The Power Ring of Content Generation.

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I just got back from lunch with Hal Jordan--let me tell you, that guy is non-stop.  He told me that he hadn’t slept for the last three days since he had to convene with the Justice League about the latest galactic disturbance, and yet I didn’t even see the faintest hint of a dark circle under his eyes.  And to think, without that power ring and fancy green lantern of his, he’d be just another schmuck working for an aircraft production company.  Lucky guy.

Every once in a while, all writers come upon the dreaded brick wall that is writer’s block--even me.  When those ideas run dry, it’s easy to feel like Ant Man fighting the Hulk.  At times, I find myself wishing I could just get my hands on Hal’s power ring to construct whatever my imagination allows.  And then it hits me.

I have more “power rings” than I can count.

There are so many resources available to writers of amazing content today that allow us all to overcome the most foreboding cases of writer’s block.  With the right search terms and a few simple clicks, the perfect content sources will illuminate your monitor.  I’m here to tell you about a few places that elusive content may be lurking.

Obviously, your content should speak to your audience.  Why not get their input for new ideas?  Hold conversations through social media, find out what they like and dislike, and try out a few different ways to get them talking.  Many sites, like Polldaddy, allow you to create a simple poll for your readers in under five minutes, giving you access to a wealth of relevant and engaging content ideas.

Social media groups and communities also act as great resources.  Many of the people who post in Google+ communities, for example, are experts in their fields, and LinkedIn gives professionals a place to gather and discuss the technicalities of their industries.  The best part about these communities is that there are hundreds of thousands to be found.  I bet my spandex that you can easily find a community that fits your needs and gives you resources to help educate and inform your audience.

The superheroes over at Google have constructed a number of tools that can help you pick up on trending topics; my friend Sleuth uses them all the time.  Check out Google Analytics for your site to determine which of your earlier blog posts were the most popular among your readers.  Of course, I would never tell you to regurgitate your own blogs time and time again--total rookie mistake.  What you can do, however, is create content based on a similar topic, as your readers deem you an expert and enjoy your commentary on those subjects.

If you’re really hitting a brick wall instead of leaping over it in a single bound, there are free tools available that can do the searching for you.  (No, I’m not insulting Sleuth!)  Check out Hubspot’s blog topic generator, which takes three keywords from your blog and generates solid ideas, even giving you news-breaking headlines.

Sure, none of these tools are as mystical as Hal’s lantern, and they don’t come in that attractive shade of green.  But they give you the power to construct incredible things if you have the right combination of willpower and imagination.  Hopefully soon, they’ll develop a tool to give us all an extra hour of sleep each day.

Write on, Captain Content.

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