July 19, 2021 Last updated July 19th, 2021 617 Reads share

Writing a Blog: How to Generate Topics When You’re Out of Ideas

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There comes a time in every writer’s career when they look at a blank page and think, Today’s the day. I have run out of things to write about.

Writer’s block can hit bloggers especially hard. Burnout is inevitable when your job requires you to consistently think of new and exciting ideas to engage your readers.

Maybe you’re just starting and wondering how in the world to fill that spot on your website. Maybe you’ve been writing for years and feel like you’ve already explored every angle of the topic. Maybe you just haven’t been sleeping well, and coffee isn’t fixing anything.

Luckily, it’s not just you and a blank page against the world. You can reignite that spark and improve the content you write with this emergency toolkit.

With just a few strategies, you’ll have more ideas than you can write down!

Online Tools for Blog Ideas

Thinking up ideas for your blog doesn’t have to be guesswork. Rather than just writing posts at random and seeing what sticks, you can use all sorts of online tools to find out exactly what people are searching for.

These tools will not do your work for you, but they will give you inspiration and serve as a jumping-off point. They’ll also help you keep a finger on the pulse of your audience.

  1. Let Hubspot do the Heavy Lifting

Sometimes you’ll have the topic you want to write about but can’t figure out the angle you want to approach it from. Sure, you know you want to discuss SEO, but it can be hard to narrow it down. You have to make sure you’re varying the types of posts you’re writing as well.

Once you input up to five nouns, Hubspot’s Blog Topic Generator will give you five headlines (or 250 if you’re willing to share some information). Sometimes, all you need is a catchy title to draw in readers, and it can make sure that your content stays fresh and keeps you out of a rut.

  1. Check out the Competition with BuzzSumo

You should be keeping close tabs on the other blogs in your niche for many reasons, but one is reading through their posts for inspiration. This is not an invitation to plagiarize someone else’s hard work but a way to start a conversation.

Look at their top posts and think about the things you could add, how you could restructure the concept, or what you disagree with.

BuzzSumo allows you to see and sort what posts are trending. You can search by keyword or URL to see what posts are performing the best under various metrics.

  1. Ask the Right Questions with Answer the Public

You know that people want to know about your topic, but it can be hard to figure out precisely what and how they’re asking. You may have a goldmine of information on your blog, but it’s as good as useless if it’s not what people want to know.

Answer the Public harnesses the power of autocomplete data grabbed from Google and other engines and tracks the questions people want to know the answer to, as well as giving you plenty of other data about people’s searches. Use the questions to create posts that can rank in featured snippets and Google’s “people also ask” (PAA) box.

Blog Ideas the Old-Fashioned Way

Blogging may be a 21st-century development, but coming up with ideas for books and stories and articles is not. You shouldn’t rely on algorithms and data for generating all the ideas for your blog. After all, this is your blog, and you’re the expert here.

Sometimes, to stand out from the crowd, you need to take a break from looking at what everyone else is doing so you don’t end up rehashing tired topics and actually write interesting content!

Ideas can come from various places. These are a few tried and true methods for figuring out what’s on the tip of your tongue.

  1. Try Mind Maps!

Mind mapping might have become popular in the 70s, but the practice goes back centuries. It’s a brainstorming technique that helps you expand on your ideas. The basic idea is to choose a central idea or topic—maybe one you’ve already written about—and draw lines out from around it with related topics and associations. Then do the same thing with those ideas, and so forth.

Research backs mind mapping up, with 80% of the people surveyed said mind mapping helped them. Stick with the traditional pen and paper, or try an online application like Miro to keep things more organized!

  1. Make a Series

A lot of the time, it’s easy to make singular blog posts about big, broad topics, but this leaves untapped potential. Not to mention, coming up with a new topic for every single blog post can be needlessly exhausting.

If you take one big topic and break it down into smaller components, you can skip the topic creation part of the writing process and jump right into research and writing. Your readers will also get invested, and regular updates will keep them coming back for more.

  1. Ask Your Audience

One of the best bets to engage your readers is to ask them what they want. You can create a poll with some options for topics or series or start an open discussion in the comments. It’s also an excellent time to attract your followers from other social media platforms to your blog by asking them as well.

This tactic is especially helpful when you already have an established readership, but you can always do it the old-fashioned way and ask the people you know in real life. If they’re already invested in what you write about, they can give you niche topic ideas. If not, they can give you ideas that could rope in new readers.

Takeaway

Writing is hard, and keeping up a blog with engaging, quality content on a schedule is even harder. But you can make things easier on yourself with a bit of prep and by using these tips and tricks when you feel stuck.

The internet is full of tools to help you figure out what people want to know and the best way to put it. And as the expert, you probably have way more ideas than you think you do. So don’t panic and—most importantly—don’t stop writing!

Kate Williams, Ph.D.

Kate Williams, Ph.D.

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