13 Creative Ways To Come Up With Blog Post Ideas So You Never Wonder What To Blog About Next!

How many times has this happened to you?

You sit down to write a blog post and... nothing.

You know your blog needs content to grow. You know your audiences.

Maybe you even have a little traffic. But no matter how long you sit there it's still just... nothing. 

Here's the good news: there's a much better way to come up with blog post ideas than just staring at a blinking cursor and waiting for a miracle.

More importantly there are methodical, efficient, ROI-driven ways to come up with blog post ideas that can drastically increase your odds of doing well with Google or with your existing audiences. 

Of course, what follows certainly are not the only ways to do it. 

These are just some of the best ways we've found for our businesses to keep the content machine churning out quality articles.

Let's dive in.

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#1: Use Amazon book listings to map out the core topics for your niche and write pillar posts for them (if you haven’t already).

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What better way to come up with your next blog post idea than to identify the most important topics in your niche that you haven’t yet covered?

In every market, there will almost certainly be several “core” topics that you absolutely must cover. These won’t necessarily make sense SEO wise as they will probably be extremely competitive (although they can be good for building links with the skyscraper method), and often, they won’t even be short term ROI-driven.

An example of such page on this site would be our what is an authority site page.

These posts are essentially the price of admission to get into your market--the most important topics to your audience. If you don't cover those, it's hard to pose as an authority usually.

Gael's Notes                 

These pages tend to also make most of your external marketing activities such as outreach link building more successful because you can pose more as an authority for having them.

So while they don't have a direct ROI, they will probably be beneficial in the end.

We tend to like to use these as our category pages.

Here’s how to find them.

1. Look at collections of content and identify popular topics.

One of the best places to look is the best selling books on Amazon.

Suppose we’re starting a fitness site. We could head over to Amazon and look at the best-selling fitness books.

The first place we might look is the sub-categories in the sidebar.

You mostly want to look for broad--but highly relevant--topics that would make sense on your blog.

Here, some topics that might make good pillar posts for our hypothetical fitness site are:

  • Weight Training
  • Ab workouts
  • Injuries / rehabilitation
  • Quick workouts
  • Stretching

There are lots of other good topics, but they might not be the best fit (i.e. pregnancy, walking, and others that don’t jive with a more muscle-bound blog).

You can also look at the most popular individual books, which can show you what kinds of content generates real interest (and likely makes the most money).

We can see some repeat topics here--weightlifting and ab workouts--which is a strong indicator that those are very important interests for our audience. We see a new one as well: workout routines.

If you want to go a notch deeper, look for kindle books with the "look inside" option. This option essentially allows you to get access to the first pages of the book.​

From there you can reach the table of contents 99% of the time and those are awesome for article ideas or sub-parts of your huge core topic page.

While big content or even writing an ebook may be scary, think of it as a series of blog posts (chapters). It makes it a lot less intimidating.​

2. Write big, impressive articles for your core topics.

If you have a new blog, consider building your silos/categories around these core pages. If I were starting a fitness blog, for example, it might make sense to have strength training, ab workout, stretching, and workout routine categories.

Because these are the posts your audience will be the most interested in--and because you’ll want to put them front-and-center on your blog--they should be WOW! pieces. Lots of research. 3,000+ words. You get the idea.

Here is an example of such page on Health Ambition.​

If you use Thrive Themes like we do, you can make these pillar posts your actual category pages, which can get a lot of eyeballs on them and provide a good target for your links.

This option is available in the category section if you use a Thrive Theme, this lets you create hub pages for your silos.

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#2: Use traditional keyword research to generate a massive list of topics.

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This may sound a bit like common sense to the veterans among us, but it’s worth repeating for newer folks, and I think there are some nuances worth highlighting.

First, an ultra-quick refresher.

We break keyword research into two types of research:

  1. traditional keyword research
  2. competitor keyword research.

Traditional keyword research is just keyword research that uses tools to generate keywords based on some input (often called a “seed” keyword).

Here’s the important thing: every keyword is an article idea. So if you have a list of 100 keywords, you also have a list of 100 article ideas.

And that’s the first step…

1. Use a keyword research tool to generate a massive list of potential keywords.

We use Ahrefs to do this, but there are lots of tools you can use. Sticking with our theoretical fitness example, we could type in any of the “core” topics we found above (or anything else, for that matter).

Then, we can set a maximum keyword difficulty (KD) score, so we only see really easy keywords. And we’d get a list like this.

Using just three seed keywords, we were able to generate 1,500 very easy keywords.

Of course, you don’t need that many. You really only need around 100 to start. Or you can find several hundred if you want to do your keyword research all at once.

