Coming up with engaging content ideas and topics for your blog is one of the most important but difficult things about blogging.
But it becomes easier when you know where you have an idea generation system in place and know where yo look for fresh content topics that also have the potential to drive massive traffic to your site.
In this article, I’ll share some of the platforms that I use to generate content ideas for my blogs.
Considering the fact that I have sites in many different niches, you can trust these sources to find new blogging ideas no matter what topic you write about. Let’s get started.
Use a spreadsheet to organize your ideas
Just a quick note before we dive into the sources.
If you’re not doing so already, create a master file for all your content ideas. It’ll help you greatly.
When I’m researching blogging ideas, I write down all the possible topics I’ll write about in a spreadsheet. I use Google Sheets for this, but you can use any word processor you like.
In the past, I used to just open up new WordPress posts and save them as drafts to write later. But when you have hundreds of drafts, it can get a little messy.
Using a spreadsheet is a much better way to organize them.
It may seem like a minor detail but, trust me, it’s extremely useful to have a master spreadsheet you can visit anytime you’re doing content planning.
#1: Thoroughly Research Your Target Audience And Its Needs
Understanding the needs, wants, fears, and aspirations of your target audience is the key to consistent idea generation for your blog.
The more you understand who you’re creating the content for, the better blog post topics you’ll be able to come up with.
The best place to start is Google Search to see what your audience is searching for.
Simply enter your topic without pressing the Enter key and see what search terms Google suggests.
For example, if you’re in the dating or relationships niche, let’s search for some of the main topics that interest your target audience.
I only typed “my boyfriend” and Google gave me a list of suggestions based on the most common searches on this topic.
But this is where the fun starts.
Put words like “always”, “never”, “was”, “will” etc. with your search term and see the magic. Let me do this with the keyword “my girlfriend”
Do you see that? Right there, you have a whole list of content ideas.
But we’re not in the idea generation phase yet. Right now we’re only exploring the main interests, needs, wants, fears, and aspirations of our audience.
For example, if you want to write an article about the most common problems guys have with their girlfriends, the screenshot above has already given you a week’s worth of content ideas.
Let’s keep experimenting with a few more of these searches.
Do you see all those suggested searches?
They tell you so much about your audience and can open up tons of new angles from which you can approach a topic.
You can do this for any topic in the world.
For example, if your blog is about skincare or you want content ideas around acne, look at this screenshot.
I only typed “acne has” and look what Google showed me.
“Acne has ruined my life” is a powerful and emotionally charged search term that gives you a hint of how acne patients feel.
You can use these emotional angles in your content and create much more engaging articles than your competitors.
Just playing around with Google Search tells you so much about your audience that you don’t need any other tool for it.
Shortlist the angles and search topics that you like from this step and then evaluate them in SEMrush or any other SEO tool for search potential (volume, competition etc.)
#2: Analyze Your Competitors To Find Proven Ideas
For me, I have all my competitors’ blogs bookmarked in Chrome, and I visit their blogs on a weekly basis. I’m also subscribed to their email lists, since they usually send out a broadcast when a new post is published.
I’m actually genuinely interested in new blog posts they come out with, so analyzing their blog and reading their content is only half for research, and the other half for pleasure.
As I’m checking out their content, I’m always thinking about things like:
- What keywords are they targeting?
- How long is their content?
- How many shares did it get?
- How many comments did it get?
- How could it be improved?
- Is this something I could write about?
- Does this relate to my existing audience?
- How can I make it different?
- What unique angles can be applied to it?
Also check for a “Popular Posts” section. A lot of blogs will list out their most popular blog posts. Usually it’s in the sidebar, sometimes it’s on a page of its own.
These are helpful since they’re often handpicked by the blog owner.
Hint: It’s usually the content they think is most popular, about the most important topics, generating the most traffic.
#2: Use SEMrush Keyword Research To Unveil New Ideas
A more data-based approach to finding blog post ideas is by using SEMrush. I use this tool to get all of the keywords driving traffic to my competitors’ sites.
If you don’t have a SEMrush account, you can grab a free trial here.
There are a lot of things you can use SEMrush for. I’m going to show you how I use it to get blog post ideas. Using this one source alone can give you all the data you need to plan out thousands of pages of content for your own site.
