’s List as good untapped source for content writers.

    1. But I do not think that for blogging purpose you should pay some one to get the content. This is your blog and this one represents your thoughts … your feelings … and people come to your blog to read that.

      Yeah if you want to have a guest post from someone who have also similar thoughts like you is a different issue … but buying contents … Sounding not good …

  15. Tushar says:

    Cool post FMF.

    Couple of new ideas here, even for seasons bloggers!

  16. Content is everywhere if you know where to look. I get ideas from comments as this is where people often as questions.

  17. I remember clicking on all the links that are from my commentators. I then just leave comments on theirs and get ideas 😉

    -Mike

  18. I like dropping by the DigitalPoint forums to find some ideas on what to write

  19. Great content John.I particularly like the idea of having other bloggers to post blogs for you.
    Thanks
    Kevin Njoroge
    P.S.

    Remember to download your free internet wealth report at http://www.internetwealthlab.com

  20. I agree with guest posting, its a good way to give your readers some different point of view without leaving your blog.

  21. Posting on your blog is just giving away what’s on your mind. And it’s really like in real life; if you don’t share your ideas with people and don’t get any feedback or different opinions, you just keep the same ideas all the time and don’t move any further…

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