This is a guest post by Maria Rainier. If you would like to contribute too, please contact me.
No one wants to wind up staring at a boring blog page when they’re looking for something interesting to recharge their imaginations, an entertaining distraction from work, or even specific information.
People read blogs for amusement and inspiration, so creativity is an important part of developing a successful blog.
And these days, having an interesting design or theme won’t get you a solid readership. RSS feeds have readers focusing on the content that’s being sent directly to them and reserving trips to actual blog pages for special occasions.
So how is it possible to stay creative with content when the Web is already saturated with content of all kinds?
The good news about the availability of excessive content is that you can probably write better than a significant percentage of people who are posting poorly constructed ramblings on personal blogs.
And if you’re a competent writer, that’s half the battle. The other half is staying creative, no matter what.
If you’re struggling to latch onto an idea for a post or are just looking for something to save for a rainy day, check out the following tips for maintaining creativity on your blog.
If you like to write, you probably like to read. Draw inspiration from what you enjoy in literature, reporting, professional writing, or even technical writing.
Another important consideration is staying aware of the news. Referencing any common reading that people are likely to recognize is a great way to attract and retain readers’ interest as long as you expand on the commonality and give them something new to think about.
You can also read great blogs and learn from their success.
Ask and Answer Lots of Questions
Curiosity strikes a chord with most people because it’s an inherent part of being human.
Ask questions to see if your readers can answer them, and even if you don’t get any responses to write about in your next post, you can find and post the answer yourself a few days later.
Polls are a good way to organize questions and coach responses, but if you want to give a little more leeway, solo free-response questions also pique interest.
Encourage readers to ask their own questions. You might consider holding a contest to see who can ask the most impossible question, promising that you’ll write a post in answer to the winner.
Challenging yourself is a great way to unearth the creativity you already possess, and your readers are just the right people to get your creative juices flowing.
Having trouble remembering to keep creativity in the mix? Schedule it by coming up with a weekly post that has to focus on a certain creative theme.
“Wordless Wednesday” for example, has been a popular phenomenon among many blogs. Posts include photos, music audio files, wordless video, caricatures, sign language, how-to diagrams, games, puzzles, and more.
You can come up with a certain creative day for your blog and let your readers know when to start expecting it. Anything else you can do every day to consistently inject creativity is helpful, such as including an inspirational or funny quote that pertains to each post.
“Word of the Day” can also be interesting as long as it’s directly related to the main content of your blog. For example, you might define “upcycling” (using waste material to create something useful) as a word of the day for an environmental blog, using it in your post.
Anything that keeps you on your toes is great fodder for creativity. You might struggle to come up with your word of the day, but once you have it, you’ll write an interesting post.
Add New Media
If you’re feeling adventurous, start making monthly (and then weekly) podcasts. This can be audio only for those of you who fear the camera, but adding visual interest is certainly a creative opportunity.
In this type of arena, your creativity is almost unlimited. You can mix in music and other audio, make how-to podcasts that star you as the “guinea pig” create photo stories, post footage of important events, and include virtually anything else you can think of.
Podcasts are an effective way to get your RSS readers to participate in something visual, and for any reader, they add several new dimensions of interest. Challenge yourself to try creating a podcast and watch for the positive feedback from readers and new visitors.
Guest post: Maria Rainier is a freelance writer and blog junkie. She is currently a resident blogger at First in Education, researching various online degree programs and blogging about student life. In her spare time, she enjoys square-foot gardening, swimming, and avoiding her laptop.
[image courtesy of Mark Sebastian]