Blogging is great…
…until you run out of ideas.
Then it’s a perpetual grind to churn out new (and engaging) content.
And when you’re in the profession I’m in…
…you can’t afford to run out of ideas.
That’s why I’m always on the lookout for ways to consistently generate new content ideas when the need arises.
And over time, I’ve been able to weed out the best methods from the not-so-great ones.
Today, you get to benefit from my research…
…because I’m about to share with you my top resources for finding virtually unlimited new ideas for blog posts.
So if you’ve struggled with coming up with new content for your blog, this post will help you tenfold.
Reddit is one of my go-to sites for finding new content ideas.
It’s an ultimate mashup of forums and Q&A content boasting a reach of over 250 million unique users worldwide.
Which means it’s a goldmine of targeted, niche-specific topic ideas.
There are three ways I mine ideas from Reddit:
1. Browse niche-specific sub-reddits.
Reddit hosts sub-reddits (think micro-forums) for just about any topic imaginable. And you can search these sub-reddits for unique and original content ideas.
First, use Reddit’s search feature to find topics and sub-topics related to your niche.
Once you find a topic, you can sort the results. The default view shows you what’s trending now.
Next, use the sort function to show the top content for a given period of time. Choose the time periods of ‘Past Year’ or ‘All Time’ to find the posts that have the most user interactions.
Then, search the results for useful topics you can turn into content.
2. Search post comments for specific questions.
You can find even more content ideas by clicking into a post and sifting through the comments.
First, find a topic with a healthy number of comments.
Here’s a recent one on r/dogtraining:
Second, pay attention to the questions being asked in the comments.
Like this question:
Third, take these questions and use them to generate content ideas.
Let’s take the question above and create a few post ideas from it:
- Top 8 High Quality Dog Food Brands
- How Grain-Free Dog Food Can Help Potty Train Your Dog
- How High Quality Dog Food Can Actually Save You Money
See how that works?
Given the context and main keywords in the question above, I was able to come up with three viable blog post ideas in under a minute.
3. Find topic-specific AMA sessions hosted by experts in your niche.
AMA (‘Ask Me Anything’) sessions are mini-events where topic-specific industry leaders and members spend a set amount of time answering questions from other Reddit members.
Instead of only focusing on the questions asked, here you’ll zero in on the answers given by the expert hosting the AMA.
Here’s how to do it:
Step one is to find the topic-relevant AMAs in your niche.
You can find them by typing ‘AMA’ into the search bar and clicking in the box next to “limit my search to…”
Here’s one at the top of the search results that shows promise:
Notice the number of comments. That’s a good sign.
Step two, browse the AMA for questions asked by other Reddit members, paying special attention to the answers given by the AMA host.
Step three, use the expert’s answers as inspiration for your own post ideas.
Off the top of my head, this answer could inspire the following posts:
- Top 3 Things New Dog Owners Should NEVER Do
- Why Scolding Your Dog is a Terrible Idea
- The One Trick for Finally Teaching Your Dog to ‘Come’
These three Reddit tips alone should meet your idea generation needs for a while.
But if you need more, read on.
AllTop is a news aggregator that covers a wide range of different topics – from pop culture to religion to psychology to origami.
You’d be hard pressed not to find relevant info on your topic here.
When you visit the AllTop homepage you’ll see a page that looks like this:
Depending on your topic, you can mine some pretty good content ideas from here.
But the real gold is to be found once you dive into the individual sub-topics.
Here’s just a fraction of the results I get when I search for affiliate marketing.
Click on the ‘Affiliate Marketing’ link and you’ll see the five most recent posts for all featured blogs.
With just a quick glance I was able to find 10 ideas for content inspiration from the titles alone.
Here’s what’s great about AllTop:
Most of the featured blogs are from industry leaders who stay on top of the latest trends in your niche.
Which means they’re full of niche-specific hot topics you can skyscraper into link-worthy content to leverage on your own site.
But that’s not all:
You can dig even deeper on AllTop.
Click on a feature blog title to view even more posts from that blog’s homepage. Use this to find older topics that you can put your own spin on.
This awesome site is like Google Suggest on steroids.
It takes your topic and spits out a visually-impressive diagram of related questions.
Type your topic into the search box and choose your region (it defaults to UK).
Answer The Public instantly gives you a diagram filled with your topic’s most common questions, all revolving around 5W1H: why, what, when, where, which and how (plus ‘who’ and ‘are’).
Check out the results for the topic dog training:
Pretty cool, right?
And if the diagram’s not your thing, you can always choose ‘Data’ to view the results in a list format:
Here’s why Answer The Public is so powerful:
With the integration of voice search, Google is preparing for more searches that ask real, human questions.
(Instead of “tomato bisque recipe”, think “what is a good tomato bisque recipe”.)
Right out of the gate, Answer the Public gives you real questions that your target audience are asking in real time. These questions alone are great for targeting new long-tail opportunities for on-page SEO.
