How to Generate Endless Ideas for Blog Posts - Catherine Oneissy

Do you find yourself being surprised each week that ‘oh, it’s blog post day again’?

I do. And I shouldn’t be.

I mean, it only rolls around every single week, right?

It never works out well when I leave it to the last minute. Blog post ideas just don’t appear out of thin air, fully formed and ready to go.

In fact, thinking up stellar ideas for new blog posts can be really hard. Especially when my brain feels like a giant melted marshmallow from sleep deprivation. But, there are a few sneaky, ninja techniques you can use to make it so much easier.

You won’t run out of blog post ideas after this. And if you do exhaust one method, well there’s more than a dozen here for you to try.

One final note before we get started.

You probably get amazing ideas for blog posts all the time.

But don’t write them down.

And then they’re gone.

Am I right?

One of the easiest ways to not run out of blog post ideas is to get better at idea capture. It’s all about building up the habit.

DON’T TRUST YOUR BRAIN WHEN IT SAYS IT'LL REMEMBER YOUR AWESOME IDEAS – IT LIESClick To Tweet

Here’s a couple of ways you might choose to record your ideas:

  • In a paper notebook or bullet journal
  • Evernote, Google Keep or Trello*
  • Voice recording on your phone.

It’s not the how that’s important, though being organized enough you can find your ideas again is a definite plus, it’s that you do it.

1. Let’s Have A Brainstorm Sesh

You might think your brain has turned to mush, but you know more than you think about your niche.

Here’s how to harness the power of brainstorming to your advantage:

  • Write down the different categories you blog about as headings on paper, or your favorite e-notes software
  • Focus on one category at a time
  • Think about how you’d explain your topic to someone with no knowledge of it

I find when I think about something broad like ‘blog post ideas’, I get overwhelmed. When I niche down into things like affiliate marketing, email marketing and Pinterest, I find it usually gets my creative juices flowing.

2. Your Own Questions

Want to know an amazing way to tap into the real problems of your audience? Start a journal.

Say what?

Well, I’m a firm believer that your blog niche should be something you have intimate knowledge of and enjoy, so basically your audience is you (maybe you from a year or two ago.)

The point of keeping a journal is to write down what you were struggling with, what you were trying to achieve.

Then later, once you’ve solved your problem, you can turn it into a blog post!

3. Your Own Blog Posts

Do you find when you write some blog posts, you keep wanting to jump off onto new topics? Or you write something and think, yowza I better write a blog post about that next.

I do. And then I forget to write it down and it doesn’t happen. Argh.

Reading your own blog occasionally is a good way to get ideas.

Following on from that, check out your analytics. What posts are getting the most attention? There’s lots you can do with this information (have you made sure you have a content upgrade on your popular posts to catch subscribers?) Perhaps a follow up post is needed? Make sure you link to your new post from your old one!

4. Content Idea Generators

A content idea generator??? I can see your frowny face from here.

It’s not lame! I swear.

If your creative juices are really running low, why not try sparking things off using a content generator? You might be surprised what they come up with! Honest. They aren’t that bad. Have a look:

Hubspot Blog Topic Generator

hubspot

Honestly, 1-3 are great titles! Maybe not so much 4 and 5, but if you’re fresh out of inspiration, give it a go!

Portent Content Idea Generator

portent

Not bad, Portent Content Idea Generator. I could use this all day and fill up my editorial calendar for months.

Content Forest – Ideator

contentforest

Some interesting ideas from ContentIdeator. I think this one looks more at other similar content on the web, rather than just generates a title at random containing your keywords.

5. Inspiration from Other Bloggers

This one can be a little tricky. You aren’t blogging in a vacuum. You’re being inspired by and are inspiring others all the time.

There’s nothing wrong with checking out what other bloggers have written about to inspire your own ideas.

I’m not saying to copy headlines, ideas or passages verbatim. That would be wrong. And I’m definitely not saying to stalk one blogger and take inspiration only from them. That would be wrong – and awkward.

What you should do is take inspiration from multiple sources and turn it into something even better for your audience.

For example, if I wanted to write about Pinterest but didn’t know where to start, I could look at what other bloggers have done. There’s a lot of posts about increasing your page views, about optimizing your bio and about making money from affiliate links. I could work any of these ideas into a full post with my own take on things.

6. BuzzSumo

Sometimes you probably feel like an idea, any idea, would be welcome. What if I told you there was an easy way to find what the best blog post ideas were? The ones that were generating thousands of social media shares?

Look no further than BuzzSumo.

