21 Quick Ways To Generate Killer Blog Post Ideas
March 9, 2016
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Blog Post Idea Generations

Generating blog post ideas is the first step in writing. Great blog post ideas are critical to creating high-quality content that your readers love.

Yet, you might have some troubles in coming up with great ideas for your blog.

Today, I am going to show you 21 ways to generate blog post ideas. These methods will help you generate enough ideas that will last you for a year.

Let’s get started!

Bonus: This post is 4,898 long. Download a free 5-page PDF checklist on how to implement these techniques.

  1. Find the top questions in your niche using Quora

Blog post ideas usually start with a question. One great place to look for questions is Quora.

Quora is one of the most popular questions and answer platform. You will be able to find questions and answers that others have provided.

It is also a gold mine of blog topic ideas. If you are serious about content marketing, you would want to sign up for a Quora account.

How do you get content from Quora?

Step 1: Search your niche in Quora

For example, your niche is in High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT). Just key in your niche into Quora search bar at the top.

Quora Search

Quora will show the topic of your niche, some popular questions, and an option to search for the niche.

Let’s go the topic first.

Quora Topic

At the main topic page, you will see an overview of the topic, the most popular writers, and the questions. You can also see how many questions are there and how many followers are following this topic.

Click on the “View all” under the “Write” section at the bottom-right corner.

Step 2: Search for Popular Questions

You can determine the popularity of a question using the number of followers and the answers.

Unfortunately, you cannot sort the feed based on the number of followers. So you will have to scroll through the feed and find interesting questions.

Some examples I found are:

HIIT Example 1

HIIT Example 2

The first question has 18 answers with 146 followers. It might be a little competitive for you to come out with content that is better.

In this case, you might want to look at the question further.

HIIT Example 1 In Depth

In general, the higher the number of views, the more popular the question is. A good guideline is that the question should have more than 1,000 views.

Search Answers Provided by Influential Writers

Notice at the topic overview page, you see a section where there are top writers on that topic. Another way to find blog topic ideas is to look at the answers provided by these top writers.

Let’s use the writer Mindy Zhou as an example.

Quora Writer

Looking at this profile page, you will be able to see some of the questions that Mindy has answered.

Do a General Search on Quora for your niche

Not all related questions are tagged with your Quora topic. So, always do a general search in Quora for your niche.

Quora General Search

Click on the Questions filter over at the left so that you can see how many followers for each question.

Again, the number of followers determine the popularity of the question. You should be able to find some great content ideas looking at this list.

  1. Find out what content others are looking for using HARO

HARO stands for Help a Reporter Out. It is a service where reporters and journalists seek for writers for their content.

HARO

It is also a valuable place for you to discover content ideas. To take advantage of HARO, you have to sign up for an account.

HARO will send you the different topics journalists are looking to cover. Below is an example:

HARO Examples

You might not get your niche every time, but once in a while, it might give you some inspirations.

Let say you are writing for a personal finance blog. Question number 15 – “What’s your favorite mutual fund for retirees?” might be relevant. You might even extend the question to write about mutual funds for young adults, for example.

If you are interested, you can click on the link, and it will bring you to further details of the question.

HARO Specific Example

  1. Find Relevant Topics Using Answer the Public

Answer the public is a keyword tool that takes account into the Google’s autocomplete feature. The difference is that it combines questions and propositions to the keyword.

Let’s just look at one example:

To get started, enter a broad keyword, like for example, Social Media Management. It will show you some of the common questions for this niche.

Answer the Public

It will also show keywords combine with a preposition.

Answer the Public 2

It is quite an easy tool for you to generate blog ideas.

  1. Scan Popular Communities for Questions using FAQ Fox

FAQ Fox is a free tool where you can find questions asked by others. The benefits of FAQ Fox is that you can see the exact question and the language used.

To get started, enter the keyword of your niche.

FAQ Fox

Choose your category. The platform will populate a series of websites which it will scrape the data.

FAQ Fox 2

You may enter more websites if you want. Click on “Start Searching”.

FAQ Fox 3

This is an example of the results. Each item in the result is a link to the page where the question is asked. You can also download the result into a CSV file.

