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Want to learn how to come up with blog post ideas your readers are guaranteed to love, but struggle with what to post? With the right system, you can map out an entire year’s worth of content topics in one sitting. In this Ultimate Guide, I share my foolproof secrets on how to create an endless stream of blog post ideas that get clicked and shared.
Let me guess… you have every intention of blogging regularly, but in reality, it’s been weeks or even months since you’ve written anything new, and your blog is dustier than a Grampa’s fart.
You guilt yourself into sitting down to write, so the pressure is on to just write something, yet you have no idea where to start or what to write about.
That damn blinking cursor is taunting you, and you’ve decided to name it Asshole.
You unsuccessfully try to brainstorm some random blog post ideas, but it feels forced, and everything you come up with is meh.
I know, because I’ve been there. More times than I care to admit.
Then I came up with a system for developing content ideas that I know my audience will love in just minutes. In fact, my method allows me to come up with enough blog post topics in one sitting to last me an entire year.
By taking the guesswork out of idea generation, the heavy lifting is already done. Having a ready-made topic on hand eliminates the Blank Page Effect so I can quickly and easily start writing, blowing away the blog dust for good.
What’s my system?
In this guide, I’ll show you some of my exact secrets for quickly coming up with blog post ideas that your readers will devour.
Ready to get started?
Great! Grab a pen and take some notes…
Organize Your Blog Post Ideas
Before you do anything, you’ll want to figure out how and where you’re going to store all these wonderful blog post ideas!
Are you a Pen and Paper Princess? A Google Doc Diva? An Evernote Empress? Wherever you put your ideas, make sure it’s somewhere you can easily refer to later.
I use Google Docs, and I keep all my blog post ideas in one doc that I continue to update. I named my doc: [Saving to Sail] Blog Post Ideas because I’m original like that.
When it comes to Google Docs, you’ll want to develop a consistent naming structure that guarantees that you can always find what you need. Otherwise, docs get lost in what I call Google Drive hell. I add my blog name at the beginning for easy searchability.
Brainstorm Your Blog Topic Ideas
Brainstorming is the obvious first choice when it comes to coming up with ideas for anything. And sometimes, this is the only step you might need in order to come up with dozens of things to write about.
Most people think that brainstorming is simply a brain dump… and it is, to a degree. But when it comes to brainstorming blog post ideas, I have some tips to make the process more efficient.
First, you want to figure out the right time to do your brainstorming. I recommend first thing in the morning after a good night’s sleep.
Before I go to bed, I set my intentions by thinking about what it is I want to accomplish in the morning. In this case, it’s coming up with fantastic blog post ideas.
As I lie in bed, I think about my blog, my readers, and even some ideas (but I don’t write them down). The point is to prep your brain to work for you subconsciously as you sleep.
That way, when you wake up in the morning, your brain is fresh and firing on all cylinders. You’ll have no problem using that nice morning dose of brain-power to fill your blog topic jars to the brim.
That’s when you do a “brain dump.” This is where you actually get your ideas down on one page.
The key here is to not edit yourself. Just think about your blog, your niche, your readers, and let it all go. You can always go back and edit the weaker ideas out later.
Turn One Blog Post Idea into a Dozen
I call this “branching out.” This is where you take a really high-level idea and think of different ways to write about it.
For example, if your niche is social media, you could break this into an infinite number of posts by using the same topic in different ways, such as an ultimate guide, a case study, or a round-up post.
A few examples for the topic of social media might be:
- The “Expert” Post: Ultimate Guide to Social Media Marketing
- Case Study: How Rachel used Instagram to grow her email list to 50k
- Round-Up: 21 social media influencers reveal their #1 secret to leveraging Twitter during a product launch
- Personal Story: How Pinterest has helped me grow my blog to over 100,000 readers a month
5 Ways to Mine Blog Topics in Your Own Backyard
I call this the Wizard of Oz Method. Remember the scene at the very end of the Wizard of Oz, when Dorothy’s about to tap her ruby red slippers together and she says, “… if I ever go looking for my heart’s desire again, I won’t look any further than my own backyard.”
