Earlier this week, we asked What type of blog do you want? and Where to Find Writing Inspiration once you start blogging. Outside of writing your own content, however, are there other ways to get good (preferably free or very low-cost) content for your blog? Yes! Here are some techniques I've used that have been very successful:
Group Blogging - If a group of your friends or associates have common interests and goals, team up, and share the blogging effort. You'll have a wider variety of opinion and a broader knowledge base that will be more interesting to your readers. Remember to have a clear understanding about the goals of your blog.
Guest Posts - In the course of your social networking, you may come across writers who do not want the responsibility of running a blog. They may be willing to occasionally write for your blog - simply for the joy of writing and being read, or in exchange for your promoting their latest book or project. Also, if you have a great commenter on your blog or social networks, see if that person would mind you turning their comments into blog posts. If that works out, you might recruit that person to occasionally blog for you.
Cross-Posting ("Syndication") - When bloggers syndicate their writing, it's called "cross-posting." While it's important not to over-use this little gem (because the search engines will eventually start to flag one of the blogs as a spam blog, or as having "scraped" material), it's fine to occasionally "share" posts with like-minded bloggers, assuming they are in agreement.
Cartoons - As your blog becomes more well-known, you're likely to be approached by cartoonists who will let you publish one or more of their cartoons for free, as a way to get publicity for their work. Also, there are many sites online that offer free cartoons for your blog.
Public Domain - The Library of Congress and Wikimedia Commons are great resources for free "public domain" (not copyrighted) photos and documents.
Press Releases - There are any number of press release services that you can sign up for that will literally deliver more content than you can use to your e-mail inbox daily. Choose wisely, but this can be a good way to help supplement your content on days when you're otherwise a bit light.
Also see: Blogging Tips – Hundreds of Resources for Finding Content for Your Blog
Jennifer Pointer (e-mail) is a trainer and tech writer in Tulsa, OK. She promotes a simple, a low-tech approach to effective online profile management, search engine optimization and social networking. Her weakness is the mocha frappuccino.