I often use FAQ Fox to find inspirations for questions that others might have. The answers that others have given can also be useful.

  1. Find SEO Keywords Using Keywords Research

Keywords research is about finding a good keyword to target for your web page. You can also use keyword research to find content ideas.

You can read Backlinko’s article on keyword research to learn more.

Here are some of my favorite methods in keyword research:

Using Google Keyword Planner (GKP)

Note: Sign up for a Google AdWords account if you haven’t do so. You need an Adwords account to access Google Keyword Planner (GKP).

GKP is a tool to plan the keywords when you want to advertise on Google. It is also a great tool to find what are the relevant keywords to your niche.

To find the keywords, key in your niche in the GKP, and click “Get Ideas”. You might want to filter for your location.

Google Keyword Planner 1

By default, Google grouped the keywords into several niches.

Google Keyword Planner Ad Group Niches

Let say, you are interested in writing about social media tools, you can click on “Media Tools”. Then, you will see the following keywords recommendations:

Google Keyword Planner Ad Group Keywords

Note that the suggested bid and the competitions refer to the Adwords. It has nothing to do with the organic competitions in SEO.

From this list, you can write a blog about:

  • Social media tools

  • Tools to measure and track social media campaign

  • Social media tools for businesses

Be sure to explore other categories to get more blog post ideas.

Using Competitors’ Keywords Ideas

You can also use the GKP to look at the keywords your competitor is already ranking.

Step 1: Search a popular page in your niche

Head over to Buzzsumo, and search your niche. You have to be a little bit more specific for Buzzsumo to return you the relevant results.

Buzzsumo

In this case, I chose the second result by Buffer – How to Scale Your Social Media Strategies for Growth.

Step 2: Pop the page into Google Keyword Planner

Next, enter the page URL into Google Keyword Planner, under the field “Your Landing Page”. Click on “Get Ideas”.

Google Keyword Planner - Competitor Keyword

Step 3: Find the medium to long-tailed keywords

Click on the Keyword Ideas, and sort the keywords by average monthly searches.

GKP - Competitor Keyword

In this case, you would want to look at the medium to long-tailed keywords. Head keywords are often too generic and competitive. Medium and long-tailed keywords are more specific in helping you to generate blog post ideas.

For example:

GKP Long Tail Keywords

These keywords can make a good blog post.

  1. Find out from your customers/subscribers/visitors

If you have existing customers, the best way to generate blog content ideas is to ask them. What’s troubling them, and how can you help them?

There are a few ways of doing this. Let’s explore them.

Using Facebook Poll

You can use a Facebook poll to ask your audiences what kind of topics do they want to know.

For example, Massimo, the CEO of AdEspresso, asked the group members next topic for his Webinar.

Facebook Poll

You will then be able to choose the content that you want to target.

Using Surveys and Polls

If you do not have a Facebook group, you can try using surveys and polls on your website to find out what your visitors want to read.

Hotjar is a great tool for this if you are getting started.

Step 1: Sign up for a free account with Hotjar and configure your site

You can sign up for a free account with Hotjar.

Hotjar Signup

Copy the tracking code and insert into your site. Make sure that to test that the tracking code is active.

Step 2: Set up your polls

Go to “polls” on your dashboard.

Hotjar Dashboard

Click “New Poll” at the top.

Hotjar New Polls

After the initial configuration like naming your poll, you can set your page targeting, device targeting, and how is the poll being triggered.

Hotjar Poll Configuration

I recommend having an individual poll for each category of post. This is to ensure the consistency in your audience’s interest.

Step 3: Ask questions which you would like to know

After setting up the configuration, you will have to ask questions which you want to know. I would give my visitors a list of options, and a free-form field.

Hotjar Poll Example

From this poll, I realize that a lot of my visitors have problems coming up with content ideas. This inspired me to write this blog post.

Step 4: Ask for your audience emails

After your audience has given their response to your poll, it is time to ask for your audience’s email.

Hotjar Email

When you have written a blog post addressing their biggest concern, drop them an email informing them of this post.