While I don’t always agree with Dorothy’s “no place like home” sentiment (because there’s also no place like a sandy beach on an island in Belize, either), when it comes to blogging, your own backyard can often be the best place to look for blog post ideas.
Here are 5 ways you can do that.
Survey your email list
Send an email asking your readers to fill out a quick 2-question survey, and set up a Google form to collect all of the responses.
Here’s how to set this up.
Step 1: Go to forms.google.com and create new blank form.
Step 2: Add just 2-3 questions to keep it simple. I recommend a “struggle” question, and a “what do you like” question as it pertains to your niche. That way you find out what they need as well as what they enjoy.
Step 3: View responses by clicking on the View Responses tab at the top of your form.
Look at your Google Analytics
Looking at your Analytics is the best way to see which topics have been most popular with your readers.
Just go to your Google Analytics account and select: Behavior > Site Content > All Pages, then set your date range (I like to look at the past year), and see which pages get the most hits.
From here, you can use the “branching out” technique I outlined above to create more blog post ideas around those popular post topics. You can also take the high-level topics in these popular posts and repurpose those ideas as described above, or apply some of the techniques I talk about further down this article.
Blog comments and emails
Do you get some of the same questions over and over from your readers? If so, have you written a blog post to address these questions yet? If not, you should!
Hold an Ask Me Anything session (AMA)
Holding an AMA via a Facebook Live session on your public FB page gives your followers a chance to… well… ask you anything! An AMA can be pure gold when it comes to finding out what your target audience wants to know more about.
By holding it as a Facebook Live on your public page, it could even attract people who don’t follow your page (yet), and it lives on your page afterward for others to watch.
Pro Tip: If you do this, I strongly suggest creating a lead magnet and dropping a link to your landing page as a comment, and also referring to it several times during your AMA to attract new email subscribers.
Use Personal Stories as Blog Posts
By sharing personal stories related to your business, you become more human. You help build your know, like, and trust factor which is essential to growing your blog and your business. The more vulnerable and honest you are, the better!
Some things you could write about:
- Where have you gotten stuck in the past and what was the solution that worked for you? (Hint: you’re reading this kind of post)
- Failures: Talk about a failure you experienced around your topic — get raw, get honest, share numbers… then talk about what you learned from it.
- Behind-the-scenes of your blog: These kinds of posts satisfy the voyeur in us. It can be as simple as showing your readers your workspace (bad or good) and talking about how you get motivated each day.
Steal Blog Post Ideas from Other Sources
This is the opposite of my Wizard of Oz Method. I’ll call this the Robin Hood Method…
Here are 5 ways you can “steal from
the rich other sources” to “give to the poor your readers.” (But don’t steal, really. Be inspired. Don’t be a thief. Cause… karma.)
This is one of my favorite ways to get blog post ideas with very little work. I’m not sure about you, but I’m a member of more blog/online business Facebook groups than I’d like to admit, but they can be such goldmines for idea validation and generation!
Look at the things people are already posting from within a Facebook group in your niche for ideas. In the blogging and online business groups I’m a member of, people are always asking questions like, “What’s the best email marketing software?” or “My launch failed — what now?”
Read the questions AND the responses, and you could essentially create your blog post idea AND your post outline from these alone.
You could also do a variation of surveying your own audience and ask the group instead. As always, when doing this, be mindful and respectful of the group rules when posting.
I love using Amazon for finding blog post ideas. All you do is take your niche or one of your popular high-level topics and type it into the Amazon search bar and look at the books that come up.
You want to find books with positive reviews that have the “Look Inside” feature. This gives you a peek at their Table of Contents.
Scan the chapter headings. See anything you can use as a blog topic or an idea you can expand upon? I often find several ideas just from one book this way!
For instance, if your niche is jewelry-making, this Table of Contents has a lot of ideas you could write about, such as jewelry supplies, finishing methods, color selection, and more.
You can also look at the Amazon reviews – you’ll want to look at the top positive reviews as well as the top critical reviews (often the 1-star reviews reveal more).
