Let’s assume read this post on how to start a new blog and you need to start creating content, which can seem like a huge and difficult task. But learning how to find blog post ideas for beginners is not some mysterious art known only to a few people. It’s actually one of the easiest steps when looking for topics to write about. It’s also one of the hardest tasks we internet marketers have to do.
Let me explain.
Blogging Is Easy
But only if you know what you’re going to write about. And even then, it’s not a simple process. You see, ideas come to us at all times of the day and many of those blog post ideas simply don’t have ‘juice’ to make a piece of content worthy of your website.
Even when you do have a topic in mind finding the right ideas to write about can be hard. What you need to do is go to the heart of the questions people are asking, or the content they’re searching for.
And the key to success is to find unique blog ideas
How do we do this?
By using one, or a number of sources.
Let’s dive in and find out how to come up with blog post ideas…
Using Search Engines for Blog Posts
Probably the most common method of finding content ideas is to use search engines such as Bing and Google. All the major search engines have billions, maybe trillions, of webpages indexed and searchable. Basically, they’re a goldmine of ideas waiting to be excavated.
Digging Deep Into the Search Engines
In most cases you start with a seed phrase such as:
“best hiking boots”
When you scroll down the first page of your preferred search engine, you’ll notice many big brands dominating the SERPs, which can be disheartening. But all is not lost. All of the search engines have an ‘Also Asked’ section like this:
Google ‘People also ask’ gives you more ideas for content
These are common questions people ask so you need to be looking here. Why? Because they’re normally also easier phrases to rank for and they are the problems or pain points searchers are looking to find an answer for.
Likewise, if you scroll to the very bottom of the page you’ll see a ‘Related Searches’ box:
Scroll to the bottom of Google’s first page results to get more related search and content ideas
Click any of these links and you’ll be taken to the corresponding results page.
Now you have millions of ideas at your fingertips.
Tip: when you click through a related search link make sure you check out ‘Also Asked’ box.
How To Improve Your Content Searches?
Going back many years, Google used to provide searchers with a huge selection of tools that could be used to mine the search engine’s index for invaluable data. But those days are gone. Google has removed many of the most useful operators, such as links and similar.
Here’s a full list of the search operators still in use at Google.
All the remaining search operators still have value, especially the asterisk, or wildcard option.
Some of you may already know that adding an asterisk to the start or end of your search query is one way of expanding on the results returned. Here’s an example:
Using the Google wildcard will generate a list of ideas for your content.
What happens here is that Google has returned the best matched variation of the phrase you’re searching for. Although this is a useful tool, the real power of the asterisk comes when used to combine search phrases. Let’s take a look and see what happen when we jam the wildcard operator between two phrases…
Voila! Even more content ideas. But don’t leave gaps between the wildcard and phrases either side
We can use the wildcard does to add related phrases between the keywords you’re searching for. This is a great way to dig deep into the kind of content people are searching. Once you have a list of ideas, start writing.
You can also add the wildcard to the start and end of a search phrase. Give it a shot.
Although Google is the biggest search engine in the world, don’t forget to use other SEs for content research, in particular Bing. Although usage of Microsoft’s search engine lags behind the mighty Goog, a lot of people use it and it can be a great source of traffic to your site.
Note: Bing is integrated into Windows operating system, which makes it the biggest desktop search engine in the world. Do you really want to miss out on some of the traffic Bing can bring?
Always check the ‘People also search for’ and ‘People also ask’ sections to get more content ideas.
Use Google search operators to expand your list of keywords and content ideas.
Gather information from other search engines such as Bing and Yahoo.
Use Reddit For Beginner Blogging Ideas
Reddit.com is the most visited social sharing in the world. Stats for March 2019 show that the website had eyewatering 1.6 billion visitors. That’s a quarter of the world’s population tramping through Reddit’s online real estate!
