How to Generate Blog Ideas Your Audience Will Love
Where do you pull inspiration for blog topics from when you’re flat out of ideas?
You’ve written everything you could possibly write in your niche. And your readers are expecting more — because that’s what you’ve delivered until now. Attracting readers is all about blogging to get site traffic to fulfill your objectives. Otherwise, it’s bye-bye blog traffic, and maybe, bye-bye blog.
The choice is clear. Find new topics.
In this post, you’ll learn how to find blog inspiration. We’ll cover how to use online tools to generate the hottest topics. There’s also lo-fi tips when you just want to wrack your brain, or someone else’s, for some new blog ideas. By the end, you’ll be bursting with ideas ready to make your posts truly shareable.
Step Up Your Content
The power of your content marketing doesn’t rest on simply finding blog ideas. It rests on ideas that appeal to your audience.
The most popular blog topics are the ones people are already interested in. How do you find out what’s got people talking? Clicking? Reading? Thanks to online tools, we can find out.
Here are some of the most popular online tools to generate content ideas.
- AnswerThePublic – identify the best topics based on questions asked
Answer the Public can be a great inspiration for your daily content creation. From the homepage, type in the topic you’re interested in and hit return. Next, you’ll see a wheel of targeted questions, based on real search queries provided by Google and Bing.
In the following example, I ran the search term ‘robot vacuum’.
The results above are the classic who, what, when, why, which, where, and how questions. Additional ‘wheels’ include a breakdown of comparison searches, such as ‘robot vacuum vs dyson v10’, and ‘robot vacuum comparison review’.
If you’re struggling with the ‘wheel,’ click the data option for the questions arranged in a table format. Whichever format you choose, the results provide ample insights into your visitors’ pain points. Any one of these questions can help guide your next blog post.
If your research has uncovered a goldmine of questions. Why not write a post addressing them, all of them. For example
“10 reasons not to buy the Dyson v10”
“Everything you need to know before buying a robot vacuum”
- Use Google Trends data to tell stories about popular search queries
Google Trends is a fantastic source of inspiration. The homepage launches a section for trending searches that are the hottest topics right now. Don’t be put off by the volume of celebrity news or topics seemingly unconnected to your blog. Savvy content marketers find ways to tie in buzz-worthy stories with their niches.
For example, on November 12, 2019, the most searched daily trend in the US was for “Disney Plus”. In the ‘related topics’ section, there are keywords such as “Chromecast – Digital media player’, ‘Verizon Communications’, ‘Disney Plus on Smart TV’. This suggested that a large number of people were looking for ways to access Disney Plus, and it turned out an Internet provider offered free Disney Plus for one year for anyone signing up to their home Internet network.
If you ran a blog recommending tech products, you could have taken this information to write a newsworthy article on ‘How to Get Disney Plus for Free’.
- BuzzSumo to find what content is popular by topic
Unlike the tools that generate questions based on keywords, BuzzSumo’s ‘Discover Topics’ option focuses on topics that allow you to generate endless blog content ideas for any subject.
This format is perfect when your attempts at brainstorming ideas are getting you nowhere.
For a list of results, type a keyword and hit return. Here I’ve gone for ‘sustainable living.’
Results are grouped into topics. In this case, I can see subtopics like ‘environmental impact,’ ‘ecological footprint’, and so on. Each subtopic includes helpful content ideas, plus related keywords. For further insights, click ‘insights and content ideas’. This page opened up a gold mine of data.
From this simple search, I get all sorts of data points to work with. There was also a list of articles with the most engagement for this keyword. I’d be smart to publish a two to three thousand word article on ecological footprint on a Sunday, with some careful attention to promote on Facebook.
- Ahrefs Content Explorer
Ahrefs Content Explorer claims to help “discover and analyze top-performing content in your niche”. Their landing page is full of interesting findings available if you sign up for a free trial.
This time, I’m a ‘vegan lifestyle blogger’ thinking about covering milk alternatives. I run the term ‘vegan milk’ through the content explorer looking for talking points. I was impressed with the results, especially the amount of data provided. Alongside a relevant article with a clickable link, I can see everything from the organic traffic it’s bringing in to the value of said traffic value. It’s all there. What’s more, it provides a large source of inspiration if you want to see how others write their headlines.
Scanning the results, a few items immediately stood out. Aside from the informational wiki articles, the majority of the posts center around the growing acceptance of vegan milk, and where to get your fix on the go. That’s enough for me to go on. I can write a post about vegan milk going mainstream, or something about your options to get your fix on the go. For example:
“Where to Get your Coffee with Vegan Milk? Starbucks vs. Pret”
“What does an Arab Prince, Starbucks, and Steven Fry have in Common? Vegan Milk”
I’m quite enamored with the latter. This is an example of idea synthesis which we’ll cover further down the page.
- Scoop comments from top industry content
Have you ever read a piece of content from an industry leader you’ve found extremely engaging? So much so you’ve scanned the comments — or left one. Take a look at the best, or most-viewed, content in your industry, and the comments people left. What do people agree or disagree with, or what did they have questions about? With these comments, you’ve got an instant stack of insights on other people’s perspectives on the topic. These might well be ones you hadn’t thought of, or covered on your blog yet.
