10 Inspiring Places For Blog Ideas

Image of Sky for Blog Ideas

Have you ever sat staring at your monitor (or notebook with pen in hand) ready to gush all your knowledge but instead drew a blank?

Of course you have, it happens to everyone.

When I first started ghost-writing for a few select clients, the blog ideas came relatively quickly and easily.  The site owners fed me a lot of the core material so it was just a matter of sprinkling in a story, driving home a useful point or lesson, and including a call to action.

Then I started a personal pet project that required me to come up with all new material.  That’s when I locked up at the keyboard thinking, “Yikes, I got nothin.”

Luckily, I already knew where to find blog ideas because I researched what other writers and business owners were having success doing.

The main thing is you can’t work in a vacuum.  Get out of your own head.  Write for your readers by researching what’s “out there” and see which topics are trending.

Here is your list of 10 hot spots to yank you out of the confines of your own head and help you crank out your next blog post:

1.  Google Adwords Keyword Tool

The Google Adwords Keyword Tool is designed to help you research the keywords and phrases people type into Google search.

For example, if you use the tool to search for, “ideas for a blog post,” your first few results are shown below:

Image of Ideas For a Blog Search

From that list you could be inspired to write a blogging software review which is a topic that receives solid monthly search volume.  Granted, the picture above shows the “broad” search phrase not the exact phrase. The phrase “blog software” truly only receives 8,100 exact searches per month as of this writing.

2.  Twitter Search

This is a great tool to use to find out what people are saying on Twitter.  It’s a search tool that you could, for example, type in “new golf club” and you’ll find people tweeting about golf clubs.  You’ll scroll through tweets about new golf clubs, golf clubs people just bought, ones they want to buy or where online they found a sale on golf clubs.

You pick the search term and let Twitter get your creative juices flowing.  Oh and here’s a quick video tip on how to use Twitter search to market a product;  enjoy.  :)

3.  CNN.com or Cosmopolitan.com

Here in item #3 you get two-for-one, CNN and Cosmo.  At CNN you can find current events to use for creating connections to your topics people wouldn’t ordinarily make.

Cosmo has the allure of gossip and the types of headlines that make you look over your shoulder before reading them aloud.  Cosmo-inspired blog ideas are great for curiosity clicks and certainly useful for turning the ol’ gears.

4.  Amazon

This site is a gem.  It’s an enormous ecommerce site and not only will you discover plenty of blog ideas but you may also benefit by:

  • Writing about specific products and try to rank for product keywords and phrases (can be less competitive)
  • Becoming an affiliate and earning cash if people buy something based on your recommendation

Everybody wins with Amazon.

5.  Yahoo Answers

This approach is a bit different but it forces you to think like your reader.  When you visit Yahoo answers you’ll be able to type in a question and click the Search Y! Answers box.  You don’t have to sign in and formally ask the Yahoo Answers community, just use the Search function below the main area.

Use the language of your audience when entering your question. You’ll see results of similar questions and then BAM! An instant Q&A or How-To blog post.

6.  Flickr

Any photo-sharing site will probably do but since  I use Flickr for my blog posts I’m recommending it.  If you have an email account with Yahoo, you can log into Flickr and start browsing photos.  You can search for something generic like, “colors,” and watch the random photos that pop up.

Remember that you can also get images for your blog here and get inspired for a post while you’re at it.

This isn’t an all day event so just browse a few images and I’ll bet after a few minutes you’ll find one or two that get your thoughts flowing.

7.  StevePavlina.com

Personal Development for Smart People is a treasure trove of ideas for a blog post.  A great place to start with this site is by browsing the Archives page.

8.  Write a “Best Of” List

If you use this “best of” approach you can link out to each resource you cover in your post.  Think of your top 10 tech sites, top 5 copywriting websites, or your favorite personal development sites and write a short blurb about each one.

Your readers will appreciate seeing numerous quality resources all in one article and you increase your chances of having them bookmark it for future reference.

9.  Take a Contrarian View

Simply choose a popular topic and play Devil’s Advocate.  Try to put a contrarian spin on a given set of beliefs about product xyz.  One caveat: don’t over-use this technique.  Unless you’re always cynical you’re going to wear out the magic of taking the opposing view if you do this too often.

10.  Personal Anecdote

You have plenty of unique stories so share one with the world!  Inject some drama, paint vivid word pictures, and drive home an important lesson.  Make it storytelling time and have FUN or crack a joke; your readers may be craving some comedy.