BuzzSumo is great. It’s free (but the number of searches you can do is limited in free mode). All you need to do is search for your topic and a list of blog posts will return, with the number of social shares each has received. This is some seriously successful content, so have a look and see what’s notable about it.

Click through and read some articles if you like and try to work out why it’s so popular.

Another cool feature of BuzzSumo is you can put URL’s into the search and find the most popular content for that site. This can save you a lot of time!

Social Media

Let’s get social.

Wait, isn’t that the complete opposite of what we should be doing?

Not gonna lie, social media can be a big distraction and a time sink. But, it’s also a great place to come up with blog ideas!

7. Twitter

Twitter is great because it’s such a fast-moving platform, what you see is the cutting edge of current.

Here’s a couple of quick ways to find content ideas on Twitter:

  • Check out what your followers/following are tweeting, are they asking questions? Having problems?
  • Use hashtags to search what’s being tweeted
  • Participate in Twitter chats!

8. Facebook

Facebook Groups are my danger zone. Probably as a result of this list of 100+ groups I’m in… I can get lost in the abyss for a LONG time on Facebook Groups. So. Proceed with caution.

Here’s a couple of ideas for getting ideas from Facebook:

  • check out what’s happening on business pages in your niche. Are people asking questions?
  • What questions are people asking in Facebook Groups? You can either scroll down your feed (danger method) or run a search (much safer.)

fbgroupq

9. Pinterest

Post ideas from Pinterest? How does this work?

Well, if you do a search on Pinterest for any topic, Pinterest will helpfully suggest subtopics for you.

pinterestsubtopics

And the cool thing is, these are quite popular searches.

Even cooler, if you click on one of these subtopics you get MORE subtopics to choose from. So if you clicked on Ideas or Tips, you’ll see exactly what sort of ideas and tips people are searching for.

Right there in front of you. It’s amazing.

 

10. Quora

My first impression of Quora was terrible. Maybe I was looking at the wrong sections but the questions were really annoying.

But now that I’ve set up my interests correctly (ALL BUSINESS), I’m getting more results. And how do you use this to find content ideas? Same as with Facebook Groups – find what questions people are asking about your topic and use that to generate ideas for posts.

You could also answer the questions people are asking to maybe drive traffic back to your site and get your name out there.

11. Forums

Another great option, similar to Quora, is finding forums where you audience hangs out and observing. You can search the forum for ideas, and even post when you have something to add. This builds your reputation and could lead to traffic to your site.

For example, I hung out on the BabyCenter forums for a long time after my baby was first born. The same things come up over and over again. Here’s some examples: relationship issues, what pram to buy, when to start solids and what to start with, what size clothes do you need and how many…

If you’re blogging in the pregnancy, baby or relationships niche, head on over to the BabyCenter forums it’s a gold mine.

12. Course Outlines

This can be a great method for generating blog post ideas. It kinda depends a bit on your niche though and the availability of online courses for it.

Online courses have been incredibly popular recently. And one thing they usually have in common is a course outline, that tells you what to expect and what’s covered in the course.

This is gold!

If you’re an expert in the subject, you should have no problem using the ideas from the course as a jumping off point.

Sound dodgy? It isn’t! Here’s an example:

Let’s say I wanted to write something about Pinterest. But it’s a big topic, I don’t know where to start.

Here’s a course on Udemy that I could get a few ideas from:

udemy

A few ideas stand out:

  • Pinterest graphics for non-designers
  • What types of content work best?
  • How to get followers

I could easily write blog posts about these topics.

13. Comments

Another great place to find ideas for your next blog post is in the comments section of your very own blog. If you’re good at doing your call-to-action, people might be telling you exactly what they want you to write about next. Are you listening?

Here’s an example:

comment

 

So, I can see that my readers want a shortlist of the most effective Facebook groups.

PS. I’m working on it. Narrowing a list of 100+ groups takes a lot of time.

14. Emails

In a similar vein to Comments, your subscribers might email you to tell you what they want. Or, you could, y’know, ask them.

Ever had that email from someone:

“reply back to this email and tell me what you’re struggling with”

Or this one:

“What content would you like to see more of? A Or B?”

The responses can help shape your content plan.

15. Reviews

Reviews can be a gold mine of information. Go to Amazon and find products and/or books related to your niche. Read the reviews.

What do people complain about? Is everyone saying the same thing? Are they asking for more information about a certain topic?

If there’s a gap in information, you can jump in and fill it!

16. The Calendar

Christmas is what? 12 weeks away?

