Whether you are creating content yourself, developing it in-house, or outsourcing it to freelance writers, you will need a steady flow of blog post ideas to keep your publishing schedule steady. In this post, I’m going to share my favorite sources of content inspiration so you never run out of content ideas again.
Note that your goal is to create unique content based on inspiration from these sources. You do not want to steal exact headlines, topics, or content from anyone.
In order to generate great blog post ideas in your niche or industry, you need to stay up-to-date with the latest news, trends, and technologies. I do this by subscribing to as many of my competitors and the top blogs in my industry using Feedly, an RSS feed aggregator. You can use the search box to find specific blogs or blogs by topic to subscribe to.
I use the Google Chrome RSS Subscription Extension to subscribe to blogs as I come across them. It will put an RSS icon in your Google Chrome address bar when an RSS feed is detected.
You can also visit sites like Alltop to find blogs on just about everything, from Accounting to Zoology.
Alltop shows you the latest five posts from each blog so you can quickly get inspiration and subscribe to the blogs you like best.
Once you’ve subscribed to some great blogs, you can visit Feedly every day on your desktop or using the mobile app for your device. I find that just browsing the latest headlines from a lot of blogs gives me great inspiration for my own blog posts.
For headline inspiration, popurls can’t be beaten. This site aggregates the top stories from around the web’s most popular publications on one page. You can visit the homepage to see the top headlines about everything, or pick top headlines from specific categories such as Business or Tech.
This website is especially good for blogs that want to capitalize on trending topics.
The first place I like to start to get blog post ideas is Google AdWords Keyword Planner. This free tool (available to Google AdWords users, even if you don’t buy any ads) allows you to search for any keyword related to your niche or industry and provides up to 800 related keywords and phrases. For example, if I search for content marketing and look under the Keyword ideas tab, I get the following.
When I click the Download button, I can get all 562 keywords and keyword phrases related to content marketing in an Excel CSV or Google Spreadsheet. I can then modify my spreadsheet and turn it into my own blog post idea bank.
Another great keyword tool to use is Ubersuggest. This will show you the top ten suggested keywords and phrases when someone starts typing a keyword or phrase into Google’s search box. Just search for the keyword and browse the suggestions from A to Z.
Be sure to go beyond just keyword phrases and use Ubersuggest to help you develop some great titles. For example, if you want to do comparison blog posts, you can search for the tool you want to compare vs to get an idea of what people are searching for. If you write about web hosting, you might want to search for GoDaddy vs to see all of the hosting companies people want to compare to GoDaddy.
Or, let’s say you sell home decoration products. You might want to write blog posts on how to decorate certain things, such as…
The possibilities are endless with this tool. All you need is a good start to your phrase, and Ubersuggest can finish it for you.
HitTail is a keyword analysis tool that uses your Google Analytics and Google Webmaster Tools data to find keywords driving traffic to your website and suggest new keywords that you could be targeting based on those keywords. Each week, you will receive an email with some new keyword suggestions that you can use to optimize your website with or create blog posts about.
Alternatively, you can use Google Webmaster Tools to see search queries used to drive traffic to your website, and then use Google AdWords Keyword Planner to find related keywords. HitTail just simplifies the process.
If you end up with a list of great keywords and phrases, but no titles to go with them, then blog topic generators can help. These tools will give you headlines you can use for inspiration to turn your keywords and phrases into working blog post titles. Some use specific formulas to create headlines based on your keywords while others will grab blog headlines used on popular sites for inspiration.
Either way, you will want to customize any titles you get from a blog topic generator to ensure that your title is unique.
Beneath the first five suggestions, you can enter your information and download a spreadsheet which will give you another 250 specific headline ideas.
Want more blog headlines? Here are some additional, free-to-use blog topic generators.
- Themeforest’s ContentIdeator – Generates up to 300 blog headlines, depending on keywords or phrases entered.
- Portent’s Content Idea Generator – Gives you one idea at a time based on your keyword, along with some tips on how to create a great piece of content.
