As a content marketing strategist, one of the things that always makes my clients take a step back is the amount of quality content you have to produce to get noticed online. If you’re like them, the fact that someone has to come up with all the ideas -- and then actually execute on them -- probably leaves your head rattling.
But fortunately, it’s much easier than you think. There are ideas everywhere. All you have to do is capture them.
So get a piece of paper or a Word doc ready -- along with a timer -- and get ready to brainstorm. Over the next hour, we’re going to come up with 100 awesome blog post ideas together.
Ready? Let’s go...
1. Go where the people are.
People are the ones asking the questions and needing your info, so it makes sense to go where they already are. And really, it doesn’t get much easier than a short virtual walk to an online forum in your niche. All you have to do is search Google for "your niche + forum." For example, if I search for "internet marketing forum," I’ll get the Warrior Forum as the number one result.
People leave very specific questions in forums. So I can go straight to one of the sections on this forum -- email marketing -- and jot down any questions I see that could be reworked as blog post ideas. For instance:
- What are the best self-hosted simple mail transfer protocol (SMTP) servers?
- What’s the best email-marketing tool on the market?
- Are you still using email marketing?
- Is there an email-marketing course to build my list?
These ideas can then be turned into headlines.
- Top 3 Self-Host SMTP Email Servers
- Top 7 Email-Marketing Tools for Your Business
- How Experts are Using Email Marketing to Drive More Business.
Go ahead and search out a forum now and brainstorm at least 20 ideas to add to your list. You can also use these same principles by looking at the comments and questions on popular Facebook pages and Twitter profiles. Doing so should give you another 20 to 40 ideas for future blog posts.
When you go where the people are, you’re basically letting them do the idea generation for you. All you have to do is take notes on what you see.
2. Use a blog topic / headline generator.
It sounds too good to be true, but there are actually several places online that can help you generate ideas automatically -- and, best of all, they can be super fun to use). For instance, Hubspot has a cool topic generator. All I have to do is enter three topics, as in the sample snapshot below:
Then, the tool automatically generates a whole bunch of ideas for me:
Need some more ideas? Just click the "Try Again" button to generate another five ideas from the same topics:
Sure, some of them will turn out similar, but there are at least seven solid ideas there that I’ve pulled out of thin air in just two minutes flat.
Another idea generator to try is Portent. Here, I enter my idea of "email marketing," and it coughs up an instant topic: “Email Marketing in 18 Easy Steps.”
Hitting refresh generates yet another idea: “9 Things You Don’t Want to Hear About Email Marketing.”
Forget the other strategies I’m discussing here, you could easily come up with 100 blog ideas just by using these automated tools and entering the different keywords that are associated with your business.
3. Turn to your bookshelf.
Most of us have books on our shelves that are related to our business -- usually more than a few. So instead of letting them gather dust, pick one up and use it for inspiration.
I’ll walk through an example with you. Suppose I just grabbed a book off my bookshelf -- Twitter Power by Joel Comm and Dave Taylor. Even before I’ve opened the book, the tagline on the cover, “How to dominate your market one tweet at a time," has inspired two ideas.
- 5 Steps to Dominate Your Email Marketing
- Top Tips from Expert SEO Firms to Dominate Your Google Rankings
Next, turn to the table of contents and start brainstorming away. I can literally just mimic the entries found there into my own stream of ideas:
- A Closer Look at XYZ
- What Exactly is XYZ?
- Why SEO is a Big Deal
- How to Create an Inviting Website in 5 Easy Steps
I’m sure you’ve got plenty of good books to look at that’ll help you generate a whole range of ideas. But let’s not stop there. I’ll share one more strategy before wrapping up here. Take advantage of all of them, and you should have no trouble coming up with those 100 ideas in no time at all.
4. Take notice of blog comments.
If you have an active blog that gets even a few comments, don’t just leave them to go by unnoticed -- draw every little bit of ammunition you can from them by taking every single comment and turning it into a question or topic to write about on your blog.
And if you don’t have many comments? Find a popular blog in your niche that does. People are leaving their questions right there to be answered, so just copy and paste them into your spreadsheet to be answered in a future blog post.
As you can see, coming up with ideas really isn’t as difficult as you first might have thought. Using these four simple strategies, you’ll soon have enough ideas to last a few months or more -- all for just a single hour of your time.
Have another strategy to add to this list? Share it by leaving a comment below.