Step 1: Enter in your competitors’ domains
Step 2: Click on “Organic Research”
In the left sidebar, click on “Organic Research”.
You’ll see a list of all the keywords that drive traffic to it from Google.
SEMrush shows you what position they’re ranked for the keyword, the search volume, the URL of the ranking page, and traffic %.
I like to view the list primarily by “Traffic %”. This shows the percentage of the overall search traffic that comes from this keyword.
Step 3: Fill your spreadsheet
Using SEMrush is great because it shows you keywords you may have never thought about targeting with your blog. It’s sometimes surprising to see what keywords are driving the most traffic to a blog.
Go through each site, and jot down ideas into your spreadsheet.
Step 4: View competitors and repeat the process
One of the best things about SEMrush is that it gives you huge lists of competitors so you don’t have to dig around Google yourself.
On the left sidebar, click “Competitors”.
You’ll see every competing site in the same industry. In the example above, there are over 100,000 related sites we can analyze.
Click on them, and go through their organic search positions. As you can imagine, you’ll get endless data doing research like this.
Get started with SEMrush here.
#3: Find The Most Popular Articles On A Topic With BuzzSumo
With SEMrush, we were able to get the top keywords that drive traffic to a blog (ie. Drives the most traffic from Google).
With BuzzSumo, we can find which articles are most popular (ie. Has the most social shares).
To start, enter in your competitors’ domain.
You’ll see a ranked order of their most popular posts along with how many shares it’s received on social media.
NOTE: Just because your competitor got 100,000 shares from an article, doesn’t mean you will get the same results.
There are other factors you may not be aware of such as:
- A large influencer sharing their article.
- Paid traffic to boost the post.
- The post initially being pushed to hundreds of thousands of email subscribers.
You’re not necessarily aiming for the same results. But it should give you a lot of great ideas on popular topics and content styles to try out.
#4: Get Ideas From “People Also Ask” In Google Search
Want to know one of my biggest secrets that helps me come up with tons of high traffic blogging ideas every single month?
It’s called “People Also Ask”, a section that shows up in Google Search results for most keywords.
All you need to do is search for any broad keyword in your niche and Google will give you a list of the most common questions people are asking about it.
For example, here are the questions Google showed when I searched for “weight loss”.
When you click on any of those questions, its answer shows up in a drop-down section. Google adds 3-4 more questions to the list that are related to the question you clicked.
In just a few minutes, you can literally come up with dozens of content ideas by exploring the questions in the “People also ask” section.
And the best thing about these questions is that they all have high search demand which means if you create an article around these questions, you’re likely to rank for relevant keywords in the search results and drive organic traffic to your site.
#5: Get Unlimited Ideas With AnswerThePublic
AnswerThePublic is a website that pulls data from search egnines and presents it in a visual format to help you understand exactly what your target audience is asking about.
It is a super useful tool when it comes to idea generation for blogs becuase it tells you the exact questions of your audience from lots of different angles.
Just search for your main topic keyword on AnswerThePublic and it does the rest for you.
Suppose you’re looking for topics around the keyword “belly fat”.
Enter it in the search box, and choose your target country and language to get ideas.
The search result gives you a visual representation of the different types of questions people are asking about belly fat.
Let’s zoom into this image to see what questions we can find around our topic.
As you can see, the tool shows you all kinds of questions about your topic.
You can shortlist them for further examination in an SEO tool to check the search volume and competition if you want.
But it still gives you lots of different angles to think about your topic.
And that’s just one of the graphics.
If you scroll down, you’ll see multiple sections like searches with comparisons, prepositions, and in alphabetical order.
In short, this simple free tool gives you a wealth of information about your topics and will help you find lots of new ideas for your blog.
#6: Ask Your Subscribers What They Want To Learn
This is one of the easiest ways, and it can even be entirely automated.
Don’t have an email list to ask? Start building one today.
I use and recommend ConvertKit.
There are actually two different ways you can do this.
The first way is to just send out a broadcast and ask your subscribers what they would like to learn more about. Depending on the size of your email list, you can get a ton of responses overnight.
The other way is to include the question into your welcome email.
For example, if you join my email list on RankXL, you’ll immediately get a welcome email in your inbox.
