Being self employed, my husband and I often find ourselves brainstorming. We bounce ideas off of each other, throw some in the air, and see what lands face up.

Recently we were trying to solve a problem (I won’t bore you with the details), and although I came up with a good idea, for several reasons, it wouldn’t work. My husband contemplated what I had suggested and the light bulb went off. He said, “What if we turn it upside down?” THAT simple trick was our solution.

Today’s Lesson

With blogging we’re often faced with what to write about. We certainly don’t want to be redundant and sound like the next niche blogger, but yet we want to publish articles which are relevant.

Flipping our content is a great way to produce more ideas, expand our knowledge base, gain empathy for those who think differently than us, plus can open our comment sections up to great discussions.

Whether we’re blogging about succeeding in business, how to be happy or positive, and/or even parenting, we can find a way to take the opposite stance.

For example:

For the business site that is promoting “how to succeed”, an article titled, “What are the biggest mistakes people make in business” could become a big hit.

    Don’t just teach your readers HOW to succeed, share stories of mistakes you or others have made so they can be aware what to watch for.

    Business tips don’t get more honest than what you’ll find on Cath Lawson’s blog

Are you teaching others how to be happy/positive?  Write a post titled, “How we sabotage our own happiness.”

    We all know happiness is a choice. But how do we go from a negative disposition to a positive one? Is it the choices we’re making? The friends we keep? Readers want a solution, not just words.

    Positively Present offers numerous solutions and practices this technique to a “t”.

Children bring a lot of joy into our lives, but parenting isn’t easy.  Share “The pitfalls of being a parent” and I’ll bet your words will resonate with your readers.

    Those little ones are so cute and cuddly, but all parents have their “moments”. Writing first hand what it’s like to be a parent may even convince some to delay parenthood.

    Nestled in Blogger Dad’s archives are great posts where he tells it like it is

Just as the manufacturers of the Gardener’s Revolution™ Planter are having success and are solving a problem (space constraints) with this ingenious upside down tomato plant,the next time you’re trying to put a new spin on a topic, turn it upside down.

Today’s Assignment

When you review the material your blog contains, what topics could you turn upside down?

What other techniques do you use to generate more articles for your blog?

Raise your hand and share your thoughts.

signature for blog post.

P.S. If you try this technique, send me a Tweet or a link and I’ll come by and check it out.

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Look Who's Talking
  1. I look back on many of my articles and see what I could have done to turn them upside down. I feel like I’m just starting to get a grasp on my writing. I still have a long way to go before I feel comfortable, but that’s what being creative is all about. We have to keep trying to improve and bring more value to the people who follow us.

    When I’m working happy that’s when I’m turning ideas inside and out, until I get the right combination. If blogging didn’t give me that challenge I wouldn’t be doing it.

    Karl Staib – Your Work Happiness Matters´s last blog post..The “Yes, And” Technique

  2. I got one of those upside down tomato planters for Mother’s Day!!! I don’t know what I love most about it – the fact that it’s supposed to grow bigger, better tomatoes or how INNOVATIVE the idea behind it is!!!!

    I rarely have problems finding something to blog about because I get TONS of “blog fodder” by my experience of working with clients.

    Cath Lawson is the real deal – she’s a serial entrepreneur and it shows in her blogging. That’s what I LOVE about blogging. I’ve watched several people “crash and burn” trying to blog about business development because they don’t have a strong foundation of actual experience.

    My “article generation” technique is email. If I’m sending a client an email explaining something, then that’s probably good blog fodder. Check your “sent” email folder. Chances are, there’s PLENTY of blog fodder in there.

    Kathy | Virtual Impax´s last blog post..It’s called S-O-C-I-A-L media for a reason…

  3. Hi Barbara,

    I was just thinking of doing a post on 50 ways to ruin a relationship or something like that! That would be a candidate for an ‘upside down’ post! Thanks for the nudge, maybe I WILL write that after all…

    Daphne @ Joyful Days´s last blog post..Half Portions, Double Enjoyment!

  4. Lori HoeckNo Gravatar says:

    I love it when people go non-linear to find answers! Instead of saying, “This is the problem we need to fix,” you can say, “What if we applied the principles from X to it?”

