Since I am restarting my adventure into blogging, I’ve decided a great place to begin is to create a blog post that shows you how to create blog post ideas that will hopefully bring you traffic. Traffic that you can then use to turn into money, build your mailing list or feed your ego.
There are hundreds of tips and techniques out there, so I’m just going to dive in and start rattling off some. One technique I love is to write something that you would love to see exist. Personally, instead of staring at a blank computer screen, I would like to have a resource I can turn to to help me generate blog post ideas. The goal of this post is to be that resource.
- Start a blog post idea bank – this may sound obvious, but before you begin, you need a place to store your blog post ideas. Use whatever you prefer, but make sure you have some way to capture ideas 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. I use an app on my phone to write down ideas whenever they occur. I then transfer those ideas to a simple text file on my computer. That’s just one technique. You may prefer to carry around a paper notebook and pen. Send an email to yourself from your phone or start a Google doc. Just make sure you write them down before you forget them.
- Write 10 blog post ideas a day, no matter what – This technique has been borrowed from the creative genius James Altucher. His advice is excellent. If you want to become more creative, you need to come up with at least 10 ideas EVERY DAY. Try this and you’ll be amazed at how well it works. By “forcing” yourself to create 10 ideas a day, you exercise the creative muscles in your brain. Over time it becomes easier to create ideas… eventually ideas will come to you whether you want them to or not. Use this same technique for blog post ideas. Take a few minutes out of the day and make yourself come up with 10 ideas.
- Take inventory of your talents, skills, hobbies, etc. – Writing can be painful, so you want to make the process as easy as possible. The way to do that is to focus on topics that excite you or at least interest you. Take a few minutes and write down a list of all of your hobbies. What are you good at? What’s in your brain that others would find helpful? If your brain was a searchable website, what would people find interesting in it? Write down as many talents, skills, interests, and hobbies you can think of until you have a pretty large list. Use this as a starting point when you brainstorm ideas.
- Start your first brainstorming session – Pick one of your favorite hobbies, talents, skills or interests and write it down. Now, start doing more focused brainstorming, this time limiting yourself to that one broad niche. Let’s say you are interested in snorkeling. You’ve been snorkeling a few times and love it. You have enough experience that you can offer beginners some valuable tips. Write down everything you currently know, and afterward, we can use Google and other tools to find potential specific post ideas. Based on your snorkeling experience, try to think of some blog post headlines that would fit your specialized knowledge. Examples could include – Best Snorkeling Masks, Best Places to Snorkel in Hawaii, How to Keep Your Snorkeling Mask from Fogging Up, etc.
- Research with Google and other online tools – Now comes the fun part. Go to Google and start searching for your niche and see what people are interested in. A great technique many bloggers used is called the “Alphabet Soup” technique. If you have Google autocomplete enabled, start typing in the Google search bar and it will automatically suggest what others have searched for. Using “Snorkeling” as our example, here are some suggested searches to consider:
The fun part comes when you start typing “snorkeling” followed by each letter of the alphabet. This is why they call it the alphabet soup technique. So, if you start with the letter “a”, the next suggested searches will look like this: So, keep playing around with this and you’ll get the idea. As you do this, write down ideas that peak your interest. Take a look at the actual search results and see the websites look like for that search result. The way to think of it is to imagine if a search result was a city and the results were restaurants in that city. What if all of the restaurants served horrible food, provided bad service or both? A competing restaurant could easily come into town and all they would need to do is offer great food at great prices with great service to get most of the business in town. It’s no different with websites. If you find a search result that is offering horrible results (pages with a lot of ads, poorly written content, etc.) this is good news! All you need to do is improve upon the existing results and in theory, you should eventually outrank them. Here is a video on the Google alphabet soup technique if you want to go into more detail:
- Keep track of your own searches – Another good trick is to keep track of your own searches and pay attention to the times where you are having a hard time finding the information you are looking for. Pay attention to the times where you search and really have to dig deep. Usually when I’m in this mode either there’s no information out there, or it is unsolved and only part of the information is out there. An example would be a search result that pulls up a forum result where someone asked the same question, but nobody answered. All you need to do is complete the research and organize it all into a user-friendly blog post. There are many ways to keep track of your own searches. You can do it manually and take notes. You can keep your search history turned on in Google and sift through it when you have time. See “My Activity” on Google. You can also look through your searches looking through your history in your Chrome, Firefox, and other browsers.
- Internet forums, Reddit, Facebook, Twitter and More – You could probably spend the rest of your life searching the all of the various forums, Reddit, Facebook groups, Twitter, etc. for blog post ideas. This is good news for you! As of this writing, in 2018 in my opinion, the best place to look is probably Reddit. Reddit used to be primarily tech only, but I often find myself doing a Reddit search over a Google search to get good trustworthy information. Keep an eye out for threads that have not been answered, are out of date, incorrectly answered or are difficult to sift through. If you find a thread that has a lot of detailed information, see if that thread is ranking in Google. You may be able to do more research, organize the information better and turn it into a good blog post.Old school Internet forums can be a gold mine as well. In the past, I have launched successful businesses simply from the initial momentum gained from a forum post. They may look old school (which I kind of like) but they can be very powerful. To find forums in areas that interest you, check out FindaForum.net – a directory of forums on just about anything you can imagine. Use Twitter Search to look for people asking questions. This requires a little practice. Search for words and phrases such as “how do I”, “does anyone know”, “where can I”… etc. To find Facebook groups that match your interest, login to Facebook and then click Groups at the top and search. As an example, if you want to find groups about monkeys, go to https://www.facebook.com/search/groups/?q=monkeys. Take a look at the various groups to see what questions are being asked and which posts have a lot of likes/comments.
- Google Trends and Google Adwords Keyword Planner Tool – Two excellent keyword research tools you can use for free are Google Trends and the Google Adwords Keyword Planner Tool. You will need to create an adwords account to use the latter. It would probably require writing a book to explain how to use both, but just sign up for Google Adwords and start playing around with it until you get the hang of it. Same with Google Trends. Search on YouTube and you’ll find several tutorials. Here are a couple to start you off:How to use Google Trends for Blog Topic Ideas:
How To Use The Google Adwords Keyword Planner Tool As A Blog Post Ideas Generator & Validator (please note this video was made in 2014, so the navigation may change, but concepts are still the same)
There are many different keyword tools that can cost hundreds of dollars to help you find niche keywords. If you have the budget for them, they can be valuable but if you don’t I wouldn’t rack up your credit cards for them as you can discover most blog post ideas on your own. Oh yeah, before I forget there’s another good resource that is currently free that is great for blog post idea research. Check out AnswerThePublic.com. A great tool, but how long it will be free is another question.
The main thing you want to do is get in the habit of creating 10 blog post ideas a day and eventually you’ll have a big bank of ideas to start with. Sort through your ideas and pick out the ones that are the most exciting to you or ones you think have little competition and a lot of potential.
This post is by no means the ultimate guide to creating blog post ideas. Here are some other articles on this subject you may want to check out: