So you’ve set up your blog (congrats!) and now it’s time to wow the world with a never-ending series of Pulitzer-worthy articles. This is gonna be great!

There’s just one problem: you have no ideas.

Ah yes, ideas; so easy to have in the shower, yet so hard to come by when sitting in front of an empty Word document. The hunt for fresh and compelling content ideas is perpetual one, at times fluctuating between waterfall-rich and bone-dry.

At Media Shower, a big part of what we do is coming up with great ideas for you, so you can spend time growing your business in other ways, or watching cooking shows, it doesn’t matter. But if you’d like to test your mettle and see if you can create awesome ideas on your own, here are 8 sweet ways to get the creative juices flowing like a Tropicana factory.

1. Make a Keyword List

Create a list of your company’s most relevant, high-value keywords as a brainstorming guide, then free associate on each of them, thinking about what would be valuable to your customers. If you don’t have that list, see our article on choosing great keywords for more information.

2. Conduct a Search

Use that Internet! Yes, just a simple Web search on the topics you’re looking to cover can be a great way to come up with article ideas. Also, use Google Autocomplete, where you bring up the search box and type a word or two and Google shows you what people are looking for around those topics.

Tom Cruise, speaking to Google about his Web search.

3. Set Up a Google Alert

Sometimes the news can be the best place to find a fresh idea. Setting up a Google alert can help you big time here. Just choose the topic or topics you want it to find and the frequency with which you want your updates and you’ll get emailed every time something new and relevant gets published online.

4. Have a Capture System

When ideas do come to you, it’s vital to have a fast and easy way to save them. Post-Its or a smartphone notepad app or voice recorder app represent your best old school and new school options here.

5. Listen to Your Customers

Much inspiration can be derived from your customers. What question are you being asked again and again? If you keep hearing it that means it’s not being answered sufficiently on the Web right now. That means there’s a big opening for you to create content around that topic. Go for it.

6. Talk with Outsiders

Sometimes it’s best to hear what people outside of your industry have to say. An outsider’s perspective can often open up new doors you hadn’t even thought about.

Sticking with the Tom Cruise theme, here are The Outsiders.

7. Check Out Other Blogs

Seeing how others approach the topics in your space can be quite helpful. Of course you never want to blatantly lift anything from anyone else, but there’s no copyright on blog ideas.

8. Online Forums

Check out message boards to see what people are talking about, or visit sites like Yahoo Answers to see what people are asking.

9. Read Books

An oldie but such a goodie. Reading, even if the subject matter has nothing to do with your company’s industry, always helps. Being exposed to new subjects often leads to fresh ideas.

We hope these ideas on how to come up with ideas have helped; we know they help us. But hey, if you’d like to take us up on our offer of creating the ideas for you, click here! Your first piece of content is free. Cool idea, huh?