    For example, if I want to generate blog articles, I could try to apply, oh, say, space flight concepts to the problem, and I would get perspectives such as,
    *What power sources (links, info, resources) can my readers access to launch them out of their problems?
    *How do NASA’s redundant back-up systems help explain the need to have more than one option in blogging or life?
    *How does the lack of gravity in space help explain the need to have a secure tether to our dreams?

  5. Writer DadNo Gravatar says:

    Turning things upside down is a terrific way to find solutions. It’s called backwards engineering and is often how I root out a much needed solution.

    Writer Dad´s last blog post..Serial and Milk: Available Darkness – Chapter Four

  6. CarolineNo Gravatar says:

    Oh, good stuff! Turn it upside down… I am not afraid to admit my mistakes…heck, I hope someone learns from me and saves themselves from a lot of pain…lol.

    BTW…off the subject, but I really want to get one of those upside down tomato plants!!!

    Caroline´s last blog post..Favorite “Foto” Friday

  7. Thank you so much for the mention here! This is a great post and has definietly gotten the wheels of my mind turning thinking about all of the topics I could turn upside down.

    Positively Present´s last blog post..down and out is overrated

  8. J.D. MeierNo Gravatar says:

    Too true.

    Asking what’s the opposite is powerful.

    It’s a common practice in our software industry … we share a lot of our best lessons through “antipatterns” which are the opposite of what you should do. These are the pitfalls that really get you into trouble.

    What I’ve learned in building prescriptive guidance over the years is that while showing people how to solve a problem is powerful, showing them what not to do can be more important. I’ve learned that while there’s many ways to skin a cat … there’s usually a few solutions that really get people into trouble. Shining the spotlight on these helps people avoid the dead ends and pitfalls while freeing them up for a lot of flexibility in their solutions.

    J.D. Meier´s last blog post..Success Defined

  9. To generate more articles for my nicheless niche, I carry my little digital recorder with me pretty-much 24-7, staying open for ideas / thoughts.

    I might start turning my jpegs upside down, make you all have to flip your laptops. :)

    Jannie Funster´s last blog post..Ordering The Funsterment

  10. Thanks for this post. I’ve actually found myself letting go a little bit of my need to be contrarian or have a unique perspective, just because any attachment to doing things a certain way is bound to make things harder for me in the end I think.

  11. Evelyn LimNo Gravatar says:

    I normally write my posts, based on what is happening around or to me. So I write with the added perspective of experience. Like Chris, I don’t set out to be contrarian but I write something that I feel I can share with others about.

    Evelyn Lim´s last blog post..Are You A Cracked Pot?

  12. LanceNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Barbara,

    I like this idea of flipping it upside down. I’ve been thinking I should look back through some of the comments for ideas – and now, at the same time – I could apply this upside down approach – thank you!

    Lance´s last blog post..As Close To Eden As You’ll Get

  13. Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Karl – I agree. We do need to think of our readers and the value we give them. With blogging having such a learning curve, I wonder if we ever stop improving.

    Hi Kathy – Those upside down tomato plants are awesome, aren’t they? I want one, too. You’ll have to keep me posted on how yours works out for you.

    Thank you for the great idea of checking our emails for ideas for blog posts. Like you said, there are a lot of hidden gems in what we send out.

    Hi Daphne – That sound like a fabulous idea. If you write the post on 50 ways…., let me know. I’ll come by and check it out.

    Hi Lori – That’s true. When we pose questions to our readers, we often get tons of feedback that helps to solve the problem.

    Hi Writer Dad – I didn’t know it was called “backwards engineering”. Now I’ve learned the technical term for turning things upside down. Thank you.

    Hi Caroline – Not being afraid of sharing our mistakes is a great way to help others. Oh how I wish there was the internet when I was young. :)

    Hi Positively Present – You’re welcome. I’m guessing you’ll come up with many more posts where you share solutions.

    Hi J.D. – I find that interesting that you also use this in the software industry. What you said makes a lot of sense. Helping others to avoid the pitfalls does free them up for more flexibility in their solutions.

    Hi Jannie – LOL. I might have a problem if you turn your jpegs upside down as I work on a PC.

    I like your idea of carrying a digital recorder as ideas come to us at all times of the day and night.

    Hi Chris – You’re welcome. Yes, by letting go of those ideas we’re attached to, it broadens our ability to see the bigger picture.

