When you’re a new blogger, it feels like you have an endless supply of post ideas. You have so much to say, so much ground to cover, that it seems you’ll be covered for years. Until it happens.
Suddenly your nonstop flow of ideas comes to a crashing halt, your posts come few and far between, and your blog grows a little stale.
But writer’s blog doesn’t have to stick around. All you need is a little spurt of inspiration to get those gears turning again.
Today I want to give you my top 10 insider’s tips on where to find intriguing blog post ideas.
One of the biggest challenges in coming up with post ideas is knowing what your audience really wants to read. What kinds of things interest them? What inspires or challenges them? What kinds of things do they struggle with or get confused by?
Whether you’re looking for the hottest how-to topics or something controversial to get your readers talking, Reddit is a treasure trove of ideas. And since the most popular threads are voted on by actual users – your potential readers – you get an inside look on just what’s important in their world.
So how do you use Reddit to get post inspiration?
For each subreddit you’re at, check the “Hot” tab. This will give you the most recent and most talked about stories for that subreddit. Whether they’re good, bad, outlandish, or intriguing, these posts are getting clicks and making people talk.
It’d do you well to see why each post garnered so much attention and what spin you can put on it. Do you have a potentially divisive viewpoint on it? Do you have more information on it, or maybe a relevant personal story? Or can you write it in a more compelling way (especially the headline)?
The Top tag is like Hot on steroids. These represent the overall highest-voted posts of any span of time – from the last hour to the top posts ever. These posts have a lot of sticking power, so might have the potential to inspire evergreen blog posts that get to the heart of what your readers want.
Take a look not just at the post itself, but at its headline and the top comments on this post. Do they ask for further information that the author doesn’t provide? Do the readers seem to disagree on certain points, or have “me too!” responses to the post? Take note of these things and see if there are any gaps in the post that you might be able to fill in in your blog post.
Ah, controversy. Whether you love or hate something, giving your honest (and well-backed) opinions on something important is sure to get readers talking and ideas stirring. And while I don’t think that you should choose something extremely, divisively controversial (politics, religion, etc), challenging the status quo on a certain topic can really draw attention to your blog. Checking the Controversial tab on your particular subreddit can spin up ideas. Check out the most controversial posts on /r/fitness:
See? Nothing too crazy, but enough to cause differing viewpoints to get people thinking, talking, and sharing. Be sure to check out a subreddit relevant to your blog and see what controversial topics might be appropriate for a new post the next time you’re stuck for ideas.
Much like Reddit’s Top tag, BuzzSumo will help you zone in on the highest-performing posts of a given time. BuzzSumo will help you find the most shared posts across the entire internet for a given keyword. Better yet, BuzzSumo can also help you find the highest-performing post for a given domain – even those of your competitors.
And if you decide to go with the paid options – starting at $79 a month – you can monitor your brand with alerts on mentions and backlinks in addition to using unlimited searches.
Well, maybe this one isn’t so much for finding ideas as much as for finding winning headlines. But this tool still deserves its place on the list because it can help turn a lackluster headline into one that people can’t help but click on. And after all, if they don’t like the headline, then all the inspiration and quality writing in the world won’t matter because they won’t click on it.
With Coschedule, you can throw your potential headline into the engine, where it is then graded on a number of factors. From there, it will give you pointers on what power words to test out and what tricks to use to make your headline more compelling. All completely free, so it’s a win-win-win. You can check it out here.
Youtube can be a goldmine for blog post ideas. After all, most of us use it to be either entertained or informed – the perfect fodder for a viral blog post. Try punching some of your keywords into the search bar. What comes up? How-tos? Opinions? Before-and-after stories? Something relating to current events?
Better yet, try looking at the top comments on the first few videos. Do they have any recurring complaints, questions, or misunderstandings? All of these can give you valuable insight into what potential readers are looking for in a quality blog post.
Pinterest is the third largest search engine, right behind Google and Facebook. So it makes sense that when somebody wants to learn more about something, they head to Pinterest. By doing a quick Pinterest search, you can quickly uncover what the most-shared content is.
What pins have the most shares? Which pinner has the most followers – who produces the most valuable content? Is there a general trend in which pins perform the best, in terms of headlines, design, or content?
Quora is perhaps the most straightforward of the bunch. On Quora, people ask questions that can be answered by anybody. However, Quora stands out from similar sites in that the questions and answers are usually of a higher quality.
Like others on the list, it pays to notice what kinds of questions are being asked and what kinds of answers they are receiving. Who is typically asking these questions – what is their experience level and familiarity with what they’re asking?
Chances are that if you’re a blogger, you use social media to help promote your new posts. Hashtagify.me takes the mystery out of finding popular hashtags for both Twitter and Instagram by tracking the current popularity, historical trends, current popular posts, and even related hashtags. If you want to write with viral potential in mind, check the most popular tweets for your chosen keyword, or perhaps try checking out the content of the most influential tweeters for the given hashtag.
8. Kindle Search
Amazon’s Kindle shop can be a surprisingly rewarding place to look for blog post ideas, even if it sounds a bit strange.
But if you think about it, people who would be willing to pay $1-$20 for something are surely looking for it for free online first, aren’t they?
That’s where you can swoop in.
By searching for your keywords in Kindle’s catalogue, you can quickly see what people really want to read – so much so that they’d be willing to pay real money for.
For example, these are the top results for the “yoga” category on Kindle as of now:
Even with just these top three books, you could have 10 or more potential blog post ideas like:
- The Fit Family: How to Keep Your Kids Fit with Yoga
- How to Get Unstoppable with Yoga in Just 15 Minutes a Day
- The 7 Life-Changing Habits of Yoga You Need to Try
I guarantee you that if you spend just 10-15 minutes a week looking over the week’s best sellers for a given category, you’ll never run out of blog post ideas.
9. Facebook Groups
Facebook groups are one of the most straightforward ways to uncover potential post ideas. If you know where your ideal reader is likely to hang out, you can interact with them directly through Facebook groups. What kinds of things do they post? Do they have any recurring questions, complaints, or stumbling blocks?
Try to add value to the groups by answering any questions or referring them to any useful resources – maybe even your own. Just be sure not to sell to them directly. Don’t be that girl (or guy).
10. Competitor Sites
And last but not least, one powerful resource for getting high-performing post ideas is from other blogs in your niche. While you should never, ever steal content or come across as a “me too” blogger, others in your niche will often create a post that get people talking. Why not get in on the conversation?
Start by taking a look at other blogs in your sphere or even those you look up to. Oftentimes they’ll have their most popular posts in a sidebar or in the main menu, so start by looking over those. Is there any point you felt like you heavily disagreed, or wanted to share your personal experience with something? These might be good starting points for a potential future post.
Likewise, look at the comments. Are there any points where a reader asks for further information that the author doesn’t provide? Do they have any unique or challenging ideas that you want to build on?
No matter what angle you take, try to link back to the original post that inspired yours. Not only will this keep the conversation open, but might help you rub elbows with that post’s author and encourage others to interact with you.
Have you all tried any of these tactics for finding new post ideas? Which was your favourite? Be sure to let me know in the comments, and be sure to share your own favourite methods too!