You want to find things people loved about a book (look for specifics on the topics) as well as what people hated (i.e. there was not enough about XYZ).
A quick glance through a few can often reveal the things people want to know more about.
Other blogs in your niche
Yes, I’m saying stalk the competition to get inspiration for blog post ideas. Look at their most popular posts, look at their comments and see what takeaways you can find. Does one post get a lot of shares, but only briefly touch on a certain topic? Write a more detailed post on that same topic.
You get the idea.
Enter your niche or high-level idea into Pinterest’s search and check out the most popular pins. You can glean blog post topic ideas from this and also by clicking through to some of the articles and checking out what their readers are saying.
Newsjacking is when you attach your topic to a news event or celebrity in order to “elevate your brand’s message.”
For example, this post titled 6 Lessons Kanye West Can Teach Us About Marketing is a form of newsjacking.
Just type into Google what [celebrity name or popular thing] can teach us about [your niche] and you’ll see examples of newsjacking.
- What Martha Stewart & Snoop Dogg Taught Me About True Friendship
- What Shamu Taught Me About a Happy Marriage
- What The Simpsons Can Teach Us About Nuclear Apocolypse
Controversial Blog Posts
Controversial blog posts share ideas that challenge the status quo, and can be super popular for their ability to go viral.
Is there a popular idea that you can make a good argument against? Is there something in your niche that’s “taboo” to talk about?
Warning: this can bring out the trolls, so if you’re thin-skinned, you can skip this method. But done well, a little controversy on your blog on occasion can be a good thing, and these types of posts have the potential to go viral.
Recurring Blog Post Themes
These are themes that you write about on a regular basis. They are most successful when you have a set schedule for them, such as every Monday, or every Friday.
I love posts like this because they serve three purposes:
- They give your readers something to look forward to
- They’re great for repurposing into social shares, etc.
- By having a recurring theme, it just eliminated a regular blog post idea you have to worry about coming up with
Some ideas for a recurring theme might be Motivation Monday posts or a monthly blog income report.
5 Tools for Coming Up With Blog Post Ideas
There are also tools for generating content ideas that can be extremely helpful.
Blog topic generators
Using a blog topic generator like Hubspot’s Blog Topic Generator or the Blog Topic Idea Generator by WebpageFX can be helpful not only in helping you come up with a post idea but also creating your headline for you.
Sometimes you’ll get some non-relevant ideas, but for the most part, a blog post idea generator can be a great way to fend off “brain block.”
Answer the Public
Answer the Public is an awesome tool I only recently learned about (thanks to Mary Fernandez of Persuasion Nation). It’s a great way to find blog post ideas based on what search terms people are actually typing into search engines.
BuzzSumo is a tool that gives you the most shared articles on any given topic. They have a free version which displays up to 10 results. Just enter your niche to see articles from other blogs or websites, as well as how many shares they got. BuzzSumo is a quick way to find blog post topics that will be popular and shareable.
Google Keyword Planner
Sometimes I use Google’s Keyword Planner to help me come up with blog post ideas. To use it, you’ll need an Adwords account (free), but once you have that, just go into the planner and type in a broad topic in your niche.
Google will then spit out a list of keywords, along with the # of searches for that keyword each month (it’s not exact, but can be a decent gauge for popularity). It will also indicate if it’s high competition or low competition.
Google’s Related Posts
This is another stupid simple way to go about finding things to write about. Just type an idea into Google, then when you get the results, scroll all the way to the bottom and look in the related posts section for blog post ideas in your niche.
Knowing how to come up with your next blog post idea can be a huge time saver (and sanity saver).
In this guide, you learned my top methods for finding new blog topics to write about. Now, all you need to do is start generating ideas of your own.
Get started by creating your brainstorming doc, then do a brain dump!
So give the finger to that asshole cursor taunting you from the blank screen and put him to work.
By coming up with a year’s worth of blog post ideas in one sitting, you’ll finally get rid of your idea block, so you can dust off your blog and get back to creating content that your readers will absolutely love.