- Tweak Your Biz Title Generator – Generates 300+ title ideas for list posts, best of posts, how to posts, and other themes.
- Impact’s Blog Title Generator gives you fill in the blank title formulas you can use with your keywords and phrases. It gives you one idea at a time with a heart you can click if you like it. You can continue to get as many title formulas as you like, clicking the heart to save each. Then use the Email Me Titles button to have your titles sent to you. (Hint: Just keep clicking the heart as fast as possible and have them emailed to you.)
- WebPageFX’s Blog Post Idea Generator – Gives you one idea at a time based on your keyword.
- Inbound Now’s SEO Friendly Blog Post Titles – Gives you one idea at a time that you can fill in with your keyword or phrase.
- Content Row’s Link Bait Title Generator – Generates 25 blog topic ideas at a time with BuzzFeed-like headlines. Keep clicking the Get Linkbait button for more ideas.
- Wriber’s Idea Generator – Unlike other blog topic generators that just stick your keyword phrase into specific headline formulas, Wriber takes three keywords that you provide and gives you ten questions that can be used as great topics ideas.
- BuiltVisible’s Content Strategy Helper – This is a Google Spreadsheet that you can use to get ideas from a variety of different sources. Follow the directions to use it for your keywords and phrases.
Once you’ve modified the suggested headlines you receive from the above tools to make them unique, you will want to make sure they are going to do well in search engines and social media. Use CoSchedule’s Headline Analyzer to test them out. You’ll get a full report about your headline for free.
Over time, this tool will help you create better headlines for your blog posts.
For those of you who have competitors that are always out guest blogging, set up an account with Monitor Backlinks. This tool will email you with new links to your website, along with your competitors. When your competitors get a new backlink from a guest blog post, you’ll get it in an email that looks like this.
You can use this for blogging inspiration as well as a way to discover new guest posting opportunities to promote yourself and your business.
If increasing organic search engine traffic is one of your main content marketing goals, then you will want to get inspiration from blog posts that get ranked well in search. SEMrush can help. Paid subscribers can use the organic keyword report to see the top keywords and phrases that a website is ranking for in Google search along with the blog posts or pages linked to those keywords and phrases.
Use this tool to research your competitor’s blogs along with the top blogs in your niche or industry to see how these sites create content that rank well for great keywords and phrases.
Want to get blog post ideas from headlines proven to be popular on social media? Try BuzzSumo. You can search for a keyword or phrase for general ideas…
You can search for a particular domain to find ideas for specific sites you contribute to…
You can search for content shared by accounts on Twitter to see what content a site owner or editor likes beyond their own content…
You can even search for content by a particular author if you aspire to write like them (or you want to hire them).
As an added bonus, you can use BuzzSumo to check backlinks from blog posts for specific domains, such as those owned by your competitors.
This can give you inspiration for blog post titles that your competitors are using on other publications to drive traffic back to their website.
Are comments, backlinks, views, and other metrics beyond social shares important to you? If so, get inspired by content that gets that kind of engagement using Impactana. Impactana offers advanced searches for content by keyword and number of comments…
In other words, Impactana helps you get inspired by content with a variety of metrics beyond social shares so you can make sure the content you are creating is the kind of content that will get the results you want.
Speaking of blog post comments, when you find blogs with a lot of comments, use those comments section of your own blog posts and others as a source of blog post inspiration. In many cases, you will find that people are asking questions in the comments that could be used to form a blog post of your own.
In the above example from the comments section of a post on Blab tips for marketers, I could be inspired to write a post about the differences between Blab and Google+ Hangouts.
If you want to keep track of all of the comments from a particular blog that uses the Disqus platform (as shown in the above example), right-click on the blog’s name above the comment form and copy the link address. Then paste it into your browser’s address bar and bookmark it.
Now, you can see the comments for a particular blog anytime you need inspiration.
You can also use this Google search to find more Disqus communities in your niche or industry.
You will also find great questions by looking at the comments on Facebook pages, replies to users on Twitter (search for their @username and a question mark, and other social channels.
