Where Do You Get Your Post Ideas From?

I am often asked where I get my post ideas from. Since starting this blog in December 1, 2005, there has not been a single day that gone by where I did not have at least one new post for people to read. From the beginning to today (781 days) I have made 1812 posts (not including this one) for a daily average of 2.3 posts per day. This kind of posting consistency has been one of the major reasons for the blog’s success.

The problem many bloggers have with maintaining a consistent posting frequency is finding stuff to blog about. I’m sure we all have days when we feel like there is nothing to write about. Here are some sources I look at to get my posting ideas.

The Blog Comments

The blog comments are my number one source of new post ideas. It’s also the best source of post ideas because it comes from your readers. Readers ask questions in the comments. If the question is really good, I will answer it with a new post instead of in the comments. This is a win-win blogging situation. Your readers are happy and you have new content.

Emails from Readers

I get tons of emails everyday (more so than blog comments). Most of the emails are for questions that I’ve already answered in the blog but the person was too lazy to use the blog search feature. However, once in a while I will get a questions that I have not answered. Instead of answering by replying to the writer, I will answer it as a new blog post if I feel that others would ask the same question.

My RSS Reader

I track dozens of blogs using my Google Reader. This is a great source of new post ideas. Most people use their RSS readers to keep track of their favorite blogs. I use it to as a source of never ending posting ideas. Just because one blog has written about a topic doesn’t mean you can’t write about it. You can add you own viewpoint or give a counterpoint. Who knows, you might even start a blog flame war.

Networking Groups and Trade Shows

Trade events and networking groups are a great source of content ideas. Posting frequency always increase when I’m at a trade event because there are tons of stuff to report on. If you don’t have the budget to attend an industry show, use a service like Meetup to find local events in your niche. Just getting together with other like minded people will results in dozens of new posting ideas.

Go Dine Out

As far I know, this only works for me at the moment. Well, I’m sure it will work for a restaurant review blog as well. Eating out at a new restaurant means a new fine dining post. Not only do I get a nice dinner, I also get new content and the dinner becomes deductible for income tax purposes. 😈

I would be interested in knowing where you get your post ideas from. Please share them in the comments.

55 thoughts on “Where Do You Get Your Post Ideas From?”

  1. Wosko Jagora says:

    From John Chow Dot Com of course 😈
    But seriously, the best ideas usually come from everyday life!

    1. Ecko says:

      Yes, the best ideas are our everyday life. But, blog is a part of our everyday life, isn’t it? So, Mr. Chow is right anyway. πŸ˜€

    2. RSS reader, TV, my own ideas etc.

  2. from http://www.johnchow.com

    But I track news on using google and try and find out the latest news on the topics of my interest. Else reading and every day nuances and experience are the best way where you can find ideas πŸ’‘ πŸ’‘ πŸ’‘ πŸ’‘

  3. aboutpedia says:

    Mmmm from others blogs and sites like digg or meneame πŸ™‚

  4. lilian says:

    I am born to blog. πŸ˜›

  5. I get my ideas from my personal experience and from your blog.

    1. I get most of my ideas from anecdotal experiences I have. Encounters with the RCMP and CSIS in dark alleys of Toronto and Canadian politicians (MPs) including Paul Martin, Stephen Harper and Jack Layton. Since my blog divulges an incredible amount of Canada’s national secrets, there is not much about it written on the web so I have to write everything from personal experience. My blog is controversial and hard to believe, but the intricate tale and detail information about my experiences make it more real, and believable. I also name a lot of witnesses, especially celebrities whom RCMP have used in their entrapment so I have tonnes of witnesses. I have no problem with anyone contacting anyone on my blog to verify the details. Actually I encourage it.

  6. Kieran Gill says:

    Great post, just the kind of thing I needed. πŸ™‚ I’m a new reader here (but have known about you for quite some time now!) and am planning to set up my own blog soon. Just subscribed 15 minutes ago, and while I was reading another post, boom, an update! πŸ˜‰ Looking forward to your future posts, I’m sure I’ll learn a lot off you!

  7. Mubin says:

    hey John give us a post with all the blogs in your blog reader! Im interested.

