So you’re stuck.
For the past 20 minutes, you’ve been staring at the ceiling, praying a muse will smack you over the head with inspiration…
It’s like your mind is moving through tar, or like a million little spaceships are flying around, and for some reason you just can’t focus. Instead, all you can do is worry about the car payment, the bills, what you had for lunch… or you know, pretty much anything that’s not this stupid post you need to write.
Perhaps searching Google will save yourself from smashing your head against the keyboard or spilling coffee on your lap (at least you’d have something to write about).
Don’t worry, you’re in the right place.
Whether you’re or publishing to your own website, not having something to write about sucks.
In this post, I’m going to give you 20 different blog topic ideas that you could use.
Alright, so what follows aren’t exactly “blog topics” but rather different blog post styles along with some examples of how they’re being used.
Hopefully, it’ll be enough to jumpstart your brain and get your fingers moving again. And if you want more premium blog posts delivered on a weekly basis, well, we can talk about that over here.
Instructional posts tell people how to do something.
Ok, duh right?
The real question is, how do you write an instructional blog post that people will actually want to read?
Well, actually there are a few ways to monitor what’s going on in real(ish) time that you can use to create content that’s relevant to your readers, and would be readers.
Here’s a quick video detailing my 3 favorite ways to find blog topics using social media tools.
Please be aware though, content marketing is evolving.
The “How To Article Is Dead” so if you’re looking to keep people engaged as well as informed, remember to weave in a little extra storytelling to make your post more than an Ikea instructional manual .
Remember those papers you had to do for your high school English Class?
These are kind of like that. As an example, this is what a basic wikipedia page is like. It’s about raw data. Facts and Figures. This is what happened.
While this may not sound like the most exciting type of blog post, you have to understand that this will provide tons of value for those readers who really need it.
Augment that information with really strong keyword research, and on page optimization tactics, and you could potentially rank well for a phrase that gets searched regularly.
Take this information just a step further, and explore the possibility of creating infographics, slideshows, or a variety of other new media formats to spice up the presentation of what could otherwise be dry information.
Another of the more insanely valuable blog topic ideas that help readers, and have long term potential to rank well are reviews.
Here’s the deal, when someone is searching for “[Product name] review” there’s a high chance they’re in research/buying mode.
For that reason, it’s important you provide a thorough review that covers all the bases, because you could be that person that converts a reader to a buyer.
Because of this, the review blog topic is very common in the world of affiliate marketing, and is one of the most common ways bloggers make passive incomes.
Cool part is, all it takes to get started is signing up for a service like Shareasale, finding a few products you can review, and getting them to rank.
Oh no, not another list post ::rolls eyes::
Alright fair enough, but here’s the deal… list posts work.
Not only are they easy to write but are usually popular with readers, because they offer bite sized pieces of information in an easy to digest format.
But here’s the real secret with lists; bigger is always better.
That’s not to say the occasional “7 tips to__” or “8 secrets for__” is bad, but if you’re going to do it, I say go for the gusto.
I’m not just talking out of my bum here either, this post I wrote, 106 Excuses That Prevent You From Ever Becoming Great on ChrisBrogan.com was shared well over 100k times across various social networks.
Which leads me to another point – Big list posts are a great way to land guest posts with A- list blogs.
See, a big part of guest blogging like a professional is creating content they won’t or can’t, so when you offer up a big juicy list post, it’s really hard for them to resist.
For examples guest blogging using big lists:
- 19 Bad Habits Bloggers Need To STOP (ThinkTraffic.net)
- 4 Advanced Facebook Ad Techniques Every Marketer Should Master (Hubspot)
- My 14 Point Plan For Building A Conversion Oriented, Powerhouse Website (Problogger)
Run out of things to say? Want some free advice?
Let someone else do the talking, and ask one of the people you admire to do an interview.
This is a great way to not only give your readers an expert’s opinion but to also learn more yourself.
Now, if you don’t have a big readership, don’t bother pitching the benefits of “more traffic” to a bigger blogger.
Instead, you want your interview questions to show depth and dig deep into a subject you know they’re passionate about.
The best thing you could do is read through their blog to find that stuff they talk about, but not a whole lot, but you can tell they’re still very passionate about, then ask them questions on that.
The key to conducting a good interview research. Ask questions that will make them look smart, (and send them ahead of time) and you’ll stand out in their mind a whole lot more than asking the same stupid generic questions everyone else does.
Brief Pitch Time
Ok, so I don’t want to interrupt your reading too much here, but I wanted to let you know that I offer a premium blog topics email list I send even higher quality prompts on a weekly basis.
Members of this list get regular one on one interaction and many of the prompts are custom tailored to your blog and style.
Membership is just $10/ month, and you’ll receive the highest caliber writing prompts, real world examples, and plenty of additional tips and tricks to keep your publishing schedule full.
Ok, now back to the list…
6. Case Studies
This is one of the more useful blog topic ideas and can really take your blog to the next level.
Why? Because it takes the ideas and theories you form based on the stuff you’d find in an Informational post and shows what happens when those concepts are put into action.
That case study provides validation to the work you’re trying to do, and often it’s what separates legit bloggers from everyone else.
Imagine for a second you read a fitness blog, right. And on a regular basis they write about all these different ways to do crunches and curls and the right way to eat etc, but they don’t ever show anyone doing that work. Would you trust them?
Now take that same blog, but add in a story that says something like “How Jarrod Went From Weenie To Hulk in 12 weeks.” showing pictures that document his process, and link to the exact exercises he did. That site is instantly more credible.
