27 Killer Strategies for Brainstorming Blog Post Ideas

Designer drawing a light bulb, concept for brainstorming and ins

Remember when you first started blogging?

Your mind was flooded with great blog post ideas – coming up with them wasn’t challenging.

Instead, executing on those ideas is probably what was keeping you up at night.

Then one day, you’re not sure how or why – your flow of ideas started to slow.

Your posting schedule became less consistent, and the pressure to come up with new topics only increased your anxiety.

But you were no closer to a solution.

We’ve all been there.

Some call it writer’s block, others just chalk it up to a lack of inspiration. But whatever you call it, one thing is clear: you need new blog post ideas, and you need them quick.

Here are 27 strategies that will help you come up with more blog post ideas, and fill up that content calendar.

1. Mine your hobbies

I love reading posts that offer a unique perspective on a popular topic – your audience might be the same.

Make a list of hobbies and cross reference them with your industry. It’ll result in a headline like: 7 Things I Learned About [industry topic] from [your hobby].

2. Read a great book

Non-fiction books feature tons of information, studies and antidotes that you can use to brainstorm new blog post ideas.

One easy technique for using this tactic is to go through the Table of Contents and use the chapter headings as new blog posts.

3. Get another perspective

Nothing quite says brainstorming like gathering a group of people together around a whiteboard.

If possible, find people in parallel industries to offer different perspectives (e.g. If you’re writing about marketing, get small business owners, web developers and graphic designers to contribute).

4. Review old content

If you’ve been blogging for a while, you should have a list of popular posts on your website.

Look through your archives and brainstorm new ways to attack old content.

Repurposing your content can open up the door for tons of new posts.

5. Word association

An age-old favorite: word association.

It’s a simple process.

Start with an industry-related word or phrase. Then write the first thing that comes into your head upon reading that word.

Keep going until you’ve found several angles that will make for some unique posts.

6. Use Google’s suggestions

You know how Google suggests phrases as you type your search query? That’s right – we’re going to use it to brainstorm.

Type in your phrase and use the suggestions to come up with blog post ideas:

Google suggestions for blog ideas

7. Read the news

You can newsjack stories that directly affect your readers.

Or you can take an indirect approach by finding a popular news story outside your industry and writing about how it could affect your audience.

For example, as a marketer, the drought in California isn’t directly related to my niche. But I could still use this newsworthy topic to write a story like How the California Drought Will Affect Silicon Valley Startups.

8. Go somewhere else

Some places are just more inspirational than others. That’s why I love the idea of PeerSpace (it’s like AirBnB, but for creative spaces).

Even something as simple as a park pavilion or private room in a restaurant can do the trick.

9. Use freewriting

Freewriting is the foundation of several brainstorming techniques.

You simply write nonstop for a set amount of time. Don’t make corrections or edits along the way. Just keep writing until your time ends and see what ideas have come out of your session.

10. Dive into Quora

Quora is a wonderful community, full of people asking and answering questions.

You can follow interests related to your industry and then when you need new blog post ideas, dig through the stream and look for questions or answers that could help your audience.

I’m such a huge fan of this technique that I’ve actually incorporated it into the strategy documents I share with my content marketing clients.

One tab on the document automatically pulls in a list of related Quora questions, giving us plenty of ideas that we know people are looking for information on.

11. Keyword research

Solid keywords are the cornerstone of blog posts, which make them a perfect brainstorming tool.

I try to make an effort to discover new keywords on a regular basis.

Some of my favorite tools for the job include: Google Keyword Planner, SEMrush and BuzzSumo.

12. Make a mind map

Start with big ideas or general keywords (e.g. Internet Marketing). Then, break it down into smaller sections (e.g. Content Marketing, PPC, SEO).

Continue to get more specific, giving you a bunch of topics that will make for great posts.

13. Use an idea generator

Several companies have created blog topic generators. When all else fails, use one of these to spark content ideas. (My favorite is the one by Portent.)

Blog post idea generator portent

14. Mistakes and learning

Make a list of the challenges, mistakes and failures you’ve overcome.

Chances are, your readers are facing similar things and need the concrete solutions  you can provide from your experience.

It’s a perfect opportunity to create helpful content.

15. Use a brainstorming spreadsheet

Hubspot has a brainstorming spreadsheet that adds a bit of structure to the process. It’s a visual, detailed way to generate ideas based on a general topic.

16. Search social media

Tools like Topsy help you search through the topics that are being shared most on social media. Go through the popular posts related to your industry and mine them for content ideas.

17. Write down your ideas

The best ideas seem to happen when I’m not trying to create them. Carrying around a notebook helps me capture my ideas – whether I’m out and about or waking up from a dream.

When you get in the habit of writing down ideas, you may find that they flow a lot easier as well. Give it a try!

18. Take advantage of your comments

Find a blog in your industry with an active comments section (or, if you have a discussion section on your own blog, use that).

Read through each comment and look at what people are asking. Those questions can lead to great ideas for blog posts.

19. Use the Medici Effect

The Medici Effect refers to the way in which seemingly unrelated things often intersect. When coming up with blog post ideas, look for commonalities across different topics.

For example, let’s say I ran a blog about helping freelancers succeed. If I came across a post about the best morning routines for executives, I could then translate that topic into something specific to my audience.

20. Do competitor analysis

Go through the content that your competitors are creating. I like to start in their Most Popular Posts section, or use one of the many tools online that make this even easier.

Analyze the post topics and their relative popularity. Then, look for ways you can expand on the topics, include better research or create a piece of content that’s better overall.

21. Take the headline challenge

Sit down and commit to writing 50 new headlines for blog topics.