    1. Good idea. I’d be interested as well.

    2. yes John I would be interested in this as well.

    3. Alan Johnson says:

      He is most likely following large ones such as TC on a regular basis but who knows, he might be following a few good new blogs as well, you never know, it all depends on the time he is devoting to this task each day.

      Alan Johnson

      1. Wouldn’t it be nice if you knew John Chow was following your blog. Hmmmm πŸ˜‰

  8. Justin says:

    Asking your friends for ideas…. πŸ˜‰

  9. Madmoney says:

    more than posts per day, thats a lot. of course thats why we come here…new posts everyday

  10. Madmoney says:

    more than 2 posts per day, thats a lot. of course thats why we come here…new posts everyday

  11. I like to combine not only personal experience, but a lot of inspiration from what I read. Which leads me to link a lot in posts πŸ˜€

  12. KieranG says:

    Hmm, for some reason I couldn’t comment in Firefox. Strange!
    Anyway, I’m a new reader here (though I have known about you for quite some time now :oops:) and have just subscribed to your RSS feed. Loving it so far… I have taken in a lot of information already, getting ready to launch my own blog. πŸ˜€

  13. David Chew says:

    I sometimes post more than 2 post per day and the some of the post idea i got it from reading newspaper or searching for the latest news on the net.

  14. Most of my posts over the past few years, and most of my comments, have been some kind of test (marketing, seo etc). If you don’t test every detail systematicaly for avenues of improvement… you don’t grow. I’d say that as I write this comment I have roughly 1000 posts worth of great original stuff on my hard drive for every post that I’ve actually written on my various sites.

    A 1000 unfinished vs one posted ratio is enough to make someone cry, lol.

  15. Rhys says:

    I can’t be the only one here who when goes out and something unordinary happens thinks: “That’d make a great blog post!”?!?!?

    1. Alan Johnson says:

      Blogging based on something interesting which has happened to you at a certain point is indeed not that uncommon. Even if you don’t end up blogging about the event in itself, it may just provide an excellent idea for a great post.

      Alan Johnson

  16. Mainly from commentators, but also from other blogs and forums (where discussions are more heated up).

  17. Drazen says:

    I get my ides mostly from other blogs, including this one, and from my personal experience like in using some kind of new program than i write about that.

  18. Will says:

    So far I get most of my ideas from what I’m doing currently. More like a diary than anything else.

  19. Hi John
    Those who know me, know I have great difficulty in ever keeping my mouth shut. πŸ˜€
    That brings about many questions and answers from friends and relatives and thus also generates some inspiration.
    Somehow, political events also provide fantastic food for thought, especially in circumstances when comments are written in such a timely manner that blog articles also become relevant for search engines.
    In general, anything we come into contact with can become a blog article. But somehow I am glad I waited because in the beginning we probably didn’t have as many inspiring resources as is the case today.

    PS: I know you love the question: who won the Ruff pc? πŸ™‚

  20. I wrote about where I get my inspiration of my blog posts from here. πŸ™‚

  21. Website Help says:

    Our blog is fairly new but we get most of our ideas from our prospective or current clients that don’t know much about web marketing. Most of it’s basic knowledge to the web marketing expert but to the average small business owner, it’s a whole new ballgame and they are eager to learn the basics.

  22. Another great post, John!

  23. Getting ideas is the easy part…putting them on paper and making it interesting is the hard part for many.

  24. Alan Johnson says:

    As a blogger, you often find yourself facing the issue of realizing that a long brainstorming session is leading you nowhere and, in the end, that great idea you were looking for all along comes when you least expect it. It’s always recommended that you write a good idea down in such cases so that you don’t forget about it and end up letting something with great potential go to waste.

    Alan Johnson

    1. Rhiannon says:

      That’s the reason why I love to carry around a little notebook wherever I go. There are tons of times where I talk to someone and realize that it would be a good idea for a post. I write it down so I remember it and come back to it later. :mrgreen:

    2. Thats a very good point and something I do.

      Sometimes whilst your in the middle of something you will have an idea and continue writing, try to think of that idea once your finished and sometimes it is not there.

