Brainstorming Blog Topics (That People Actually Want to Read)

Anyone can crank out blog content.

TBH, there’s lots of garbage produced every day.

The reason: Not everyone can dream up relevant topics that people are actually interested in reading. 

Lots of people just write based on internal marketing objectives, they mimic their competitors, or they guess at what their target audience wants to read about. 

But that’s not going to make writing blog content a super worthwhile endeavor.

Here’s a more strategic approach for brainstorming blog topics your audience (and clients’ audiences) actually want to read.

1. Poll your audience

The best way to get started is by going right to the source. Ask your audience (or people within your niche) what burning questions they have, what the most valuable post they’ve read recently was, and which topics they read about most often. Use email, social media, relevant forums--places where your peeps spend time.

By giving your target audience a voice, you’ll often discover some great ideas for content that you never even considered. In fact, this is the same reason I conduct a survey of my email subscribers a few times per year. This topic was a subscriber suggestion.

2. Look at related searches

You know how Google kicks out a few related search queries at the bottom of the page when you search something? Pay attention to these. By looking at the related queries, you can find other high volume search topics that act as ideas for blog topics.

For example: Say you’re writing for a company that offers closet organization services. You type in “How to organize a closet” and see that related search queries are about organizing small spaces, drawer organization, and DIY ideas. There are three potential topics. BOOM.

Added bonus: They’re more specific than your original high-level query so you can take a deep dive rather than skimming the surface of a broad topic.

3. Use BuzzSumo

BuzzSumo lets you find at the top 10 most shared pieces of content via keyword search, which can be filtered by date, content type, country, and more. If you want to see what’s working for other writers and getting lots of social traction, this tool can help you kick off your research. The free version is limited, but the paid version has much more in-depth results.

4. Look at the news

When working to brainstorm topics that are on the cutting edge of your niche, you’ll need to study the news and make notes of common trends and themes you’re seeing. Looking at this data, you can start to think of unique things you can bring to the conversation. Ask yourself:

Is there data you can synthesize to illustrate a point no one is making yet?

Are shifts within your niche opening the door to new challenges, nuances, and points of struggle? If so, what do people need to know about overcoming those obstacles?

Do you have original research you can publish that brings new insight to an ongoing conversation?

Be Original

Once you’ve gone through these steps and have a solid list of ideas you can start hashing out, remember that you need to contribute something fresh and original to the online conversation.

Don’t simply restate what’s already been said a million times--give it a new angle and draw original (and research-backed) conclusions. Also, remember to model your formatting at the folks who do this well. If you can do this, you can boost the relevancy, value, and often ROI of your content right away.

Have other questions you want me to answer in the future? Email me and let me know what topic you want me to cover next. I'll do my best to give a solid answer over the coming weeks.

This article originally appeared in my newsletter, A Cup of Copy. Sign up and get these free tips sent right to your inbox every other Wednesday.