2. Record and organize your keywords according to your site structure, categories, or pillar posts.

I typically just throw all the good keywords into a spreadsheet and create groups of keywords that could all go together. Then…

3. Use keywords as ideas and work your way down your list.

When you need a new article idea, simply write about the next keyword on your list. With “easy” keywords, you’ll often find the articles can be short and sweet. And, of course, when you run out, all you have to do is go get some more.

Related Podcast : Spencer Haws & The Golden Keyword Research Formula

If you like this tactic but don’t want to spend the money on Ahrefs, here’s a quick tutorial on how to find these same types of keywords without spending money. It’s not optimal, but it works.

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#3: Reverse engineer top keywords and/or posts of your competitors to ethically borrow their ideas.

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The idea here is to look at what works best for your competitors and then compete with them.

Whenever I write about this, I always start with the same preface: we’re talking about competing here--not copying. We want to add information, fresh angles, and our own commentary; we do not want to just rewrite their articles. Not only is it completely unethical--it’s also just not going to work (Google knows copied content when it sees it).

Related Podcast : Copycats, how to deal with them and how to not become one

Ideally, we want to find 10-20 highly successful posts that we can compete with. Then, we want to knock our competing posts out of the park. What’s the first step?

1. Find competitors around your authority with lots of traffic.

Plug your site into Ahrefs. If you don’t have a site yet, try to find one in your niche with lower SEO metrics but who still has decent traffic. In the overview, you’ll be able to see your top 10 competitors.

Let’s just use HealthAmbition (our case study site) as an example. Here are our main competitors in Ahrefs.

Taking a quick peek at each of them, I found that bragg.com is around our authority (judging by Ahrefs’ Domain Rating) and gets quite a bit of traffic.

Alternatively, you can just google keywords your target with your site and find sites focused on your niche with similar domain rating / authority​

2. Plug your competitor into Ahrefs and look at their top keywords and top posts.

After you plug your competitor into Ahrefs, scroll down until you find the top keywords and top pages. It should look like this.

You’ll then be able to see which keywords and which articles bring in the most traffic for your competitor.

3. Borrow a few ideas from your competitor.

Look at both the top keywords and top articles. I generally prefer to reverse engineer articles because they’re the easiest to add to and improve on.

Borrow a few of the juiciest ideas from your competitor. I generally try to borrow about five, since I don’t just want to rip off all of someone’s keywords.

4. Keep looking at competitors until you have 10-20 battle-tested article ideas.

After you’ve recorded a few ideas from one competitor, plug in another. And remember: you don’t just have to use one competitor. You can look at the competitors of your competitors, which essentially gives you a never ending list of market-proven article ideas.

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#4: Use BuzzSumo or Ahrefs to identify ultra trendy topics you can cover.

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This is a phenomenal way to general blog post ideas, especially if you have a large social following.

If you didn’t know, both BuzzSumo and Ahrefs let you see the most highly shared posts on the internet for various time periods and across various different platforms.

By seeing what conversations and stories are hot right now, you can chime in, add your own voice, and push highly shareable content out to your audience.

Gael's Notes                 

A lot of fast growing sites are exclusively built that way together with Facebook advertising. If you want to see a cool case study about someone who does this full time, check this article on The Hustle.

Here’s how you do it.

1. Type a broad topic into BuzzSumo.

We’ll use Buzzsumo for this example. You can use Ahrefs’ Content Explorer, but we’ll use BuzzSumo here, since it as a free version you can use to play with the tactic yourself. Anyway, head over to Buzzsumo and type in a broad topic.

2. Filter by time period and platform.

If you want to tap into ultra-current conversations, filter by the last 24 hours. If you’re having trouble getting results, filter by longer periods of time.

Then, filter by the platform on which you have the largest audience. For example, if you’re crushing it on Facebook, sort the results to show those with the most Facebook shares.

When you do that, you’ll have a list of article ideas you know people like already. All you have to do is cover the story.

3. Pick out some stories you think your audience would like and write about them.

This is where it starts to feel like journalism. It’s also why it’s good for social media but not so good for SEO: most of these stories will be written about by tons of different sites.

So the idea isn’t so much to rank #1 in Google; rather, it’s to promote content with high viral coefficients to the right audience.

Lastly, you want to make sure add your own voice. Don’t just rewrite the article. That’s a bit too close to plagiarism. Instead, cover the story and add your own commentary and insight.

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#5: Use tools to identify common questions in your niche and answer them.

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Here’s a secret: for every market, there are people in it asking questions. Lots of questions. Endless questions. This is especially true for passion- and problem-based markets.

