Last updated: 16/05/2016
How to boost your blog post ideas so you never run dry
Do you find it hard to keep coming up with epic blog post ideas? How is it that some people never seem to lose steam and have a constant stream of awesome content?
A lot of blogs fail because of inconsistent posting. Sometimes this is down to lack of time, but a shortage of ideas causes many to fall out of love with their blog and leave it languishing. It takes time and effort to keep up a steady stream of blog post ideas. Even the most experienced blogger struggles occasionally to come up with a new angle or fresh concept. But the most successful bloggers overcome this hurdle.
Regularly producing good content is one of the key ingredients you need to have in order to create a successful blog. Neil Patel, Quick Sprout
Check out and bookmark these 43 ways to ensure you never run dry of blog post ideas.
1. Recycle old content
When you’ve been blogging for a while like I have, you’ll come to realise that pretty much everything has been written about and you’ll be hard pressed to find a unique topic. Most blog posts are recycled. This doesn’t mean blatantly copying or writing a boring re-hash of the same information.
Instead, take a look at your existing content. Updating old posts with new insight will breathe life back into it and give you another post. Another good method is to find a popular post and make it better. Found a 49 best ways to… list? Great! Can you make it a 99 best ways to… instead?
2. Give an old topic a new perspective
In line with content re-purposing, giving an old topic a new angle is sometimes easier than coming up with a unique idea, especially if the subject has become topical again. Use the newsworthy angle to create a new post.
3. List it
Readers can’t get enough of lists. Maximise existing content by turning it into a list-based post. You might have written several in-depth articles. Take the key points and list them as an overview. Voila! New post.
4. Write a ‘how-to’
Readers also love how-to posts. Show your reader how to do or achieve something based on a topic you’ve already written about.
5. Drill down into your topics
Often when I write a post, I discover there’s more I want to say about a point than the post will allow. What do I do? I take that point and store it as the basis for a new post, one that gives more detail into that subject. Revisit old content and see if you can find ways to expand on a topic.
6. Use title generating tools
This fantastic tool Tweak your Biz Title Generator will come up with loads of blog post ideas based on a keyword – noun or verb.
Portent’s content idea generator is also a gem. It creates content headlines based on your keyword(s). Though the titles err on the fun rather than serious side, it’s a useful brainstorming tool.
Google is good place to start if you want to see what others are searching for. Start typing in your phrase and it will autosuggest terms based on most popular searches.
8. Google’s long-tail words
Do a search in Google and scroll to the bottom of the first page. You’ll find popular search terms related to the one you’re looking at which may generate a few more ideas.
9. Keyword research tools
Research specific words. There are some great online tools to help you generate ideas and concepts around a keyword.
Ubersuggest lets you put in a keyword or phrase and will reward you with a list containing your word or phrase, plus related phrases that you can mine for more post ideas.
Soovle is a search tool that brings together search results from all the major players – Google, Bing, Yahoo, Wikipedia… Simply type in a keyword or phrase and it will show keyword suggestions based on how people are searching online. A brilliant source of content inspiration.
KeywordTool.io is another goody. This app brings you a broader range of related searches from Google, YouTube, Bing, Amazon and relevant apps too, handy if you want to find keywords from a wider range of sources.
10. Answer the Public for Valuable Content
You could also try the awesome Answer the Public which bills itself as ‘consumer insight for PR in the Age of Google’. It’s based on autosuggest of search engines but by adding different words to give a more in depth starting point. Brilliant for developing valuable content that actually answers people’s questions. Simply type in your keyword and you’ll be presented with a visualisation of data that can prompt a stack of fresh blog post ideas. Not all the suggestions are useful but there are some gems and some good starting points. Plus the image looks really cool.
11. Content research
Similar to keyword research there are tools to check out how others have created content around your chosen phrase. BuzzSumo lets you type in a web address or keywords and will show the most shared pieces of content. Great for checking a topic’s validity. If shows proven ideas that others are reading and sharing posts about and is a useful weapon in your idea generation arsenal.
12. Google Alert
Set up a Google alert for keywords and receive email alerts when a new piece of content relevant to your keyword is found. Good for sparking ideas based on latest news and trends.
13. Look at your competitors
What are your competitors or others in your niche writing about? It’s common practice to look at blogs in your sector; this keeps you in on what others are saying and can inspire you with new ideas.
14. Blog comments
While you’re there, have a nose around the blog comments and see what’s being said. Sometimes you’ll find interesting angles on a topic.
15. Dare to be different
Maybe you’ve come across a post where you don’t agree with what’s being said? If you feel you can offer a different opinion on a big or controversial topic, then go for it. You may well get a couple of posts out of it.
16. Client questions
Keep a list of client questions and update it each time a new question is posed. Use this list as a base for future posts. If you’re canny, you can probably get several posts out of one question if you think of different angles. This also produces valuable content – posts that really help people and position you as a useful source of information.
17. Ask your Twitter followers
Twitter is brilliant for sparking conversations. Ask followers what they need help with. Include a hashtag to help others see your tweet and get in on the conversation.
18. Social media groups
Make use of Facebook and LinkedIn groups too, these are great places to engage with clients and prospects and to hear the struggles people are facing. You can lurk and see what others are saying, or pose a question directly.
