Whenever I ask people what their challenges are with blogging, the same few topics tend to come up. One of the most common is how to generate ideas for their blog posts.
That's a pretty big problem - if you don't know what to write, you can’t even get started.
Having written hundreds of blog posts on a whole variety of topics over the years, I have discovered numerous idea-generating techniques.
Below, you'll find just 9 of these but these 9 will ensure that you're never stuck for an idea again. You might want to try them all or you may just want to just give a few a whirl. Find what works for you.
But before we get to generating ideas, the first thing to consider is your overall approach to blogging. A blog can do all sorts of things for your business, but primarily you are looking for more sales. Therefore, it’s a great idea to use your blog to build a relationship with your ideal client – in other words develop the “know, like, trust” factor.
To do this, you need to look at your content as covering three basic areas:
Start with, "what do they want and need?" and then take it further. If you want to be build trust, you need to show that you understand their world, particularly their problems, struggles, obstacles, fears, wants, desires and goals.
This is the most obvious one. You need to show off your business to your audience and why they should buy from you rather than your competition. This can be anything from demonstrating your experience and expertise to sharing your values and what your business is all about.
Many people are tempted to miss this out, particularly from their blog. But people buy from people and it's often what can “seal the deal”. If your audience can see that they share something in common with you, they’re more likely to buy from you. So make sure you show some of your personality and life beyond your business.
These three areas on their own can be a great springboard for creating plenty of blog post ideas. Simply place them in the middle of a piece of paper and start a mindmap. Don’t forget to break down each of your ideas into further blog posts.
However, there are many other ways to find topic ideas for your blog and below you’ll find my list of 9 ways to generate ideas.
There are two different ways in which you can use Amazon to generate ideas. Both start with the first few steps which are broken down for you below.
1. Using the search bar at the top of Amazon’s website, search for books on one of the topics that you cover in your business. For example, as a writer, I could search for something like writing sales funnels or copywriting. If you are a business coach you might search topics such as marketing or mindset and someone who makes children’s toys could search child development or how children learn.
2. Choose one of the books and click on it to bring up more details. We will be using this book to generate some more ideas for your blog posts using the “Look Inside” feature and the “reviews”. Both of these options can be seen in the image below. Let’s run through the “look inside” technique first.
Books vary in length but many exceed 50,000 words. You can, therefore, see that there are many different blog post ideas hiding between the covers.
However, under no circumstances should you copy someone else’s writing! We also don’t want to regurgitate the same information - there’s plenty of that wasting space on the internet already.
In fact, you won’t even need to read the book. We will simply be using the “look inside” feature to help generate some ideas for different topics. You will then be able to use your own ideas and expertise to write the blog post.
1. Click on the “look inside” icon at the top of the image of the book.
2. This will open a new window where you can scroll through the pages inside the book. You only get access to a limited number of pages - it’s a bit like a taster.
3. However, we are only interested in the contents section so scroll down through the first couple of pages until you reach this part.
4. The different chapters in the book will give you ideas for blog posts. For example, in this copywriting book, you can see there are chapters on things like headlines, sales letters, and case studies.
5. You will find some books have a more detailed content section and it would be enough to use this to generate ideas. However, with one like this, you would need to mind map some ideas based on the chapters. For example case studies could be broken down into a few different posts:
The other way to use books on Amazon to generate ideas is to take a peek at the comments left in the review section. This does take a little more time but can be a great way to research what people really want.
Just like with the books, we are not looking to copy. But using Google to search other blogs on a topic area can help you develop ideas for your posts and show you what is popular. It is important that you write about your view on the topic area rather than just doing a re-write of someone else’s post.
1. Search a topic area associated with your business in Google. Add the words “blog about” to the start of your search term. In this example, I searched “blog about headlines”.
2. As you can see, the results provide you with a whole host of potential blog post topics that you could use. As they are appearing on page one, we know that they are popular and ones that people are reading and engaging with.
3. However, you can also see a section part way down the page titled "people also ask”. This gives you further insight into what people are searching for in Google and gives you more ideas for your own writing.
One of the very best ways to get ideas for your blog posts is directly from your customers.
This is exactly what I did before writing this blog. I wanted to know what people’s biggest struggles were when it came to blogging. I posted on both LinkedIn and Facebook and one of the most common responses was not knowing what to write about.
People put all sorts on social media and it can be a great place to find blog post ideas that you could use. You can’t search everything on Facebook. However, they do make it easy for you to search everything that’s public and everything and everyone that you are connected with, in other words, friends, pages you’ve liked and groups you’ve joined.
1. Sitting at the top of each Facebook page is a search bar.
2. Type in your topic and press enter.
3. You will then get a list of results from across Facebook. In the image, you can see my example when I’ve searched “mindset” - a great one if you’re a coach.
4. Now take a look just below the search bar. There are various tabs such as posts, people, and pages.
5. Your search results initially come up under the tab “All”. As you scroll down this, you will see that there is a few from each of the sections and the option to click and “see all”.
6. I find I get better results looking down through this tab and clicking “see more” or “see all" than going through the other tabs. For example, the group tab only lists the groups with your keyword, not the posts within your groups that include the word. However, you do have “posts from groups” under the “all” tab. This is a great place to start.
7. Scroll through the results and look for ideas for blog posts. For example one of the first ones that came up for me was a friend asking whether people thought that mindset was a waste of time. As a coach, you would then be able to write a blog post on “Why Mindset is Not a Waste of Time”.
8. Don’t forget to click “see all” to find more results. I would recommend looking at posts from friends, public posts, posts in groups and links.