If you can find those questions, you’ll have a virtually unlimited supply of blog post ideas.

But that’s not the only benefit. Common questions are usually also great sources of long-tail traffic, since people are very likely typing their questions into Google.

Here’s how you do it.

1. Use a tool to generate a bunch of questions.​

There are lots of question-generating tools out there, but my favorites are Answer The Public, Quora, and Ubersuggest. Let’s take a quick look at each of them.

Answer the Public is built specifically to show you the questions commonly asked about a topic. It’s powered by Google auto-suggest, essentially combining question keywords (“how,” “when,” “where,” “what,” “why,” “who,” “which,” and “are”) with auto-suggest results.

All you have to do is type in a seed keyword…

...and you’ll get back a visualized “map” of questions related to that topic.

If you click the “prepositions” button at the top, you’ll be able to see even more questions--ones that include prepositions such as “for,” “with,” “without,” “like,” “to,” “near,” and “versus,” all of which can be highly useful for finding even more questions and tapping into even more long-tail traffic.

Ubersuggest is a similar tool (powered by Google auto-suggest), but I’ve found it returns slightly different results. You’ll also have to input question words yourself, like so:

Ubersuggest will then return Google auto-suggest results for every letter of the alphabet.

And finally, you can use the grandaddy of all question databases: Quora.

Quora’s been around for a long time, and it’s sole purpose is to let users answer each other’s questions. And because the user base is huge, there are usually tons and tons of questions.

So that’s the upside.

The downside is that lots of the questions will be geared toward personal experiences, which typically don’t make great articles.

In the example below, you’ll see that I searched for questions about “flights,” and one of the questions I found was, “What was the most empty airline you’ve flown on?”

People who answer that one are mostly just sharing personal stories. You could come up with an interesting related question, like, “How can I book empty flights ?” but it might be a bit of a stretch.

Still the sheer number of questions and the ability to “bounce” to related topics makes Quora a veritable goldmine of blog post ideas.

And, of course, if you’re not into messing with new tools, you can always use google itself (and in almost exactly the same way).

Additionally, Quora also offers a large amount of very well researched expert answers. Those are gold as a resource when putting an article together.​

2. Make a list of good questions.​

Keep a list of interesting questions you find. In particular pay attention to questions that will require some research, since the average Joe is likely to lazy to do it, but you’re not.

3. See which questions have search volume.​

I like to run each of them through a keyword tool like Ahrefs--just to verify there’s a bit of organic search volume up for grabs (note: sometimes the exact question may not have search volume but the core keyword of the question might).

4. Write an article that answers the question.​

Finally, you’ll want to write a post answering that question in detail. For blog posts that start with a question, it’s often a good practice to give a short-and-sweet answer at the very beginning and use the rest of the article to elaborate and tackle nuances.

Gael's Notes                 

This tactic is extremely powerful if you are looking to grow fast with daily blogging. Simply pick a question and answer it in 500 - 1,500 words.

This will pump so much long tail goodness on your site, your organic traffic will skyrocket after a few months (this is how we grow healthambition.com in a nutshell).

Resources for this Tactic

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#6: Brainstorm problems potential customers might have and create tutorial content to solve them.

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The idea behind this tactic for coming up with blog post ideas is to sell in reverse.

In other words, you want to want to start with the thing you want people to buy and then generate blog post ideas based on the problem (i.e. pain point) that would cause someone to buy that thing.

Let’s run through an example.

Suppose you run a dating site for women, and you want to sell Language of Desire, a popular women’s dating product on ClickBank.

You’re going to need some content to promote it.

So, you could start by brainstorming problems people who’d be interested in this product might have:

  • Have trouble finding dates
  • Have friends they like but who aren’t interested in them
  • Want to get their boyfriend back
  • Low self-esteem around men
  • Poor conversationalists and/or don’t know what to say
  • Shy

You could generate some really killer article ideas by turning those problems into posts--bonus points if you do it with an angle that would create warmer prospects. Here’s my crack at it.

  • How to Use Subliminal Messaging to Get Guys to Ask You Out
  • 7 Secret Tactics to Turn Friends Into Boyfriends (one of these would be about sexy language)
  • The 15 Words Your Ex Needs to Hear Before He Wants You Back
  • How to Hack Your Self-Esteem Around Men (one would be about sexy language)
  • 13 Tricks that Will Make You Look Like a Conversational Genius

You could feasibly mention the affiliate product in every one of these articles. Even better, you could use these articles to get people into a funnel and promote multiple related products over time (you usually use opt-in pop-ups or content upgrades to funnel people).