If Reddit had $1 for every visitor to the website, it would be worth this much in gold (image courtesy of Reddit)
Reddit’s users interact in communities known as subreddits and submit images, text and videos for their fellow Redditors (yes, it’s a real word) to either upvote or downvote. The most popular content can make it to the front page of Reddit resulting in a site receiving hundreds of thousands of visitors in a day (I’ve managed to achieve this result a few times).
Now before you rush off to start hammering Reddit with your content be aware that communities have a finely tuned nose that can detect what they see as spam. Get caught and your content will be downvoted, never again to see the light of day.
Besides, our main aim is not to submit content to Reddit (that task will come later). Right now, we’re looking for content ideas. Here’s how you do it…
Go to Reddit and set up an account. Once done, use the search box and type in topics you’re interested in. When you find one that looks useful join the group.
Now it’s time to start digging.
As you scroll down the list of submissions, you’ll notice that people are asking questions. What’s important to note is that they are the kind of real-world queries people have, and type into search bar of Bing, Google, Yahoo, etc.
Can you see where we’re going with this?
Gather up a selection of questions, then go and start writing your answer.
You can always submit your content to the subreddit as a response to the questions.
Using the search bar on the top right of the home page is the easiest way to find relevant subreddits. If you’re looking communities with large numbers of participants, you can find them at reddiltist.com.
Join Reddit communities that match your audience, then search the subreddits for questions people need answered.
Don’t spam the subreddit with your responses – you will be banned fast.
Check out RedditList for the most active subreddits.
Find Content Ideas on Quora
Quora is what Yahoo! Answers could have been if the site had been moderated. Basically, both websites are Question and Answer hubs you can search for pretty much any query you have. And if the answer isn’t there you can add your own.
Sadly, Yahoo! Answers became associated with huge volumes of spam and, although some people still use the site, it’s been on the decline for a number of years now.
Let’s ignore Yahoo! for now and look at how we can find content ideas on Quora…
Quora’s content is categorised into two types:
Topics are groupings of questions, answers and resources. Subscribers to a topic can ask questions and write answers. They can also link to resources that other Quorans might find useful.
Another way of organising content is through the use of Spaces. The key difference here is that Quora Spaces are controlled by a single person or group of people. To me, Spaces are less representative of the wider Quora community as admins can block or remove content as they see fit.
How To Use Quora For Content Ideas
Start searching for information relevant to your niche. It’s really that simple. And Quora’s auto-complete function makes it even easier to dig deep into the web of content and mine great ideas, some of which might not have surfaced before you started digging.
Here’s an example of content relevant to the hiking niche:
Quora search results for ‘best hiking’, very nice!
If you typed the same query into Google, here’s what you might see:
Google search results for best hiking.
Although the answers are similar, Quora’s search returns some very specific, very real queries. Google returns the most popular related searches, according to its own algorithm.
The important point to remember is that those phrases being searched in Quora are also being searched on Google. So, your next step would be to write a blog post designed to rank in the search engines.
And if you have the time you can also write a response the Quora question and link back to the content on your website.
Quora returns real questions people ask on the platform.
Add questions found on Quora as sections in your content in order to pull in more search traffic.
If you have the time, write answers on Quora and link out to your website.
Speak To Real People
This step is incredibly simple, but requires you to interact with people (something I’m not always good at, which seems crazy for someone who’s also a public speaker…)
We humans have done a pretty good job of building technology that answers our questions. But the source of all this knowledge is rooted deep in our heads. So, it makes sense to delve into the minds of friends and colleagues in order to best understand their needs.
But how do we do this?
Ask a question. And listen to the answer.
When we speak about things that interest us, we tend to let our mouths run away with us. There’s nothing wrong with that – enthusiasm is great and what better way to show your interest than by using descriptive language?
As bloggers and marketers our aim is to listen to the words being used and apply them to answering the questions people ask.
Over time you’ll start to hear people using the same, or similar, phrases over and over. Take note of these. The way a person speaks tends to mirror the way they think and type… into search engines.
