This week’s article is a guest post from Dustin Lien from StrategicSauce.com. If you’ve been writing blog posts for a while, there may come a time where you can’t quite think of what to write about next. In this article, Dustin explores a few tactics that can bring up some excellent writing topics, no matter what niche you are writing for. Enjoy!
I was throwing around some thoughts in my head about what the topic of this post should be, and the ideas were about as interesting as the work I was supposed to be doing.
So, I did what I always do in that scenario, and I went through a series of tricks I use to find relevant blog topics for my niche that my audience might actually find useful.
Quick question: Do you know what an “AHA!” moment is? I had one of those moments.
When you’re having trouble thinking of a solid, relevant blog topic, here’s what to do (these work for literally any niche):
1. I Call this the Pat Flynn
Pat Flynn from Smart Passive Income taught me this one, and it’s really good.
Let’s say your niche is whiskey enthusiasts (this could be anything).
Head over to Google and search forum:whiskey Google will pull up the biggest and best whiskey forums.
Now you have a curated list of some of the top forums in your niche. Pick the one that seems the most relevant, and click through to it.
Find where people are asking questions that aren’t being answered very well. Some forums will show view counts and number of replies to the original post, which gives you a good indication of whether or not other people are wondering the answer, and you can go through and see if anyone answered it thoroughly.
This method is good for 2 reasons.
- It gives you topic ideas.
- It allows you to take it a step further than just writing a relevant post for your niche. Let me explain.
When you find a winner, read the entire question/description and any other answers to make sure you provide the best answer out of everyone.
Instead of writing a post called “What Hip Flask Should I Get?” - make it a little more interesting with something like, “How to Choose the Best Hip Flask Based On Whiskey Type” or “7 Things to Consider Before Buying a Hip Flask for Whiskey”.
Once you publish the post on your site, go back to the forum where the question was asked and give the people what they want. Write a shortened answer, and post a link to your blog post.
Depending on the size of the forum, this can drive substantial, targeted traffic back to your blog. If the forum moves quickly, use these tips to blog faster.
2. Use SubReddits
If you’ve ever used Reddit, you know that there’s a subreddit for pretty much everything - even Pokemon Conspiracies…
For those of you who don’t use Reddit often, a subreddit is basically a forum.
Go to Reddit.com and search for your niche.
Once the results load, find a subreddit that fits the bill. There will probably be a few that could work, so you’ll have lots of options.
Similarly to how we used the forum before, look through the posts to find questions or talks of interest. Before I do that though, I like to sort the posts by what’s “hot” and posts from “this week” to find topics that are of current interest.
Here we see someone asked for suggestions for, what most would consider, moderately cheap whiskey that still tastes good.
You could write a post on “Top 10 Whiskies under $30”. Again, you could go back and post your link in that thread or even as a new thread to get some traffic back to your blog.
If getting your post shared a lot is important to you, use these guidelines.
3. Search Using BuzzSumo
BuzzSumo helps you find what content is being shared the most based on the topic or website you search for.
For finding blogging ideas, search your niche.
It’s going to give you a list of the most shared articles around that topic across multiple social media platforms. This is a huge advantage when figuring out what type of content performs well with your audience.
Here we have a bourbon whiskey family tree that performed really well, so you could write a post on the family tree of non-bourbon whiskey, knowing it will probably perform well (fun fact: All bourbon is whisky. Not all whisky is bourbon).
BuzzSumo lets you do a few searches for free every day, which is usually enough for topic research. They also have a free 14-day trial you can sign up for to use the full product.
4. Ask your Audience
This one is the unsung hero. The forgotten middle child. It’s so obvious, it’s often overlooked. Who better to get blog post ideas from than the people who already read your posts?
There are two ways I do this (though you can probably think of more):
The P.S. Method
At the end of a newsletter, after you’ve signed your name, add something like, “P.S. What topics do you want to learn more about?”
It’s a pretty passive ask, but you can use it in multiple newsletters without people getting annoyed. I also like to make sure to mention that I respond to all emails so my audience knows they’ll actually be heard and listened to, and that their ideas really do matter to me.
The Direct Ask
The second way I’ve done this is by sending a dedicated newsletter directly asking for topic ideas. I also sweeten the pot a little with a small giveaway to encourage responses. This will work much better than a P.S. mention, especially if you have a quiet audience.
If you usually feel like you’re talking to a wall, definitely add in the giveaway. Historically, I’ve gotten much higher response rates with this method, but try both. Everyone’s audience is different.
Here, you can use my template if you want:
The best way to make sure you don’t end up pulling an all nighter to meet your blogging schedule is to stay ahead of the game. Use these methods now to get a list of ideas going that you can pull from at any time.
Dustin Lien blogs, podcasts, and writes books at StrategicSauce.com about online marketing hacks, entrepreneurship, productivity, and passive income methods. He gives his best stuff exclusively to newsletter subscribers. Join the Strategic Sauce newsletter here.