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Let’s face it. Magically coming up with blog post ideas is grueling. Sure, you can schedule time to brainstorm post ideas (here’s how to generate over 3,000 a year!). But what about those days when the ideas don’t come, you’re on deadline, and you feel like you’ve written it all before?
Don’t get stuck – get inspired, instead! Here are 5 ways you can generate blog post ideas.
How could I have not written about this gem before? This tool is brought to you by the good folks at Portent, run by Ian Lurie (if you don’t follow Ian Lurie, do it now. You’re in for a snarky treat.)
Simply type in your general post idea and let the Content Idea Generator do all the work. For instance, I typed in one of the most boring topics I could dream up: screw compressors. Years ago, I used to handle the marketing for a company that made flash freezers for fishing boats. I often had to come up with sexy press angles about screw compressors.
Yes. Pity me.
Here’s what the Idea Generator came up with:
The verdict? Not bad. If you’re in an industry that makes, needs or sells screw compressors, you could easily come up with a list of 18 things. Well done, Content Idea Generator!
Use forums for fun and profit
Some people think forums are old school. I mean, aren’t all the cool kids hanging out on Google + now (OK, OK…I had to make that joke.) Seriously, it’s amazing how many people forget about forums as great idea generators. Plus, all you need to do is some quick Google searches to make it happen.
Simply type [forum:your topic] into Google and see what comes up. In this case, I used the search term [food cart]. Us Portlanders really love our food carts.
Voila! You’re rewarded with a plethora of post ideas! If this is too overwhelming, you can search inside the forums. Try using search terms like:
- I hate it when
- can’t find
- need advice
- question about
- can anyone help me
(H/T to Pat Flynn from the Smart Passive Income blog for the search terms tip.)
Check out industry conference topics
Conference organizers spend hours figuring out the best session topics for their events. Why? Because they know the right session topics (read: the ones that people want to know about) will drive ticket sales. Plus, many conferences now crowdsource their session ideas and ask people to vote on their favorites – virtually guaranteeing that the topics are spot-on.
For instance, sensory deprivation float tanks are all the rage right now (heck, I was even interviewed for a piece in The Nation about float tanks!) The float industry has an annual conference held in Portland, OR for float enthusiasts, float tank center owners and people in the industry. One of the days is an intensive workshop geared towards owners:
This page alone provides scads of blog post ideas, from, “how to soundproof your float tank room” to “how to use social media to promote your float business.” If you’re stuck for topic ideas, conference pages will shake loose some great ideas.
As a side note, I’ve never read any other post discussing this tip (although one may be out there.) So, by using it, you may have an inside track on your competition. You’re welcome.
Webinar Q & A sessions
Here’s another idea I’m surprised isn’t utilized more. You know how you’re tempted to boogie out of a webinar session when the Q & A kicks in? Yes, I know you have things to do, and you’ve already learned what you want to learn…
…but by walking away from the Q & A, you’re missing out on a bevy of blog post ideas.
Think about it. People in your target audience are asking questions. Some (if not most) of those questions could turn into a blog post idea. Heck, you could even write the title like a headline, for instance, “How can I find float tank regulations for my city?” That’s SEO copy gold, baby!
Plus, if you include the webinar presenter’s answer in your blog post, you can send them a note and let them know you cited her. BOOM, now an influencer may tweet your post to the masses.
You can use this blog post idea hack during conferences, too. While other people are filing out of the room, you can smile knowing you have enough blog post fodder to last you for a long time.
“I don’t have time to listen to podcasts!” I get it. I love the idea of podcasts, but I don’t always have the 10-20 minutes to listen to them. Fortunately, this tip is less about listening to a podcast (although you certainly can) and more about learning from their descriptions.
For instance, Jeff Goins includes show highlights on his site (where you can also listen to his podcast.) Just look at all these tasty topics:
Look – there are 11 bullet points you could transform into a meaty blog post! What are you waiting for? You should start writing right now!
Granted, not all podcasters post their talking points on their blog. In that case, even checking out iTunes provides some good information. Do a keyword search for what you want to know more about and check out the podcasts that come back. For instance, if I search for [make money blogging], the ProBlogger Podcast pops up. Here’s a screen shot:
If the podcast titles don’t birth a brainstorm, the podcast descriptions will. Just hover over the “information” button in iTunes to get the scoop.
Plus, this technique is a great way to find podcasting influencers you may not have heard of before. I hadn’t heard of some of the [make money blogging] podcasters that iTunes returned – but now they’re on my radar.
Blogging day in and day out can be a chore. Hopefully, these five tips will help expand your topic horizons and make the generating blog idea process a little less painful.
Inspired? Let me know in the comments! Or, feel free to post a tip. I’d love to read it!