I probably don’t need to tell you about the shopping frenzy that happens, both in store and online.

So how can you harness the power of seasonal events for your blog? Here’s a couple of ideas:

  • gift guides can be very popular
  • tutorials on how to use event specific products (eg. Elf on the Shelf, how to carve a pumpkin etc.)
  • recipes, crafts, kids activities for the event
  • what to do on Christmas Eve, how to throw the perfect New Year’s party
  • how to keep up with blogging and social media over summer

Not all these ideas will suit all niches.

17. Keyword Tool

There’s a lot of different tools you can use. I’ve listed a couple below.

Basically all you do is input your keyword into the tool and hit search. You’ll get loads of results return including related results. Some results will be irrelevant but others will be great!

Here’s a couple of tools to try:

18. Free writing

One of my favorite things to do is the brain dump. I don’t know about you, but my brain is overflowing with ideas, questions, worries, plans, wants, needs and conflicting priorities.

The idea of brain dumping is to get all those ideas out of your head and onto the screen or on paper. Then you can look at them, work out what you’re gonna do with them, and prioritize them. It’s a great thing to do if you’re feeling overwhelmed. It’s a great focus helper.

19. Swipe File

Have you started a swipe file? If you haven’t, you should.

I keep my swipe file in OneNote. How I’m using my swipe file is this:

If I see a great call-to-action I copy it into my swipe file.

All my webinar notes get written up into my swipe file.

If I see a great copywriting tip, I copy it into the swipe file.

You can also use it to collect ideas for blog posts.

20. Headline Generator

Have you checked out this list of headlines? Well, why not use them to generate ideas for blog posts?

buffer

It’s pretty simple. Go through those categories you used for your brainstorm sesh at the start and plug and play ideas.

You’re guaranteed to come up with something interesting.

21. Get your Creep on

Ok, not in a bad way. This one’s actually pretty helpful. You know all those nice peeps that leave comments for you and subscribed to your list? Go check them out!

Look at their blogs, read their posts (and totally share them on social media too), analyze their sites.

What are they doing right? What are they doing wrong? Or what could they do better?

Use those ideas to guide your next blog post. Added bonus, you just really helped out your tribe and isn’t that what this is about?

Now what to do with all these awesome blog post ideas?

So if you’ve been recording all the ideas we’ve just come up with, you’ve probably got a bucket load.

Now what?

How ‘bout we get all those ideas to do double duty?

If your list is like mine, you’ve probably got more than a few ideas that are just kinda vague. How can we get more specific? How about having a look at some different types of posts?

You could create:

  • A list post
  • A tools post
  • A roundup post
  • An influencer post (time consuming)
  • A how to post
  • A mistakes post
  • A series

A lot of your topics could work for any one of these types of posts. And as a bonus, these are SUPER popular post types. In fact, if you want to learn more about these post types, and more, Elna has a great post all about them at Twins Mommy.

Here’s an example:

My topic is Tailwind for Pinterest growth.

  • List – 5 Methods to Keep Your Tailwind Queue Filled (in less than 1 hour a week)
  • Tools – My Top 5 Tools that I use to grow my traffic from Pinterest
  • Roundup – 16 of the Best Blogger Profiles on Pinterest To Learn from
  • Influencer – 20 Experts Share Their Tips for Pinterest Growth
  • How to – How to Grow Your Blog Traffic Using Tailwind
  • Mistakes – I Had An Automation Accident, This is How I Fixed It
  • Series – Getting Started with Tailwind for Beginners

Skyscraper technique

Have you heard of the Skyscraper Technique? Basically, you look at existing content and then work out ways to make yours exponentially better.

Here’s some simple examples:

  • List posts – include more entries. Others have 20, you have 30.
  • Other content is short – write a long, in-depth piece.
  • Other content briefly touches on multiple points – take a deep dive on one of the points.
  • Other content is text only – add video, screenshots, images, gifs.

And don’t forget to add a content upgrade!

cu-editorial-calendar2

Let’s Wrap This Up

So next time you’re not sure what to write about, give some of these ideas a go. They’re pretty much guaranteed to spark some fantastic ideas!

Oh and don’t forget to write them down.

What’s your favorite way to generate blog post ideas? Did I include it on the list? Let me know!

PS. If you have any friends who might be struggling with blog post ideas, feel free to share this post on over with them.

Hi, I'm Cath

Hi, I'm Cath

Blogger. Pinterest Manager. Mom of one. Keeps me busy! I’m also a corporate cube escapee, determined to help moms create options so they can stay home with the little ones while still contributing to family finances.

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