What I admire most about this emoticon is that it rightly conveys our faces when we wonder, ‘what to blog about today?’ That’s why I felt that it made a befitting start to this post.
If you’ve a content calendar in place, you already have a constant flow of blog ideas. However, if you’re filling in the calendar blanks and looking for content ideas, this post will serve you well as it shares 20 awesome sources for finding fresh blog topics.
We’ve put similar sources under one category for the sake of simplicity. For instance, you’ll find ideations tools under one branch, and ways to derive a blog topic idea from social media under another. So without further ado, let’s dig in:
Table Of Contents
- Gather blog ideas from social media
- Source content ideas from your competitors
- Gather content ideas from the folks who read and buy your services/product
- Gather content ideas from blog and social comments
- Collect new topics via content ideation tools
- Blog idea generators
- Summing up
Social media is a great place to begin your search for blog content ideas. 74% of folks use Facebook alone for professional purposes according to the State of Inbound report. So here’s a walkthrough using social media as a topic generator:
1. Join Twitter chats
Twitter chats are great places to learn what interests your audience and their pain points. They work in two ways:
- If you’re a Twitter chat host, you can introduce a chat topic that you think may interest your audience. Keep your eyes peeled for the response you get to learn if the topic does or doesn’t appeal your audience. Then repurpose that topic into a blog post.
- If you’re a participant, again, note how other participants respond to the chat topic. Additionally, keep track of the discussion to unearth pain points so that you can address them in your next write up.
As a regular Twitter chat attendee, I look for topics that I can cover on my blog. For instance, this guide that covers tools and tips needed from content ideation to creation was inspired by a chat. It did pretty well on the network too.
Click on your industry hashtags on social networks to learn about what people are saying about a specific topic. Let’s suppose you are in the creative design field. You need to surf relevant hashtags to survey what your audience appreciates.
Let’s suppose you’re a graphic designer as an example here. Look for hashtags relevant to your field on various social platforms such as Instagram. #adobeillustrators is an example. Explore the posts that open up:
Scrolling through these posts shows a post that can make a useful addition to the list of next blog posts:
You don’t need to copy the exact topic. Instead, alter it. For instance, prepare content on 10 or 15 illustrator tools instead of 5 as in the case or reach out to designers and put together a list of their favorite illustrator tools.
3. Participate in discussions
Some very thought-provoking discussions take place on social. Joining them or reading through the comments will spark your creative bulbs, adding to your content ideas pool.
4. Ask your followers
Lastly, you can resort to asking your followers directly. Tweet them like Ash Read, the editorial director at Buffer did or create a poll sharing some content ideas to pick an idea that best satisfies your audience
Source content ideas from your competitors
Before you go ahead here though, keep in mind one word of caution: don’t copy + paste. Instead, identify holes in the published content or add your personal spin to it.
5. Blog post ideas from your competitors
Study not only your industry competitors but also those outside of your industry. The benefits of this step are two-fold. First, you can get inspiration. Reading often sparks creativity, so keep abreast of what your competitors are publishing.
Secondly, you can study your competitors and find gaps in their content to cover them on your blog. Additionally, you can read content from other industries and reproduce interesting ideas in a way that they are relevant in your field.
Let’s elaborate this with an example. This post by User Experience Designer and Consultant, Paul Boag on “10 tips for working with web designers” can easily be translated into your field.
Let’s suppose you’re a lifestyle blogger or photographer. In either case, you can recreate this topic like this:
👉 10 tips for working with a lifestyle blogger
👉 10 tips for working with a photographer
The point isn’t to hijack a good idea the moment your eyes land on it. Rather, the aim is to sit on the idea and cook it into an evergreen topic.
What’s more, you can even produce content around newly published research reports. Here’s how this unfolds:
Keep an eye on industry reports ➡ find an interesting report that ties with your audience’s interest and content plan ➡ write a blog post around it ➡ mission accomplished 💯
A case in point here is Abass Sahrawi’s post on “How digital marketing agencies can use content marketing to drive conversions.”
