You need some blog post ideas. There’s only one problem: You’re completely stumped.
That blinking text cursor on a blank page has been taunting you for the past half hour, and still there’s nothing in your brain but the sound of crickets.
Whether you’re totally new to content (and can’t quite figure out what you should write about!) or have published thousands of posts (and, as a result, feel like there’s nothing left that you haven’t already covered), coming up with blog post ideas can be an intimidating challenge.
But, don’t put your head down on your desk and accept defeat quite yet.
Even if you’re facing a massive creative block, there are some actionable exercises and strategies you can put into play to get those creative juices flowing again.
Like what? Well, you’re in luck—we’re covering seven different ways to brainstorm new blog post ideas right here.
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1. Return to Your Audience
When it comes to producing written content (or, really, any sort of content), this is your golden rule: Your audience needs to be at the center of everything you do.
The best content (and, thus, the content that is the easiest to market and will get you the highest level of engagement!) exists to meet your audience’s needs.
So, in those moments when you’re completely blanking on any new topic ideas, your first step should be to return to your audience.
Ask yourself questions like these:
- Who are you speaking to through your content?
- What are the goals of that particular person?
- What challenges stand in his or her way of reaching that goal?
For example, maybe you’re an outdoor gear brand and your ideal customer is a young professional with a passion for the wilderness and exploration.
They want to spend as much time adventuring outside as possible, but certain obstacles stand in their way including:
- Lack of time due to demanding work schedules
- Lack of knowledge about the best places to explore
- Lack of the appropriate gear or knowledge needed to find the right equipment
Are you already churning on tons of different blog posts that could help them overcome those challenges?
We told you—that brief exercise alone will likely get the wheels turning.
But, you can also turn your attention to outlets like various forums, communities, social media accounts, and even your customer service team to get some insight into what your ideal customer has been saying.
With that information in your back pocket, you’ll not only be able to come up with new post ideas—but posts that your target audience actually wants to read.
2. Use Your Keywords
If you’ve been producing blog content for a while, then chances are you’ve already done some keyword research to help get your posts a little higher in the search engine results.
That’s great! However, when your mind is totally void of any new post ideas, your keywords are good for far more than search engine optimization—they can also help you come up with some potential new topics.
As a writer myself, one of my favorite tools for topic ideation is a site called Answer the Public.
Rest assured, it’s super easy to use. You simply type in your keyword, and you’ll be met with all sorts of questions related to that specific keyword.
Let’s stick with our outdoor brand example, shall we?
I want to figure out some other topics I could write related to the outdoors. So, on the homepage, I simply type in the keyword “outdoors.”
After you give the site a minute to search, you’ll be met with an entire web of questions that pertain to that keyword.
Needless to say, with that many results at your fingertips, there are plenty of blog post ideas hiding in there. After that one simple search, you’ll be brimming with inspiration!
3. Spy on Your Competitors
Alright, don’t worry—this tactic isn’t nearly as sneaky as it sounds. After all, you never want to copy your competitors. You want to stand apart from them!
However, taking a look at what they’re doing with their own content can be an effective way to start generating some new ideas of your own.
- Is there a topic they’ve covered that you realize you have yet to touch on—and could approach in a different or even more in-depth way?
- Does reading their content make you realize that there’s something they’re missing—which could be a great opportunity for you to provide value to your readers?
Let’s look at an example.
Perhaps another outdoor outfitter wrote a simple, more general post about finding your perfect hiking boot.
What sort of posts could that inspire for you? All sorts of things, including:
- A guide to the best boots for different types of terrain
- An instructional post on hiking boot sizing
- A compare and contrast post on some of your own boots—based on price
There are tons of options you could work with!
Remember, while imitation may be the sincerest form of flattery, you still need to make sure that your own content is unique.
But, it doesn’t hurt to look around at what others in your same industry are doing with their content. As evidenced by our example above, it can really help to spark some new ideas.
4. Conduct a Survey
You know how we talked about your audience being at the center of your content?
They’re the ones you want reading it—which means the stuff you write needs to actually speak to them.
