I probably shouldn’t admit this… Probably going to get kicked out of all the writers groups…
First, some background: I’ve been writing professionally since college. I worked at newspapers back in the day. Magazines, too. I wrote a book. I figure I’ve gotten paid to write something like a million words.
My admission is that I’ve never once written a piece of fiction. Every writer I know has some fictional work at some stage of completion, but not me.
In all those mountains of words, I’ve never started a story with characters and plot that came from my imagination. Not once. I’m somewhat in awe of people who can do that, actually.
When I was a reporter at newspapers, I even had trouble with “feature” stories, the stories that are not hard news but that are just about an interesting topic with no place to put “a police spokesman said today” anywhere in the story.
I once wrote about a rescue helicopter that crashed high in the mountains while on a rescue mission, and about the much larger helicopter that went to get all those injured the next morning. (Nobody died, thank goodness.) I wrote something like 1,500 words about the whole event, and had it done in a couple of hours. I won some awards for my work.
But then when an editor would say to me, an award-winning writer: “We need to write about teenagers,” my response was something like: “Why? Were some of them in a helicopter that crashed?”
When it came time to come up with an angle… an approach… a way to start a feature story… … I floundered.
So when Wade Green and I started BlogMutt, a service that provides what is essentially a series of feature stories for businesses, we knew we needed to develop with a way to help writers come up with an angle from scratch.
That’s why we invented an idea generator for our US writers. They are busy creating business blog posts for customers from around the world in every niche imaginable. The writers can just click a button and our system helps them out.
The way it works is that we have drawn up a list of nearly 1,000 classic headlines for business blog posts. Then we combine the forms of those classics with the keywords related to the customer. With that, we can provide a small spark for our thousands of writers, all with software.
If they struggle the way I struggled, in one click they can get a suggested headline and start of their blog post. To be sure, sometimes the suggestions sound ridiculous. “Six fun, lighthearted facts about Enterprise Healthcare Security.” Sometimes there are four clunkers in a row, but then the fifth one comes: “What they don’t teach about Enterprise Healthcare Security in College” and some neuron fires off of another, and… boom! You have the kernel of a post, and can go from there.
The other thing that often works is to just do a Google News search for the keywords. Sometimes you get lucky and there’s a helicopter crash related to the topics of your business. Kidding. Anyway, we made a tool for the writers that presents a Google News search on the keywords in a handy place. The writers love that one, too.
We’ve been tinkering with those tools now for more than a year and they work really, really well.
With this newsletter, in what may be a foolhardy gesture, we’re announcing that we are giving the tools away.
Here’s how it works: If you have a WordPress blog you just download the BlogMutt Idea Generator. Enter some keywords and you’re done with the setup. After that you’ll have three tools available to you.
Tool One: A small lightbulb will appear in your blog window. From now on you won’t need to face that empty blog window with a sense of dread. Just click the lightbulb and an idea and a rough beginning of the post will magically appear in your blog window. If that idea doesn’t work, fear not! Just click again and another idea will populate your blog window.
Tool Two: If you want to do a Google News search, we have a small search icon next to the BlogMutt lightbulb. Click that, and a custom search appears in a new tab.
Tool Three: You’ll get a weekly email with five headlines that are produced by the BIG.
Those tools are all part of the BlogMutt Idea Generator — the BIG — that you can download right now from the BlogMutt WordPress Plugin Page, or you can read more on our page.
I hope you use these tools in good health, and they inspire you to many great blogs.