Half the battle of writing an exceptional blog post is selecting the right topic. So what do you do when you’ve racked your brain and the right topic still hasn’t come to mind? Comb through the below sites and be willing to put in some time and effort to gather information and draw conclusions before you start writing.
The “front page of the Internet” can be a great starting point for getting ideas. First, take a look at what’s trending and see if you can capitalize on anything that already has people talking. If nothing jumps out right away, start exploring subreddits that relate to your industry. Answer a question someone has posed or add your point of view on a topic. You start your own threads and directly ask for ideas or feedback.
2. Topsy API
Topsy can help you figure out what people are talking about on Twitter and give you some ideas that way. The Topsy API takes this a step further as you can search through years worth of sent tweets. Look for patterns of popular types of content and think about what can be trending next. You may also find something that hasn’t been written about recently. If a once popular subject has changed significantly in some way, now could be the perfect time to bring it back in a new light.
Medium is an intriguing platform where people write long-form posts on virtually every topic. Whether you find something that directly pertains to you or a totally unrelated but inventive post sparks an idea, you can encounter a wealth of ideas by scrolling through the list of the top 100 posts Medium puts out each month. You can also delve into the most recent posts in their various categories or head over to the editor’s picks for posts flagged as particularly good reads.
FiveSecondTest.com may seem like it’s more for developers and designers than writers and content strategists, but it can serve as the starting point for useful case studies. If you run a series of tests and are able to draw definite conclusions about how much copy to include on a landing page or what types of images draw the most attention, you have the makings of a blog post that many people would be curious to read.
Looking through questions on Quora can directly lead to blog post ideas if you have a response that would be better suited for a blog versus answering the question directly on the site. They can also trigger further questions that you want to explore, or you can draw conclusions from the types of questions that puzzle or interest most people in your industry. Taking note of the most upvoted answers on certain questions can also serve as a source of inspiration because you’ll learn the type of responses that people are looking for and find the most helpful or entertaining. Finally, you can crowdsource your post by asking questions and using quotations from the answers you receive.
Thousands of people are saving articles to the Pocket app every day. By following @PocketHits on Twitter you’ll discover the most saved posts—and form a solid idea of the type of content people take the time to go back to later. Further, if you consider that many people save these articles because the title alone intrigues them but they don’t have time to read the post right away, you can get some ideas for the kinds of titles you should be writing.
Traditionally authors have turned to nature, a change of scenery, or art to get inspired. Scrolling through Pinterest boards may not exactly be the same, but nevertheless you may come across images, quotes, or videos that lead to the start of a blog post. And similar to many of the above options, you can always opt to search through specific categories or the most popular section.
8. Many Eyes
This resource provides data sets through IBM that cover a wide host of categories. You can choose to directly cite the data you find here, or think up related or similar information which you want to find out through your own research. If you go that route, you can use tools like SurveyMonkey or Qualtrics to collect firsthand data.
9. Google Trends
This combination of trending topics, popular searches and charts will let you know what types of content people are talking about and seeking. There are countless ways you can use the data Google provides here, including using search terms to spark the creation of valuable resources.
10. SEO Gadget Content Strategy Generator Tool
This tool combines a few of the above sources and more such as Google Insights, All Things Now, and Ubersuggest (all other great idea generators!) and puts them in the form of a handy Google doc that will help you keep track of your ideas all in one place. Looking at what’s trending on each of these sites at once should help you best judge what topics have already been overdone and where there is a gap and a need that you can fill.
If you’re looking for quick topic generators, check out these 75 Content Starters for Any Industry.
You can also download iAcquire’s latest eBook, Content Strategy for Digital Marketers, to get tips on tools and processes for content ideation.
Let us know what other tools and resources you use in the comments!