15 Blog Content Ideas With Examples And Tips

Blog Post Idea Generation Any Business Can Use

Light Bulbs- Blog Post Idea Generation-4Ever find yourself staring at the clock the night before a blog post is due praying for inspiration to strike?

Don’t worry. You’re not alone.

The goal of generating a list of blog post ideas is to get you on the path to efficient blog post creation. This helps you avoid “I don’t know what to blog.”

The best blog post creation takes place over time, not under the pressure of an imminent deadline. John Cleese made this point in his Content Marketing World keynote. You need to give your mind time to work on ideas while you’re doing something else.

The benefit of having a list of blog content ideas is that you can add relevant snippets, references and images over time using a Google document or Evernote. If your list is shared among colleagues, you increase your ability to collect relevant information.

Blog post idea generation with examples

Before starting your blog post idea generation process, examine your blog analytics to determine which column topics and types performed best in the past to achieve your specific blog goals. Your past blog experience is the best indicator of your audience’s preferences.

BTW, here’s help if you’re starting a business blog.

Light Bulbs- Blog Post Idea Generation-4

 

1. Audit your existing content for ideas

Ideally, every business should regularly audit their content to ensure that it’s up-to-date and relevant. From a blogging perspective, a content audit provides many blog post opportunities. 

Actionable Blogging Tips:

  • Fill holes in your content offering with new blog posts.
  • Transform product manuals and other customer related information into easy-to-follow blog posts. Simplify the information and sound human to help your audience.
  • Update and transform older information into blog posts. Add images and other media to make them more appealing and easy-to-consume.

Download The Ultimate Blogging Checklist

 

2. Create core resources

Copyblogger’s Brian Clark calls this cornerstone content since it’s fundamental to the overarching content strategy of your blog. 

Neil Patel has published a number of Advanced Guides. They’re over 40,000 words in length and provide useful information that keeps generating visits and links.

Cornerstone Content-resource example-Blog Content Idea Generation

Lists are another form of core resources. While lists are high on every blogger’s post idea generation catalog because they attract attention, to remain a key resource, you must organize them by topic and continually update them. (This later point is key for any evergreen content.) 

Jonathon Colman has created a useful content strategy list resource that has 3+ thousand shares and 114 comments. But read his last 2 paragraphs:

If you’ve created an influential, valuable content strategy resource that I forgot to mention here, please forgive me — no offense intended. If I accidentally left you and your work out, please just know that the spirit is willing, but the fingers (and clock!) are weak.

Is there anything missing from this epic list of content strategy resources? Please let me know on Twitter @jcolman or by sending me a note.

 The Epic List of Content Strategy Resources-1-1

Actionable Blogging Tips:

  • Determine what your blog will be known for. Then outline the information and related articles you need to create. This should be content people will continue to seek over time.
  • Use data, where possible, to add reliability to your resource. This is particularly important for lists so that it’s not just your word.

Download The Ultimate Blogging Checklist

 

3. Create content to support your marketing efforts

Use your marketing calendar as a point of inspiration for your blog posts.

For example, Curata created an infographic (see below) and a blog post about “What to do in Cleveland” for out of town Content Marketing World attendees.

Related Marketing Event-Blog Post Idea Generation-Infographic

Actionable Blogging Tips:

  • Brainstorm blog post ideas in marketing planning meetings. This is a win-win. Your blog can support marketing efforts before, during and after.

Download The Ultimate Blogging Checklist

 

4. Answer readers’ questions

What does your core audience want to know from you that you’re uniquely positioned to answer?

Actionable Blogging Tips

  • Collect questions people ask you and your employees face-to-face. Establish a method to gather these questions formally. It can be as simple as a Google document.
  • Search your blog’s comment section. This may not work if your readers don’t engage with you on your blog or social media.
  • Check the comment section of active relevant blogs. Use these questions as a starting point for a new article. Don’t write a me-too piece.
  • Ask readers to submit their questions. Create a special email address that someone is responsible for reviewing.
  • Use your email responder to ask prospects about their current challenges. Find out their painpoints when they’re most likely to respond. Here’s our autoresponder. (BTW, we’d be thrilled if you signed up!) Reader Blog post Idea generation

Download The Ultimate Blogging Checklist

 

5. Give prospects and customers product related information

Think like a librarian to collect all of the information related to your offering.

