Having all the best blogging tools and resources, having a plan to share  your amazing content on social media, having everything in place to put your marketing strategy into action still requires one thing: You must create the content to be shared, loved, and engaged with. The blank page must be conquered.

Coming up with an endless supply of blogging and writing ideas would be great, right? Fortunately there is a solid list of useful strategies, techniques, and questions that can always keep a blogging idea on the tip of your tongue.

I’ve captured as many helpful resources here as I can. Let me know if you have any extras you think could have made the list.

blogpost ideas

How to Come Up With Blogpost Ideas That Will Go Wild on Social Media

When it comes to collecting ideas for new blogposts, I’ve found three systems that tend to cover a pretty wide variety of thoughts and ideas and should help get your mind around what to write. In general, these can be split among the following three categories.

  1. Strategies
  2. Article types
  3. Questions to ask

Here’s an in-depth look at all three.

7 Strategies for Coming up With More Writing Ideas

We had a lot of fun sharing our blogpost idea strategies in a post for the Social blog (a bonus blogpost idea: Write about your idea process!). To recap, here are the ways we curate ideas and come up with our blog content.

  1. We aren’t shy about taking inspiration from others.
  2. We spend a lot of time reading, thinking, and sharing the stories and ideas we love.
  3. We save all our ideas—no matter how small.

lightning rod ideas

Here is a bit more depth into the strategies that we’ve tried and the methods that other bloggers might use to come up with new blogpost ideas.

1. Keep a swipe file

When an idea pops into your head, jot it down. When an image grabs you on a blogpost, clip it and save it. All of these whims and breadcrumbs can be just the thing you need to put together a complete blogpost later on.

We collect our ideas on Trello and review our ideas list on a weekly basis to see what strikes us.

Trello board ideas

You can also use a tool like Evernote, which comes with a bookmarklet and browser extension for easy clipping and saving. Other tools that might work include Pinterest, Stache, Curator, and Octobox.

2. Ask your friends and followers for ideas

Wherever you get feedback from others—in blog comments, on social media, via email replies, etc.—use these places as idea centers. You can drum up ideas by listening to the topics discussed by others, the questions they ask, and the areas that interest them. You can share a seed of an idea on social media to see if it’s something people might like—a strategy used to great effect by Andrew Chen. Here’s a tweet Andrew sent to gauge interest in “Growth Hacker is the New VP of Marketing.”

crowdbooster

3. Use the skyscraper technique

Step One: Find high-performing content. This can be on your site or on someone else’s. Posts with high numbers of social shares (see “perform link analysis” below) or posts that rank high in search results pages might be good ones to start with.

Step Two: Create something similar, but take it to the next level. Brian Dean has a great list of ways that you can improve on an existing piece of content. He recommends doing all four of the following:

  • Make it longer
  • More up-to-date
  • Better designed
  • More thorough

Step Three: Get lots of links to your new story. Step Three goes a bit beyond the idea stage; you’ll have some pretty good ideas about what to write and how to write after going through steps one and two. For gaining links, you can check out some content distribution strategies like email and social sharing.

4. Perform link analysis

Check into the content that is performing the best. Find ideas about topics, headlines, and new angles to cover the subject matter in your niche.

BuzzSumo can help you find content with the most social shares.

Quick Sprout can show you the most-shared content from any given blog or domain.

5. Share from your experience

John O’Nolan calls this strategy “telling the story so far.”

Sometimes the best post is the one that tells the story of all the other posts. Regardless of what you blog about, you’ve probably been doing it for a while now.

  • What have you learned in that time?
  • What has changed since you started?
  • If you had to go back and give yourself one piece of advice at the start of your career, what would it be?

6. Share your mistakes and your failures

We love to experiment with new ideas and strategies here at Buffer. And we love to blog about our learnings—both the wins and the losses.

7. Keep up with trending topics

One of our most popular posts from the past spring was a quick post we put together on the changes to Twitter’s profile pages. It landed just before the changes were rolled out to all users, and it picked up a fair amount of traffic from folks who were interested in the topic. Timeliness—no matter the industry—can be a great factor in the idea process.

32 Types of Blogposts to Kickstart Your Idea Process

We’ve settled into a nice rhythm with our Buffer blogposts. Our core content includes list posts, how-to posts, “ultimate guide” posts, and thought leadership posts. It’s a fun way to brainstorm ideas when you have a little direction toward what the post might look like.

With that in mind, here are 32 types of blogposts that might just kickstart some good writing ideas for you. (Looking at headline formulas is another way to envision a potential blogpost.)

