A Step-by-Step Guide to Finding Your Best Blog Post Ideas

You likely already know that blogging is good for your business.

In addition to populating your website with stellar content, blogging also boosts your traffic — in a big way. According to HubSpot, companies that blog 16 times or more each month earn nearly 3.5x as much traffic as their less-dedicated counterparts.

This is all well and good, but how do you come up with blog post ideas for all of those blogs? While content is critical for developing a good online presence, keeping up with the demand for content topics can be tough.

Luckily, you’re not alone.

This simple guide is designed to walk you through the process of finding blog post ideas, from beginning to end. Read on to learn more.

Blogging for Business: Why do it?

We already mentioned the traffic great blog post ideas can bring you, but now let’s talk about the leads. According to the same HubSpot data, companies that post more than 16 blogs each month also generated 4.5x as many leads as their competition.

What’s more, publishing a high number of blog posts each month has repercussions that last far beyond the publishing date. When you structure your blog correctly and populate it with great blog post ideas, it can continue to drive traffic for weeks, months, even years after the original publishing date of the blog. HubSpot reports that 90% of its blog leads are generated by old posts.

With this in mind, it’s obvious that blogging for business is critical not only to your current success, but to the success you’ll enjoy down the road.

Coming up with Blog Post Ideas is Hard — How do I do it?

In all of this discussion about why it’s a great idea to blog often, we’re skirting around one thing — writing that many blogs a month is tough! Even if you have an in-house content creation team, mining topics that your readers will find both interesting and valuable can be a serious challenge. Luckily, there are some tricks of the trade that can help you.

Regardless of which industry your company works in or what your specialty is, there are dozens of helpful resources for coming up with blog post ideas across the web. All you need to do is get creative!

10 Ways to Mine Effective Blog Post Ideas

1. Consult your Q&A

If you’re like most companies, you likely have a selection of reader questions that pop up over and over again. Even if you’ve already addressed these in a Q&A section of your website, you can take it one step further by creating a blog series about the in-depth details of a specific question or series of questions.

This works for a few reasons: One, if your customers continue to ask a specific question, it’s obviously something that they’re interested in, and that (and this is the most important part) they may not have the resources to solve themselves. Secondly, writing a blog post based on reader questions is an excellent way to demonstrate that you’re listening to and concerned about your reader input. This, in turn, positions you as an attentive, intelligent company that cares about its audience.

2. Tune into a Twitter Chat

Thanks to social media, the internet has become a fantastic place to learn new things, connect with other like-minded people, and join new communities. If you’ve been struggling to come up with creative blog post ideas for your site, consider joining a relevant Twitter chat.

If you’re unfamiliar with what a Twitter chat is, it’s essentially a scheduled event that happens on the Twitter platform. People from all over the Twitter-sphere come together at a regular time (usually once a week) to discuss a certain topic via Twitter.

Twitter chats exist in dozens of different industries, from content marketing and SEO to celebrity gossip and beyond. Even if you’ve never joined a Twitter chat before, doing so can be a really productive way to learn new things, gain new insights, and come up with relevant and unique blog post ideas.

If you’re feeling adventurous, host your own Twitter chat to take control of the conversation.

3. Consult your competitors

If your competitors have blogs (and they should), check them out for any topics or ideas you may be missing. While we’re not advocating copying your competitors’ ideas, it can be helpful to get out there and see for yourself what the competition is doing and what’s working well (or not) for them.

In addition to filling gaps in your own blog topic strategy, this can also help you build a more well-rounded perspective of the industry you live and work in.

4. Head to Quora

If you’ve never used Quora to mind blog post ideas, you’re missing out on a veritable gold mine! One of the most popular question and answer sites on the web, Quora provides a platform for users to ask questions about everything from relationships to tech, and for other users to “upvote” answers.

While it can be intimidating for some bloggers to learn to sort through the riff-raff of Quora (it’s inevitable that much of the content won’t be related to your seed interests or topics), those who take the time to really dig into the platform will find that it’s a valuable peek into the minds and questions of their target audiences.

5. Check out the blog comments of industry leaders

The thought leaders in your industry likely blog on a regular basis. What’s more, these blogs likely gain a high number of comments and traffic each month. While it’s a source that many people overlook, the comment sections of these blogs can be very helpful when it comes to mining new blog post ideas.

As a general rule, readers ask questions in the blog comments section. By reading through these comments and locating a few intelligent, well thought-out questions, you can supply yourself with ammunition for blog post ideas for months to come. What’s more, this approach has the added benefit of allowing you to get granular with reader interest, and craft blog content that caters to readers’ deepest and most specific questions.

6. Poll your readers

If you get really stuck on blog post ideas and you’re not sure what your readers would like to read about, consider simply polling them. The thing is that your readers want to be heard and valued, and giving them a chance to speak their minds via a polling platform is a fantastic way to not only generate high-quality blog post ideas, but also to develop a deeper and more sustainable relationship with your reader base — both of which serve your company well in the long run.

7. Take notes

Inspiration often strikes in the strangest places, and it’s a smart idea to stay on top of it as much as possible. Many marketers have had the experience of cruising the web, coming up with a great blog post idea, and then forgetting it a mere half hour later. To protect yourself from this same fate, get in the habit of taking notes.

Every time you come across something that you think would make a good blog post idea, jot it down. Obviously, you can do this the old-fashioned way (with a pen and paper) or you can use an app like Evernote, which allows you to take notes and “clip” bits of text directly from the internet.

8. Use BuzzSumo

If you’re not yet familiar with BuzzSumo, there’s a good chance it’s going to change your life. BuzzSumo is a research platform that allows you to look up the most-shared content and key influencers in your niche based on certain keywords. Simply type in your target topic and BuzzSumo will generate an entire list of the most recent posts on the topic and how much attention they’ve earned across the web and social media.

Once you’ve found the most-shared content, take a tip from the top posts and develop a few blog post ideas that address the same problem or subject.

9. Research relevant keywords

Researching target keywords can be a fantastic way to mine new blog post ideas. While there are dozens of great keyword research tools out there, the pros are steadily turning to KWFinder, a powerful (paid or non-paid) research tool that provides metrics like search volume, cost-per-click, and SEO difficulty.

By typing your target keyword phrase into KWFinder, you can gain instant insight into which keywords will be easy to rank for and what people are searching for on a monthly basis.

10. Keep an eye on social media

Social media is a fantastic place to mine blog post ideas. Keep an eye on your comments, interaction, and feedback to get a feel for what your readers want to see more of in your blog.

For an added boost, consider joining social media groups on Facebook or LinkedIn. In addition to putting you in close contact with like-minded individuals, these groups can also provide valuable insight into blog post ideas you should be writing about.

Blog Post Ideas Made Simple

While mining great blog post ideas has always been challenging, these ten tips simplify the process and make it easier than ever to provide your readers with high-quality, useful, and interesting blog post ideas they truly want to interact with.

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Originally published at blog.startafire.com on August 15, 2016.