Interested to find out what people want to know about your niche or industry? Use Quora to find out. This Q&A network covers a variety of topics – just search for yours to see the questions people commonly ask.
You can follow the topic on Quora and bookmark it for future reference. Or, using the Google Chrome RSS Subscription Extension, you can get the RSS feed for the topics that interest you from your browser’s address bar and see the top stories (answers) from them in Feedly.
You can also search for questions about your niche or industry and subscribe to the new activity via RSS on Q&A networks like Yahoo Answers.
If you can find subreddits about your niche or industry on Reddit with a lot of self. posts (like the one shown below), you can subscribe to the discussions via RSS using the Google Chrome RSS Subscription Extension and Feedly.
You can look for Q&A networks that are niche-specific or parts of branded websites. Not all have RSS capability, so you will have to bookmark some of them and visit when you need inspiration.
You can also use tools like FAQ Fox to search some of the popular Q&A networks all at once.
- Amazon’s Askville – Main categories include Amazon, Arts, Business, Computers, Consumer Electronics, Education, Entertainment, Environment, Family, Food & Drink, Games & Leisure, Gift Ideas, Health, Home, Lifestyle, Local, Misc, Pets, Politics, Science, Society, Sports, and Transportation. No RSS feeds.
- Clarity.fm Answers – Main categories include Business, Funding, Industries, Product Design, Sales & Marketing, Skills & Management, and Technology. No RSS feeds.
- Credit Karma’s Advice Community – Main categories include Auto Insurance, Auto Loans, Bankruptcy, Credit Cards, Credit Reports, Credit Scores, Mortgage, Paying Bills, Retirement, Saving Money, Student Loans, and Taxes. No RSS feeds.
- Education.com’s JustAsk – Main categories include Academics, Childhood Development, Learning Issues, Physical Health, Parenting, and School. No RSS.
- Ask Inbound.org – Digital marketing Q&A. No RSS feeds.
- StackExchange Sites – 150+ topics to choose from, all with RSS feeds detectable using the Google Chrome RSS Subscription Extension.
You can also find great questions about your niche or industry by searching for AMA (Ask Me Anything) sessions for the top authorities, experts, and influencers in your industry. Reddit is the most popular network for AMAs, but you will likely find them on other networks and personal blogs as well.
Just search for AMA along with the person’s name, or ask me anything along with the person’s name.
You can also set up Google Alerts for AMAs related to your niche or industry.
These alerts will deliver content inspiration directly to your inbox.
Forums (also known as discussion boards, communities, etc.) are similar to Q&A networks in the sense that most people go to forums to ask questions about specific topics. This makes them a hotbed of blog post inspiration as you can find out what people want to know about your niche or industry.
To find forums about your niche or industry, search for forums along with keywords or phrases related to your niche or industry. Repeat this for discussion boards and communities.
- If you’re looking for blog post ideas about cats, try forums like CatForum.com, Catster, The Cat Site, and Pet Forums.
- If you’re looking for blog post ideas about marketing, try forums like Digital Point, Warrior Forum, V7N Webmaster Forum, and DreamTeamMoney are popular ones to follow.
- If you’re looking for blog post ideas about selling online, try forums for Etsy, eBay, and Shopify users.
- If you’re looking for blog post ideas about moving, try forums like City Data. For traveling, try TripAdvisor’s forums by city, like this one for Phoenix.
I could go on, but the point is, no matter what you are blogging about, there is likely a forum or two out there for you to check out and get some ideas from. Look for the forum’s search box to find discussions about particular topics for inspiration. Most will have it linked in their main menu.
Also, keep an eye out for forums with RSS feeds for the entire forum or specific categories within the forum if you want to get the latest discussions in Feedly. Just use the Google Chrome RSS Subscription Extension to discover them.
Similar to forums, social media groups that are well-moderated attract people who need answers to specific questions. You can start by searching for groups about your niche or industry on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Google+.
For Facebook, replace content%2Bmarketing with keywords or phrases for your niche or industry. Use %2B to represent spaces.
For LinkedIn, replace content+marketing with keywords or phrases for your niche or industry. Use + to represent spaces.