What I like about this technique is that it can give you some not so well used phrases you can use to build your content.
Ask friends and family for their views on your blog topic and take note of any phrases that repeatedly come up.
Listen. Really listen to what is being said. Don’t try to overlay the conversation with your thoughts and words.
Go further out than family and friends. Start up conversations with people who work in your niche, mine them for ideas.
Search Forums For Blog Content
Stroll around the internet for a few minutes and you’d be forgiven for thinking the likes LinkedIn, FaceBook, Twitter, etc have mopped up the competition. The truth is that many communities are thriving without having to set up shop on the big platforms.
Countless forums exist and act as a meeting place for people who want to steer clear of the likes of FaceBook, etc.
Like social media, these forums are filled with questions and answers you can use to build content.
Finding a forum is pretty easy: use one of the search engines and type your search phrase and the word forum. For example: “hiking forum”.
Once you’ve found a forum you’re interested in, sign up and start browsing through the boards and threads to find questions that need answering. Use these to form the basis of your content.
When your blog post is live on your website you can post the link into the forum. A word of warning: don’t spam forums or you’ll find yourself banned. Also, please do participate and interact with people in the forums.
Forums are like Quora in that people share their problems, views and questions with fellow members.
It’s likely that many forums exist for you chosen niche. Find and join them.
Be courteous, don’t spam the forums with your content.
Answer The Public
What would it be like if you could see hundreds, maybe thousands of Google’s auto-complete and ‘people also searched’ results without having the write each individual search query? You’d have a diamond mine of information at your fingertips.
Answer the Public: He looks scary, but he’s really a pussy cat!
And that’s exactly what Answer the Public gives you.
The tool is a pretty simple idea and it makes searching for content ideas easy. More important, the results returned are real questions and searches being performed by real people.
Enter a seed word, or phrase, hit return and a matter of seconds later Answer the Public will display a huge selection of results. Scan down through the various sections and you’ll each of them focuses on very specific search intent:
Related – pay really close attention to this section as it is a goldmine of information you can use.
No search metrics are displayed. If you want this kind of data you’ll need to subscribe to one of the following services:
Hint: the search modifiers give you an indication of the funnel people flow into when they search. When you write your post make sure you add as many relevant phrases to the content. More food for the search engines spiders in the form of related keywords will add to more visitors to your site.
Answer the Public is Google auto-complete steroids – massively on show.
Pay attention to modifiers such as ‘how’, ‘when’, ‘why’ etc. These are questions people want answering and are an awesome source of traffic.
You’ll have to used a third-party such as Ahrefs to get metrics.
Ask Yourself Questions
What do you want?
When you search, what questions do you ask?
Why am I asking you these questions? After all, aren’t we all unique with not a common thought between us? No, we do think alike and the results you’ll see from using any of the above tools will prove this point.
Take a question you’ve asked yourself in the past and think about all the possible phrases you’d use to ask that question. Here’s an example of how we can use our own vocabulary to our advantage.
Let’s say you’re looking for the best rated restaurants. Google will show you search phrases that have huge search volume and high competition. Adding a few personalised modifiers to the phrase can give us a great insight into what people are looking.
The first, most obvious search most people perform is:
“Best restaurant near me”
As an English speaker, some of the variations I’ve used include:
“best restaurant around here”
“best restaurant nearby”
“best restaurant near me”
“best restaurant here”
“best restaurant close by”
“best restaurant close to me”
Each of those searches produces a slightly different result you can target in you content.
And you can go further by searching for plurals:
“best restaurants around here”
“best restaurants nearby”
“best restaurants near me”
“best restaurants here”
“best restaurants close by”
“best restaurants close to me”
Then take it to another level:
“best vegan restaurant nearby”
“best halal restaurants close to me”
“best Greek restaurant around here”
The only limits to this method are your ability to personal the query using your own variations.
