As an Inbound Writer for Lean Labs, Melissa writes about high-converting websites and customer-centric marketing. She's an avid traveler, with trips to Iceland, Ukraine, and Portugal under her belt. She currently resides in Wilmington, North Carolina with her dog, Morrie.
Blogging is a great way to increase traffic to your website, and build up influence in your industry. So many businesses choose to ramp up their blogging efforts, blogging up to 5-7 times a week.
But what if you run out of blog content ideas?
It happens all the time. You're nearing the end of your editorial calendar and looking for new topics, only to realize that you've been writing about similar topics. You've even been using similar titles. The solution is fresh, intriguing content, but unfortunately, you're just stuck.
We've experienced this, so we keep a master list of nearly every kind of blog post topic there is. Using this list, as well as a few go-to resources, we're constantly finding inspiration for new content.
Where To Find Business Blog Post Ideas
There's a lot of places to find blog post ideas for your business. You just need to know where to look. Using your core topics and keywords for guidance, go through these resources to find potential titles, perspectives, and approaches for a great variety of blog posts.
#1. Try HubSpot Content Strategy Tools
HubSpot's content strategy tools centralize all of your pillar page topics, content clusters, and potential sub-topics in one place. This way, your entire team can collaboratively brainstorm and have access to the strategy. The best part, however, is that HubSpot provides recommended sub-topics, pulling in keywords and topics you've already set.
Teams can easily brainstorm topic ideas and reject lackluster ones. With every rejected sub-topic, HubSpot "learns" what kinds of topics you're looking for, and automatically generates new ones.
Learn More: Your Guide to Creating Effective Content with HubSpot Content Strategy, by HubSpot.
#2. Monitor Reddit Forums
A lot of articles like this will direct you right to Reddit, but to get great post ideas, you have to know exactly where to look. To start, go through the startup and business subreddits where people are always asking questions related to entrepreneurship, and growing companies.
A few popular subreddits include:
Once you find some subreddits you want to explore more, head to the FAQ. Many subreddits have a section for frequently asked questions that can help generate ideas. Each subreddit also has an option to browse new, trending, or controversial posts submitted by users.
If you really want to use the platform to its fullest potential, actually become a user. Create a business-friendly account, and start responding to questions pertaining to your areas of expertise. Never overly promote yourself on Reddit, but demonstrate your expertise and make it easy for people to find your content elsewhere if they want to.
Learn More: How To Mine Reddit To Unearth New Ideas For Blog Posts, by Blog Mutt.
#3. Try Quora
Quora has questions that actual influencers and customers are answering, so it's a great place to demonstrate your expertise in an array of areas. Similar to Reddit, Quora is a resource for blog post ideas because of the ongoing conversations that people are having. You can tap into the actual challenges that your personas are facing.
Here are a few ways to be successful using Quora:
- Join and be active on an ongoing basis
- Don't just skim through the questions, read the comments, too
- Find, follow, and engage with the people who are constantly posting great answers
- Provide helpful feedback or suggestions without being overly promotional
When used to it's potential, Quora can actually be a huge driver of traffic, with bloggers reporting it's their number one source of traffic.
Learn More: Here’s a quick way to generate hundreds of blog ideas using Quora by Jon Westenberg via Medium.
#4. Conduct Customer Journey Mapping
You may or may not have already gone through a customer journey mapping exercise. If it's been awhile, or customer journey mapping is a new concept for you, it can really help reveal content gaps. Essentially, you walk through one of your persona's current experiences in your industry, and with your website and sales process.
By the end of it, you'll have a better idea of what and where their pain points are. These pain points are useful, and opportunities to provide better blog content, or answer frequently asked questions or concerns.
Learn More: Can Customer Journey Mapping Turn Your Website Into a Sales Vending Machine via Lean Labs (that's us!)
#5. Update Buyer Personas
If it's also been awhile since you updated your buyer personas, it might be time for a refresh. If you don't have personas yet, check out this related blog post discussing the process. As a best practice, existing buyer personas should be updated continuously, based on feedback you collect, conversations that customers have with sales reps, and any other information you come across when conducting research of analysis of your content marketing.
Even after a couple months, there should be new insights you've learned about your customers.
Learn More: The Beginner's Guide to matching content with the buyer's' journey via Lean Labs.
#6. Set up Google Alerts
This is another popular blog idea tactic. Set up Google Alerts so that you’re emailed whenever there’s some related industry news. You can use Google Alerts to provide updates about all of the topics you usually cover, influencers you follow, competitors, and more. This way, you can immediately write content to respond or update follows about important trends or newsworthy subjects.
It's easy to set up a Google Alert, and in the long run, it'll save you a lot of time digging through sources to find content to write about.
