How To Steal Killer Blog Ideas (Without Getting Caught)


How To Steal Killer Blog Ideas (Without Getting Caught)

Challenging, isn’t it?

A blog is a great tool for building a business, but there’s one problem. You have to come up with high quality, engaging content. Regularly.

And starting a new post always means looking at a blank page. Which seems to suck the ideas right out of you. Anything that initially appeared brilliant and inspired suddenly seems trivial and inconsequential. Or worse. You have no idea what to write.

But here’s a secret that no one will tell you. You don’t have to think up great ideas – they’re right in front of you.

You just have to steal them.

Great Artists Steal

Shakespeare stole his plots from Greek and Roman plays. George Orwell got the story of Nineteen Eighty Four from an obscure Russian novel. Even the band U2 created their unique sound by trying to copy others.

Great writers steal – they just don’t plagiarise – and that’s the key difference.

Plagiarising is copying. It’s taking someone else’s words and pretending they’re your own unique composition.

Not cool.

But stealing ideas and making them your own? That’s a great way of creating popular blog posts.

Cool Tools For Theft

Popular blogs are a wealth of information if you know where to look, and you can mine them for ideas.

Let’s say you run a small marketing agency and you’re looking for ideas to write about on your blog. You know that three popular blogs in your field are Kissmetrics, Hubspot and Duct Tape Marketing.

So you head over to Buzzsumo or Socialcrawlytics (both free tools) and put in the URL for Duct Tape Marketing.

This shows that the top five posts on that site, over the last year were:

  1. Top 4 Content Marketing Metrics
  2. Checklist for Perfect Blog Post
  3. Email Marketing Best Practices for Lead Generation
  4. 5 Easy Steps to Nailing a Sale
  5. People Buy Stories Before They Buy Stuff

This gives us useful insights, but remember that we don’t want to copy or plagiarise. So how do we use this information?

Clever Ways To Compose

The simplest way to use this material is to take it at face value and write something similar – but not the same. So, you might write something about measuring content marketing, or create a cheat sheet for writing the perfect blog post.

If you go a little deeper you could extend the article ideas. So, you might take the article about nailing a sale and extend it by writing something about repeat customers, or how to keep customers for life.

You could also read the content marketing metrics article and then come up with another batch of tools for measuring content marketing. Do this for each of the articles, and you’ve stolen five great blog ideas!

But we can do better than that.

Smart Writing Ideas

The smartest way to use this information is to look at the underlying issues of the top posts. The way I read it, these are:

  • • How to create killer content (articles two, three and five)
  • • How to generate paying customers (articles three and four)
  • • Smart marketing strategies (articles one and three)

Writing your own articles about underlying issues gives you great ideas for content that’s likely to be popular with your own audience. And that’s just by looking at five posts on one site. Imagine how many ideas you could generate if you reviewed two or three sites? Your content calendar would fill up fast, without you having to come up with any ideas at all. And what’s more, the content you create this way is already proven to be popular.

You can spend hours brainstorming blog ideas only to have your content fall flat. Or you can do a little research and generate content the smart way – by stealing.

The choice is yours. I can’t wait to see what you choose.

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Showing 16 comments
  • Tracy Raiteri

    Researching and writing content for myself and my clients isn’t something that comes easily for me at the moment, so this article had perfect timing. It’s really just ‘research’ 😉 Thanks Cate

    • Cate Scolnik

      Hi Tracy,

      You’re right, it is research – I like to call it ‘stealing’ because that’s as close as I get to being cool, rad, and totally bad-ass. Plus, if it’s good enough for Shakespeare it’s good enough for me!

  • Anf

    I agree with you Kate – for anyone to think that with 7 billion+ people on the planet, and who knows how many published ideas in our collective histories, that any idea is truly original is ludicrous in my opinion. We are all influenced by others and gain inspiration from those before us. Plagiarism ain’t cool, but offering your own insight and opinion on specific topics that have been written about before is valuable.

    You’re totally cool, rad and bad-ass!

    • Cate Scolnik

      Yay! Thanks for your support. Looks like I’m one step closer to being totally cool (although my 11-year-old might disagree) 🙂

      • Misa Christina

        I agree, it’s impossible to truly know where or who an idea originated from, and much of the content we see is not original, as far as I can tell. I used to feel discouraged that the topics of my interest and expertise were already covered by many others, sometimes very famous and successful leaders in the field, but no more. Sometimes they share a very similar point of view, and sometimes I have a different take on it or something to add. Either way, I like to refer to the wisdom that even if it’s similar material, the people who resonate with us and want our guidance don’t care – they want to hear it said through OUR voice, in our own words and styles of expression.
        Thank you for a great article, Cate!

        • Cate Scolnik

          Hi Misa,

          The other great thing is that some people don’t ‘get’ the message the first time they hear it. Maybe it’s the way it was phrased, maybe it’s the frame of mind they’re in. Whatever it is, we can certainly give things our own special spin!

          • Misa Christina

            That’s another great point. Thanks, Cate!

  • Kill

    I love what you guys are up too. This kind of clever work and exposure!

    Keep up the awesome works guys I’ve added you guys to my blogroll.

    • Cate Scolnik

      Glad you enjoyed the article, and thanks for adding us to your blogroll. There is some great content here!!

  • MattieFSatow

    Really good post! We are going to be linking to this
    particularly great post on our website. Keep up to date the excellent writing.

    • Cate Scolnik

      Hi Mattie,

      Glad you liked the piece and are linking to it. I’m sure you’ll find plenty of great content on Smallville – and you’ll see pieces from me about twice a month. 🙂

  • Video Copy Protection

    Magnificent site. Lots of helpful info here. I’m sending it to several friends ans also sharing in delicious.
    And obviously, thanks for your effort!

  • Cate Scolnik

    Thanks for your feedback – I’m glad you found the article offered a fresh perspective!

  • Cate Scolnik

    Thank you! I learned from one of the best – Jon Morrow of Smart Blogger – and I’ve been fortunate enough to work with many big bloggers.

  • Christa

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