In the By All Writes tradition of offering curated posts to help bloggers and content marketers, a new contribution awaits you (for posterity).
I wrote a post way back in October 2013 that focused on Mental Floss (aka mental_floss) and other knowledge-junkie resources as stimulation for your editorial calendar. But as we all know, a not-quite-two-year-old blog post is considered ancient when you calculate using dog years.
Hence, it’s time to supply you with new and improved sources of blogging and content-creation inspiration! I’ll lead with my currently favorite flavor (no, it’s not Flavorwire) and proceed from there…
Feed Your Brain and Your Blog via Today I Found Out: Don’t ask how I stumbled upon this glorious source of eclectic stimuli. Just be glad I did! While I’m tempted to make comparisons between Today I Found Out (TIFO) and Mental Floss, I’ll refrain.
Using TIFO is a great way to generate ideas for your digital content. The site’s most valuable feature is its versatility. Each time you click on the Surprise tab in the navigation bar, that’s exactly what you’ll get. The deepest dive on TIFO is the Articles tab–check it out.
Additionally, the TIFO staff was nice enough to compile and answer 100 fascinating questions in book format. It’s called The Wise Book of Whys, and it’s available for purchase in various formats via the usual suspects. I’m confident you’ll bookmark this site and hit it often…
Shake Up Your Editorial Calendar with Some Damn Interesting Facts: I’m not quite sure how to explain this multi-format resource to you, so I’ll defer to the good people at Damn Interesting (DI):
“Damn Interesting is a small, independent project dedicated to dissemination of legitimately fascinating but obscure true stories from science, history and psychology.”
The fearless leader who established this website in 2005 and continues to care for it is Alan Bellows. Beause DI is a hobby for Mr. Bellows, rather than a source of income, new articles aren’t posted on a frequent basis.
You can subscribe to Damn Interesting by e-mail or RSS feed, follow its Twitter feed, or like the DI page on Facebook.
Major time-saving tip: Scanning the DI archives is the best way to quickly identify which articles provide viable inspiration regarding your content-development needs.
The Ultimate Listicle Experience Awaits You at The List Cafe: This site delivers what it says it offers: a vast multitude of lists, each containing 10 factoids about its particular topic.
The List Cafe is an organized meta-research website for people who constantly source potential blog posts and other types of digital content. How can you go wrong with a resource that includes “Bizarre” and “Macabre” tabs in its navigation bar?!?
In no particular order, here are a few sample lists. I’m confident they will provide plenty of scope for your business imagination:
If You’re Curious, Read This Unusual Website’s Offerings: I don’t hesitate to admit that Curious Read isn’t a scholarly website. Regardless, I deem it a haven for knowledge junkies in search of content-related brainstorming assistance.
Yes, Curious Read has more in common with BuzzFeed than it does with my beloved Mental Floss–so what? I dare you to resist the siren song of categories such as “Odd N Strange” and “Randomness.” (The latter is a photo-centric option which, oddly enough, loops back to “Odd N Strange” as a subcategory).
One more curious tip: Scroll to the bottom of the site’s Home page to discover a unique navigation bar that doesn’t match the top navigation bar. When you click on any of these (active) links, you will bounce back to the top of the Home page.
As Alice (of Wonderland fame) would remark, “Curiouser and curiouser…”
All Bloggers Owe It to Themselves to Bookmark Boing Boing: First, click on the three red horizontal lines in the far right corner to view Boing Boing’s navigation bars. Ah, that’s better, especially if you have a low threshold level for ambiguity…
On the About Us page, the nice people running Boing Boing proclaim it “The award-winning zine, blog and directory of wonderful things.” Because you can submit a tip that just might segue into an appearance on this site, I’m likely to agree with Boing Boing’s digital pitch.
Articles that captured my eyeballs whilst I researched this post:
The Boing Boing website is also an online community of readers and bloggers. Members can contribute related commentary and constructive criticism in response to posted articles. Please start here regarding the platform’s rules of engagement.
Boing Boing’s overabundance of satirical humor reminds me of The Onion, only all the feature articles and guest posts are factual. You’ll either love it or leave it!
In Memoriam–The Black Table, 2003-2006: Alas, this subversive website no longer cranks out rabble-rousing content organized into categories such as “Rock and a Hard Place,” “How to Do Idiotic Things,” and “Things You Didn’t Know About America.”
That’s why I strongly suggest you start with the well-organized archives at the very top of The Black Table’s home page. This is probably the best way to use the site for brainstorming purposes.
No lifeguard will ever again be on duty, so enter at your own risk…
Other Quirky Resources for Feeding Your Blog–You Decide Which Are Read-Worthy:
Futility Closet (“An idler’s miscellany of compendious amusements”)
Interesting Facts (“From the most weird to inevitably true interesting facts”)
The Straight Dope (“Fighting ignorance since 1973 [It’s taking longer than we thought]”)
I’ve bombarded you (once again) with a plethora of sites bound to help you create engaging blog posts. Which do you suspect will be most useful to you and your blog? If you’re already familiar with any of these suggested resources, which do you think least useful? Why is that?
When all else fails, do what I sometimes do. I intermittently fall back on The Pocket Muse (or, as indicated in the photo, The Pocket Muse 2–both by Monica Wood) for old-school writing inspiration. Because: Why should all the 21st-century muses be of the online variety?
Happy brainstorming, fellow bloggers and others…
Lori Shapiro is the owner of By All Writes LLC, a business-to-business (B2B) writing, editing, and research company in Marlton, New Jersey. She revels in shielding her clients from the pain of writing their own print or web marketing and educational copy. Please call Lori Shapiro at 856-810-9764 or email By All Writes LLC at firstname.lastname@example.org for a no-obligation project quote today!