Converting Social Media Updates into Creative Blog Content
These days most of us are pretty quick on our feet when it comes to thinking up snazzy, attention-grabbing status updates. Whether on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, or any other platform with a “less is more” policy, people are becoming increasingly creative when it comes to communicating their thoughts and opinions to the general public on a daily basis (or, in some cases, every five minutes).
When you think about it, though, how many perfectly good ideas have been left on walls and news feeds, never to be further fleshed-out or explored? Every day I come across a status update or news article that inspires me to express my opinions, debate topics, and get consensus on key subjects. Entertaining these conversations online is fun yet very time-consuming. How can that same energy be re-directed in more constructive and rewarding ways?
Often I’ve found that a craftily-worded Tweet or status update can provide a basic framework of ideas for writing an expanded exploration of any topic. For instance: a negative business experience I originally shared with Facebook friends ultimately evolved into a featured article on Project Eve. And my professional perspective on last month’s now-notorious Paula Deen fiasco inspired a self-published blog post that resulted in engaging dialogues with fellow industry colleagues in arenas like Google+ and LinkedIn.
Sometimes random things may happen during the course of a day that you’re inspired to post about. Always complaining about how your creativity is being hampered in the workplace? Sounds like great material for a blog article on how people can remain creative on the job. Just reached a major milestone with your project or business? Write a piece offering sound advice to help other start-ups and entrepreneurs to strategize efficiently and accomplish their goals.
Don't led the seeds of good ideas go to waste.
So, how should you go about identifying your most “blog-worthy” updates? Here are a few pointers:
1. Pick the posts you were most passionate about writing at the time.
Mostly when I post on Facebook or Twitter, it’s in response to something newsworthy that’s happened that day or week, or on a topic relevant to business, politics, culture, or general society. One way that I’ve begun generating blog ideas has been to review earlier status updates and try to tap back into the same thoughts and/or feelings I had when they were initially written. By re-connecting with the original source(s) of inspiration, I am able to better articulate my thoughts and structure them in ways that effectively present my point-of-view in more than just 140 characters.
2. Assess which of your updates got the greatest response (Likes, Comments, or RT’s) that day or week.
One of the best ways to pinpoint a potentially good blog idea is to review the number of people who engaged with the originating status update. 10 “likes” is cool, but five comments is even better because it shows that your Facebook or Twitter post was interesting enough for people to directly respond. If you are not publishing your articles yet, you’re likely not concerned with generating blog comments at this point. But if you are, comments on your social media posts can potentially be translated into comments on your blog, the ultimate goal for most bloggers.
Like it or not, status updates are an effective way to gauge potential reader interest.
3. Which updates can you find the most data/background information on to support your opinion?
Stating your perspective is one thing, but having relevant and compelling information on-hand to substantiate it will comprise the actual meat and potatoes of your blog post. Again, if you’re largely uninterested in other people reading your post and use blogging as a way to simply unload your thoughts, this may not be too big of an issue. However if you are trying to build an audience – and especially if you want your work to be published elsewhere – putting on your journalistic hat and conducting research is the best way to be considered a reliable source for readers to follow.
4. Which statuses elicited the most diverse, emotional, or controversial responses?
While this one is very similar to #2, it’s actually distinctively important. In addition to assessing the quantity of responses, you want to pay attention to the quality as well. If you asked a question or introduced a topic that attracted a wide array of opinions, those same opinions can be used as alternate perspectives for your article. Highlighting contrary points of view often makes for the most creative and interesting blogging material. Ask your friends if they’d be willing to have their responses quoted in an official post on the topic, and invite them to continue the conversation there.