April 10, 2015
Brainstorming the best content ideas for your blog isn’t always easy, but it doesn’t have to be as difficult as you think. There are a number of tools for every aspect of the brainstorming process.
Want to know exactly what people are searching for on the web? Looking for a way to compile the best sources to use? Or are you simply looking for the best communities to draw inspiration from? Here are 12 of the best tools out there for finding things to blog about.
Feedly, an RSS reader, offers a simple way to keep up with many news sites and blogs. The interface is sharp and categorizing the RSS feeds into easy-to-read sections saves a lot of time. Interesting articles can be saved for later, while other articles can quickly be cleared away. There’s an app for iOS and Android, but the browser plugin is the most effective.
While I’m not suggesting you steal others’ blog topic ideas, regularly reading other blogs in your niche can be a great source of inspiration!
If you’re struggling to find specific sites of interest to follow, let AllTop do it for you. AllTop considers itself an “online magazine rack” that pulls in stories from numerous publications, including many you may not have known about. It’s easily customizable and there’s a search function to see what’s happening in certain topics that could be relevant to your blog.
The best thing about AllTop is that it is very quick and easy to see tons of things other bloggers in your niche are covering, all on one page.
If you’re truly stumped on what to write about, the Blog Topic Generator can point you in the right direction. Just type in three nouns and the algorithm will provide you with actionable headlines. It’s not perfect, as Hubspot is ready to admit. They suggest changing words to make the suggestions more relevant.
To experiment, I typed in “travel” and “Cambodia.” Some of the suggestions were interesting: “What Will Cambodia Be Like in 1000 Years” and “The Worst Advice We’ve Ever Heard About Travel.” Others were downright goofy, such as “Ten Things Your Competitors Can Teach You About Cambodia.”
Reddit, one of top 30 most visited websites in the world, can be both an addictive time waster and an invaluable resource. The social networking site has different pages – known as subreddits – for just about every category you could be writing about. Most big cities have their own page, while every hobby and interest seems to be represented. If you’re blogging about a certain topic, rest assured you’ll likely find a community on Reddit that can provide you with some ideas.
If you’re doing research and have a question about anything, odds are the contributors of Quora have an answer. This user-generated question and answer site has a vast community of people who seem to know just about everything. There’s a voting system so that the best answers to your queries are filtered to the top. Like Reddit, the diversity of interests is one of most compelling reasons to experiment with Quora if you’re looking for information.
Best of all, Quora’s content guidelines state, “you can reuse all new content on Quora by publishing it anywhere on the web, as long as you link back to the original content on Quora.”
These video sites are often the cornerstones of great blogs. Even the biggest media companies are relying on Vimeo and especially YouTube to drive traffic. Both can be a goldmine for blog ideas, especially after sifting through to find something truly special to share with readers on your blog.
Few tools are more powerful for a blogger than the Google Keyword Planner. The planner is intended for the Good Adwords advertising service, but you don’t have to spend a dime to use it. With the planner, you can check the popularity of certain keywords in specific geographic areas. You can even forecast the popularity of a chosen keyword. With the planner, you can determine exactly how many potential readers are searching for something and then provide them with what they need.
This is a similar but a much more user-friendly alternative to the Adwords Keywords Planner. Google Trends shows how popular certain searches are and breaks it down into geographic areas. It’s also shows the history of that search term and how its popularity has changed over time. With Google Trends, it’s easy to provide content that caters to a growing audience.
Another way to see what’s trending is to use Topsy, which analyzes Twitter. Type in any phrase to see how much the subject has been tweeted about and what the most popular tweets have been. Combined with Google’s tools, you’ll have your finger on the pulse of what’s trending in no time.
LinkedIn is much more than a virtual resume. With its groups feature, it’s a valuable source for blogging leads. There are discussion groups for all types of professional subjects and industries, so depending on what your blog is about you could find some inspiration from these groups.
The Visual.ly community is the largest infographic repository on the web. Everything from fitness to science to finance is represented, providing ample opportunities for all types of blogs. The infographics can be easily embedded with customizable sizes into posts.
WikiMindMap turns Wikipedia articles into visualizations that provide jumping off points for further subjects to explore. Type in any subject to see it compressed in an easy-to-digest visual and explore from there. You might see connections and subjects that wouldn’t be obvious in the full text version.
If you struggle to come up with topics for your blog, these 12 tools will be a great place to start! You could easily come up with dozens of new ideas in an hour by trying them out.
Got any other tools you would recommend? Share them in the comments below!
Adrienne Erin writes weekly for SiteProNews about online marketing strategies that help businesses succeed. Follow @adrienneerin on Twitter to get in touch, or visit Design Roast to see more of her work.