So you are sitting down to write your blog post and you realize that you don’t have a clue what you are going to write about. Does this sound familiar? Don’t worry – you are not alone. Every writer faces writer’s block, a common hazard of the writing trade. .
Instead of tearing your hair, here are some simple ways to get loads of ideas and be up and writing your next blog post in no time at all.
#1. Tools that help you instantly get ideas
Hubspot’s Blog Topic Generator
Wouldn’t it be nice if you had a tool that would look up the internet and advise you what to write about? Well, now you can, thanks to Hubspot’s Blog Topic Generator. Simply type in 3 terms related to your blog and wham! You get a few ideas with some great headlines already created and ready to go.
Ubersuggest will give you a ton of blog post ideas in no time at all. You simply type in a keyword and it goes down the entire gamut of A-Z along with that keyword.
As an example, I put in my seed term, SEO. Just by looking at SEO+a, SEO+b. I got these ideas:
- SEO tools
- SEO audits
- SEO best practices
- Difference between SEO and SEM
- SEO basics
Ubersuggest, giving me ideas for the term, SEO
Last year Google did away with Google Reader, a blog post subscription service. Feedly.com is a great alternative. I subscribe to almost 100 blogs via Feedly. Of-course the key is to use the feeds that you subscribe to, only as a resource guide. When you write, you want to give a fresh perspective to a topic that is getting a lot of buzz in your community. It’s not a good idea to duplicate content but is always good to put on your thinking cap and come up with a fresh perspective on these topics.
#3. What’s trending on Twitter
Twitter is the place to find out the pulse of the internet. You’re sure to find a topic for your niche here. You can monitor conversations on Twitter through many different tools. I like to use Hootsuite. I create various streams for the topics that I’m actively monitoring. Putting in hashtags is the recommended technique for following topics. I’ve searches set up for #contentstrategy and #contentmarketing.
Topsy is another great site to instantly see what’s trending on Twitter.
#4. LinkedIn groups
I’ve always found excellent ideas when sifting through various Linked-In groups. Most industry professionals (who are my niche audience) post thoughtful questions and the discussions that follow are a learning experience. The questions that get a lot of feedback and engagement are good bets for post ideas.
#5. Google+ communities
I have to admit that I’m becoming a fan of Google+ Communities. They provide an easy way to read and listen in to discussions in your fields of interest. People are very engaged in the right communities and I’ve often learned about trending news first in these communities.
#6. What’s trending websites
These websites keep up with the latest trends or topics of interest and measure how they fare over a time period. They easily allow you to stay current and on top of the latest trends. Some examples of trending websites:
Buzzfeed has experienced incredible growth over the past 2 years. As of April 2012, it’s ranked as the third most influential blog of all time on Technorati. The site is a viral news aggregator. It uses various algorithms to find viral content around the web. Buzzfeed then presents the best, most shared articles the web has ever seen.
Viral Video Chart
Viral Video Chart has tracked over 300 billion video streams since its launch in 2006. You can apply different filters on Viral Video Chart to rank videos according to time periods or number of shares. By default, the viral video chart lists the top 20 viral videos for the past 7 days, but you can also customize your search query according to different time frames.
The other sites that are great for checking out what’s trending are:
#7. Q & A sites
Quora and Yahoo answers are good resources for finding out what is foremost on peoples’ minds.
A quick search on Quora for social media questions gave me these ideas to blog about:
- The next big social app
- How to build a sustainable business on Pinterest
- Social media strategy when pitching for a new account
- Klout’s competitors and how good they are
- How to share a private twitter list with others
#8. Google Analytics
One of the best ways I know to instantly get an idea for a post is to look back at my site Analytics and review the posts that were the most popular over a set time frame. I can then create a related post around that topic. It also makes sense to create more posts around a topic that your audience favors.
Previously, it was so much easier to get content ideas by looking at the keywords that people were typing in to get to your site. Nowadays, with Google not displaying the keywords and “keyword not provided”, the best alternative is to look at your popular posts.
If you have site search, then in these days of keyword not provided, you are ahead of the game. You can see the search terms that people typed in once they entered your site. These search terms will again help you in creating content that your audience would like to find on your site.
#9. Poll Your Audience
This may not fall under an instant technique but is very powerful. The simplest way to find out what your audience wants is to poll them. There are a number of easy tools such as Polldaddy, which allow you to create a poll in under 5 minutes.
Where do you find blog post ideas? I’d love to know. We’ll all benefit from the info. Please share them in the comments below. Thanks.
Adi Gaskell says
Another one that I find really useful is reading books. Lots and lots of books. I regularly make notes on my phone as I’m reading and usually come up with lots of great ideas for posts as I read.
Adi Gaskell recently posted..Designing your collaboration network
Gazalla Gaya says
I agree. Nothing like a good book to give you the inspiration you need. I’ve found some of my best ideas reading books not even related to my niche. Thanks as always for your feedback.
Frederic Gonzalo says
Great post, Gazalla!
My tip is similar to Adi’s in the sense that the best tools are the ones that keep track of potential ideas and topics BEFORE you sit down to write up a blog post. I personally love Evernote where I tend to write ideas as I see them during the week. When the weekend comes around and I’m not inspired to write, I simply need to go to Evernote and see what I had previously flagged.
That said, it does require a dose of self-discipline and taking the time to flag topics and articles throughout the week, so the tools mentioned in your article are awesome specially when things end up last minute, as they tend to do, and one is left without any ideas…
Frederic Gonzalo recently posted..How TripAdvisor Impacts Travel Decision-Making [INFOGRAPHIC]
Gazalla Gaya says
Thanks, Frederic. I agree. It’s good to be on top of things and I’ve found that setting up an editorial calendar has helped me with getting my blog posts out on a regular basis, That said, tools such as Feedly and even Alltop, Topsy and Hootsuite have helped me to stay on top of trends and breaking news. You’re right Evernote is great, I’m also liking Pocket as a content aggregation tool.
Thanks for the share. I usually use twitter and ubersuggest when I want to find new ideas and they have been helpful. I will surely try these suggestions you have made.
Neil Ferree says
Feedly is definitely one of my favorites for finding and curating top shelf content that my readers and clients resonate with. My first souce though is via the Scoop.it CC engine. Not just for article and videos, but it let’s me add RSS feeds from my favorite authors so I can quickly source almost the perfect piece for the topic I am wanting to ID and share.
Neil Ferree recently posted..Content Marketing System Best Practices
Gazalla Gaya says
You’re right. I love Feedly. I have to confess that I haven’t done much with scoop.it recently. It’s an excellent content curation tool and I aught to use ti more. Thanks for your feedback. It’s always nice to know what’s working for others.