Other tools that are capable of capturing polls are:

Finally, you have to plan your placement of your poll.

Warning: Make sure there are not many exit-intent pop-ups, polls, scroll bars in your website. Having these opt-ins might damage the user experience.

  1. Find Proven Content Using Buzzsumo

One way to find content ideas is to look at contents that have done well in the past. This is the Skyscraper Technique popularized by Brian Dean.

Go to Buzzsumo.com. Enter your niche. You will be able to see the top content over the past 1 year.

Buzzsumo - Skyscraper Technique

If you are not able to find any great content, you might want to explore a broader niche or a shoulder niche.

Shoulder niches are niches that are related to your niche. For example, if you are selling microphones, your shoulder niche might be video creation or voice over.

A broader niche includes the niche you are interested. For example, if your niche is in getting Twitter followers, it might fall under Twitter marketing. Twitter marketing is under social media marketing, then digital marketing, and so on.

These are just guidelines. You should choose a niche that is relevant to your target audience.

After you found a potential content idea, you have to create content that is better in content and design. You can also offer different perspectives depending on your target audience.

If you are having trouble in creating better content, check out this guide to creating great content.

  1. Search “How do you..” in relevant subreddit

Reddit contains a wealth of information and questions that others have asked. You can access to them, only if you know how.

Step 1: Find the relevant sub-reddits

There should be at least a subreddit available regardless of what’s your niche is about.

Search for your keyword in Google.

“[keyword]” site: reddit.com

You will be able to find some relevant subreddits. Note that you can also search on other subreddits for your search term. Sometimes, you might find something new.

For example, let say I am interested in losing weight. I will search for:

“lose weight” site:reddit.com

Finding subreddit

From the screenshot, I know some relevant subreddits are /r/loseweight/, /r/loseit, /r/Fitness.

Step 2: Search in Google

Once you know the relevant subreddits, you search for the following phrase:

“How do you” site: reddit.com/r/[subreddit]

“What tools” site: reddit.com/r/[subreddit]

For example:

I search for the following using Google:

“How do you” site:reddit.com/r/loseweight

“How do you” site:reddit.com/r/loseit

“How do you” site:reddit.com/r/Fitness

I found the following questions:

Subreddit Search 1

Subreddit Search 2

Subreddit Search 3

Using this method, you will be able to find a lot of relevant questions that your target audience is seeking answers. Then you can answer them with your blog post, and promote it in the relevant subreddit.

  1. Find Content Gaps Using Amazon Book Reviews

Amazon book reviews can tell you what are some of the missing pieces that others are interested.

Step 1: Search for your keywords in Amazon

Go over to Amazon.com and search for your keywords. For example, if you are going to write an article on career, you might want to search for words like career, interviews, dream jobs, etc.

Amazon

Step 2: Choose a book in your niche

I chose the first book.

Amazon - The Art of Work

Step 2: Check out the 2-stars, 3-stars and 4-stars reviews

These reviews will show you what they like about the book, and what the author is missing. It means that what people interested in this topic are looking out for.

Head over to the reviews section, and click on the 3-stars reviews.

Amazon - 3 Stars Review

I found one review that is helpful to you in generating blog ideas in the career niche.

Amazon Book Review

  1. What have you learned for the week?

You might have answered a client question this week. You might also deal with a problem for your client. What have you learned? How can these lessons help your readers?

These lessons can be effective blog post ideas.

You can also write about the story of how you build your business to this stage. One great example is the blog post series from Groove sharing how they grow from 0 to $100K monthly revenue.

Groove

This journey includes the mistakes made, lessons learned, tactics and strategies that Groove uses to reach $100,000 monthly revenue. I recommend you to check it out.

How can you implement this in finding blog post idea?

First, you have to determine your target audience persona.

What are some stuff that they might be interested in?

For example, if you are targeting small businesses, they are likely to face issues such as getting new customers. They might also face issues with hiring, employees motivation. They might also have to deal with negotiating deals with clients and getting sales. The possibilities are endless.

