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If you’re like me on most days, there is no resource that comes close to being as precious as time. Deadlines, calls, meetings… it’s not uncommon for me to blink an eye and see that by some anomaly, it’s five in the afternoon and no longer nine in the morning. And like every other one of my colleagues here at the office, it’s essential for me to ensure that every man-hour spent is the best use of my time.

Cue blogging.

Like any report I’m writing or presentation I’m designing, it’s important for me to make certain that any time I commit to blogging is utilized to its maximum potential. This means cutting down the time I sit at my desk scratching my head or staring blankly at my computer screen. Furthermore, this means being prepared and having something to draw on when it’s time to put words to post. Some may argue that blogging from a blank slate works for them, but if you’re terminally busy, having some sort of treasure trove of ideas, concepts, and time-saving techniques can only work to speed up the overall process.

So if you’re constantly time-challenged, but want the opportunity to write regular, quality blog posts, check out the first installment of my two-part series below about quick content inspiration.

Digging up the Gold

Step 1 – start building your content pipeline. How?

At the beginning of every post is an idea. And every idea is born of some source of inspiration. Below are some sources I suggest you tap into regularly to start filling your rolodex of blog content.

1) Traditional News: Most of us are exposed to some form of news at some point of day. Be it the six o’clock news, morning paper, or your favorite radio station on the way to work. Aside from making you more worldly, happenings in your town and around the world can also act as seeds for your blog ideas. After all, the news is almost certainly covering developments that affect your industry, business, or profession. All of which you can write about.

2) Pop-Culture News: Yes, guilty pleasures such as MTV.com, Perez Hilton, and other pop-culture hubs are fair game for blog post inspiration. How? These outlets survive by keeping an unwavering pulse on what the public is interested in. Want to keep your content relevant to the masses? This isn’t a bad starting point.

3) Social Media Sites: Want to blog about blogs? Blog about tweets? Blog about… you get the idea. Sites that focus on all things social media, like Mashable, Social Media Today, and Social Media Examiner, can provide you with the down-low on what’s trending in the digital world and even offer you example frameworks and best practices for your own writing.

4) Twitter Trending Topics: A quick and easy way to find inspiration for blog content is to check out Twitter’s trending topics. Glancing at the top trends will give you insight into what’s being buzzed about by thousands or even millions of Twitter users at any given moment. Basing a blog post off one of these topics will provide instant relevance.

5) Quora and LinkedIn Answers: Both Quora and LinkedIn Answers are excellent sources of content inspiration because they house the questions that professionals are most eager to answer. Whether you scour the two sites for popular questions to answer yourself or sentiment that supports your own ideas about a particular question, Quora and LinkedIn Answers have the makings of a blog content goldmine.

6) Existing Content: Yes, you heard me right. And no, I’m not talking about cutting and pasting an essay you wrote back in 2000 and calling it a post. Instead, think about any content you’ve already spent time producing and how you can repurpose this content as a blog post. Even if the content doesn’t immediately appear to be relevant to your blog, take the time to step back and reassess. You may be surprised by some of the interesting connections that pop into your head.

The key takeaway is that many of your readily available, everyday information resources can act as inspiration for new blog posts. Keep an open mind too. I’ll go so far as to argue that everything and anything counts. This includes “iffy” or “bad” ideas, because being busy means that any ideas that float your way are precious. The key is to mold your discombobulated ideas into interesting, relevant concepts when it’s time to write.

If you have convenient content hotspots of you own, please share them in the comments! Otherwise, stay tuned for the next post in this series – “How to Efficiently Convert Ideas into Posts.”

Image courtesy of hiyaori13 via Flickr.

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