#7. Browse By "News" or Trends
Another great way to use Google is by browsing the "news" tab, or the trends section. Essentially, you can search for targeted keywords, influencers, your industry, and more, and Google will weed out anything that it doesn't consider to be news. You can also use Buzzsumo to find trending content before competitors, and browse by the last year, last few months, last month, or last week of content.
Depending on your industry, you can also utilize the finance, personal, videos, books, shopping, and maps tabs.
Get Started: Google Trends keeps up to date information about what's happening in your industry.
#8. Browse Amazon Titles
On Amazon, you're likely to find a lot of content that relates to your topic, as well as comments and feedback from readers. Just take your keyword, topic, or potential title, and search for it in Amazon in print books or Kindle books. For example, the keyword "content marketing" comes up with a lot of titles that can easily be optimized and turned into a blog post:
"How Entrepreneurs Use Content to Build Massive Audiences and Create Radically Successful Businesses," could become: X Content Hacks Entrepreneurs Use To Build Massive Audiences.
You can easily replicate this process with YouTube, Medium, or Udemy. It's all about finding the types of topics readers and interested in, and putting a new spin on them.
Learn More: How to Use Amazon for Niche Market Research by ContentSparks
#9. Browse Wikipedia
Wikipedia could be a treasure trove of potential blog content. Simply take your keyword, search for it in Wikipedia, and browse the "see also" pages at the bottom. This is also a great tactic for thinking of sub-topics or new keywords. Digital marketing, for example, comes up with a list of "see also" pages that include user intent, visual marketing, and mobile marketing.
Keep clicking through, and you get more and more granular with the "see also" content provided. The resources and citations at the bottom of each Wikipedia are also useful. You can find blogs, publications, etc. that could provide more ideas, and dig deeper into that topic.
Learn More: Brian Dean (of Backlinko) covers using Wikipedia for content ideas, as well as to help improve your SEO techniques.
#10. Look and Adapt From Competitors
Using Buzzsumo, you can easily see which competitor posts are the getting the most traffic. This is a great way of tapping into topics that your customers are engaging with, but can also be an opportunity for some great Skyscraper content. Skyscraper content essentially takes a topic that's been covered, and puts a new spin out it. Then, using a lot of the same points and additional points from competing posts, marketers make sure their post has the absolute best content.
For instance, if they have a list of the top ten ways to drive traffic from Quora, come up with the top fifteen ways.
Learn More: If you're struggling to stand out from competitors, check out our post: Brand Positioning Strategy: How to Find the Valuable Sweet Spot.
#11. Send Out A Survey
Surveys are an older tactic, but can still be really effective. With a survey, you can ask questions about the top challenges, struggles, or interests of your customers, peers, and industry influencers. You can actually create a survey using HubSpot, and easily send it out to anyone in your CRM. After collecting the results, you can use the feedback to inspire blog post ideas.
Surveys can also be a great way to extract information about leads or contacts. As long as you're asking great survey questions, with a variety of multiple answer, yes or no, and fill in the blanks, and explaining the value of filling out the survey, you can get a lot of survey respondents. When crafting a blog post, you can always reach out to respondents for personal insights or quotes. You can also use survey results to update your CRM or buyer personas.
#12. Update/Refresh Old Content
Another great blogging tactic is to refresh the content you already have. While some blog content probably won't be worth updating, you can optimize posts with potential using historical blog optimization. The goal is to generate more traffic from existing posts, which can happen with small adjustments such as switching the offer, or making small copy updates and republishing.
HubSpot has an entire guide about historical optimization for blog posts, so if you're interested in this approach, you can easily go through the process step by step.
Do It: Intrigued? We wrote an entire guide about refreshing content, Repurposing Toolkit: Why & How to Repurpose Content. It's a free resource (we won't call you.)
#13. Add A Sequel
Sequels might not do that well in Hollywood, but with content marketing, an updated or part two of a post could perform really well. Select an older post that gets a lot of traffic, and brainstorm some additional topics or avenues you could cover in a sequel post. You can immediately start to benefit from some of that older blog post traffic by linking to the new one, giving readers even more information to dig into.
A lot of "how to" posts, such as "how to write a great blog post" can also be broken into a few posts when there's a lot of content to cover. This tactic isn't as effective as it used to be, with the rise of long-form content and content pillar pages, but is still a way to add more posts to your editorial calendar.
Do It: Want to have longer, more detailed blog posts? Here's how to get started with long-form content.
#14. Use Answer The Public
Answer The Public is a great tool for generating ideas from a broad topic. It works like Google, but the results are content clusters of your topic or keyword, with potential titles or keywords stemming out from them. While some of the titles are a little too generic, it's one of the only tools of it's kind out there.