Next, you have to decide on the format or the focus. In the Groove example, they write their blog as a journey. You may adopt this approach if there are exciting stories about how you build your business.

  1. Build on current blog posts/topics

You can try building on the topic of current blog posts being published. Do you have any alternative view? Do you have any specific examples? Can you run a test on the methods and publish your results? Can you make it more relevant to your audiences?

Step 1: Subscribe to major blogs in your niche

By now, you should already know what are some major blogs in your niche. If not, you can easily find them on Google. Just search for the following:

“best blog post” + [keyword]

“top 100 blogs” + [keyword]

You should be able to find some blogs in your niche.

Then, subscribe to them. Subscribe to all of them. Depending on your preferences, you can subscribe using your email so that you will get an email whenever they publish a blog post. You can also subscribe to their RSS feed using a tool like Feedly.

Feedly

Step 2: Actively browse through the updates. Read those that you think are interesting.

Subscribing to the blog is not enough. You also have to keep yourself updated whenever there is a new post. Set aside about 15 minutes every day to quickly browse through what’s new.

Either save those which you think will be interesting or read them straight away. You can use the Pocket or Feedly save feature to do that. Make sure you revisit them.

Step 3: Build on what you have read

If the article is good, think about the following questions:

  • Who do you think is the target audience of this article?

  • Why is this article great?

  • Can you do something better?

  • Can you do something better for another group of target audience?

  • Can you switch the angle this article is referring?

  • Can you apply the concepts of this article into another context?

These questions will help you find an angle for your blog post idea.

  1. Find Trending Topics Using Twitter Hashtags

Once in a while, there will be questions posed on Twitter with the relevant hashtags.

Step 1: Find a popular and trending hashtag in your niche

The first step is to find a popular and trending hashtag in your niche. Hashtagify.me is a great tool for this.

Enter your niche in the search field at the top right corner. For example, I search for social media:

Hashtagify

You will be able to view the top 10 hashtags related to social media:

Hashtagify Top Content - Social Media

Step 2: Use Twitter Advanced Search

The next step is to use Twitter Advanced search to retrieve the tweets related to the hashtags. For example, in this case, I want to retrieve all the tweets related to #SMM, #socialmedia and #seo.

Twitter Advanced Search

Click on the “Search” button. You will find all the tweets that meet your criteria:

Twitter Advanced Search Results

By default, Twitter sorts the tweets based on how good they are. You can view the chronological order of the tweets by clicking on “Live” tab.

Twitter Advanced Search Results - Live

Step 3: Find out the questions that these tweets seek to answer

The final step is to look through some of the tweets. Find out what questions do these tweets seek to answer. For example:

Tweet Example 1

This tweet seeks to answer the question: What is the difference between content marketing, social media marketing, and SEO?

Tweet Example 2

This tweet seeks to answer the question: How can I reward my social media followers?

Tweet Example 3

This tweet seeks to answer the question: How can I beat Facebook algorithm? Or How can I maximize my reach to my Facebook page followers?

  1. Find Contents Gap With Comments on Popular Blogs

I love reading blog comments. They will tell me what’s good about the blog and what’s missing. This is when you can fill the gap.

So, I always keep a lookout of blogs that I closely follow, and browse through the comments when I have the time.

To find content ideas based on popular blogs, you have to find great article in your niche. You can use Google search or Buzzsumo to achieve that. You need to find one article where there are lots of comments.

A quick way to find the questions in the comments is to search for question marks. There are 2 types of questions that appear in the comments:

1. Clarifying questions. These are questions directed at the blogger on the blog topic. Usually, they are specific that can be answered with a 1 to 2 sentences.

2. Thoughtful questions. These are questions that required more research. It can be from another perspective, or useful tools to implement what the content is recommending.

For example, Neil Patel wrote a wonderful guide to building a successful YouTube Channel.

YouTube Guide

Despite that the guide is great, there are some unanswered questions from the readers. For example:

Blog comment example

This is an example of clarifying question. We are not interested in these type of questions.

I found this question particularly interesting:

Blog comment example 2

The reader is asking whether Neil has recommendations to video software and cameras, or other tools in making videos. This is a potential blog post idea on a list of recommendations to create great videos for YouTube.