      Write things down. πŸ™‚

    3. Alan Johnson says:

      I agree with both of you: always having pen and paper available in case that great idea appears can prove to be of great help in the long run, since let’s face it, letting a great idea go to waste is really a shame.

      Alan Johnson

  25. I find that reader’s comments are an excellent source for new posts. Helping people understand a topic a little deeper for a post I wrote about keeps the blog going.

  26. Neil Duckett says:

    I live in Japan, it’s an interesting place to live, the photos make for interesting posts. People have a big interest in Japan so i get a fair amount of traffic.

  27. Bob Angus says:

    I think of comments and forum posts as a great source of FAQs. There are 100s of questions that need to be answered and each one could be a post.

    The other technique I use is mind-mapping. For each general topic, I can easily think of 15-20 related post-worthy topics. Then for each of those, you can probably find 10 more based on a negative position. For example, on the topic of domain name valuation, you can create 2 posts on “Why I bought suchnsuch” and “Why I didn’t buy blahblah”

  28. bariles says:

    I carry my camera wherever i go so that when i come across something that catches my eye, i immediately aim at it, shoot and share the photos on my blog. This way, I don’t have to write lengthily and let the pictures do the talking.

    As the adage goes, A PICTURE IS WORTH A THOUSAND BLOGS. lol

    Hello from the Tuna Capital of the Philippines.

  29. Most of my ideas come for the day-to-day routine..I think of posts while I am riding the bus and subway to my other job…or while I’m reading the Globe and Mail or National Post (Canada)…sometimes I even get ideas reading the comments of bigtime bloggers like JohnChow, JohnCow, Shoemoney and Problogger! This was a clever post, how to find ideas for a blog post…that was a good idea!

  30. Wow, I’m glad this topic came up. I was curious as to where top bloggers got their ideas from. I’m glad to see that they too surf the net for what’s happening! Very nice post, good work Mr. Chow. πŸ™‚

  31. Thank you for the great ideas, I even got an idea from your blog John and I blogged about this very topic! :mrgreen:

  32. […} And then so many other things to manage […]
    John your Mybloglog Site Screen Shot is obsolete – Change it.

  33. Dom says:

    Interesting how many sources of inspiration involve just getting away from the computer screen for a while…

  34. Meanna Blog says:

    many many many of my ideas πŸ’‘ for blogging come from spending a long time in the shower in the morning… it has to be at 38 degrees though.

  35. ady says:

    Well, i would like to know how much time John Chow devotes for the upkeep of his blog. I wonder he is reading this or not?? :D.

  36. Mike Huang says:

    Interesting post, I’ll keep this in mind.


  37. Chip says:

    Right now, I get inspiration from my own blogging experience. Not only for this blog, but for other blogs of mine, and other network web sites. There comes a time when we get fed up with SEO, money-making and marketing advice from an over-saturated blogs market.

    Here is my latest article explaining how I reached this level and left behind the tutorials, how-tos, and more.

    I just don’t know yet if it’s a good thing 😎

  38. I agree that the best idea’s are our everyday life but it is to broad. Here are some of my list with the everyday life we are referring.

  39. John I get my ideas from great bloggers like you. I read often and particularly the archives. My latest
    is a great example. I reference an article you posted back in the summer. 😈

  40. Hey John,
    I get a lot of my ideas by simply stepping away from the computer. It gives me time to reflect on the lessons I’ve learned from blogging, the posts I’ve read from around the blogosphere, and draw connections to my everyday life. Another way I get post ideas is by reading other blogs and using the mind mapping technique from ProBlogger. πŸ˜‰

  41. Jasmine says:

    Hello…I am new to the blogging world, about 2 weeks now I think.
    My blog is a mixture of things…parenting, home decor, pets…etc..I am constantly thinking of new ways to improve it, make it more interesting…I feel everyday that I am blogging away my life and no one is reading..!I still haven’t quite established HOW i am going to get people to go on to my site.
    My inspiration comes from books I read, everyday life with my husband and kids and from things I hear and see…I have to say that sometimes I get a really “good” idea, but battle to put it down on paper (on screen…) and sit there staring at a white page…! 😯

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