  1. List post
  2. How-to post
  3. An ultimate guide
  4. A science-backed post
  5. A research-backed post
  6. Case study
  7. Podcast
  8. A survey
  9. An interview
  10. A quiz
  11. A news story
  12. A glossary
  13. Pros and cons list
  14. An a-to-z post
  15. A profile
  16. A blog carnival
  17. A link roundup
  18. A guest post
  19. An FAQ
  20. A visual post
  21. A cheat sheet
  22. A checklist
  23. A comparison post
  24. A review, critique, or commentary
  25. A makeover or before-after post
  26. A diary entry
  27. A liveblog
  28. A giveaway or contest
  29. An open letter
  30. A webinar
  31. A timeline
  32. An event recap

56 Questions to Ask to Come up With More Blogpost Ideas

blogpost idea questions

One of our simplest ways of coming up with ideas for blogposts is asking questions. We aim to write blogposts that help people. To get at these topics, we try to empathize with our audience, to put ourselves in their shoes. We ask questions that we think might make for some useful, helpful, actionable answers.

Asking questions is a blogging method used by some of our favorite bloggers. Darren Rowse recently put together a huge list of blogpost ideas, and there’s some good overlap between his list and ours. Here’s a collection of 56.

  1. What are your customers’ most frequently asked questions?
  2. What are the biggest myths about your industry?
  3. What are the biggest misconceptions about your company?
  4. What is something about your industry that you know and others might not?
  5. Describe the way you and your team use your product.
  6. How did your company come to be?
  7. What early lessons did you learn along the way that might be useful to share?
  8. How did your company get its name?
  9. What was your first sale?
  10. What was your first big “a-ha” moment? How about your first moment of doubt?
  11. What type of complete guide would be useful to help your ideal customer?
  12. What makes your company/product distinct?
  13. How did you choose the distinguishing features of your company/product over others?
  14. Tell a story about customer success.
  15. What is a typical “day in the life” for your ideal customer?
  16. What things keep you awake at night? What might keep your customer awake?
  17. Describe a process of your day that might resonate with your audience.
  18. How did your new product or service come to be?
  19. What is a counterintuitive bit of advice that you can share?
  20. What is an unpopular piece of advice that you can share?
  21. What must someone know to become an expert in your field?
  22. What would you say to someone just starting out in your field?
  23. What are the essential tools you use every day to get work done?
  24. What are the mistakes you made when you were just starting out?
  25. What mistakes do you see others making?
  26. Introduce your team and how they came together.
  27. Explain how you hire.
  28. Explain how you collaborate as a team.
  29. Explain your product creation process.
  30. What is on your recommended reading list?
  31. What are you reading right now?
  32. Who are some of the leading voices in your industry?
  33. What articles from the past week caught your eye?
  34. What articles did you read from inside your industry that you think you could maybe improve on or take in a new direction?
  35. What are some statistics about your industry?
  36. What are some statistics about your customers?
  37. Where do you see your industry headed in the next year?
  38. How about the next five or 10 years?
  39. What are the current trends that are taking hold in your field?
  40. What do your customers have a hard time doing?
  41. What have your customers suggested you add/change about your product? (And why have you made the change or not?)
  42. Which quotes inspire you?
  43. Which people inspire you?
  44. What is a useful checklist that would provide value for your audience?
  45. What is a useful pdf, ebook, or guide that would provide value?
  46. What have you presented on lately? Turn it into a blogpost.
  47. What are you company’s goals for this year? Next year?
  48. What were some of the biggest obstacles and challenges from this year?
  49. Which two products could you compare and contrast?
  50. Which two strategies could you compare and contrast?
  51. Which causes do you participate in?
  52. What tips do you have for your industry for next year?
  53. What 10 customers, peers, staff could you ask a single question of and create a wrap up article on?
  54. What is the history of your industry – from inception to today.
  55. What were the key takeaways from a conference or industry event that you attended?
  56. What are you most passionate about?

Plus a few others that aren’t exactly questions but are super stellar ideas from Darren.

  • Sum up the year that was
  • Review a book your customers should read
  • Review a tool, product or service relevant to your customers
  • Create an award for your industry

Conclusion

What do you use to come up with ideas for blogposts? 

Which questions do you ask?

Which strategies do you employ?

I’d love to hear how your idea process looks. Feel free to share any thoughts or comments below and add to our list here with any of your tips and tricks for getting more blogging ideas!

