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Do you ever wonder how some blogs publish content so frequently? Where are they coming up with their blogging ideas?
In this post, I’m going to show you how you can always have something to blog about using just seven simple sources.
The nice thing is you can continue to go back to these sources over and over again. They will never deplete.
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: Study your competitors
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
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: Use 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: Ask your blog subscribers
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.
#5: Search Quora
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.
#6: Niche-Specific Forums & Reddit
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.
They’re decent sources to check, but not great. A lot of the feeds will be full of random posts and discussions that can’t really be translated into blog content.
#7: Keep Working On Cool Things
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.