For Google+, replace content%20marketing with keywords or phrases for your niche or industry. Use %20 to represent spaces.
From here, look for groups that are well-moderated. With public groups, you will be able to browse the discussions prior to signing up to see if people are actually engaging with each other or if they are just link-spamming. With closed groups, you will have to join first and then evaluate the group’s potential once you have been approved as a member.
When you’re looking for inspiration about something specific, use the group’s search box to find discussions using particular keywords. On Facebook, you will find it below the group’s cover photo, as shown in the Content Marketing Academy.
On LinkedIn, you will have to click on search in the group’s menu bar.
On Google+, you will find it under the group’s photo in the left sidebar.
Get inspired through FAQ pages on other blogs in your niche or industry. To find them, do a Google search for your topic and FAQ in the title of the page like this.
You will likely find tons of great ideas by browsing the questions that others answer.
iTunes allows you to browse podcasts about your niche or industry by popularity. Use this to get inspiration from the topics that people are downloading and listening to on the go. You can also use this to find experts in your industry to interview or get quotes from to increase your content value.
YouTube is the second largest search engine. You can use it to get ideas about the topics people are watching videos about by searching for videos on your niche or industry and using the filters to sort them by the most viewed or highest rated.
You can also use the Google Chrome vidIQ extension to get additional metrics about a YouTube video to see their popularity beyond views and ratings, including the number of times it has been embedded and shared on social media.
SlideShare is the top network for presentation sharing. Use it to find the most popular presentations in your niche or industry as inspiration for blog content. You can get your inspiration from the title of the presentation or key points within the presentation. You can also view the comments on popular presentations to get even more blog post ideas.
Magazine headlines (especially the ones on the cover) use the most-proven headline formulas to ensure a high volume of sales. If you can find some magazines in your niche or industry, look at the covers and table of contents to get some inspiration for your blog posts.
You can do this research offline at your local bookstore or online through Zinio, where you can purchase digital copies of individual magazines or digital subscriptions, or Magzter, where you can read unlimited magazines online each month with a paid subscription.
Any book on Amazon that has the Look Inside link at the top of the book’s preview image will typically allow you to peruse the book’s table of contents. This is a great way to get some blog post inspiration, as each section or chapter of the book could easily be a blog post.
Bestsellers in your niche or industry should be analyzed in particular, as the chapters within those books are proven to be of interest to your ideal audience.
Whenever you talk to customers, what questions do they ask? If you, your sales team, your customer service department, or your project managers are getting the same questions from customers on a regular basis, you should consider turning those questions into blog posts. Anyone in your company should be encouraged to share frequently asked questions from current and potential customers in a common place, such as a shared Google Spreadsheet) so those questions can be used as content ideas.
Ideally, you could start by compiling these questions on an FAQ page on your website, then link any answers that are explained in a blog post for more information.
If you are sending your blog posts to subscribers by email using email marketing software, you can turn your emails into blog post inspiration by adding the following question to each email.
“What would you like for us to write about next?”
For example, GetResponse offers an RSS to Email feature that sends your subscribers new posts from your blog via email. You can add a question inviting them to reply to your emails when they have an idea they would like you to write about.
This will boost your overall email engagement as well as give you blog post ideas from the people who matter most.
As people are reading your latest blog post or browsing through your archives, they may have some ideas about what they’d like to see you write about next. Capture them during those moments using simple overlay surveys from tools like Qeryz, Qualaroo, or Google Consumer Insights.
These tools will help you gather feedback from your website visitors and great new ideas for blog posts.
Last, but not least, take advantage of your social media audiences by asking them what they’d like to see you blog about next.
If you use a topic supplied by a fan, be sure to mention or tag them when you publish the post so they know they’ve been heard!
As you can see, there are many ways to come up with great blog post ideas for your content marketing strategy. These tactics can also be applied to ideas for other types of content, including ebooks, podcasts, presentations, webinars, videos, and more.
What tactics do you use to get inspiration for your next blog post? Be sure to share in the comments!