A quick way to analyze a long list of comments is to use a free text analyzer like online-utility. Grab every comment pasted it into the text analyzer tool for terms used most frequently.
- Get inspiration from conferences in your niche!
Shayla Price, a SaaS Content Marketer, shared some wisdom with BuzzSumo. She takes content inspiration from conference agendas posted online. Why? She points out how these are blog topics that are already researched and can “ offer insight to the latest trends.”
With this tactic, she developed the blog “How Emotional Targeting Converts More Leads,” for the Kissmetrics blog, an article that got over 2.9k shares. To come up with this topic, she took a conference agenda from ‘Inbound 2017’ and chose a topic on the agenda. In this case, she focused on data-driven remarketing. Without much knowledge on this subject, she used BuzzSumo’s Question Analyzer to check out what types of things people were asking about remarketing.
Following her process, you can immediately get a full slate of ideas, many of them already formatted as “how-to” posts. The best bit? If you’re clueless about a question, you can simply click through to the site for answers you can use as a starting point, then develop as your own.
For bonus points, Shayla recommends you “contact a speaker and ask them to contribute, or post your article solving relevant problems back into the forum the question was asked.”
I wanted to give it a go. Being an avid WordPress user, I headed straight to the latest WordPress 2019 WordCamp schedule. I found this seminar on content monetization platforms.
As Shayla did, I ran the keyword through the Question Analyzer tool (in this case ‘content monetization’.)
I was struck by the number of topics related to making money. Here are some of the most interesting catches from the 24 questions delivered:
- What are some good free blogging and publishing platforms out there that allow content monetization?
Bam. That’s a blog post—or five—right there.
Finding Blog Inspiration
If keywords and analysis tools aren’t your thing, there’s a bunch of other things you can do to get inspiration for your blog articles.
- Turn to your visitors for inspiration
Go directly to the source —monitor social media, conduct surveys, or pose questions in your online communities. These are all great ways to make sure you’re writing about things your audience cares about.
Remember, inspiration from your target audience, whether that be teens or moms or college students, doesn’t always have to come from online sources. If you get the chance to talk to your readers in real life, or anyone interested in your topics, ask them about their experiences in your niche.
- Tell a Personal Story that You Wouldn’t Normally Share
Good thought leaders are great storytellers. Why not surprise your readers with a story?
Storytelling is often overlooked by bloggers but it can help you blog more creatively around a topic. You’ll also find personal stories resonate with readers, especially if they get the sense that this story is one you wouldn’t otherwise share.
If you’d like to learn the art of storytelling to enhance your blog posts, I recommend this blog ‘How to Add Sparkle and Delight Readers’ from Enchanted Marketing.
- Question your own skills and knowledge
What if everything you knew about something is wrong, or outdated? Questioning your understanding of a topic is a great chance for writers to think creatively. You might unearth some new truths to think about the problem or topic, in a new way.
- Solve an awkward life problem
Set some wild limitations for yourself and see what you can come up with. Let’s say you run a fashion blog, and many readers can only wear a uniform to work. How can you help them add style to their working wardrobe? Similarly, your food blog readers might be vegan, but their friends aren’t. How do they make a meal that satisfies everyone in the room — and is low-carb?
- Make a connection between seemingly unrelated things
Many great thinkers believe in the power of making connections. According to Steve Jobs, “Creativity is just connecting things,”. Musician Linsey Pollack went on to define creativity as “the putting together of two previously unrelated things. It could be objects or ideas.”
As a writer, you might already do this. You take information from several sources and create new ideas based on what you have read. Original thinkers look for patterns within their industry and spot connections that others haven’t.
Forging a pathway between two unrelated thoughts is a road down the unexpected. It’s also a great way to overcome creative block. If you’re interested in developing this special skill, I’d recommend this article from informED.
Time to Get Started
Coming up with new blog topics is a full-time job. The best way to find inspiration is by exploring new techniques. With the tools we’ve discussed, you’ve every data point you could ask for to discover what’s hot and what’s trending. These are the kinds of articles that separate you from a sea of bloggers thrashing out content. We’ve also covered some classic methods to get you excited about writing again. Things you don’t need an app to help with.
Remember, honing your personal blog is a work in progress. Your readers appreciate original, well thought out content. So, work through the tips to learn, and nurture and develop the skills to create truly shareable posts one after the other.
If you’re a student or just starting out, I’d recommend using WordPress for your personal blog. It’s the most powerful blogging platform in the world and the most preferred platform. I’d recommend a managed WordPress solution like EasyWP and start blogging in minutes. It’s bundled with neat features like hassle-free SSL security to make blogging accessible and affordable for everyone.
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Do you have any solid techniques for coming up with new blog ideas when you’re really stuck? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comment box below!
Isobel, the information you provided here are life-savers. You really did your homework on this. Thank you.
I gained a lot.
Really useful. can’t wait to try them out!