Image sources: The Noun Project, Blurgrounds, Death to the Stock Photo

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Written by Kevan Lee

Director of marketing at Buffer, the social media publishing tool for brands, agencies, and marketers. We’ve got a new podcast! 🍟

  • HollyR

    Great post…but why do you insist on shortening “blog post” to one word? Aggravating!

    • I was wondering the same thing. I keep thinking it says blogspot when I see it. Other than that, another great post from Kevan.

    • There are loads of words in the English language that start out as two words that become one! Electronic mail, skate board, earth quake, foot print, book worm, candle stick, court house, door knob, gun powder, mail box, snow flake… and so on. I think blogpost is definitely one of them!

    • Great one, Holly! I’m not sure I’ve fully thought that one out, so it’s really helpful to hear your feedback! I can see how it might get a bit confusing or look unnatural. Thanks!

  • Hi Kevan, another excellent post – thanks! These 95 ideas are awesome additions to the thousands already compiled in MORE BLOG POST IDEAS – a free, flipable compendium of awesome, fresh blog post ideas – as subscribed to by over 25,000 global bloggers: http://flip.it/CqIfg – Cheers, Robin.

    • Awesome! Thanks, Robin!

  • Thanks for sharing a wonderful information its really very informative.

    • So glad you enjoyed this, Samton!

  • Jessica Daniels Candles

    Awesome content!

  • Since there are tens of thousands of bloggers, the really tough issue (even when one writes great blog content), is to get your blog posts on the radar of potential readers. Unfortunately, it’s usually a “long tail” situation: there is a small number of blogs with great reach, but many, many others with very few readers. So, Kevan, could you share a list of ideas on how to build broader distribution? It seems to me that next to “skill” there is also a major “luck” factor at play here: for example, having just the right “influencer” connections in your personal network, getting an article picked up by coincidence but some widely read author or outlet, being the corporate blogger at a widely used service or app, having authored a well-written business or self-help book, regularly appearing on a tv-show, having a newspaper or magazine column, being a speaker at widely-attend business seminars, et al…

    • Hi there Paul! That sounds like such an excellent idea! I’ve been writing a few posts at my personal website lately, and seeing how these get picked up and distributed is quite a bit different than how things are at Buffer. Seems like a great idea to write a bit about this!

  • qeurich

    Hi Kevan!

    Great post! Thanks for sharing all this wonderful information!

    • Happy to share! Glad you enjoyed it!

  • This looks like a ‘plan’. Interesting and educative post, Kevan. Thanks for sharing. Hopefully this answers the BIG question “What should I share on social networks” by many people who share useless posts that doesn’t make any sense but still posted because everyone else is posting ‘something!’.

    • Sounds good, Raam! Glad you enjoyed this one!

  • Excellent post! I have been away from blogging for a few weeks due to surgery, and this will jump start my writing battery. Thanks for sharing your ideas.

    • Awesome to hear you’ll be jumping back in, Sherrey!

  • Seray

    Great list Kevan! I’ll be using most of them. 🙂

    I also often reuse my old blog posts in new ways and that saves lots of time for me!

    http://www.snugsocial.com/2014/12/29/new-ways-to-use-old-blog-posts

  • Adrian

    Fantastic post Kevan. I’ve been doing a fair amount of research and experimentation recently on how to come up with ideas for blog posts – reading your epic post (amongst others) has inspired me to put together a bit of a guide on how to hack some different tools to get hundreds of ideas for blog posts. I’d love to get your feedback on it if it’s of any interest? It can be found at: http://digitalrhinos.com/guide-to-generating-hundreds-blog-post-ideas/

  • Talha

    great work brother it really helps me alot,also have a look on 10 unused blog post ideas to make your blog “hot” http://techfumes.com/10-blog-post-ideas-making-blog-hot/

  • I’ve only been blogging for a few months, so this is interesting reading, thank you. I already use trello too, I love this tool (and that it’s free!). I have already tried a few of the ideas you’ve listed, but you’ve given me some more food for thought, I’ve just created a new column on my trello board in fact, so thanks again! My blog is http://www.retirestarter.co.uk/, about my journey to find ways to hopefully retire early! So I’d love some feedback if you ever have a spare moment.

    • Thanks so much for the comment and best of luck with the blog! 🙂

  • Yeasha Hassan

    Thank you Kevan! I’m new to blogging. I’ll be using these great tips.

  • Rupam De

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  • perky

    Hi Kevin,

    Thanks a million for your post. Will file it to make sure I read it every time I rack my brain to get a thrilling idea for my blog of short stories !