Take the questions you ask yourself and turn them into content (because you probably already know at least half the answer).
Use variations of popular phrases to get more content ideas e.g. “best shoe repair shop around here”.
Drop your queries into multiple platforms (Google, Quora, Reddit, etc) to find hundreds of variations you can rank for.
Get Beginner’s Blog Post Ideas From Books
This is an old idea that pops up from time to time. It’s highly effective as a way to get blog post ideas, but it takes some time and effort.
How does it work?
Let’s assume we’re working in the fitness niche (by the way, that’s an ultra-competitive sector). Rather than searching the web for long tail keywords which are probably already dominated by the big players, you need to hit the library. Or Apple Books. Or Kindle.
Download a selection of books that match your target niche. For example, we’re going to make ourselves THE authority on 5km runs. So grab your reading material and start making notes.
As I’ve said, this idea is not new, but I vary my approach to what is considered traditional wisdom. Some marketers recommend building a blog post schedule based on a list of the chapter titles. It’s a good idea, but we’re going way deeper.
For this method, you need to read each page. Even if you only skim.
Because other people read too and when they do certain words and phrases lodge in their heads. Those same people then search the internet using the same words and phrases they picked up from the book.
The key here is not to write down notes on everything you read. Instead, make a list of phrases and words that stand out from the page, anything unusual that catches your eye. And don’t forget to write down any slang you spot.
This is one idea that requires a lot of legwork, but it will pay off in the form of many visitors find your website through obscure, or odd, phrases.
Read books. Lots of them. Get many ideas. Dominate the search engines.
Take note of phrases that stand out and use them as the basis for your content.
Chapter titles can be used as subtitles in your content.
Poach Your Competitors Ideas
But don’t steal content and re-publish as your own, unless you want to be banned from the search engines.
Copying ideas is not a new idea. How we modify them to suit our needs is what counts. Henry Ford took the idea of production lines from slaughterhouses and tweaked them to create the first mass produced car. Pure genius.
If it wasn’t for the meat packing lines in Chicago, Ford cars probably wouldn’t exist.
Now it’s your turn to become the Henry Ford of the internet marketing world.
Take a look at your blogging competitors and see what’s working for them. Now find a new angle and repurpose the original idea into a blog post that will bring huge numbers of links, visitors and fame (or money, if that’s what you’re after)
Here’s an example:
Imagine you have a blog in the photography niche (if you do really have one, then I am envious – I love imagery). Your nearest competitor is gaining links and traffic to the beautiful photographs they post on their website. Looking at your traffic stats you see you’re lagging way behind in the rankings.
But your competitor has strict policies that protect his images from being used elsewhere. Sure, your photos are pretty good too, but you don’t have the time, money or equipment to compete. When you can get enough paying visitors to your blog you’ll earn more and be in a better position to compete.
Here’s what you need to do: give it all away for free!
Yep, you’re going to remove any copyrights and restrictions and let people ‘steal’ your content. And with that theft will come the inevitable links and rise in traffic.
For the best results, create a page on your site explaining the deal. And ask that anyone who uses your content links back to your website. Win – win!
Don’t worry if some people don’t link back (webmasters are busy and forgetful) as we are going to learn link reclamation later on in this series.
Merge two different ideas that work to produce novel, link worthy content.
Let people ‘steal’ your content (in return for a link back to your website.
Don’t assume any idea is too crazy, try them all.
Using Industry Events to Find Blog Post Ideas
This is a variation on the idea of using industry events to get backlinks to your website. Instead of sponsoring a stall, or the event, in return for a backlink you’re going to attend some of the sessions. In the same way you can use books for content ideas, listening to speakers and the industry jargon should get your creative juices flowing (and plenty of visitors to your content).
Regardless of your niche, there are a huge number of expos you can use to get blogging ideas. No niche is too obscure, or small, here is a useful resource for anyone who focuses on laundrette industry news and topics!