  1. Use Google Trends to Determine Trending Topics

Google Trends show how popular is a certain keyword or niche over time. You can also use it to find popular topics or trending topics currently in your niche.

You have 2 ways to use Google Trends, and both can uncover potential blog post ideas.

Option 1: Search for keyword in your niche

In this option, search for your niche in Google trend. You might want to search for a more specific keyword rather than a broad keyword.

Google Trends

You will be able to see the level of interest over time.

Google Trends 2

If you scroll down, you will be able to see the related searches to this keyword.

Google Trends 3

Some content ideas will be social media tools and manage crisis using social media.

Option 2: Search for your industry

Another way to use Google Trends is to search for your industry. Note that this can also apply to your client industry.

Go to Google Trends Explore. Select the industry which you want to write content on. For example, I select the fitness industry.

Google Trends 4

You can see the interest of the fitness industry over time, and the rising queries within the fitness industry.

Google Trends 5

The interest of fitness related queries has indeed risen over the past few years. Some of the more popular topics within the fitness industry are CrossFit, p90x, and Zumba. These might give you some content ideas that you might want to write.

  1. Use Google Correlate to Find Related Topics

Google Correlate shows the top queries that display similar trends with your chosen topics. However, correlation does not equal causations. It also does not mean that they are related. The returned results by Google Correlate might just be a statistical coincidence.

Nevertheless, it is still a great tool to find out what are some topics that are related to our niche.

For example, I search for the keyword “high-intensity interval training”. I saw the following keywords that have high correlations (very related statistically):

Google Correlate

Some potential topics will be best protein food, what to do after working out, what food should I eat, etc.

You might notice that there are some of the results are irrelevant, like “to rent a car”. Using Google Correlate might give you irrelevant results from time to time. You will have to make use of your judgment to determine the content idea. Not every keyword will give you something relevant.

  1. Use Tutorials to Guide Your Future Customers

Does your product or service need certain expertise to use? If your answer is yes, you can write tutorials that will guide your users to use your products.

Before you start thinking that you should have included the tutorials in the documentation, consider the following:

Your product exists because it is solving a problem for their users. Why not write a tutorial from a perspective on how to solve the problem?

For example, ahrefs is a Search Engine Optimization (SEO) tool that allows its users to track the site’s performance. They published an article on how you can steal (copy) backlinks from your top competitors.

Tutorial Example - ahrefs

In this article, they show you how to do your keywords research by analyzing your competitor website. More importantly, they show you how to accomplish this using their tool.

How can you replicate what ahrefs have done?

Make a list of all the problems your product or service is trying to solve for your customers. For example, we help our clients grow their sales by establishing and strengthening their digital presence. To achieve that, we help our client:

  • Create websites, set up social media accounts and pages

  • Develop digital marketing strategy

  • Optimize their digital sales process

  • Create engaging contents

Write a how-to post on how to achieve them.

  1. Search Online Forum for Potential Questions

If you think that nobody is using forum in 2016, you couldn’t be more wrong. In fact, forum still generates a huge amount engagements.

Step 1: Search for forums in your niche

You can find forums in your niche by searching the following terms in Google:

[keyword] + forum

[keyword] + “powered by vbulletin”

For example, I search for “social media” + forum in Google:

Google Search Forums

I will find some forums that discuss the social media niche.

Step 2: Comb the forums to uncover interesting questions

After finding the forum of your niche, you can visit the forum to look for content idea inspirations. Using the social media niche as an example, I visited the first result – Warrior Forum, and saw the following:

Forum Content Idea

You should be able to see some questions asked by other users of the forum. These users can be your potential target audience. Now you know what are some of the issues that trouble them.

You can also reframe some threads into questions. For example, there is this thread on YouTube Views increase. You can reframe it to “how can I increase views for my YouTube video”.

  1. Use Title Generator Tool to Generate Ideas

Over the years, there has been a rise in popularity of using title generator tool. While a great title might not give you new blog post idea, it can give you a perspective of your niche that you might not have thought of.

