Whether you write your own blogs or pay someone else to do it for you, there is one thing you will have to do regularly: Come up with fresh blog post ideas.
Some days, this is easier than others.
Some days, you sit in front of a blank doc on your computer or a blank notebook page...and your idea well is as empty as the blank page in front of you.
The thing is, most of us have more blog topics waiting to be written than we realize. We just have to look and think outside the box! Fortunately, there are plenty of tricks and tools you can use to do just that.
Read on for 17 ways to develop new blog post topics that offer your audience value and establish your industry authority.
17 Tips to Think of New Blog Post Ideas
1. Do Your Keyword Research
Keyword research is one of the first things I do when planning my next blog post topics. Whether I’m stumped on ideas for my next blog post or have a general topic in mind but want to hone it in, I start by researching what people are searching for.
What questions do they have? What problems do they want to solve?
Typically, I will start with a short keyword or phrase instead of a longtail (i.e., a longer, more specific keyphrase). That way, the results show more ideas around that broad topic. For example, I first searched “blog post” instead of “how to come up with blog post ideas” to see how people are searching.
A few helpful tools that can help you come up with content ideas include:
2. Check Out What the Competition is Doing Right
Keep an eye on your competition’s blog posts. What has worked well for them? Research posts that have performed well (because there is interest there!), then brainstorm how you could write a unique perspective on them based on your company’s experience.
Again, SEMrush and Ubersuggest include features that allow you to analyze other URLs and their performance. Another handy resource is BuzzSumo, which provides content insights from social media so you can see which content is hot and which is not.
3. ...And What They’re Not Talking About
But don’t stop there! It’s essential to look at the negative space for blog post ideas, too.
Where are the gaps? Which queries are your competition not answering? That’s where the opportunity lies. Check their blog and social media comments for questions they’re getting. Answer those questions and solve those problems before your competition.
4. Read Something New Daily
Spark your inspiration for new post topics by reading books, blogs, and news about things you’re working on or areas of your business you want to expand on.
For example, after I read Building a StoryBrand, which focuses on making your customer the hero of your story, I wrote a post on creating marketing content that puts your customer first.
Reading is also a great way to stay current with people’s interests and what is going on in your industry now.
5. Write Down Those Ideas
Keep a notebook, file, or some kind of list app so you can easily take notes when an idea hits. This could be as you’re reading, out and about, or talking with others—you never know when the universe will strike you with some genius inspiration!
If you write ideas down in a notebook, I’d recommend transferring them to whatever project management tool you use. I keep a task list in Asana where I just throw blog topic ideas, then check them off as I schedule and them.
6. Crowdsource Online Communities
Sometimes, all you have to do is ask! You can ask people either for topic ideas they’d like to learn more about or for input on a specific topic you already have like I did in this blog post.
There are many social media and other online communities/forums you can use. Facebook groups are always great for crowdsourcing; in my example above, I posed my question to a group of marketers from various backgrounds. People in these communities are generally happy to share.
Have people submitted specific questions to your social media channels via comments or direct messages? You can turn those into blog posts, too!
7. Ask Your Current Audience & Customers
Find ways to talk to your existing audience and customers to get their feedback. This allows you to learn more about their pain points and help them overcome obstacles. You could do this in a few ways:
Talk to them directly: Make notes when prospects or customers have specific questions/concerns that a blog post could resolve.
Use your email newsletter: Have your audience reply with their questions on a particular product, service, or topic related to your business. You could even give people a chance to be featured.
Send a survey: Survey individual segments of your audience with specific questions to determine how else you can add value for them. Be careful with this one, though; don’t ask too many questions, keep them open-ended, and make sure you survey the most qualified candidates.
Your existing audience and customers are already interested and paying attention, so make the most of them!
8. Ask Other Departments
Time to get your teamwork on. Collaborating with other departments can lead to valuable revelations, as they work with prospects and customers in different ways.
Ask the sales team what prospects need to know and what kind of content can help them close business. What questions or objections do your sales reps hear a lot? How do they overcome those objections? And how can you write that into a blog post to make both the customer journey and the sales reps’ jobs easier?
Next, ask the support teams where existing customers face challenges. How can you help them solve issues and reduce the stress and hassle? Covering these topics will also help you build brand loyalty and keep current customers coming back.
I previously worked at a company that manufactures and sells massage chairs. These are complex, high-ticket items. Like any piece of technology, there is bound to be the occasional issue and confusion. I often spoke with the tech support team to find out the most common questions and problems, then turned it into content for the blog and YouTube channel.
