If you struggle with drafting a list of topics to write about or you’re just looking for something new, check out these 30 ways to find new topic ideas.
- Explore New Places
When you feel like you’ve covered all topics in your niche, consider a change of scenery. Instead of, or in addition to, online research, look for topics offline. Take a walk. Talk to a friend. Visit a new location. Slow down and look at the world around you. Life is constantly changing and you’re sure to find lots of inspiration if you look.
- Monitor Magazine Trends
Look at the titles on the front pages of magazines in your niche. That’s what is currently trending. Write them down. Go home and input phrases from those titles as keywords to see if it sparks an idea or two. You can also check Magazines.com for ideas for your niche.
- Ask Your Audience
Ask your audience open ended and guided questions. You might ask what topics you’ve missed in relation to the niche. You could ask them to complete a sentence such as, “The most frustrating part of losing weight is ___________________”.
- Use Competitive Intelligence Tools
Tools like BuzzSumo, SEMRush, SpyFu, Tag Clouds, Keyword tools and more can help you find topics that are trending.
- Social Media
Facebook, Twitter and more have ways to view which topics are trending. Join groups related to the niche you write about and see which topics are being discussed. Look for those with many responses, heated responses, and conflict. Those are tip-offs that you can turn these triggers into topics.
- Categorize – Then Think of a Topic
Topics are easier to come up with if you are directed in some way, so write down a minimum of four categories:
- Evergreen (always current)
- New Information
- Top Tips for…
Now try to come up with your best idea for each category. You’ll be surprised how well this tip works. But even if you just come up with one idea, it’s totally worth the effort.
Watch news stories and documentaries. Take notes of all angles being discussed. Make note of the industry leaders, the movers and shakers in the niche or industry.
- Change Your Routine
A lack of ideas could be due to never changing up your routine. When you follow a routine too closely, things can get stale. Instead, change your method of thinking and your research techniques. Write in the morning instead of afternoon. Read some new publications. Visit a library instead of researching online.
- Visit Question & Answer Communities
Visit sites like Quora.com, Yahoo Answers, Fluther.com, and StackExchange.com to see what questions are being asked. Consider how you could address the questions from different angles.
- Look through Your Swipe Files & Existing Content
Changes are you’ve bookmarked reference sites, copied swipe files, started topics but never finished and more. Browse through those to see what new ideas come to mind. Look at your website or blog to see which topics are popular. Ask yourself how you can revisit the topic from a different angle or to give fresh information about it.
- Look at Your Customer Support & Feedback
What questions or issues do you address often when working with customers? What type of feedback is your audience giving? What are they asking for? Seeing repeat questions or feedback is a sure sign you need to address the topic.
- Mine Headlines for Topic Ideas
This doesn’t mean steal other peoples’ headlines. Rather, look at headline types to trigger ideas for a new topic, mentally adding your niche keywords after or within the headline formula. Learn to pick out the formulas used in headlines such as “The Secret to ____;” “How to __,” “A Little Mistake that __”.
- Google Suggestions
You can type a phrase into Google search engine, and it will offer suggestions for the topic. For example, “top 100 headlines for” or “best headlines in” to see what suggestions they have in relation to your niche.
- Google Alerts & Trends
Google alerts allows you to set up alerts based on keywords. Once you set them up, you can get daily, weekly, or monthly email notifications about those topics. Google Trends lets you search for keywords to see the number of searches for that term over a certain period. This allows you to see what current topics are hot.
- Read the Comments
When you are conducting research, don’t stop at reading the article. Look at the comments to see what other questions are being asked or what other readers have to say about the topic.
- Follow Authority Sites
If you want to find out the latest news and tips for your niche, follow the quintessential authority blogs for the niche. They usually stay on top of emerging trends and the latest news.
- Search for the Keyword “Topics”
You can always be blatant about it. Go to your favorite search engine and search for specific topics. When viewing the results, look for different ways you could write about the same topic.
- Hit the Encyclopedias
Go the old fashion route and visit your local library to view print encyclopedias. More often than you might think, Encyclopedias contain fascinating subject tangents and facts not currently explored online. Put a twist on the topic so they draw attention.
- Ask Yourself Questions
Step away from all electronics for 15 minutes of uninterrupted time. Think about your niche. Then start asking yourself questions – and do your best to finish them.
Don’t over-complicate the process: Ask yourself questions like…
- What if…?
- Why Should You…?
- When is it…?
- Make Topic Generation a Game
Find ways to make topic generation fun for you – not something you dread. Challenge yourself to find ten topics (not one). Give yourself a chocolate covered coffee bean or a truffle if you come up with a real winner. Take yourself out for a cappuccino if you fill up your monthly blogging calendar with topics. Whatever it takes to engage your brain ensures your topics themselves will be more engaging.
- Think Visually
Use mind-mapping software or hand-draw your central niche topic in a circle. Brainstorm ideas connected with that topic (don’t try to make headlines or blog titles just yet).
- Use Word Association Tools
Sites like wordassociations.net and wordassociation.org allow you to look up words associated with your keywords. Just type in your keyword and see what results you get.
- Narrow Your Topic Range
If topics feel wimpy, boring, or unsatisfying they are too broad. Zero in on specifics and focus on one point per post or article.
- Use a Bulletin Board
If you already use a bulletin board, add one or more post-it notes for topics. When a keyword strikes you, quickly scribble it down for future research.
- Think Like a Newbie
You may be so over-familiar with your niche that you find yourself making assumptions, glossing over terms and methods, and worrying about coming up with something new. Topic generation is all about balance; mixing new topics with more advanced topics. Put yourself in your newest follower’s shoes. Try to think what he or she would ask.
- Use a Life Example
People don’t respond to topics – they respond to people. Use a single example from your own life, from someone else’s or from a famous person’s life to illustrate a point.
- Browse Reviews
Look through reviews and testimonials from customers who purchase products and services in your niche. What comments did they leave? What did they like or dislike about it? What questions or concerns did they express?
- Check Your Competitors
Don’t duplicate what they are writing. Instead, take note of keywords they are using and topics they are covering. Think of fresh ideas and ways you can cover the same information in a different – and better way.
- Search Amazon & other Book Stores
Amazon has millions of books as do other large bookstores. Search the topic you are seeking. Look at the table of contents for existing books. Search for books with similar topics. For example, if you are looking for weight loss topics, search for specific diet fads, food trends and even those who are opposed to those fads or trends.
- Look for Quotes
When all else fails, search quotes relevant to your niche. Pick the best one and build a post around it. Draft a list of your favorites so you can use them the next time you’re stuck.