Where to Find Your Next Great Blog Topic

February 16, 2011

Coming up with good topics is often one of the hardest parts of blogging. You may find yourself uninspired, running short on time or just out of ideas. Or, if you’re just getting started you may think, “I know I need to start a blog for my business, but what would I write about?” One easy way to address this is to keep an ongoing list of blog post ideas or a topic file. This will give you a constant source of ideas to pull from and help you to spend your time writing posts instead of brainstorming topics while staring into a blank screen.

Finding Blog Topics

Good blog topics are all around you – the secret is knowing what to look for and where to find it. Below are a few good places to get started.

Industry Topics & Conversations

Every industry has its own set of conversations. Keeping track of these is not only great for finding potential blog topics, but it's also just a good business practice. Look for questions that are being asked or discussed and create a blog post outlining your thoughts on the topic. Places to look for these conversations include:

  • Run a Google News search for a topic or term relevant to your business.
    • Tip: Subscribe to an RSS feed for this search or set up a Google Alert email reminder to easily keep tabs on future news items.
  • Join a LinkedIn Group and subscribe to the weekly email digest of discussions.
  • Pull from face-to-face conversations.
    • If you’re out talking to clients, what questions do they have for you? There is a really good chance others want to know the same information and documenting the answer on your blog creates a resource that you can direct others to in the future.
  • Scan Trade publications.
    • What are these sources writing about? Do you have a different take on the article, an anecdotal example from your own experience or just something to add to the conversation?
  • Poll your audience.
    • If you have an active blog with strong readership, consider asking them what they’d like to read about and what problems they're facing.

Cornerstone Content

  • Similar to the face-to-face conversations mentioned above, look for FAQ topics that seem to come up time and time again and write a few “cornerstone” blog posts. These posts generally deal with especially useful and often timeless information – the type that makes you an expert in your field.
  • Discuss a new product launch or service.
    • While the focus of your blog should be on your readers, real life examples of how you handled a product launch or service can be beneficial to others. Write up your experience and identify things that you would change and services or people that were helpful in the process.

Profile a Business or Conduct an Interview

  • Profile one of your customers or someone who is doing an exemplary job in your industry. Besides providing helpful, relevant information, this is also a great way to make new online connections. If the posts are received well, you should consider making this a regular series on your blog, which will provide many great future post topics.
  • Consider inviting a guest blogger to write a post for your blog. Besides having the content written for you, this is also a great way to generate exposure by opening your blog up to a wider audience and also encouraging some fresh inbound links.

Leverage Timing

  • Use timing to your advantage. This may include an end-of-year wrap up, a prediction for the upcoming year or something simply related to your customer's schedules, such as a holiday or summer travel plans.
  • Events are a great source of timing-related topics. Writing a post about an upcoming event or recapping what you learned is much more likely to get noticed when people are actively engaged in and searching for that content.

Creating a Topic File

Your topic file or list of potential topics can start as nothing more than a simple list in an online document. For me, it’s a Google Doc that I can access from just about anywhere, including my phone, which is helpful when I come up with a great idea and am away from my desk. Start to jot down a few of your ideas and break them into simple categories similar to the ones I suggested above. Hopefully, you’ll find that once you know what to look for, it's much easier to recognize good blog post topics and when it’s time to write your next post or start your first blog, it will be much less daunting since you have a big list of topics to choose from. As with everything, it gets easier with time, so don’t wait – jump in and get started!

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