There are a couple of points you should note about attending events:
They cost money to get into.
You need to have an idea of what you want to get from attending. For example, you might you’re looking for the latest and most efficient tumbler dryers to blog.
Let’s talk about both those points:
If you can’t afford to attend, you’ll need to search online after the event is over. In most cases, companies will upload presentations and demos to places like YouTube and Vimeo. But at this point the information becomes available to you AND your competitors.
Knowing where your interests lie will guide you to relevant speakers. Once you have created a list of speakers, you’ll need to focus only on them, noting the words and phrases they use to describe their products.
Industry events and expos are great for uncovering the latest trends and jargon your site visitors will be searching for.
Know what you to learn about and schedule time at only the stands and presentations that are relevant.
Worried this won’t work, or isn’t relevant? Then ask yourself why so many bloggers flock to Apple’s WWDC…
Speciality Magazines for Content
Using magazines is another old idea and one that can still bring and tidal wave of ideas, content and site visitors.
Take notice of the various sections: if you’re not creating content for “waggler action” (or a good dental surgeon), then you’re missing out.
Take note of the featured post on the front cover.
Most important, this method is cheap and accessible to everyone who can get their hands on a magazine, physical or electronic. Like industry events, most magazines feature ideas, techniques, products, etc. All you need to do is buy a few copies and start reading.
Another word of advice: don’t skip the classifieds section at the back of the magazines. Many up and coming manufacturers use this part of the magazine as part of a coordinated marketing campaign (which also includes the front page, and featured sections). Read the adverts, take note of the language they use, then replicate in your next blog post.
Sure, this method is so easy to leverage that your competitors are doing it too which means it’s a waste of time.
Go to Google/Bing/Yahoo and take a look at the top twenty sites. How many of them have truly outstanding content that will take years to beat? If you’re honest with yourself, not many.
This is because the ‘get rich quick’ ethos still exists. And it’s not one you subscribe to, which is why you’re going to take your time to read and then build content your visitors and customers will spend time poring over.
Magazines are a great source of content for your niche.
Just about any niche you can think of has a magazine publication supporting it. So start reading.
Read the front cover, the classified ads and featured sections for the latest news on products and ideas in your niche.
Mining Television Adverts for Blog Post Ideas
I love adverts, many people don’t. The rise of ad-free, on-demand viewing has put huge pressure on advertisers to get more for their money. And this is a goldmine of information for us marketers.
Because the advertisers are masters of the dark art of creating desire. Think about all those times when an advertising hook has bitten deep in your mouth, then reeled you in.
The content is irrelevant: it might have been an advert for chocolates, or a fast car. The point is that you were trapped in the glare of the products headlights, paralysed and with only one route out – to buy!
Okay, so maybe this is an exaggeration, but TV ads have worked well for a very long time and will continue to for as long as their are commercial breaks on television. Study a collection of ads and work out why they appeal to you. Some might promise wealth, sexual attraction or simply suggest some form of satisfaction (like cigarette adverts used to).
Then take the learners and apply them to your own content.
Television ads are examples of some of the best advertising minds in action – learn from them.
Spend some time watching a variety of adverts and identify the common theme.
Think about how you can use unrelated ideas to boost your own content. For example, watch food ads and then you write a powerful and appealing description of eating a cake. Test and monitor the content you put out – did your words hold people for longer on page? Were they more likely to click through and buy via your website?
How to Find Blog Post Ideas: Wrapping Up
There’s no magical spell that can be woven to produce a tidal wave of ideas. To find inspiration for your next blog post you’re going to need to roll up your sleeves and start working. Once you’ve created an article worthy of backlinks and attention you’ll need to start all over again.
Learning how to find blog post ideas for beginners is not a dark art. It’s simply a game and one that any hardworking, savvy blogger can win at. If you found this post useful please share using the social media icons, or link to it. And your thoughts in the comments section below.