This blog post emerges from research findings which reveal only 11% of digital marketing agencies leverage content marketing. Did you see how Abass saw a connection between a stat and weaved an entire blog post around it? You can do that too.
6. Content ideas from various resources
These sources include podcasts, TED talks, newsletters, books, more. For example, if you find a topic in any of these sources that is only briefly touched, then you can take it as subject matter for your next blog post.
For instance, Brian Tracy’s Eat That Frog: 21 Great Ways To Stop Procrastinating and Get More Done in Less Time shares 21 great tips for enhancing productivity including unique methods such as the Salami slice method of getting more done. Each chapter briefly touches a productivity hack. You can take any of these 21 tips, explore it in depth, and convert it into a blog title.
And guess what? It will appeal your audience too as this book is an international bestseller. The reviews on Amazon’s page say the same:
Alternatively, you can gather various resources on a topic and write a post around it such as this on Springboard shares 12 must-watch TED talks on digital marketing.
Gather content ideas from the folks who read and buy your services/product
In other words, talk to your customers and unearth what they want to read about. To this end, three categories of people can help you:
7. Ask your readers
Your readers are one of the best sources for enriching your content calendar. Put out a survey for your readers, asking what they’d want you to cover on your blog. Buffer did just this at the end of 2017 as Alfred Lua shared on the Buffer blog.
Their team surveyed their blog subscribers and asked them what they wanted to hear about:
The findings gave them a good idea of what to cover on their blog. Similarly, if you serve a small audience, you can approach your prospects and customers directly and ask for suggestions for topics that they’d like to read about
8. Ask non-readers
It’s also a good idea to ask people who are unfamiliar with your field what confuses them. This is, specifically, helpful when you are planning blog posts for the first stage in the buyer’s journey, which relates to spreading awareness.
People who don’t know much about your service or product can share what confuses them. For instance, someone who is new to marketing may not be sure about the buyer’s journey. So you can take it up as a topic for your blog. Just make sure you have enough people sharing the same complaints.
9. Ask the sales and customer service teams
The folks who are the closest to your prospects and customers are people from your sales and customer service teams. Ask them what complaints they commonly hear about your service/product? What friction in the use of your product/service do your customers face?
When you collect this information, pick common points and convert them into a topic and there you go – another audience-centered blog post idea.
Marketing consultant, Erika Heald does just that. In her interview over at RampUp, Heald opens up that she learned her customers were struggling with tracing their online marketing campaigns’ success from her customer service team.
So she shared the UTM worksheet that she uses herself as a resource with them. Put simply, Heald kept her ears on customer concerns and learned one of their challenges. In turn, she offered a valuable content resource, which is exactly what her audience was looking for.
Comments provide a wealth of ideas for blog posts. These come mainly from the questions that readers put forward. Convert a popular question or one that can truly offer value to your readers into a blog post.
10. Watch your comments’ section if you’re active
Comments’ sections are goldmines for discovering audience pain points and new topics for blog posts. Read through the comments on other blogs, social networks, and YouTube for new ideas.
Here’s an example from the comments section of one of the posts on Enchanting Marketing.com:
Carl inquires about blogging on Facebook groups for building authority. This can easily turn into a new blog topic for those in the digital marketing sphere. Follow a similar pattern for whatever industry you are in.
Let’s take another example from YouTube.
The outlined comment can be converted into a topic along the lines of dealing with emotional attachment as you declutter your wardrobe.
Collect new topics via content ideation tools
These are tools that can help give you good blog ideas. Read on for a brief list of some of the best tools out there:
Google offers a wealth of blog post ideas if you know how to look. Three specific sections tell you what readers are searching for. Take the most relevant idea and insert it into your content calendar:
- Google autosuggest
When you type in a search query, Google offers suggestions in an attempt to guess your answer. Efficient and useful. These suggestions are what most of the people are searching so if you decide to convert a suggestion into a blog post, you’ll be writing content that’s in demand.
- Google related searches
Next, scroll to the bottom of the search page. Voilá! You now have more topics. Alternatively, you can use these related searches as fodder to add to the topic you’ve selected.