Get started by using some of the web’s basic headline formulas.

Take the formulas and create headlines that are related to your industry – don’t stop until you have 50 options.

It might seem difficult at first, but once you get in the groove, ideas should start flowing quite freely. It may take you until you’ve got 50 versions written to come up with something good, but trust me – your great idea is in there.

22. Take notes as you write

When you’re writing a post, it’s easy to get off topic and start talking about something else. But before deleting that section and refocusing, make a note of what you were veering off about.

Come back later and make a new post from that idea.

23. Put on the pressure

I work better when I’m under pressure. If you operate the same way, give yourself a deadline for the post (or list of ideas).

You can up the ante by using an app like StickK, where money is on the line if you don’t make the deadline you set for yourself.

StickK_Image_for_blog_post_ideas

24. Interview your target readers

The best type of content directly helps and educates your readers. Use an interview to uncover their challenges, questions and knowledge gaps.

Not only is it great fodder for blog topics, but you’ll gain deeper insight into the mind of your audience, which will strengthen your overall positioning and voice in the new content you produce.

25. Attend an industry conference

Attend a conference, debate, or discussion group within your industry.

You’ll learn plenty from the experts that share their thoughts, as well as gain some great new insight by speaking with other conference attendees.

It’s the perfect atmosphere for coming up with great new ideas. Make sure to bring something to take notes with!

26. Skim through Google alerts

Create a Google Alert for keywords that are related to your industry to have the search engine’s top headlines delivered straight to your inbox. Sift through them and see if anything sparks an idea.

Google alerts for blog post ideas

27. Write up a list of questions

Write down questions about your industry.

Question everything: the future, current tactics, the validity of present beliefs… Use those questions to springboard new blog post ideas that will engage your audience and interest your readers.

This is a big list, but it’s certainly not comprehensive.

Do you have any other brainstorming strategies you’d like to add? Share your suggestions by adding a comment below!

Author: Aaron Agius is an online marketer, web strategist and entrepreneur and you can check him out at AaronAgius.com

Comments

  • Vishal Mishra

    Have you looked at http://www.rightrelevance.com. Great for research, staying updated and knowing what the influencers for the topic are talking about

  • http://www.shermansmithblog.com/ Sherman Smith

    Hey Aaron,

    Great list if ways to come up with great blog topics. I use tips #6, #14, #18 a lot. Ill cone up with an idea and type it into Google to show there serendipity system of ideas that I can find keywords to use on my future posts.

    I also use ideas from the comments I get and from all the mistakes I’ve made in the past. This shows that I’m responsive to my commenters ideas and shows that I’m also human with all the mistakes I’ve made. This in turn makes a better connection with you and your audience!

    Thanks for sharing and you have a good one!

  • http://www.weboutsourcing-gateway.com/ Web Outsourcing Gateway

    Hi Aaron. Nice list. It was a fun read. I think this is an important article… blogging can be challenging, especially because almost all topics has been done. Tips like these will definitely help bloggers have a fresher take on writing.

  • http://www.fionaspence.net Fiona Spence

    Hi Jeff, fantastic list! Thanks for compiling. I actually use many of these myself but there’s a few to include on the list. There’s always something new to learn isn’t there! Keep on growing!

  • http://jrjwrites.com Jonathan John

    Great list, Aaron!

    #4 is a personal favorite of mine. There are always so many new angles you can take with some of your old content. If you have a filled-out archive of posts already, then you’re pretty much set for the next few weeks for ideas!

    Cheers,
    Jonathan

  • Stan Chris

    Awesome post indeed. Great points Aaron. I have Serpstat for my competitive analysis, even tho I still use Semrush. Serpstat seem to be an alternative with over 45 million keywords in its database.

  • http://www.androidrooting.org/ Rooting

    Reading a good book always gives hell lots of ideas. Last week I was reading “Lean Startup” and suddenly I started feeling very good about my next blog posts ideas.

    I started writing them down and got at least 10 ideas for my next articles.

    I am also a fan of reviewing my old blog posts and see what I can do with them to add more value.

    Thanks for such a beautiful ideas.

    PS: I just started a new site related to hosting stuff. Although I am writing few reviews and all but I am stuck at finding ideas for this particular niche.

    Have a look at http://www.hreviewninja.com/

  • http://www.wealthcreateonline.com/ Eyeland Gurl

    These are all great ways to get blog post ideas! I am just about to make up my editorial calendar for the upcoming quarter and this article grabbed my attention just in the nick of time. Writer’s block is something that happens to the best of bloggers but I believe it also presents an opportunity for us to get creative. I will definitely be implementing some of these ideas as I create my new calendar. Look out people….I’m gonna blow you guys away with my upcoming blog posts! Stay tuned….Thanks for sharing this great article!

  • http://wphostninja.com/ Ravish Sundriyal

    Well all of these seems to be well researched, but I sometimes face a dilemma of writing user based blogs or something I want to tell people.

  • http://wphostninja.com/ Ravish Sundriyal

    A good read, i always try to divide my blog topics in two category, one which is user demand and need and another the knowledge and insight based which I want to tell my readers.
    This is something for a reviews as well.
    http://wphostninja.com/

  • http://wpliving.net/ wpliving

    These are awesome suggestions.

    I followed suggestion #27 and wrote a list of 100 ideas for new blog posts.

    It took me over a week to complete, but it really helped me to get some perspective on where my blog is at and where I’m heading.

    I recommend all bloggers to try the question list…

  • boople

    This may also be useful as a brainstorming tool: relatedwords.org – just gets you a big list of related words around a topic

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