While there are ways to dig in and find out more about them indirectly, there’s really no substitute for being able to pick their brains.
So, with that in mind, why not directly ask your audience what they want to learn about?
What topics do they want to see you cover on your blog?
There are plenty of different ways that you could gather this insight. Maybe it involves sending a more formal survey to your entire email list—where you can learn more about their goals, challenges, and how you can help.
Or, perhaps you’ll keep things easy and and kick up engagement by posting one question at a time on your social media accounts.
Ultimately, there’s no better source of inspiration than your blog readers themselves. Don’t neglect to tap into that resource to write better, more targeted blog content!
5. Think of Different Formats
Here’s the thing about maintaining your blog: It’s easy to fall into a paint-by-numbers approach to your content.
For example, maybe you always come up with a topic, write an introduction, include a couple of numbered subheads, and then tie it all up with a conclusion (a lot like what we’re doing here!).
It’s well organized and it works well—but it also means that you’ll likely always think about your content in that way (which can make it that much more challenging to come up with fresh ideas!).
Don’t be afraid to step outside of the box and come up with some unique approaches to your content.
- Could you do an interview or question and answer style post with an influencer or thought leader within your industry?
- Could you write a really short post that’s accompanied by a great illustration or infographic?
- Could you structure your post more like a flow chart—where readers follow along until they land on the answer that applies to them?
There are plenty of different and refreshing ways to tackle your blog content. And, breaking free from any self-imposed limitations can help you look at your posts with a fresh perspective—and come up with even better topic ideas as a result.
6. Review Your Existing Content
It might seem strange (or perhaps even a little egotistical) to be inspired by yourself. But, believe it or not, your existing blog content can be a great place to find some nuggets for future blog posts.
Start by taking a look at your analytics.
- Which posts of yours are performing the best?
- Are there similar topics you could tackle or approaches you could take?
- Those metrics can help inform some low-hanging fruit you could go after.
Next, actually read through those high-performing blog posts of yours. Go through them with a fine-tooth comb.
- Has something changed—meaning that post could use an update?
- Is there a smaller concept you touched on within an article that’s worthy of an entire post?
- Is there a question that your readers would still be left with after reading?
I know—you feel like you’ve already talked about so much within your existing blog content. But, that doesn’t mean those current blog posts will only remind you of how little is left for you to write about. On the contrary, they can actually inspire plenty of fresh ideas.
7. Just Do a Brain Dump
Sometimes one of the very best ways to get yourself through a creative slump is to just keep pushing.
When you’re feeling stuck on new blog post ideas, it can be tempting to just take a break and walk away. But, research shows that it’ll actually do your brain some good if you try to persevere.
During a study at The Kellogg School at Northwestern University, participants were asked to come up with creative ideas—in the form of dishes to serve at Thanksgiving dinner—during two short time periods.
When the first chunk of time was over, study participants were asked how many more dishes they thought they could come up with during the second time period. On average, they predicted that they could only come up with 10 more ideas.
But, when they actually had to put pen to paper?
They come up with an average of 15.
Even further, the dishes they came up with during that second time block were far more creative than the ones they brainstormed in the first. It serves as proof that perseverance can help you land on some of your greatest ideas.
So, when you’re trying to think of blog post ideas, just start jotting something—really, anything—down. The simple act of continuing to chew on that subject could just lead you to all sorts of topics you could tackle!
Ready to Start Writing?
It can be frustrating to feel like you’re totally out of blog post ideas. But, you might just surprise yourself with the ideas you can come up with when you dig into some other sources of inspiration.
Some of our favorite strategies for brainstorming new blog topics that we’ve covered here include:
- Refreshing yourself on your target audience’s goals and challenges
- Using a tool to find questions associated with your keywords
- Seeing what subjects your competitors are (or aren’t!) covering
- Surveying your target audience to find out what they want to read
- Trying unique formats and approaches to your content
- Reviewing your existing blog post content to find nuggets of inspiration
- Just getting started and jotting things down to get the wheels turning
Put those tips to work, and you’re far more likely to be brimming with big ideas! Then the only thing left to do? Start writing and engaging your audience!