But there’s more ATP has to offer:
It also gives you a list of topic-based phrases that include common prepositions like for, versus, and to.
This can prove invaluable if you want to target specific industries within your niche.
Here’s a list of the preposition results for the topic dog training:
Now check out the results for “for”:
All of these are solid ideas for creating content geared toward each respective sub-niche/industry.
This tool is great for when you want to generate a handful of new content ideas on the spot.
Plus, it’s extremely easy to use.
Within seconds, you’ll have five titles you can use to brainstorm new ideas.
Just enter up to three topic-relevant terms in the fields:
And that’s it! You instantly have five blog topic ideas.
Here’s what what I get when I enter list building:
These are all viable blog topics that could be used as-is or as fuel for brainstorming.
You can click ‘Try Again’ to generate more titles as needed.
While this tool might not be the best for deep blog-topic research, it’s excellent for generating new content ideas fast.
UberSuggest is so simple and efficient.
It takes your seed topic and gives you back dozens (sometime hundreds) of additional sub-topics you can use for post inspiration.
To start, type in your topic and click ‘suggest’:
Here’s a snippet of the results from my search for email marketing:
But lets take it even further, dig a little deeper.
Click on email marketing benefits. Then, from the dropdown, click ‘Expand this keyword’:
Here’s what you’ll see:
Now I have even more specific topics for brainstorming post ideas.
In theory, this process can be used to generate hundreds of ideas from a small sample of seed topic keywords.
Use this in conjunction with other tools on this list to produce a large database of unique and interesting topics for future blog posts.
BuzzSumo is a powerhouse at generating new content ideas.
It’s great because it not only gives you content ideas but also tells you which content is performing best for your topic.
This info is helpful because it shows you how best to approach your own content and allows you to tap into the hottest trends within your industry.
Check out the results I get when I search ’email marketing’:
The first thing that stands out is the in-depth results of the top performing content for email marketing.
But also notice the number of shares and backlinks each piece of content receives.
This can give you clues as to which social platform is best for marketing your own relevant content.
Take these two results for instance:
Both are from the same source (Inc.com):
Yet, the first one is shared most on LinkedIn, while the second is shared most on Facebook.
Use indicators like these to clue you in on which channels to focus your attention when marketing similar content.
One more thing:
Pay attention to any trending results you see…
…as they’ll reveal hot topics that are currently trending up.
Just a heads up:
The free version of BuzzSumo is somewhat limited in scope and won’t give you the big picture like the paid version will.
But at a price as low as $79/month, if it’s within your budget, this is as smart of an investment as you can make. Well worth the price of admission.
Udemy boasts one of the largest collections of online courses.
Which makes it perfect for finding new content ideas.
Here’s how you can use Udemy to uncover ideas that you know are going to be popular with your target audience:
First, go to Udemy and search your topic.
For example, let’s say you’re writing a post about content marketing. So you’ll type “content marketing” into the search box.
Udemy will bring up a list of courses related to content marketing.
Browse the results until you find a course with a lot of ratings.
Here’s one by HubSpot Academy I found with 362 ratings:
Once you click into the course, take note of the number of people who have signed up to take it.
Almost 8,000 people have signed up. That’s a key indicator that people want what this course offers.
Which means it’s a great resource for mining content ideas.
Your next step is to check out the course’s outline, starting with the main topics.
Do you see what I see?
That’s 10 course topics total…
…each ripe with potential content ideas for your site.
But don’t stop there:
Expand each main topic to see its sub-topics:
What you see are sub-topics researched by one of the largest online marketing sites, HubSpot.
So it’s very likely that these sub-topics stem from actual questions HubSpot’s readers are wanting answered.
Notice how short the videos are?
Use their length (or lack-thereof) to your advantage by taking these topics (questions) and expanding upon them. Go more in-depth. Be more specific…
…and you’ll have pure content gold.
Google Trends may be best known as a tool for performing market research, but it’s also powerful for conducting mini topic-idea brainstorming sessions.
There are three ways Google Trends can spark new ideas:
First, search your main topic:
1. Browse Related Topics
You can use Related Topics to see what’s popular in your topic’s field.
Let’s pretend you want to get ideas for an upcoming influencer marketing article.
Here are the related topics that show up:
This gives you a rundown of other related resources that could potentially provide further content ideas.
2. Browse Related Queries
Related Queries shows you which topics related to your main topic are trending right now.
You can use this resource to find the popular sub-topics within your main topic and use them to brainstorm content ideas that you know are already popular on Google.
3. See Interest Over Time
Google Trend’s Interest Over Time tells you whether your topic is trending up or down.
This tells us two things:
- Influencer marketing’s risen in popularity (more or less) since the beginning of the year.
- Right now, it’s trending down. But we should expect a swing up soon.
This information verifies that content created around influence marketing has the potential to drive a lot of traffic to your site.