- People also ask
The search giant has also started showing a “people also ask” section on the search page. So before you journey all the way down to the related searches area, pause and look for ideas in the middle of the search page.
While Google brings you keywords, which you can convert to blog ideas, Buzzsumo gives you the social update.
Enter your keyword, and the tool will spit out published content revolving around it. Take these ideas and give them your twist.
The icing on the cake is that Buzzsumo gives you an idea of how well a topic is doing on social. So you can get a socially-approved content topic idea from here.
I’ve used this free tool for generating tons of ideas for both my blog and client work. Entering a keyword gives you the search volume and other related SEO requirements. That’s not where the treasure lies though.
Scroll down and you will get a section dedicated to content ideas. Here’s where you can come up with new topics.
Answer The Public is great for fleshing out the details to add in a blog post. However, several topics have dozens of suggestions, which can’t fit into a single blog post unless you’re gunning for over 5,000 words or chalking out an outline for an eBook.
Break the suggestions that Answer The Public shares and give each a separate blog post title. For instance, if you type in “customer surveys,” you’ll get the following web of answers:
To drive new blog post ideas, pick some of these keywords, and generate topics around it.
For instance, “customer satisfaction survey” is a recurring option that is present under multiple branches such as, “what,” “which,” “are,” and “why.”
Now think of the possible questions that your audience may have related to customer satisfaction survey. These could be:
- What are customer satisfaction surveys?
- How to develop a customer satisfaction survey?
- Or, how can a survey help improve your business’s customer satisfaction?
Or you could Google search this term and see what surfaces, much like what we’ve covered under using Google for content ideation.
There’s another option too, look at what others are covering on Google:
👉 16 Excellent Customer Satisfaction Survey Examples – HubSpot
👉 Customer Satisfaction (CSAT) Surveys: Examples, Definition & Template – Qualtrics
👉 How to create customer satisfaction surveys to master your market [with examples] – Hotjar
Study these and see if you can approach any of them from a different angle or add a unique spin.
Tip: All these tools give you blog ideas that people are already looking for answers to. So by using them, you’re writing for your audience.
This is another one of my favorite platforms. In fact, the idea for this blog post also came from Quora:
As is the drill, start with entering the keyword in the search box. Next, read through the questions that people are asking to generate fresh content ideas to answer them.
A word of caution here, don’t pick every question asked on the site. Go for those with the most upvotes as these signal a question’s popularity on the platform. Next, tally the main keyword in the selected question and run it through a keyword research tool to uncover its search demand.
16. Curation tools
Lastly, curation tools can also help you water the shallow well of blog ideas in your calendar. This step takes some work, but it’s not super challenging for anyone who already keeps track of his industry trends and news.
Choose between the two Fs – Feedly and Flipboard.
Once you plug in keywords in your curation tool, it will pull out the published content making rounds through your industry.
Read through the pieces and identify potential blanks in the content to come up with ideas for your blog. Not only does this method deliver trending industry content to you, but it also helps you come up with unique blog ideas, which can address an audience problem that hasn’t been previously solved.
Blog idea generators
If you’re not up for all the heavy lifting, a blog idea generator can help. Some of the best ones that I’ve tested (as I write this article – I don’t rely on these completely) are:
HubSpot has a topic generator too. And a pretty good-looking one at that. The free version gave me 5 blog ideas for ‘content ideation’ with the premium version promising 250 ideas!
Portent title maker is a decent headline generator that explains its suggestions. So when I typed in ‘customer service,’ the tool gave me a good suggestion.
Another one of this list is WebFX. This tool gives a couple of ideas for a keyword that you add.
Although this topic generator poses as a title generator, you can pick up some ideas from the headline suggestions it makes.
Make sure you filter your results because the clickbait topic suggestions can be as crazy as they can get:
In case you’re looking for more topic generators, check out WordStream’s post on blog ideas generators.
And that’s a wrap. We’ve shared several sources where you can get the idea for your next blog post. Which one of these is your favorite? Comment below and let us know.
Categories: Content Marketing