Your Blog Inspiration

Blog ideas can come from anywhere.  Every time you step outdoors just look around you.  Breathe in your environment and challenge yourself to view life through a new lens.

So how about it?  Did I forget to mention your favorite blog-inspiring hot spot? Feel free to share yours in the comments.


Photo: rkramer62


26 Responses to 10 Inspiring Places For Blog Ideas
  1. Sarah Russell
    January 28, 2011 | 5:37 pm

    Great list! Believe me, I know how frustrating it can be to sit down ready to write and find out that you have absolutely no idea what to say :)

    One tool I’d add – Wordtracker’s Keyword Question tool (found here – http://labs.wordtracker.com/keyword-questions/). All you do is enter the keyword you’re targeting and it spits back a list of questions people are asking about your niche. VERY useful in putting together SEO friendly, yet informative posts.

    • Jon
      January 28, 2011 | 8:08 pm

      Hi Sarah – thanks for the reference. I haven’t made it over to Wordtracker yet but now I have to see it for myself!

    • Wow! I’m heading there now.

      Jon, your commenters have added significantly to the list of good ways to generate blog ideas.

      Jeanine

      • Jon
        May 15, 2011 | 8:01 pm

        It’s a great crew, Jeanine. You included.

  2. Pete Carr
    January 29, 2011 | 2:55 am

    Hi Jon,
    How are you. I would add blog hopping to the list. The ideas you can get from other bloggers are huge.
    I never get stuck for new posts.
    Top tip, don’t forget to write the ideas down somewhere, you will forget otherwise.
    Great informative post Jon, Thanks
    Pete

    • Jon
      January 30, 2011 | 7:54 pm

      Thanks, Pete. I agree with blog hopping now and you helped pave the way for me (see you over at BG!)

  3. Peggy Baron
    February 1, 2011 | 10:47 am

    Hi Jon,

    That’s a good list. We all need help sometimes!

    I also like to use Yahoo’s search suggestion as it gives you 10 suggestions when you start typing in a word.

    And similar to your “best of” approach, sometimes I like to do “common mistakes people make” approach.

    Thanks,
    Peggy

    • Jon
      February 3, 2011 | 10:14 pm

      Good call! I definitely like (but forgot) that common mistakes angle. Thanks for sharing.

    • Peggy, you just gave me a great idea for a post!

      Thanks!!
      Jeanine

  4. [...] to notice) that I like to implement, test and report findings on new strategies. This article was inspired by a similar post from Ana Hoffman’s Traffic Generation Cafe that encouraged people to share [...]

  5. Those are great suggestions, Jon! And you told me something I didn’t know.

    I didn’t realize that using the Google adwords keyword tool doesn’t give you the exact number of searches for that word or phrase. So if I am trying to get a guesstimate of what to expect, it could be significantly less than I see on the chart.

    Something else that I do is look at the stats for my blog to see which phrases have been used to find my blog.

    I also get ideas from people’s comments.

    Now I can add your suggestions to my toolbox. I had forgotten about magazines, that’s a good one!

    Jeanine

    • Jon
      May 15, 2011 | 8:02 pm

      Checking stats is a great place to see how people are finding you and helps you plan where to go next. Good thinking! Magazines are great for headline structure as well.

  6. Oliver Tausend
    May 15, 2011 | 4:05 pm

    Hi Jon,

    thanks for putting this list together, very helpful resources. I am happy and grateful that I never run out of ideas…there’s so much to write about and teach people (and myself, of course).

    Take care

    Oliver

    • Jon
      May 15, 2011 | 8:00 pm

      Oliver,

      Your content is original and always has an interesting and personal twist. Thanks for providing value each time you publish, Oliver.

  7. Tosin@Home-based Business Coach
    May 16, 2011 | 11:10 am

    Hey Jon,

    I like your list, though some may not apply to me as much. For one, there is so much negative news in CNN that I dont want to touch it.

    I love StevePavlina’s blog. It’s a bundle of great posts and an arena of ideas.

    It could be frustrating to seek a QUALITY post to write and feel stuck. Several times I have dumped my laptop in frustration because i was not flowing like I should and after taking a break i get a jolt of inspiration and it flows from there.

    The twitter tool is also cool, will check it out.