There are a couple of different ways in which you can search on Twitter for ideas. One of these is based on hashtags and can work on Instagram as well. So, let’s take a look at that one first.
1. Visit the website www.ritetag.com. This site is going to give us a list of hashtags that we can use in our searches.
2. On the homepage, you can see there are two large search boxes. It gives you the capacity to search images as well as keywords so choose what’s best for your business. I have put “blogging” into the text box.
3. Then click the “suggest hashtags” button.
4. Next, you get a screen that gives you some of the hashtags that you could search on Twitter.
5. Make note of the ones that could be useful to you. So, for example, I chose SEO, content marketing and niche amongst others.
6. I can now go and search these hashtags on twitter and find out what people are saying and asking which will give me loads of ideas for blog posts.
7. Simply type the hashtag into the search bar on Twitter and press enter.
8. As you can see, you get a list of the top performing posts that are using that hashtag. This is a good guide for what could be popular. However, you can also use the “latest” tab to see all the posts using that hashtag.
9. As an example, I spotted a quote someone had put up about content marketing being about SHOWING people you’re a rockstar rather than telling them. I could write a blog post about” How to Become A Rock Star With Your Content Marketing”.
There is another way to delve into Twitter and find possible blog posts. For this one, we are going to stay in the Twitter website and use the advanced search option.
1. Start by performing a search in the normal way by typing your keyword or topic into the search bar and pressing enter.
2. Next, click “show” next to search filters on the left-hand side. This will reveal the advanced search option which you should then click.
3. Click this and then you have numerous different ways to search. The first we’ll look at is the words section.
4. This can be handy for finding the questions people are asking about your topic. Type the words that might start their question and then your keyword or topic. Here, I’ve typed “How do I” and then added the word “blog”.
5. Within the search results, I found numerous possibilities for posts. For example, there was someone asking about how to get the image on his post to display as a thumbnail when sharing the link to his blog and another person who had no idea how to start blogging.
6. Make a note of any possible topics and then go back to your advanced search.
7. For the next one, we are going to look at using “people”.
8. You need to find the Twitter handle for someone who is an influencer or big company in your industry and enter their handle into either the mentions or reply box. Experiment with trying both.
9. For my example, I’ve used @NeilPatel. Press enter. Again, we have the tabs at the top and it automatically comes up with the “Top” search results. However, I tend to find better results under “latest”.
10. Have a scroll through and see if there are any potential blog topics that jump out at you. I found this question someone had asked, which could be a perfect topic for a social media agency:
Hubspot now have a tool available where you can enter your keyword, press return and hey presto! It will suggest a variety of different blog post titles for you to use. You can find it here: https://www.hubspot.com/blog-topic-generator#/
1. Decide on which keywords or terms you would like to search.
2. Type them into the boxes.
3. Hit “give me blog ideas”.
Here are the results I got from searching “copywriting”:
As you can see the results aren’t too bad. Not all of the results you get will work (the one about “your boss wants to know” is not really applicable to me) but there will be some little gems in there that will give you some ideas.
Quora describes itself as a place to gain and share knowledge. Essentially, it's a site where people can ask and answer questions.
Use the search bar at the top of the page to search a topic area relevant to your business.
You may get a topic suggested which you can click for wider results, or, you can simply just press enter to see the results based on your term.
In my example, I searched “blog post”. It suggested the topic “blogging”. I decided to take a look at both.
Beneath my search for “blog post”, I immediately noticed the question “What blog posts made you think, laugh or cry?” This suggested numerous possible blog post ideas to me such as “How to Write a Blog Post that Moves your Reader” and “Why Emotion is Important in Writing”.
When I took a look at the topic of blogging, it took a little more searching, but I did find some possibilities such as, “What are some tips for starting a blog?”, the answer to which could easily form a blog post.
Reddit is a site where users can submit content and news which is then either voted up or down by other users.
It’s a good place to find new ideas for your blog as well as discover what is popular with others.
1. Head over to their site.
2. Enter your search term into the search bar on the right-hand side of the page.
3. Click enter.
4. Scroll down past the “subreddits” until you reach the “posts” section.
5. Use the posts to come up with new blog post ideas.
Here are some of the results I got from searching “content marketing”:
From this, I can create new blogs such as “How to Increase Revenue with Content Marketing”. It’s also worth noting that you can sort results based on how new they are or how popular are.
Using your keyword research is another great way to come up with ideas for your blog posts. If you’re unfamiliar with keywords, this is basically the phrases people might use to search online for something, for example, “content marketing”.
However, there are tools that you can use that tell you other similar searches people are making. One of those tools, keywordtool.io allows you to also see the types of questions people are searching based on your keyword.
1. Click on the link above to visit their site.
2. Choose where you’re wanting to search e.g. Google, YouTube etc.
3. Type in your search term and hit enter.
4. Click the “questions tab” and write blog posts that answer these questions.
As you can see from my results above for the keyword, “content marketing”, I could write a post about different methods of content marketing, how it helps a business or how to develop a strategy.
The best bit is, I know that this is exactly the sort of information people are looking for.
So there are my nine different ways to generate blog post ideas. There are plenty of others too but these should keep you going for a while.
Staring at a blank screen can be the worst and leave you feeling like you've wasted a huge amount of your time.
But next time, you can refer to this blog post knowing that you never need be stuck for an idea again. If you're the organised type, you might even take a little time to create a list of potential blog posts that you can continually refer to throughout the year.
Let me know how you get on. Share your links to the blogs you write (I love reading!) and feel free to ask any questions.
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