This article was originally published in October 2017. Refreshed: 4 June, 2019.
As a business owner, your time is valuable. It’s more valuable than remembering to go to the loo. Considerably more precious than taking a lunch break. And I’d wager that if a diamond crapping unicorn walked into your place of work you’d still say that your time is the more valuable of the two.
When this is the case, what chance does your poor old blog have of getting your attention?
Finding blog ideas is one of those tasks that sucks up your time. And dealing with those…things, is the last thing you want. But here you are. Spending time reading this post because a) you know content marketing is important and b) you’ve already wasted eff knows how many hours staring at a blank page. The problem is you really don’t know what to write about.
Let’s fix that. For good. Not just for this one post that’s holding you up.
5 quick tricks to find great blog ideas
By the end of this article, you’re going to know exactly where to look to find interesting ideas that you’ll enjoy writing about and that your audience will want to read.
1. Write about what you know
Prepare to be amazed by how much you know about your business and industry. Grab a big bit of paper and your favourite felt pens (or open a fresh word doc if you prefer to be all digital) and get ready to brain dump.
I want you to write short sentences or keywords that pop into your head and relate to your industry, profession, products or services. Stuff like:
- Good points
- Bad points (what really pisses you off)
- Surprising things
- Seasonal trends
- Clients and audiences
- Technical stuff you know – how stuff works, industry words and phrases…all that…
The aim of this exercise is to get all of the knowledge and ideas out of your head and in front of your eyeballs. It doesn’t matter right now if what you’re writing is audience-friendly or not because after you’ve brain dumped you’re going to ignore your list for a few days.
When you return and look at all these words, phrases, sentences and ideas you’ll find it easy to identify and highlight the topics that have legs.
2. How To guides
Creating ‘ How To…’ guides is one of the quickest ways to come up with blog ideas.
I like to think of this type of content as your chance to be an awesome sales assistant. It’s the information and helpful guidance a sales assistant would give out to customers in a bricks and mortar company, or customer helpline.
Go through your site and look at your more complex products or services. Now ask yourself, “If a customer was stood in front of me would they ask me how to use that? Or how does this work?” If you find yourself nodding then writing a blog to answer that question is something you should definitely do.
3. Use Google
You know when you type something into the search bar in Google and it tries to predict what you’re going to type? Well, those suggestions aren’t totally random. They’re top questions that regularly get popped into Google, making them an SEO blog topic gold mine!
Take one of your keywords and start typing it into Google, then see what other text suggestions come up. These are the questions your audience are likely to be asking about your products/services, so grab them and turn them into blog posts.
Next, pick one question and complete the search. As an example, I’ve put in ‘Where to find blog ideas’ and hit return.
When I do, and scroll to the bottom of the first Google page, I get this:
We’re onto another winner folks! These are all semantic search suggestions. They’re slightly different ways people have been searching for topics similar to your keyword. As such they’re an excellent source for extra blog topic ideas.
Write down the ones that are relevant, or click them and see where it leads you next. You could keep going for hours and it’s a super easy way to fill up your content calendar.
(Extra tip: one of my favourite tools works in a similar way. It’s called Answerthepublic.com. Pop your keyword into the search bar and it comes up with all the who, what, how, why questions people put into Google. This will fill up your ideas sheet for months.)
4. Report the news
Look to mainstream media outlets and industry publications to find news that you can share with your audience. This can work well for B2B and B2C business blogs although you might need to adjust the angle to make B2B news relevant to a B2C audience. Or vice versa.
News doesn’t have to be mainstream. You can report news from within your own company, too. Especially if there’s changes or new happenings that directly affect your customers. Even everyday events that you view as mundane can be tweaked and turned into a stronger blog idea.
The article I wrote about client gift ideas which came about after I got a haircut and went to the dentist is a perfect example of this.
5. Listen to your customers
This is one of my favourite ways to find ideas for blog topics, because these ideas come direct from the people you’re trying to attract.
Listen to your customers by jumping onto social media, industry forums and holding on to customer emails.
Spend a couple of hours each month reading through their comments. Look closely at what questions they’re asking, any problems they’re facing relating to products you stock or issues with services offered within your industry.
Provide the answers they’re looking for by writing about it in a blog post. Once it’s live, promote that blog within the social media groups or forums where you originally got the idea. This lets people know you’re the expert with the answer to their problem.
And there you have it…
Five quick and easy places to look for blog ideas so you never have to waste your time staring at a blank screen ever again.
Rather get help from a professional blog writer?
If you feel like you’ve tried everything and still aren’t fond of how much time it takes to write blog articles, then drop me a line. I even come up with the ideas! It’s a win-win situation because I get to release my inquisitive journalist skills and you get to crack on with the bits of your business you enjoy.