    Thanks!
    Tosin

    • Jon
      May 16, 2011 | 10:23 pm

      Hi Tosin,

      Nice job putting together that article with a phone script. I commented and found it useful.

      Sometimes we can push through those frustrations and other times we just have to step away. Since I do more batch processing these days I’m finding my rhythm by routine.

      Steve’s site is a great place to go mining for ideas. See you around…

  8. Adrienne
    May 16, 2011 | 5:26 pm

    Wow, great list Jon! Well done my friend. You gave me some great ideas I never thought about before.

    Okay, so I probably won’t go with Cosmopolitan anytime soon but Steve’s blog sounds interesting. I usually get ideas when I’m blog commenting and a particular topic may be written about a lot. I try to see what they didn’t say or how I can put a different spin on it since so many people seem to be writing about it. Sometimes I come up short so I have to think up something else! But great ideas. Will bookmark this post and come back to it when I’m ready to write my next post.

    Thanks for putting this together, really!!!

    Adrienne

    • Jon
      May 16, 2011 | 10:21 pm

      Sure, Adrienne. Glad this is useful to you. Truth be told I’m like you in that we both find inspiration from blog surfing and I also get inspired hearing radio ads and seeing tv commercials. Good luck on your next article!

  9. Stacy | Grow With Stacy
    May 16, 2011 | 7:23 pm

    Hi Jon,
    This is a great list of ideas! I never would have thought to search twitter or check out cnn or cosmopolitan!

    Thanks for the ideas!
    Stacy

    • Jon
      May 16, 2011 | 10:17 pm

      Hi Stacy,

      Yea the trashy mags and tabloids are great to spark ideas for a headline. Cool places to make new connections between topics you may not have otherwise. You’re welcome :)

  10. Devesh
    May 16, 2011 | 10:20 pm

    Hi Jon,

    Awesome list of ideas. I never thought of using Google Adwords Tool.

    Another great way to get blog post ideas is – Social Blogging communities.

    Thanks for sharing this great post, bud.

    Have a great day.

    ~Dev

    • Jon
      May 16, 2011 | 10:24 pm

      Dev,

      Great addition to the list here, thanks. Yes, social blogging communities are certainly inspiring places for your next blog. We’ve seen it at the Clever Marketer community and some topics spanned several websites from a single post.

  11. Jayne Kopp
    May 16, 2011 | 11:40 pm

    Hi Jon, many of those ideas I would have never thought of to be honest.

    I do however like to read other blogs. Not necessarily for inspiration, sometimes just ‘to read’… and it’s funny how many times they might say ‘something’ that is not even related to the particular post, but causes a brain wave for me… in often a different direction. I have gotten so much better at ‘writing’ the ideas down while I have them… as well as “why” I’m writing the idea down… as sometimes I forget what was so great about it in the first place!! ha ha… it must be age!

    I also like trying to just pay attention to simple things in life. In fact I will be writing one that was triggered by a random act of kindness by my son today at school.

    There are times as you say Im about as stumped as a coconut… particularly when we had the Prove It Challenge…70 posts in 90 days. Personally I think it was because “I HAD to”… now I don’t ‘HAVE” to… I can create a post out of cooking a roast for crying out loud.

    I loved your creativity.

    Jayne

    • Jon
      May 17, 2011 | 9:08 pm

      Jayne – Good job writing down the ideas as they come. It’s easy to let those good ideas and flashes of inspiration and genius slip by. Looks like we’re in for a nice article from you since it’s inspired by a random act of kindness. I’m happy you enjoyed this one.

  12. Hi Jon,

    Great list! I have have used some of these resources to find information to write about, but not all of them.

    I will have to start using some of your suggestions.

    Another place to get good info is free webinars. They can be time consuming, but you can sometimes get information that you would not otherwise find other places.

    Thanks for sharing Jon and have a great day!

  13. Tisha
    May 23, 2011 | 12:21 pm

    Hey Jon,

    I have been having a lot of blank moments lately and very little time to set aside to produce great content.

    I will not put up a post until I think my content is worth reading. The ideas you have given are perfect.I will look into it.

    Thanks,
    Tisha

Leave a Reply

Wanting to leave an <em>phasis on your comment?

Notify me of followup comments via e-mail. You can also subscribe without commenting.

Trackback URL http://www.jonalford.com/10-places-for-blog-ideas/trackback