9. Ask an Expert
Interviewing an expert can lead to some powerful and inspirational blog content. Plus, it means you don’t have to do all the work—they give you the meaningful stuff, and all you have to do is formulate it into a coherent post.
Writing an ask-an-expert post could mean interviewing:
Someone within your company
An outside industry influencer
For example, I talked to the Taste Profit team’s photographer, Jenn Bakos, for this post on food photography.
10. Keep the Conversation Going
Encourage readers to comment on your blog posts and email you with more questions (i.e., inspiration for future posts).
Some feedback may come as specific blog post requests, while certain questions may spark other ideas. Your current readers are a highly-qualified audience, so why not give them what they want?
This reader of Neil Patel’s blog, for example, had a good question that could be answered in a future blog post (for all I know, Neil already wrote another blog on it!):
11. Scrape from Comments on Other Blogs
Check out popular blogs in your industry (the more well-known, the more comment action they’ll have). This also means looking at your competitors’ blogs.
How are people responding to their blogs? What questions or concerns do they have that you can answer? This is just one more place to find out what your target audience is searching for and generate valuable blog post ideas.
12. Create Pillar or Guide Posts
Have you written many blog posts that fall under one high-level topic? Gather your most popular, helpful posts on particular subjects into one extensive guide post (a.k.a. a pillar page, which search engines love). You could break it up into sections based on the specific blog topics.
A list of popular posts serves as an excellent resource for your readers to learn in-depth about a topic AND boosts traffic to those existing posts. This works well for multi-step processes, such as setting up and growing a new blog.
13. Pull from Your Experiences
Making it personal can be a highly effective way to connect with your audience. When you share your own experiences, your audience can likely relate and find value in them.
These can even be small, everyday challenges. As Alex Turnbull, CEO of Groove, says, you don’t have to only write about your offer’s primary services or products. Consider things you’ve done and problems you’ve solved that your audience may also be dealing with, like:
Accomplishments and successes
Strategies you have tried
Reflections on things that went wrong/mistakes others can avoid
For example, a marketing agency might write a blog on project management tools and processes, while an entrepreneur could share how they started off solo then hired and grew a team.
14. Repurpose Ideas from Past Blog Posts
I have talked about repurposing your blog posts for other channels like social media, but did you know you can also repurpose old posts into new topics?
Review your past articles from a certain subject and pull specific ideas or sections from them that can be expanded upon. Then write a more in-depth blog post with a new spin on it and boom! Fresh content.
15. Create Tool & Resource Lists
This one is similar to the guide post concept, but in this case, you’d gather outside resources together in one spot so readers can have one compilation of handy resources. A resource list makes it easier, so visitors don’t have to go searching (meaning they stay on your site longer!).
Research what kind of resources your audience is looking for to make their lives easier. What tools has your organization found helpful?
This article is an extensive list of websites for teachers, organized into 11 different categories so they can find just what they need.
16. Share (& Translate) Industry News
What’s going on in your industry that could affect your audience? This is timely, relevant information to share in your next blog post. To write an effective update article:
Break down the news in terms a layperson can understand.
Explain why they should care and how it affects them
Write about your experience and/or recommendations so far regarding the updates.
News posts are especially relevant for companies like law firms and human resources consultants, who can keep audiences updated on changes to important laws and regulations.
17. Try Something New & Scary
I love this last idea from Alex Turnbull. Have you done, tried, or tested something risky? When it comes to scary things, we typically look to others who have tried it first to see if it worked for them.
By sharing these types of experiences, you could inspire others and establish credibility for your business as a leader.
You’ve probably seen these types of stories from sites like Buzzfeed, topics along the lines of “We tried X—Here’s What Happened” or “We Did X So You Don’t Have To.”
This intriguing story covers how Buffer tried a 4-day workweek, including everything they learned and how they plan to make adjustments and move forward. As our world continues to change during this unprecedented time, this is undoubtedly thought-provoking for other business leaders.
Keep the Amazing Blog Post Ideas Rolling
Are you nervous about sharing that next blog topic? Maybe you’re hesitating on starting your business blog because you’re afraid you won’t have enough to write about.
I’m here to lay those fears to rest. So write that post! Get started! There are plenty of ways to find inspiration and ideas so that you can generate a looong list of topics to keep the traffic coming in.
Which of these techniques surprised you the most? Which will you try next? Let me know in the comments!