Actionable Blogging Tips:

  • Get your sales and customer service teams to brainstorm and document all of the questions they receive. Ask them to blind copy you when they answer prospects and customers via email.
  • Compare different products. They can be in a single category or a head-to-head comparison. Help your readers to decide which one to purchase. Marcus Sheridan grew his pool business by creating us versus them posts.
  • Explain how to use and maintain your products. Be the answer man. Include questions related to your products.

Download The Ultimate Blogging Checklist

 

6. Explain relevant research

Do a deep dive on a research report, yours or someone else’s. Orbit Media’s Andy Crestodina does an annual blogging survey. This post continues to generate high quality traffic to his site. Even better, Crestodina explains how to create a survey that generates traffic and links.

Blog Post Idea Generation

At the Actionable Marketing Guide, analyzing research and showing marketers how to use the results are a regular part of our blog content. Here’s an example:Research analysis-Blog post idea generation

Actionable Blogging Tips:

  • Break down the concepts beyond the press release highlights. Remember most non-marketers never take a course on surveys and research.
  • Include the charts. Don’t forget the eye candy.

 

Download The Ultimate Blogging Checklist

 

7. Interview people in your category

Get another perspective on what’s happening in your field. This type of information adds to your credibility. 

Actionable Blogging Tips:

  • Interview key influencers to get their insights. They may also promote your content. For example, I regularly interview book authors to get their behind-the-scenes input.
  • Profile your readers or customers. Spin Sucks’ Gini Dietrich interviewed her readers on Fridays as her spin on #FF (or FollowFridays). This column has evolved into the Spin Inquisition.Content Marketing Secrets-Actionable Marketing GuideUser Generated Content Curation Format

Download The Ultimate Blogging Checklist

 

8. Develop expert columns

This can be an employee giving insight into their area of expertise or an outside influencer. Generally expect to compensate outside experts for their blog posts.

Moz’s Rand Fishkin shares his knowledge in his highly useful Whiteboard Friday.

Regular Employee Column-Blog Content Idea Generation-2

Actionable Blogging Tips:

  • Provide support where appropriate. Offer editorial support and technical support to make their posts appear stellar. Remember not everyone writes well.

Download The Ultimate Blogging Checklist

 

9. Review new products.

Customers trust other customers – as reported by Edelman’s Trust Barometer.

Write an entire blog post that’s an unbiased review of other businesses’ products. Many bloggers do this to generate affiliate income.

RazorSocial’s Ian Cleary has become the go-to person for testing the latest social media tools by making this the core of his blog’s mission.

Product review-Blog Post Idea Generation

Actionable Blogging Tips:

  • Skip the sugar coating. Don’t be a shill. Customers can tell a fake a mile away.
  • Include FTC disclaimers where appropriate. If you’ve received the product for free or will generate income you must let readers know. (Note: Check with your lawyer.)
  • Create a special list of products you recommend. This is a great way to drive revenues on your blog.

Download The Ultimate Blogging Checklist

 

10. Gather your customers’ stories

According to Content Marketing Institute/MarketingProfs’ 2016 North American B2B Content Marketing Trends report, 82% of B2B marketers use case studies and 65% of them find case studies effective.

Transform customer stories and experiences with your products and services into blog posts. Include photographs or video to show real people using your offering.

Here’s an example from Lion Brand featuring their support for a customer and a not-for-profit organization. Customer Stories-Blog Post Idea Generation

Actionable Blogging Tips:

  • Ask your sales team to help source customer stories. Where possible make it easy for sales to help you.
  • Get your legal team to provide a release. Don’t get overly legalistic or you won’t have any content. But you do need permissions.
  • Collect photographs at company events. Everyone loves seeing themselves.

Download The Ultimate Blogging Checklist

 

11. Add seasonal blog posts

Make a connection between your business and holidays. Don’t overlook smaller, fun days like National Donut DayHoliday Inspired Blog Post-Blog Content Idea Generation

In addition to the major holidays, seek lesser celebrations and milestones related to your business, location and history. (Here’s a useful calendar listing.)

Actionable Blogging Tips:

  • Integrate seasonal content into your blog editorial calendar. Coordinate these posts with your promotional calendar and major content creation. Make the information relevant to your audience.
  • Develop posts related to major events in your field. Include conferences and other observations.
  • Live blog key events and conferences. Give readers an on-the-ground perspective.

Download The Ultimate Blogging Checklist

 

12. Provide your business’s twist on current trends or news topic

Take advantage of interest in an event or topic by writing a blog post with an angle that’s relevant to your audience.

