5 ways to generate blog post ideas

Blog rings

Photo: cc Thomas Hawk via Flickr

The idea for this blog post came about while writing another one. That kind of serendipity is actually a perfect way to generate new ideas for your blog posts. One idea leads to the next, which informs the one after that and so on. However, that first one must come from somewhere to set the process in motion. Here are some ways to come up with ideas if your brain is stuck in “huh?” mode.

1. Search Relevant Keywords

Whether you sell electronics online, breed cats or build websites, there are core topics surrounding your topic area. Use those to get search engines to autosuggest keyword phrases being searched involving them. If for example you type in the name of one of your key manufacturers, you’ll get a list of topics others have searched involving it. In a lot of cases, the searches will make useful blog topics—plus you’ll have the advantage of knowing they’re already drawing traffic. You can also use the Google Keyword Planner to get the volume of searches around the topic and suggest other keywords.

2. Keep up With Current Events

Regardless of the field in which you’re doing business, there will likely be forums, magazines and blogs that are dedicated to that general subject matter. These are excellent resources for keeping up-to-date with what’s going on. Comments and discussions can be a rich source of finding out what readers are thinking and which questions are going unanswered.

If you’re lucky, you’ll find areas of controversy about which you have strong opinions. While most people shy away from delving into potentially contentious topics, it is an area where you can really stand out and attract a focused, but large audience. Just be careful to avoid disparaging others and always back your opinions with cited facts.

3. Monitor Social Media Comments

Just as with the comments sections of the industry publications you should be following, your social media feeds (and those of your competitors) are teeming with topics you can address with blog posts. Question and answer sites like Quora are particular fertile ground for this purpose. There, people are literally asking for information on topics of interest to them. This can also be a great way to attract attention to your blog, once it’s up and running. Look for opportunities to post links in response to questions you find.

4. Mine Book Reviews

Look for books relevant to your area of interest and see what reviewers have to say about them. Often, you’ll find the book left unanswered questions, or ignited relevant discussions. Either way, you’ll find ready fodder for your blog; you might even come up with an idea for an entire book. In the interim, you can research the topic a bit and develop informative posts for your blog, then go back and comment on the book—leaving a link to your blog posting.

5. Look at Your Peers

Unless you’re involved in a very specialised and obscure area, there are others writing about topics relevant to your business. Note how readers are responding to that work and develop some posts of your own based upon your observations. Here, you must be careful to avoid copying others’ work. Keep in mind you’re looking for inspiration from which you can craft your own take on the topics.

Finally, bear in mind, your blog posts should be relevant—but not totally self-serving. Keep to the 80:20 rule of content marketing. In other words, keep 80 percent of your writing service oriented for your audience and 20 percent directly about your products or services.

These 5 tips for generating blog post ideas will help you get your blog started—and keep it going should you ever run in to writer’s block.

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