While Google Trends isn’t primarily geared towards content idea generation, it can still be useful and effective when used the right way.
9. Mine Comments from Popular Blogs
Blog commenting’s not as popular as it once was. But there’s still plenty of ideas to be found within your own and your competitor’s blog comments.
Take this comment from one of Backlinko’s posts:
Notice anything about the highlighted parts?
They’re both questions.
And that’s exactly what you should search for in your’s and your competitors’ comments.
Because these are questions about real issues your target audience is facing.
Which means they’re a goldmine of useful topics for your own blog posts.
For the above comment, I would use Mike’s questions as inspiration for a post that lists the ways a person can search for quality LSI keywords using Google and other sources.
Now here’s the icing on the cake:
Once I publish this post, I can feel confident there’s an audience willing and ready to digest it.
Pro Tip: Some blogs have tons of comments to sift through (the above Backlinko post has 622!). Make your search quicker and easier by typing “?” into the Find function box (CTL + F for PC, CMD +F for Mac) to find every question asked in the comments.
When it comes to content generation, competitors are your best friend.
Pay attention to what they’re publishing on their blog and social media channels to stay on top of the latest trends in your niche.
Just like you, they need to stay ahead of the content curve.
And with potentially more resources (and cashflow) at their disposal, they may have better access to what is and isn’t working in your industry.
Use their knowledge to your advantage.
First, you need to know what to look for. I tend to look for three things:
- what’s trending
- what’s getting the most links
- what types of content they’re publishing
And here’s how I find each:
1. Find out what’s trending
This is easy enough.
Enter your competitor’s URL into BuzzSumo and see which content is getting the most action.
Let’s say you’re in the personal finance industry. Then it’s a safe bet that The Penny Hoarder is a competitor you’d want to mine for content ideas.
After filtering the results to show “Past Year” content, this is what we get:
Just by scanning the results, I’ve learned that content about…
- improving financial health
- work-from-home opportunities
- limited time deals
- saving money shopping
- jobs for introverts
- making extra money on the side
…is popular with readers.
2. Find out what’s getting the most links
For backlink and domain sourcing, I like to use Ahrefs (BuzzSumo will work, too).
Same concept as BuzzSumo…
Enter your competitor’s URL into Ahrefs’ search box.
Then, choose Top Content under the Pages sub-category:
For The Penny Hoarder, I got the following results:
Next, sort the results by Referring Domain (RD).
(Referring Domains are the number of domains linking back to that specific page. The higher the number, the better.)
From these results, I can gather that…
- freebie offers
- work from home opportunities
- unique ways to make extra cash
…are all strong picks for topics with a high likelihood of attracting more links.
3. Find out what types of content they’re producing
This last step involves studying the results of both your BuzzSumo and Ahrefs searches.
You’ve noted the topics. Now, pay attention to what types of content they’re producing. Is there a lot of “how to” articles? List posts? In-depth tutorials? Opinion pieces?
For our example searches above, there are two types of content that stand out:
- Longer list posts are a big traffic gainer for The Penny Hoarder.
- So are simple and straight-forward how-to posts.
Do you see the power in this?
From just one competitor we were unable to uncover a wealth of different topic ideas and content options.
Do the same research with your top 5-10 competitors and you’ll collect a large group of potential topic ideas and strategies to choose from.
11. Forums and Q&A Sites
Here’s a fun fact:
All content is geared towards solving problems for people.
And people consume it because they’re constantly trying to solve problems to improve their lives.
You can tap into this superpower of problem solving when you know how to find your audience’s most pressing pain points.
How do you do this?
By sourcing popular questions from niche-related forums and question sites.
Here’s how to find the best questions from forums and Q&A sites for coming up with great content ideas that solve your audience’s biggest problems.
First, we’ll start with finding niche-specific forums.
Google is the best way to find forums your target audience frequents.
Let’s say you want to find topic ideas for the paleo diet.
Start by putting the following search string into Google: paleo diet + forum
Next, visit the top results from your search. (The first few results will most likely be active forums)
Once you’re on a forum, search through the topics for questions with a higher number of responses and comments.
Here are some questions I found on NerdFitness’ forum:
And here are the post ideas I came up with:
- How to Make Hard-Boiled Eggs Taste Better
- 5 Paleo Fundamentals for Rebuilding Muscle Fast
- Paleo Diet Nutrients: Are You Over-Thinking Your Macros?
- A Minimalist’s Guide to the Paleo Diet
Four viable blog post ideas in less than 5 minutes.
Repeat this with every forum (and search all of the sub-forums) and you’ll have a nice supply of fresh topic ideas ready to be used as new and engaging content.
So…What Do You Think?
Now it’s your turn to chime in.
How did you like this list?
Do you think it will help you generate some cool, new post ideas?
Or is there a resource I missed.
Either way, let me know by leaving a comment below right now.