I frequently used the below title generator tool.

Hubspot’s Blog Topic Generator

Using the Hubspot’s blog topic generator, you can generate a week’s worth of blog ideas by keying in 3 nouns in your niches.

Hubspot Blog Topic Generator

Once you have entered 3 nouns, click on the button.

Hubspot Blog Topic Results

The tool will give you 5 topics to choose from in your niche. You may want to tweak the title to make it more relevant for your target audience.

Portent

Portent Content Idea Generator is a simple tool that will give you one idea at a time. Most of the time, the generator gave you ideas that do not make sense. But this also mean that you will be able to see original and creative ideas for your blog.

Portent Content Idea Generator

Content Ideator

Content ideator by Content Forest can give you a list of post titles that you can use as a basis for your content ideas.

Using the social media example, the tool generated 25 pages worth of ideas that I can use.

Content Ideator

If you see any title you like, you can click on the checkbox next to the title. The tool helps you to save these ideas in a separate column.

Content Ideator 2

Once done, you can click on “copy” at the bottom to copy and paste these ideas to a separate document.

Content Ideator 3

Please note that not every idea generated by these tools is worth pursuing. You should conduct your research using Google or Buzzsumo to determine the linkability of the blog content.

  1. Find Blog Ideas that Others Have Generated

For most industries, there are active content marketers around. This means that you can search for some suggested topics or blog post ideas.

For example, I found the following article showing x number of ideas for the travel industry.

To find these blog post ideas, Google

[keyword] + blog post ideas

For example, I am looking for blog content ideas for my travel blog. I search for travel blog post ideas in Google:

Travel Blog Post Ideas

There’s pretty much a huge list of ideas that others have suggested for travel blogs. Clicking on the first post by Girl vs. Globe, you will see that they categorize the ideas by the format of content.

If you are not able to find any ideas, you might have to broaden your niche, or go to your shoulder niche.

  1. Combine Current Trends with Your Topic

Often, current trends might impact your industry. For example, technology has been changing especially in the field of machine learning.

Are you aware of any impact of these fields on your topic? If not, try doing a quick Google search on the following:

[keyword] + [trends]

For example, I want to know is there any topics surrounding machine learning and social media marketing, so I search for social media marketing + machine learning. I got the following results:

Current Trends and Niche

You can see that one application is the use of machine learning to analyze social media data. This can be a potential blog content. It can also be a way for you to differentiate your business.

Some current trends you might want to combine for your blog ideas are:

  • Machine learning and artificial intelligence

  • Big data

  • Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs)

  • Freelancing

  • Outsourcing

  • Rise of Fintech

If you need additional trends, please read the top 50 business trends in 2016.

You can also repeat the process using another field. You might see some interesting combinations.

  1. Use YouTube to Find Popular Videos in Your Niche

You probably know that YouTube is the second largest search engine, just after Google. It is also a gold mine of written content.

Step 1: Search for your niche

The first step is to search for your niche. For example, I search for “social media marketing”. This is the results I got.

YouTube Example

Step 2: Choose the video

The ideal video should be one with a reasonable number of views, and yet offer a fresh perspectives compare to what others have been writing about.

For example, this is a video about how to make social media marketing less overwhelming.

YouTube Example 2

When I search a generic key term in Google, I saw that most of the top ranking results are quite outdated.

YouTube Example 3

This offers an opportunity for me to write something more updated to the current landscape of social media marketing.

Alright. You have seen 21 number of ways to generate blog post ideas.

Now it’s your turn to write your content.

Generating blog post ideas is only the first step in writing great blog posts. You should also ensure that your content is high-quality.

To assist you in creating blog posts, I have prepared a 5-page checklist for you.

Download a free 5-page PDF checklist on how to implement these techniques.

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Thiam Hock

Thiam Hock is the co-founder of 3Pal Pte Ltd, a full-serviced inbound marketing agency based in Singapore. He believes in using inbound marketing to transform the Singapore's marketing landscape. In his free time, he blogs about marketing, personal development and finance.
  • Hi, good article, very useful is part 5 about SEO keywords, thanks a lot!