19. Online forums
Follow industry-related forums to see what people are talking about or struggling with. Google <forums + your niche>.
20. Search Pinterest
Pinterest is a gold-mine of visually presented data. See if you can find some good infographics on your topic and turn them into posts.
21. New research
Data is king. Content based on new data seem to do very well. Check latest press releases from big companies or universities with industry-relevant courses. Alternatively search somewhere like PR Newswire. Put your own spin on the research and you’ll have another idea to run with.
22. Do your own research
Try using a poll on social media, or send a short survey to contacts in your sector. Pose a question with a few response categories and an open-ended answer-box. The answers can be the basis for your next post.
23. Read all about it
Read widely and everyday if you can. Check out the headlines of national newspapers or magazines. Often you’ll find a question that may not have been answered that you can address in your post.
You could even use the trend of ‘newsjacking’ to write posts trading on a topical event. Use Google’s ‘news’ filter when you search to see topical results.
25. Niche journals
Check the trade journals or blogs and write posts with your opinion or angle around latest industry news or innovations.
26. Take inspiration from other medium
Don’t just read, watch and listen. Vloggers (bloggers who post videos) are hugely popular as are podcasts. See if you can turn any of these broadcasts into written material. Start with YouTube’s search feature.
27. Let me entertain you
TV, film, radio and fiction are all sources that can be used to generate blog post ideas. Relate your material to a popular story or even sporting success. Leicester City’s recent premier league win has spawned a number of brands hijacking The Foxes victory to promote their goods. There’ll be plenty of blog headlines coming soon too about how to go from minnow to premier league!
28. Guest Posts
Hold a regular guest post spot. Ask people who are sector experts to contribute their opinion or knowledge. Having others contribute saves you having to think of so many blog post ideas each month, strengthens your authority in your field and helps you build collaborative relationships. Their post might also generate new angles for you to consider – you could do a reply post or sequel post to theirs for example.
29. Interviews or profiles
Don’t just invite others to contribute, interview them! It doesn’t need to be formal; invite an expert friend or sector influencer to answer a quick Q&A. If the experts aren’t game, you could always do a feature on how a major industry player has achieved something.
30. Real life scenarios
As you go about your day see if things happen that you can talk about as a blog post. I do this all the time for my parenting blog. One of my boys might do or say something that sparks a lightbulb ‘post idea’ moment in my mind.
31. Client case studies
Got a client case study that shows how your business helped? Great! Turn it into a post.
32. Your business as a case study
Don’t limit yourself to just writing about clients, but show how your business operates. Show people what you do and how you do it. Don’t use this as an opportunity to sell your product or service, people don’t read blog posts to be blatantly sold to. Take a softer approach – a behind the scenes type post will bring your business to life and show the reader your business is run by real people.
People love to see the worst of something! Let others learn from your mistakes and show honestly how you fixed them so they don’t have to fail too.
See if you can relate an idea to the current season e.g. 10 new flip-flop trends for the summer, or the new decluttering fad for this spring. Make them relevant to your reader. If you’re a bookkeeping service then show your reader the 5 year-end tasks they need to complete.
35. Looking back
Schedule in regular wrap-up posts that review trends over the past six months, or your business progress in the last quarter. I wrote a guest post for Social Hire which listed the key trends in CV writing for 2015.
36. Looking forward
Better still, you could use recent industry trends to look forward and show how sector changes could affect clients.
37. Curate some lists
If you come across useful information or follow influencers in your sector during your working week, you might want to share this with your reader. Curation posts are good as they’re similar to listicles, but act as valuable signposts. Create posts that feature the best 10 websites to help cure sleeping problems, or note the top ten bloggers in the widget field. This provides you with content and shows you as an authority – you know where to find the good stuff!
Review a product, service or tool that your business uses. Show how it’s helped you or what could be better.
39. Book review
Similarly you could review the latest book that writes about your business topic and share the highlights.
40. The power of Amazon
Speaking of book reviews, use Amazon to fire up your imagination. Use the best sellers feature to see what readers are buying or looking for in your topic area.
41. Amazon Reviews
Check out the reviews of best-selling non-fiction books in your niche. Often people will note gaps they felt the book left out or skimped on. Polish these nuggets and turn them into blog post gold.
42. Try out a new technique
Learned something new? Maybe a new way of doing something? Let your reader know. People love to find out about new things. I recently increased my productivity and organisation by starting a bullet journal and will be posting about it on my parenting blog.
43. Create a mind map
Brainstorm your topic list from your notebook, Keep going off on tangents and noting words or phrases. Let your creative juices flow. Sometimes you’ll come up with a new angle that you can then research.
***Bonus tip*** – keep a good note system whether paper-based or electronic and stay organised. I often have the best ideas when I’m having my morning shower – it’s almost as if my brain was perculating the ideas overnight. I keep a notebook in my bedroom so I can jot down those thoughts as soon as I can before transferring them to my official content idea system.
When you start looking for blog post ideas, they’ll start finding you. One idea will inspire another and even when your well is starting to run dry, taking a different tack usually brings the ideas flowing back again.
Have you got any other ways that you generate blog post ideas? I’d love to hear about them!