    Hi Evelyn – Writing from experience gives us credibility. Even though others may not experience the exact situation, by sharing what we’ve encountered often helps others to be aware of what could happen.

    Hi Lance – You’re welcome. Good point. Our comment sections are a fabulous place to find more material for posts as our readers are often telling (or hinting) what they would like to know more about.

  14. JeannetteNo Gravatar says:

    Great idea… Like when George in Seinfeld did “the opposite”. I’m going to take a look at my blog ideas list and see what might be pleasantly inverted.

    Jeannette´s last blog post..Bit of fun for a Friday

  15. Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Jeannette – Thank you. Keep me posted on what you find. I’ll come by and have a read. :)

  16. Great idea. Sometimes you just have to take a step back and/or look at something in a different way!

    By the way, do those hanging tomato things actually work? I keep seeing ads for them all over the place.

  17. sometimes I am feeling thatI don’t hAVE AN IDEA FOR SOMETHING

    Paul @ Palabuzz´s last blog post..Taken from Broad Daylight

  18. OwlNo Gravatar says:

    Basically what you are advocating is the idea of not only learning from our mistakes but also teaching others to do the same. Whether the blog article is written from an actual life event or instead is a “what if” type scenario it presents an interesting take on content. Instead of writing about what to do right the idea of what (not) to do wrong is appealing. Interesting twist!

    Owl´s last blog post..As Prices Rise Cotton A Logical Choice

  19. RoweNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Barbara,
    this post is great food for thought. Inspiration on what to blog about next, and wanting to write something interesting is what I aim for, and I like this perspective you have shared here.

    Rowe´s last blog post..Locked Up

  20. Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Teahouseblossom – Thank you. That’s true. Stepping back and seeing something from a different perspective can change everything.

    Re: The tomato plants – I haven’t tried one, but they do sound like a great idea.

    Hi Paul – That’s right. When we feel we don’t have an idea, turning an old idea upside down can produce a new one.

    Hi Owl – Thank you. That’s a good point. A blog post does not have to be first hand experience, but could be a “what if”.

    Hi Rowe – Thank you. With us bloggers often looking for inspiration, this technique opens the door to more ideas.

  21. […] more here: Turn It Upside Down | Blogging Without A Blog Share and […]

  22. Great thought. Everything on Someday Syndrome could be turned upside down, focusing on how to stay stuck and how to keep putting off dreams until Someday.

    That actually feels like a good series… hmmm…. thanks for the idea!

  23. First, I completely cracked up when I saw that picture of the upside down tomato plant! My Dad tried to grow one – and it failed miserably! This is strange, as he’s normally very successful in the garden!

    Keeping things real and authentic can be so hard sometimes. There are days where I definitely feel like the “Little Train that Could.” But, this is why I retreat to your site – for its healing powers! Thanks for all you continue to do for us here!

    Home Loans in Florida´s last blog post..7 Common Homebuyer Mistakes

  24. Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Alex – You’re welcome. For your blog, turning “it” upside down would make a fabulous series. Let me know when it’s live.

    Hi Kevin – Oh yeah! Someone who has actually tried one of these planters. I wonder why it didn’t work.

    You’re welcome. Yes, it can be hard to keep things real and authentic. I’m thinking for your blog, by you showing your readers the down side, it could prove to be eye opening.

  25. Barbara – Not sure why it didn’t take w/ the upside down tomato experiment! But, you’re so right. I caution folks on my home loan blog all the time about getting too wrapped up in the sexy side of home loans – namely – interest rates! (Oh yeah, they are sexy… don’t be fooled!)

    The thing is, that folks need to take a real 360 degree view on pretty much any major financial decision. We have to talk about the ugly side of things so that it doesn’t sneak up and bite us in the nether regions! :)

    Florida Home Loans´s last blog post..7 Common Homebuyer Mistakes

  26. […] Thanks to Barbara Swafford for the idea for this post, because she suggested writing from an opposite viewpoint. SHARETHIS.addEntry({ title: “20 Ways to Ruin A Relationship”, url: […]

  27. I envy you so much! I’d love to be self employed, working from home on my blogs. But alas – I’m stuck in an office with a job I hate and low pay with the carrot of higher pay constantly dangled before me. :(