We use this method extensively (often coupled with traditional keyword research for bonus traffic) on both this site and Health Ambition.

For example this post on pre-sells people on Thrive Content Builder. We also use this post on Health Ambition to presell our juicing ebook (behind the opt in).

These kinds of posts are very profitable especially if you manage to create an ongoing stream of traffic to them (SEO, social, autoresponders etc).

If you want to learn more on selling with blog posts I suggest you also read this post on the blog.​

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#7: Identify experts in your niche YOU can learn from and interview them.

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Remember this article by Jon Dykstra?

It was hugely successful for us--mostly because it was incredibly interesting, and Jon dropped some pretty ridiculous knowledge bombs.

And it’s exactly the kind of blog post I’m talking about: one in which you simply ask an expert some questions.

Even if you’re a true expert in your niche, you’re certainly not the only expert, and you’d be delusional if you think though you knew everything.

So, one way to generate fantastic blog post ideas is to find other experts and ask them to teach you things you don’t know about.

1. Find experts.

The first thing you want to do is find some experts.

Whether you’re doing market research for a brand new blog or you’ve run one for a while, you should already have a pretty good idea who the experts are in your niche.

For a hypothetical fitness site, a couple experts might be Mark from Mark’s Daily Apple or Mike from Muscle for Life. Of course, there are loads of experts in a niche as big as fitness; these are just a couple examples.

Additionally, if you are not yet very familiar with your niche, Buzzsumo's influencer research tool is here to help you discover those who make the news in your industry.​

PRO TIP: find experts who aren’t super famous. Taking the two examples above, you’d be much better off pursuing an interview with Mike. You’d never book Mark; he’s just too big. Mike is absurdly successful, but he’s not famous, which makes him a much better target for an interview.

2. Determine what they know more about than you.

For example, Mike from Muscle for Life has a vastly deep understanding of bodybuilding nutrition. He wrote one of the best selling fitness books on Amazon, and it a better part of half of it was insanely detailed nutrition.

He also leveraged his blog into a highly successful supplement company and does lots of personal coaching.

So, if I were starting a fitness blog, I’d list the stuff Mike knows more about than I do:

  • Bodybuilding nutrition
  • Contest prep
  • Starting a supplement line
  • Coaching and consulting

3. Build blog post ideas around those topics.

Using the topics above, you could create potential “case studies” around that stuff. Off the cuff, they might look something like this:

  • Mike Matthews’ 5 Essential Contest Prep Nutrition Tips
  • How Mike Matthews Used his Fitness Savvy to Launch a Supplement Line
  • Confessions of a Personal Fitness Coach (Everything You Never Wanted to Know)

You get the idea. Just cool, interesting ideas build specifically around your expert’s skill set.

4. Pitch the ideas to your expert.

Usually, I just shoot a short email. Very short. Shockingly short. Something like:

Hey Mike --

Big fan. I run examplefitnessblog.com, and my readers have been asking me questions I think you could answer better than me.

Mind if I shoot a couple quick questions over to you via email, so I can put them in a blog post?

Of course, I’d be happy to cross-promote and push it out to my readers as well.

Talk soon!
Perrin

And don’t forget to follow up a few times if you don’t hear back! Experts are usually busy people.

5. Conduct the interview and turn it into a blog post.

After you’ve gotten some good, detailed answers out of your expert, embed it into a blog post.

Here’s the trick, though: don’t just copy and paste the answers and hit the publish button. Instead, use the information as a jumping off point to add your own thoughts. Use it as raw information and then do your job as a blogger to turn it into actionable tips for your readers.

Gael does that extensively in my posts (yeah that's totally Gael writing this while editing the post now) and did it in very obvious ways on Jon's guest post too.​

Gael's Notes                 

Be careful not to fall into the "me too" interviews for these kinds of content. Lots of people are looking to be interviewed to promote their products and company and often provide very little original value that they did not provide elsewhere.

This is particularly true in the entrepreneurship space (we get solicited a lot) but make sure there is always an original side to your post.​

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#8: Think of ways you can use yourself as a test dummy.

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This will work in some niches better than others, but when it works, people love it.

As we saw above, every market has its own set of questions. Most markets also have topics that are hotly debated.

Using yourself as a test dummy to provide real, first-hand data and anecdotes can go a really, really long way.

Let’s stick with the dating analogy here, since using yourself as a test dummy in the fitness niche might be a bit dangerous.

1. Identify a question or controversy that would make a good experiment.

Here are a few good questions from the dating world:

  • Do pick up lines work?
  • What’s the best time to kiss a girl?
  • What kind of outfit makes it easiest to get dates?
  • In which locations are girls most likely to talk to you?

