If you’re like me, you probably often wonder how it is that some bloggers never seem to have any shortage of topics to write about and manage to stay inspired while the rest of us seem to take some time formulating ideas for blog post topics.
It’s likely that many prolific bloggers didn’t start that way, but rather focused on developing a system or techniques to help them generate new ideas for relevant topics to write about on their blogs. Just like you or I, those prolific bloggers probably had periods of time when they hit the wall and struggled to come up with great ideas when they had no idea of where to look for inspiration.
The difference between those bloggers and the rest of us is that they figured out how to overcome this problem and developed tools, techniques and methods for generating blog post ideas. The good news is that this problem can be overcome rather easily when you discover reliable sources of great ideas and tap into them periodically when your inspiration requires a little boost in order to conceptualize story ideas.
To get you started, I’m going to share 7 of my favourite methods which you can employ to generate great blog post ideas:
1. Ask Your Readers for Feedback
It’s obvious that your readers know better than anyone else what it is that they wish to read about. This is exactly why you should seek to engage them in an open an honest dialogue when it’s time to generate new ideas.
One great way to engage your readers in order to generate feedback is through the use of opinion polls. Consider starting your dialogue with your readers using the two examples below:
- With the first poll invite your readers to share their thoughts on what direction they would like your blog to move in the long-term.
- Using the second poll, engage your users and ask them which topic they would like you to cover in an upcoming feature post. You might even consider creating a new poll for the second question on a weekly or monthly basis to keep your readers engaged and to make sure that you’re delivering exactly what your readers require.
In addition to gathering your readers opinions via polls, another great way to ask users what you should write about is through the use of comments, either via a blog comments feature, or via email. This methods allows users to provide more open-ended feedback and explanations of what they would like to see on your website or blog.
If you or your company does not yet have a company blog, you could leverage this strategy of asking for feedback on relevant niche forums or using your email list. Whether it’s via emails or forums, be sure to introduce yourself and explain what you plan to do with the feedback before firing off your questions as to what users would like to read about.
2. Listen to Your Readers
Very often it may not even be necessary to request your readers advice. By simply paying attention to the comments section of your blog, there’s a very good chance that you’ll already have all the feedback you need.
Was there a debate in the comments section over one of your previous topics? Or was a particular blog entry followed by several questions that you never addressed directly in the post? If so, then you’re in luck, you’ve just found your next blog post topic.
By reviewing your blog comments and getting involved in a discussion in the comments section of your blog, it possible that you’ll actually have many things you may want to come back to in the future by creating a follow-up blog posts on those topics.
3. Spend Time on Forums
Spending a little time on relevant niche forums a few times every week can be a fantastic way to generate new ideas for blog posts. If you don;t already visit forums on a regular basis you can quickly and easily find some in your niche using Google by searching for “[your keyword] forum” e.g. “gardening forums” or “woodworking forum”.
Before you dive in though, make sure to spend a few minutes browsing the latest posts and user sections to make sure that you’ve found a good forum with a growing, active community. Once you’ve decided that you’re in the right place, begin seeking out hot topics. If a thread has received hundreds of replies and has remained at the top of the forum for a long period of time, then there’s a good possibility that the same topic will be popular with readers on your blog too.
Also, if a forum post proves is controversial and draws a lively debate between members, it may also be something you should consider writing about on your blog, either by commenting on the debate, or offering your own perspective by writing about it on your blog and inviting your users to weight in and share their thoughts on the topic.
Tip: If you’re users provide great feedback, it may be worth bundling it up and reposting a summary of your users opinions to the forum to fuel the debate and potentially grab some new readers.
4. Read Newspapers and Magazines
If you’re like me it’s often easy to jump around or scan through online media without getting an in-depth overview of a particular topic. However, when sitting down to read an editorial piece in a newspaper or magazine I often find that its a better way to get a more detailed perspective of hot topics and current events.
So, when you’re looking for great ideas to cover in your next blog post, grab a few magazines or newspapers relevant to your niche and go through those, making notes along the way. Be on the lookout for topics that have the potential to be humorous, exciting, useful, or controversial and leverage them to stimulate and facilitate discussions on your blog.
5. Browse Article Directories and Aggregators
If you’re an Internet marketer like me, you’ve probably submitted your fair share of articles to directories or aggregators. What you might have missed, however, is that these directories and aggregators can often be a valuable source of ideas when you need them the most.
The next time you’re struggling to formulate an idea for your blog entry, visit sites such as EzineArticles.com or AllTop.com, locate the category that best describes your content niche and take a look around. Pay particular attention to hot topics and headlines that grab your attention and consider covering the same topic or leveraging the idea for further content development on your own blog.
6. Use Keyword Tools
One way to understand your blog readers better is to find out what they look for on the Internet. You can do this by using the Google AdWords Keyword Planner Tool:
Using this tool, you can simply enter a single word or phrase, such as “gym equipment” and use the tool to research a wealth of related keywords, including such things as “exercise equipment” and “home exercise equipment.” The bonus here is that you’ll also get a rough idea of the search volumes for these terms so you know which ones to target when writing your next blog post.
Thanks to the Google AdWords Keyword Planner Tool you can quickly research and expand your list of keywords which can be used to generate new content ideas for free and know which ones stand the best possible chance of bringing in more traffic to your blog.
7. Continue an Interesting Conversation
Sometimes, you don;t even need to come up with any content ideas all on your own!
The next time you discover a hot topic or buzzing conversation on another blog or in an online forum, elaborate or continue it on your own blog. Don;t forget to introduce prefix your blog post by mentioning where you found the conversation and providing an overview of the arguments on each side, once that’s done, you can weigh in on the topic with your own point of view and ask your users to share their opinions in the comments.
Often blog readers in your niche are likely to have strong feelings about such topics as well, so you can expect a strong response.
So, coming up with new content ideas for your blog posts can sometimes be tricky, but not impossible. Keep a list of your favourite places to find new ideas and then revisit them as needed.
Hopefully, using the 7 methods for generating blog posts ideas I’ve shared with you above, you’ll find it easier to bounce back the next time you’re struck with a severer case of writers block.
Where do you get your ideas?
The list of great hangouts to help generate blog post ideas above is by no means extensive, but hopefully I’ve highlighted a few which will help you get going quickly. If you have any other places you think are a great source of inspiration for blog posts, let me know by sounding off in the comments below. Happy blogging.