These posts are difficult to plan in advance. You need to be nimble and able to change your blog’s editorial calendar. Unlike other types of blog posts, they tend to have limited lifespan so be prepared to promote them as soon as they’re published.

Take a page from “fake” newscasters such as The Daily Show. Watch how they spin the news. Apply these techniques to your content. (BTW, you may be interested in Jon Stewart: Content Curation Master.)

Tread lightly, especially where politics and people’s lives are involved. A topic you consider humorous may backfire and anger your readers and customers.

Casper’s Van Winkle’s is more of a content hub than a blog but this story on Donald Trump shows how to find a link between current events and your product, namely sleeping in this case.

News related blog content-Blog Post Idea Generation-1

 

Alternatively, you can provide a round up of the latest news in your niche. For example, Social Media Examiner’s Cindy King writes “This Week In Social Media” every Saturday.Weekly News Roundup-Blog Post Idea Generation-2

Actionable Blogging Tips:

  • Monitor trending topics on Twitter. Is something happening that you can associate with your business?
  • Stay current with the news. Ask yourself: “How can I present this to my blog audience that’s different?”

Download The Ultimate Blogging Checklist

 

13. Curate other people’s content.

According to Curata data, about 25% of your content marketing should be curated. Apply this finding to your blog. Check out the 5 key ways to create blog curated content with examples!)

The easiest type of curated blog post is the weekly round up. Gini Dietrich has named her post: Gin and Tonic. She adds a personal note, spotlights 5 items with commentary, and gives credit to the folks who alert her to the content. Additionally, Dietrich has a great, consistent graphic. Weekly Blog Curation-Blog Content Idea Generation-2

 

Tom Pick is a whiz at blog curation. Most of his blog posts are lists of other people’s content.Curated blog content-List-Blog Content Idea Generation-1

 

Actionable Blogging Tips:

  • Add context to your blog post curation. Go beyond just a list of links. Explain why they’re important for your readers.
  • Let people know you selected their content. Be polite. Don’t expect them to share your content because you highlighted their article.

Download The Ultimate Blogging Checklist

 

14. Roundup other people’s opinions

Round up posts involve significantly more work than most bloggers realize.

The most common types are influencer opinions and predictions.

Here’s an example called How To Curate Like A Pro: 8 Examples that I created with help from my students at Content Marketing World 2014.  It’s been a top post of theirs.

Roundup post-Blog post Idea Generation

 

Actionable Blogging Tips:

  • Respect the people you contact. Don’t assume that you have a right to their attention or input.
  • Follow up, follow up, follow up. Your need isn’t their need. Be polite and appreciate their time.
  • Link to their blogs or websites. Show that you value their input. It also shows that you understand how to blog.
  • Let people know that you published the piece. Get back on their radar and make it easy for them to share.

Download The Ultimate Blogging Checklist

 

15. Include other forms of media

Take advantage of blogs’ ability to include a wide range of content formats: photographs, videos, infographics, audio and presentations. Using a different format as part of your regular blogging content calendar is a great way to appeal to a larger audience that doesn’t necessarily like text.

Social Media Examiner’s Mike Stelzner hosts a podcast every Friday where he interviews social media experts.

Podcast on blog-Blog Post Idea Generation

Infographics have been hot for a while. They’re a great way of attracting attention, even if you didn’t create them.

Actionable Blogging Tips:

  • Use your blog to expand distribution of other content. Regardless of the original form of your content, at a minimum, post it with relevant context on your blog.

Download The Ultimate Blogging Checklist

 

The bottom line is:

Filling your blog with useful, quality posts on a regular basis to keep readers coming back for more requires planning in the form of blog content idea generation.

Waiting for inspiration to strike is more likely to result in mediocre content than generating blog post ideas in advance.

The easiest way to fill your blog with great ideas is to collect ideas, information and related content regularly. Make it a habit. Keep a document or Evernote on your smartphone or tablet. Or be old school like me and use paper and pen.

What’s your favorite tip for blog content idea generation?

Happy Marketing,
Heidi Cohen


Photo Credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/anieto2k/8624484494/

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  • Hey Heidi,

    This was a great list of ideas and I have used half of them. My most successful type of post was the expert roundup post which a lot of people loved! But yes I’m one that jot down ideas on evernote and it’s been very convenient for me.

    Thanks for sharing and I hope you have a good weekend!

  • Awesome post Heidi, and thanks so much for including me! I do try to mix in original content liberally along with the curation posts, but…I just find a lot of guidance worth bookmarking and highlighting (quite frequently here on your blog :-)).