In it, I ask this question at the end:
Reply to this email right now and tell me one thing that I could write about on my blog that would help you most.
I’m always looking for ways to improve the blog and better serve my subscribers, and this would help me out a lot.
Not struggling with anything in particular and just want to say hi? Awesome!
Even just a quick “Hey Chris!” would make my day.
Receiving emails from readers is one of my favorite parts of running RankXL. I’d love to hear from you.
It gets a lot of responses, and I continuously get great blog post ideas on a daily basis.
#7: Explore Quora Discussions For New Content Ideas
I talk about Quora a lot because it’s one of my favorite websites in the world. I read it daily for pleasure.
It’s also one of the best ways to get new and interesting blog post ideas.
To start, just search for a topic.
And you’ll see countless questions people are asking each other.
They can all be converted into blog posts. Here are a few examples…
What’s the healthiest poor man’s meal to eat every day?
The Cheapest, Healthiest Meals You Can Eat Everyday.
What are things surprisingly safe to eat?
12 Things You Had No Idea You Could Eat (Safely)
What’s a food that people perceive to be extremely healthy but is actually terrible for you?
15 Foods You Think Are Healthy, But Are Actually Terrible For You
What happens if you stop eating sugar?
21 Surprising Things That Happen To Your Body When You Stop Eating Sugar
And the list goes on and on.
You can even do research for your own article within Quora by reading some of the answers people are submitting.
Their upvoting system make it really simple to find the best answer that everyone liked best.
Search for related topics
When you’re browsing Quora, make sure to use the “Related Topics” section on the right. Like Subreddits, there are a ton of different Topics that people are active in.
Each one will present a new set of questions/ideas for you.
TIP: The more followers a topic has, the more questions and answers it will have.
#8: Dive Into Reddit And Niche-Specific Forums For Amazing Insights
Whatever niche you’re in, you should be regularly checking (even participating) in the most popular communities.
It’s where everyone’s hanging out!
Most niches have specific forums dedicated to it. And if not, there are usually subreddits for it.
I put forums and reddit together, because they’re pretty similar in the kind of results you’ll get.
There’s another way to use Reddit and Quora that most bloggers ignore.
Apart from helping you come up with new ideas, these two forums can be used to understand the exact emotions and feelings of your audience.
This allows you to use the right tone and language in our content that resonates with your audience.
For example, look at the thread in the screenshot below.
The main question of the thread tells you a bit about the mental stress obesity can have on a person.
But if you scroll through the comments and responses on this thread, you’ll have so much more insights becuase people have shared their own experiences and sufferings becuase of being overweight.
Here’s another similar thread with a bit more emotion.
If you’re in the weight loss niche, read through this thread and feel the stress and challenges obese people have to face.
It’s not just about being overweight.
It’s the social challenges and the stereotypes that come with it.
When you understand the problems of your audience in such depth, you can come up with amazing content ideas that actually resonate with your readers.
Reddit and niche-specific forums are the perfect places for such insights.
#9: Keep Working On Cool Things For More Inspiration
And lastly, just keep being active in your industry. Work on cool things. Run experiments. Have interesting conversations with other colleagues.
The blogs I follow most religiously are ones where the author writes about their own experiences and results.
If you’re personally being active in the industry your blog is in, you’ll never run out of things to write about.
For example, if you run a fitness blog, try training for your first marathon and document the entire process.
If you run a nutrition blog, try going on the latest fad diets and share your results.
If you run a personal finance blog, try running different side hustles and write about your experiences. Or try selling all your old, unused belongings and see how much you can make.
This is especially important if you’re a full-time blogger and you have the luxury of not having to work a day job.
You have all the time in the world to do this stuff. You have a competitive advantage over others who only have a limited amount of time to work on their blogs.
Go do interesting things, and document everything. If you do, it’ll take your content to the next level.
Getting blog post ideas isn’t difficult. You just need to have good sources – ones that you can go back to over and over again.
Make it a practice to research when you have some free time. Don’t do it last minute. A lot of people search for what they can write about the same day, or the day before, they actually write it.
That’s not efficient.
Create a master file that contains all of your content planning, then fill it up with ideas whenever you can.
Whenever you need to schedule new posts to publish, you’ll eventually have hundreds or even thousands of ideas to choose from.