A search of the term "content creation" results in suggestions like:
- How Buzzfeed Mastered Content Creation
- How Much Does Content Creation Cost
- How to Automate Content Creation
- Content Creation For Social Media
If you use the Google Chrome plug-in "Keywords Everywhere", you can also see the monthly traffic stats for each of these long-form keywords.
Learn More: WordStream names Answer The Public as one of the best places for blog post ideas.
#15. Get Involved On LinkedIn
From your LinkedIn feed, to the groups, to the content being published on the platform, there's a lot of potential blog topics on the platform. LinkedIn can be used similarly to Reddit or Quora to gain insight into what your personas are talking about. Using the hashtag tool, or following influencers, you can easily immerse yourself in the conversations happening all over the platform.
There's also the option of publishing content right to LinkedIn. Posting directly to LinkedIn can still get traffic back to your site, with the advantage that it's a different, more business-oriented audience than potential organic traffic, or traffic coming from Twitter or Facebook. You also have the benefit of expanding your influence and demonstrating your subject matter expertise in key areas.
Learn More: LinkedIn is one of Inc's favorite places to generate new topics and post ideas. It's also one of their go-to places to promote content.
#16. Use Google Keyword Planner
Google Keyword Planner is a great tool for content strategy, and you can actually use it to think of blog titles, too. Generate ideas for long-form keywords (that you can optimize and adjust to being blog titles) from the "ideas" tab in keyword planner. For marketers that have used that exhaustively, try Keyword IO. It's another free tool that helps you find hundreds of long tail keywords in Google, YouTube, Amazon, and more.
Learn More: Brian Dean uses Google Keyword Planner to think of new post ideas, and describes the process in How to Get The Most Out of the Google Keyword Planner.
#17. Join and Engage On Facebook Groups
Similar to LinkedIn, there's a lot of potential in Facebook Groups. It's the same as LinkedIn in terms of generating topic ideas by scanning conversations and trending topics. Groups are also really useful in getting feedback and quotes. Post and discuss potential blog post ideas, and ask group members to gauge how interesting or helpful they think it is.
The advantage is that when you publish the post, group members won't feel you're being overly promotional when you share it in the group later. There's also an option to search within groups, so it's easy to scan for previous conversations about your topic.
Learn More: Still getting started with Facebook Groups? Entrepreneur explains how to use them for business objectives.
#18. Talk To Your Team
From sales to dev, everyone involved with a customer can contribute blog post ideas. Pool your team for potential ideas, or ask them questions regarding the largest obstacles in the customer experience. What questions do customers typically ask sales reps? What kind of terrible design and UX trends are devs noticing in the industry?
Sometimes, you just need a fresh perspective. Alternatively, if you let team members actually write blog posts, you can potentially produce more diverse posts in more frequency.
Learn More: Talking to a team can be intimidating. Here are the most effective ways to communicate with your team via The Muse.
#19. Talk To Experts
You don't always have to interview experts. You can also just pick an expert's brain on topics. A regular phone call to subject matter experts or peers can provide continuous ideas for blog posts - ones that you may have never considered. Reach out to people in the industry, and ask if they'd mind having a brief discussion for you to draw inspiration from.
Without the pressure of a formal interview, you could potentially land more high-profile conversations.
Learn More: Too shy to reach out? Check out some popular influencer content, such as Whiteboard Friday, to get real insights from industry leaders like Rand Fishkin (he also has a very active Twitter profile.)
#20. Follow Your Own Progress
What's gone right/wrong at your business in the past year? Blog posts that discuss personal or professional progress can be great additions to an editorial calendar. By covering topics or experiences that customers or industry peers could relate to, you're creating a level of transparency and self-awareness that builds trust.
Here at Lean Labs, we do this in a series of marketing diaries covering our progress on 10xing our marketing goals.
Learn More: Follow our progress as we meet one of our goals, to 10X in the next year. Ryan Scott, our Head of Inbound Marketing, talks about why we set this objective and how we're pulling it off.
Using New Blog Post Ideas To Increase Traffic
If you're looking to increase traffic and leads from content, thinking of great ideas is only the first step. Blogging is a part of a larger content marketing strategy. To really drive traffic and engagement with potential leads, you need a strategy that incorporates their wants, needs, and desires to craft highly effective marketing initiatives.
This kind of dynamic marketing strategy requires a lot of preparation. You need to set clear goals and objectives, define your personas, and put together an exceptional editorial calendar. To pull this off, you might need a little help. That's why we wrote the Conquering the Inbound Marketing Mountain ebook, where we walk you through every step of creating an inbound marketing plan.
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