2. Pick a good question and design an experiment.

You want to pick a question that is easy to test but that is still highly interesting. In the examples above, we could immediately rule out “What’s the best time to kiss a girl?” since it’d take a very long time to try to kiss 50 girls (or whatever).

The others, however, could be tested pretty easily.

Suppose we like the question, “In which locations are girls most likely to talk to you?” We could design an experiment that looks like this:

Pick 5 common locations (bar, coffeeshop, bookstore, street, etc.)Approach 10 girls in each locationRecord the number of girls who are willing to talk to youRecord the times for each conversationSee which location had the highest average number of conversationsSee which location had the longest average conversation

3. Go do it! Then, write about it.

Like… actually do it, record the results, and turn it into a great post.

I hope you see how insanely interesting this can be, making it an incredible way to generate blog post ideas.

Honestly, if you could design personal experiments around every great keyword you find, you’d probably have one of the most interesting blogs in any niche.

This tactic is probably one of the major ways big new media companies use to grow their reach.

Thehustle.co used it in this LSD Micro dosing article or testing robot pet therapy. and they grew to over 3 million monthly hits in under a year and made over $500,000 in the same time.

Vice, a new media company worth over $4 billion dollars, uses it regularly like in this dating app short documentary

And you will see TONS of examples in online magazines, buzzfeed, Mashable etc. It takes a while and a lot of effort to put these pieces together, but they can act as a real growth engine for your business if you can make it appealing. *wink wink Gael*

PRO TIP: This kind of blog post is even more interesting if you fail. We do, and people love it.

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#9: Ask your audience what they want to learn about.

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Here’s a really easy one if you have an established audience you can talk to (via social media or an email list): just ask them what they want to read about.

Who better to come up with your next blog post idea than the people who will actually be reading it, anyway?

We do this periodically, and it’s always a hit. Check it out:

It also gives us a chance to engage with our readers.

Here’s how you do it.

1. Email your readers and ask them a question (you can automate this).

Or post something to your Facebook page, or tweet, or whatever. Wherever the most of your readers like to hang out, post there.

It’s totally fine to ask something general, like we did with our email “How can I help you?” This is usually a great jumping off point, and it will get you the most ideas.

But you can also ask something more specific. Even better, you can ask questions that can give you an idea of what kinds of problems your readers have, which could potentially help you create a product down the road.

Here is a template we recommend you use in the first week of your autoresponder for new subscribers:​

Subject : How can I help you?

Hey *name*,

Thank you for joining our email list.

I hope you've enjoyed everything we sent you so far!​

Let me ask you a quick question, how can I help you achieve *goal* ?

*Your Name*​

And just wait for people to reply (make sure the reply to email is set to your personal email)

2. Collect the answers and organize them.

A simple spreadsheet usually works just fine for this.

As you sift through the emails, pick out the main point and record it.

They shouldn’t be super specific, since you want to group people with the same or similar problems to get an accurate view of the broad topic you can write about (although it’s a good idea to keep specific answers in mind when crafting specific blog posts).

Gael's Notes                 

These emails are a huge help for us when it comes to picking podcast topics, product concepts or blog post ideas. While the spreadsheet works, I like to keep things organised in workflowy.

​I then consult the list of problems people have sent us when it comes to creating new content. It's a bit of a setup but if you want to build a loyal audience, it totally rocks.

3. Write about the “most wanted” ideas.

Usually, as you sift through the data, you’ll start to see some trends emerge. Maybe most of your readers need help getting motivated to work out. Maybe they want to know what the best routine is.

Who knows!

But you’ll almost certainly start to see that people want to learn about some topcis more than others.

I usually start with the most popular broad topic and dig into specific questions for my actual blog post ideas. Of course, there are a lot of ways you use this information (webinars, eBooks, etc.). But this is certainly a great way to get killer ideas for blog posts.

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#10: Refute something consensual and make your headline controversial.

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This is like the evil twin of Tactic #4.

However, instead of finding trendy topics and simply covering the story (like we did in Tactic #4), we’ll be arguing the opposite point of view.

The process is similar, but the results can be drastically different.

Simply covering a trendy topic can definitely generate some traffic, but positioning yourself as the lone voice of dissent has the potential to push posts into the truly viral realm.

A good way to think about it might be to ask yourself this questoin: “Who’s more likely to get big exposure: the 100th blog saying Donald Trump is an idiot, or the one guy who’s making an intelligent case for why he’d be the best president of all time?”

Don’t do that. It’s just an example. But I hope it helps illustrate the potential power.

1. Find a trendy topic everyone agrees about

Let’s use our hypothetical dating blog and head over to BuzzSumo again.

Admittedly, this isn’t a niche that has a lot of strong “trends,” but it’s certainly clear that the predominant position is that online dating is silly.

It’s just how people seem to treat the issue: online dating is “so weird ikr?!”

And it’s definitely not popular to think online dating is awesome.

2. See if you can (ethically) cover the opposite stance or at least turn your headline that way. If you can, write the post.

In this example, I think it’d be pretty easy. You’d just write a blog post to the effect of something like,

"Forget Bars & Clubs, Online Dating is Now The Place Where You Will Most Likely Meet Your Other Half"

Note, though, that I said ethically cover the opposite stance. I do not recommend creating controversy just to get some traffic.

If I had, say, a political blog, I couldn’t write about the benefits of electing Donald Trump as president without compromising my own ethics.

In other words, controversy is great, but don’t be skeezy about it.

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#11: Look at public support forums to identify the most annoying problems people face and try to solve them.

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This is another one for the true experts out there.

In some niches, you’ll be able to find public support forums that are chocked full of questions, problems, frustrations, and annoyances.

If you really know what you’re doing, this provide you with a virtually endless supply of blog post ideas.

And it’s especially powerful in technical niches that tend to change a lot. To illustrate, let’s assume you ran a blog about using WordPress, the most popular CMS out there--and also a product that has a massive public support forum.

1. Look at the support forum’s categories to get ideas for epic content/guides.

You can use support forums for two types of content: epic guides and individual blog posts. For ideas for epic guides, I tend to look at the forum categories. These will be topics that are big enough that people will be posting in them consistently.

Here’s an example for our hypothetical WordPress blog.

Some of the categories (e.g. “Miscellaneous,” “Feedback”) obviously wouldn’t make great guides.

However, some of these categories absolutely would make fantastic guides, and there’s clearly a strong need out there. There are 189,000 posts in the “Installation” category for example.

I highlighted a few that would make great guides in the image above. Translated to a blog, those might look like this:

  • Ultimate Guide to WordPress Installation (for EVERY Major Hosting Company)
  • Guide to WordPress Plugins & How to Hack Them
  • Complete Tutorial on Installing WordPress Locally
  • Beginner’s Guide to Running WordPress on Multiple Sites

Again, these topics are big. They would not make good “normal” blog posts. But they’d almost certainly make amazing guides.

2. Look at threads for individual post ideas.

To get ideas for individual posts, check out the individual threads. Here are a few threads I thought would make good blog post ideas in the “Troubleshooting” category.

The cool thing about these is that they’re almost blog post titles already. You wouldn’t even have to change them much:

  • So Your WordPress Post is Not Loading. Try this.
  • How to Edit Your Theme File Without Crashing Your Website
  • 3 Tips to Avoid HTTP Errors When Uploading .docx FIles

I think it’s worth reiterating that this blog post idea generation tactic will work better for some niches than others (namely technical niches, where questions pop up constantly, rather than evergreen niches). But if you’re in one of those, support forums can produce tons of amazing ideas.

This tactic doesn't just work for technical issues with forums either. If we go back to our fitness book example, 1 and 2 star reviews on ebooks are a great way to find out about what people are missing / having issues with.

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#12: Steal ideas from content distribution platforms.

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Content distribution platforms are essentially ad networks for content marketers. Most of the time, they allow publishers to get their blog posts in “related posts” sections of major websites (think CNN, Huffington Post, etc.).

They’re also expensive.

So, for publishers to make any money at all on these platforms, they have to use extremely click-worthy blog posts…

...which makes it the perfect place to look for for inspiration. Check it out.

1. Head over to a site that uses uses Taboola or Outbrain.

You can look at the big, popular media properties, of course, but be aware that the articles promoted there will probably be more general.

Not every site monetizes with content distribution platforms, but if there’s a big player in your specific niche, check there first.

It’ll look like this.

See if there’s anything that pops out at you. If there’s not…

2. If you can’t find relevant results, reload the page or try a different site.

Suppose you had a personal finance blog. With this new set of ideas, you’d probably be able to take-and-tweak that passive income article to fit on your own site, and you could be pretty confident that it’d be click-worthy if you pushed it out to your readers.

It's also worth clicking through to see how people are monetising these headlines. so you don't just create content but make money ;).

Once you have those articles ready, slap them on your sidebar / in your related post section and link to them in content on your other posts, essentially use them as native ads inside your inbound traffic channels.

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#13: Create sub-topics for your most popular articles.

Difficulty

Time Required

Efficiency

If you have an existing site with established traffic, probably one of the best ways to come up with new blog post ideas is to look at the posts that are already bringing in the views and create sub-topics for them.

Why’s this so good?

Because Google has a tendency to “favor” certain topics for certain sites. HealthAmbition, for example, almost always ranks for juicing content, while we have a more difficult time ranking for some other types of content.

For whatever reason, Google just views us as a good juicing resource. So by writing more about that thing--whatever it is--you can come up with good blog post ideas that stand a good chance of ranking well in the SERPs.

1. Look at your most popular pages.

Go to your google analytics account and navigate to Behavior > Site Content > All Pages.

Here, you’ll be able to see the most popular pages on your site. By default, you’ll see the most popular pages over the last 30 days, but you can change the date range to view the most popular posts of all time if you like.

2. Identify topics you could write more about.​

Take a look at which ones seem like they would yield good sub-topics or related topics--the ones you could write more about.

For example, suppose you had a fitness site, and you were ranking well for a blog post titled, “How to Do a Pushup with Proper Form.” There’s a good chance Google would rank your site well for other push-up-related topics. And, of course, there’s a lot more pushup-related content you could create.

3. Brainstorm ideas that would fit into the same content box.

In the example above, you might brainstorm posts like:

  • Health benefits of pushups
  • Pushup routines
  • Pushup variations
  • Pushup workouts for sports
  • Etc.

Each of those could have its own creative blog post. To find these I usually use the Ahrefs keyword explorer and set the max difficulty to 10 or less to find the low hanging fruits.

This is honestly one of our favorite tactics because instead of trying to be creative (which is good sometimes, but is riskier in terms of ROI) it simply aims to expand what’s already working and you can internal link to these articles from your already successful content for instant traffic and rankings..

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Wrapping it up!

Of course, these are not the only ways to come up with blog posts ideas. These are just some of the tactics we use when our hoppers are running low.

Most of us here are all in the same game, though: the content arms race that is SEO.

So you tell me now: how do you come up with awesome blog post ideas?

Leave us a comment below!

Perrin Carrell
 

Hey there :) I'm Perrin, part of the Authority Hacker team. When I'm not blogging about Internet Marketing here, I help businesses improve their online presence, and, of course, I run a couple profitable blogs of my own.

Click Here to Leave a Comment Below 25 comments
Dave - August 16, 2016

Hi Perrin,

awesome post as usual. One question though: In point #1 you talk about a pillar/category post on health ambition. I was wondering why these massive category pages are nowhere linked from (e.g. the main navigation bar or somewhere else throughout the site´s navigational elements)?

Reply
    Gael Breton - August 16, 2016

    Hey Dave, we will include those on the home page in the next redesign, in the mean time they get a lot of internal links through the breadcrumbs / category links at the end of the posts.

    Reply
Todd Connelly - August 16, 2016

Hey Perrin… I had to take some breaks while reading this post, it’s VERY long and detailed… just the way I like ’em. Question, how do you feel this process would work for guest post topic ideas? Of course you’d need to blend in the guest post websites niche and combine it with yours, but what topic would motivate them to let you write a guest post? Would this process work or would you modify it a little or not use it all?

Again, great post. Thanks for sharing!

Reply
    Gael Breton - August 16, 2016

    Hey Todd,

    I’ll reply but Perrin can hop on as well if he wants. If the site is exactly in your niche then I would probably plug their URL in Buzzsumo / ahrefs content explorer and look at what has worked well for them in the past and offer some kind of sub topic / update of that so they know they can expect a good response / traffic from it.

    If the site is not exactly in your niche then I would try to find a bridge topic that brings up what my main site is about (to pre qualify the traffic) and look at similar popular content on ahrefs / Buzzsumo.

    So for example if a video game site accepted my guest post for Health Ambition I would probably offer a list of healthy snacks gamers can prepare in 5 minutes between 2 games or a list of games that make you fitter.

    Hope that helps!

    Reply
    Perrin Carrell - August 16, 2016

    Gael’s on the money here.

    The other thing you need to keep in mind with guest posts, though, is that they exist in an ecosystem in which time is a much bigger portion of the ROI (as it is with all link-building campaigns). So, when you come up with ideas, you just need to keep in mind that they really CAN’T be too epic.

    They absolutely can (and should) be GOOD. But, for example, in Tactic #8, we talk about using yourself as a test dummy. That’s a pretty in-depth thing to execute and would likely be a bit too much effort to put into a single guest post.

    In short, sure–you can use these tactics for guest posts; just make sure you don’t come up with ideas that violate the best practices of guest posting. :)

    Reply
Doug Beney - August 16, 2016

Awesome post! This was created with the Thrive Content Builder, right?

Reply
Thomas - August 17, 2016

Way to go. Looks like next time when I run out of ideas, I would have no excuse but to remind myself of this article again. The table of content hack is a gem by the way, as you’re tapping into a market that’s been proven to work.

Tom

Reply
    Gael Breton - August 17, 2016

    Thanks Thomas, yep, I find myself using that one a lot. If you think about it books are just a series of articles (chapter) that refer to the previous ones.

    By the way I see you’ve been enjoying the blog, sorry I couldn’t get back to all your comments yet but it’s somewhere on my todo list :).

    Reply
Rehman - August 17, 2016

Hi,
Perrin, very long but more informatic. Thanks for Sharing.
I get my idea from Google suggest and try to combine 2 – 3 keywords to create one good topic for my niche.
Even I use Portent’s Content idea generator and CoSchedule to get a better headline.

I am good with all free tools for now.

Hey Gael & Perrin, Thanks for sharing such a great ideas with us.

Reply
Adam - August 17, 2016

Perrin/Gael,

This is awesome, like usual. A lot of familiar ideas, but definitely a few new ones. In particular, I had never seen answerthepublic.com before. I have used it for a few seed words already and found a few possible posts I could put together in pretty short order. I feel like these kinds of approaches to finding topics to write about are huge in terms of keeping the momentum going. It can be a grind going through writing when you’re starting out, and finding a couple of ‘Who/What/When/Why/How’ types of questions to answer in a post can really get you back on track.

Adam

Reply
    Gael Breton - August 17, 2016

    Hey Adam, thanks for dropping by.

    I agree, question posts are awesome when you’re struggling to find what to write about next provided you can bring some original insights.

    Glad you liked the post!

    Reply
    Perrin Carrell - August 17, 2016

    They’re really, really good for finding long tails as well :)

    Reply
Bhuboy Villanueva - August 21, 2016

With the ideas you share, no one, after reading this, could now make an excuse, that he/she cant think what to write about. Thanks a lot for this

Reply
Basil Smith - August 23, 2016

Perrin, your post is a breeze to read! Long, but every word is in its place. If everyone were using these ideas, the Internet would be a place with original content on every website *signing* But everything is without changes. So I have to use plagiarism detector called Unplag and watermark my blog photos (who knows who could steal content?)

Thanks for suggesting Answer the Public and Ubersuggest – finally I found something new for me! Much appreciated!

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Sean Morgans - August 31, 2016

Hi Guys

Fantastic blog post. It’s like you guys read my mind when you come up with these blog posts and podcasts!!

I’m going to spend a few hours Saturday Morning going through all the methods above to hopefully come up with a huge list of ideas. Fingers crossed it’ll cure my writing block.

Thanks.

Sean

Reply
Imer Imran - September 19, 2016

Hi Perrin
This post is brilliant. I’m definitely going to try some of the ones you have listed for my next post to see how it works out. An amazing list of an idea for my blog. It is really hard for me to find a new idea for my blog. Your articles are always helpful!

Keep up the great work!

Imer

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Criss - October 3, 2016

Hi Perrin,

Great post as usual. Been a big fans of you and Gael ever since I saw your Youtube channel. Creative and simple explanation as always. I have realize that authority hacker pro was just recently closed. When will it open again as I have missed it. =(

Keep up the great work Cheers!

Reply
Akshay - November 22, 2016

Great post as usual, Gael.

I loved the point you said about referring table of contents. That’s the goldmine. Just search Google Books for your niche, and there you go.

I noticed some newsletters constantly poking me to describe the problems I’m facing. Yeah! You got it.

In a saturated niche, it’s easy to burn out feeling dry. Thanks for sprinkling some water.

Loved your post.

Cheers~

Reply
Thomas - December 9, 2016

Hi

Thank you very much for sharing this great post. I am struggling to find out blog post idea. It will help me definitely.

Reply
Albert Tan - February 1, 2017

Hi Gael/Perrin,

Every time I read any of your blog post, I would certainly learn something new or discover some AHA moment. This post is no exception. Thanks for this informative and useful post!

For example, #12: Steal ideas from content distribution platforms

I would try my luck using this technique in my next content marketing.

As for your technique #11: Look at public support forums to identify the most annoying problems people face and try to solve them, I would like to add another method which is finding content ideas from Reddit.

Recently I have written a very detailed step-by-step entrepreneur’s guide on Reddit Keyword Research (including using a special tool). If you are OK with it, I could share the link of the article here.

Cheers and keep up the good work of writing more epic content!

Albert

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