Do it again, and again, and again and with every case study/interview post the site becomes even more credible, truly putting you in that authority position that so many fakers try to claim without any proof.
Use the profile post to detail one aspect of an individual or company’s work.
If they’re doing amazing work, do deep research to share that with your readers.
By “deep” research, I mean dig into everything they’ve made public and piece together a timeline where you can pinpoint the period where they found a problem, then look at the steps they’ve taken to solve it.
In popular media, a movie like “The Social Network” is a dramatized profile of how Facebook came to be and it’s journey to it’s first million members.
When you take the time to do the research, profiling is one of the strongest ways to enhance your professional networking efforts.
For those being profiled, the gratitude is deeper than the exposure and insight you’re sharing with your readers. It’s extremely personal that you’ve taken an interest in sharing their story and have taken the time to make sure it’s told in it’s rawest form.
8. Link Posts
The ‘link post’ is one of those classic blog topic ideas that will be around until the internet collapses into an inescapable vortex where space and time is rendered null.
The quick and dirty way to do a link post is to compile a document of all the resources you’ve found useful throughout the course of the week with a quick blurb as to why it was a good read this week. (this recipe on ifttt.com helps make this easier)
At the end of the week, trim it down to the best; then click publish.
But don’t stop there: use the link post in combination with some of the other blog topic ideas to create “one stop shopping” for certain resources.
Margie Clayman will frequently does “micro profiles” to showcase talented people from across the web while popular design site HongKiat will do link posts rounding up tutorials (like this roundup of adobe illustrator tutorials.)
Never underestimate the link post.
Like theses 7 of the cluetrain mainfesto states “Hyperlinks subvert hierarchy.” before you write the link post, be sure to notify everyone who’s being linked to via email, thereby increasing your chances of that post being shared.
9. ‘Problem’ Posts
I can’t remember where I picked this statistic up; but “problem” is a phrase that is often added to product or service related searches.
“Problems” “issues” “bugs” these are all things you could use to describe the downside of what whatever you’re reviewing.
Now, while it’s an easy trap to fall into, try not to be overtly negative in these kinds of posts. People who are searching for these kinds of subjects are generally looking to get a well rounded opinion of something they’re considering buying.
In other words, this could be a great hidden opportunity for any product you’re an affiliate of.
Obviously, don’t overlook real problems, or lie about known issues. Simply present the real issues in a way that lets your reader decide if that is something they can live with.
If they do end up buying from you, great. They’ll appreciate you being the voice of reason on what might otherwise be a hyped product.
10. Contrasting Two (Or more) Options
Pepsi or Coke?
McDonald’s or Wendy’s?
Scribe SEO vs Yoast.
Life is full of decisions between two or more options.
Write a post that compares and contrasts two (or more) products, services or methodologies that outline the pros and cons of each option.
Many video bloggers will do this on their channels, often as a response to their viewer questions.
If you’re running a blog where product reviews are a regular staple, this is another of those blog topic ideas that works to help people make more informed decisions beyond just an initial review.
Also, imagine how powerful this is when it comes to product upgrade time.
Get passionate, stir yourself up, say what’s on your mind and tell it like it is.
Pick a fight if you have to. Go off on the terrible experience you’ve had with a company.
Stand on a soapbox and GET MAD!
Rants are great for sparking fires and creating controversy & they can also be quite fun if you do it in the right spirit.
Just be aware that this blog topic start a flaming comment thread and, if done wrong, can damage your reputation for a long time.
My suggestion, if you’re going to start a rant, be prepared to have a follow up post that talks about the solution.
Remember the story about Dustin Curtis and American Airlines redesign back in 2009? That rant inspired change on the AA.com site, which then set a simple but powerful precident that echoed throughout much of the travel and lodging industry.
Conversely, you can use your content to inspire people.
Tell a story about how you’ve overcome an incredible obstacle. Give them a pep talk that helps them push through a current challenge.
Let them know they are not alone and that things will get better.
Show them a transformation and prove that any obstacle can be overcome.
If you want to be inspired, Arthur proves no matter how many times you fall, when you get back up, you’ll end up stronger than you ever thought powerful.
13. Personal Research
At first glance, the research post and the informational post seem very similar.
Where information posts detail the raw data necessary, the research post (or category of posts) explores your interpretation of that data and your practical application of it.
In many ways, the personal research posts are that middle ground between information and case study as you have to actually be putting something into motion and reporting on your findings.
Research posts generally take a lot of time to write and as such you should probably be keeping notes on the project you’re working on as you going along and working on these in the background, publishing something really great once every 2 or 3 months.
BONUS: Committing to doing a personal research post will eventually help you uncover serious BIG ASS PROBLEMS and do wonders for your lead conversion process.
14. Categorization Posts
One example definition of a categorization post is like an educational course as a blog post.
At their core, these are a hybrid of research and link posts.
The idea is to order the posts you’re linking to in a logical order from easy to understand to more advanced.
For example, pxleyes.com has this ultimate collection of adobe illustrator tutorials which will walk you through being a complete novice Adobe Illustrator user to eventually creating things like this:
Of course, this concept doesn’t have to be limited to tutorials.
Say you were talking about some sort of environmental issue, you could create a page like this that would go through the broad overview of the overall subject and start breaking it down into more advanced granular topics as you go along.
No matter what you do, as with the “links post” be sure to also contact the original publisher via email to let them know they’ve been included so that they may also share with their readers.
15. Prediction Posts
Will Myspace redefine social networking (again?)
Is Facebook’s lack of frequent innovation cause it to tank?
How will critics respond to [Insert Summer Blockbuster]
Now there are two routes you could take with a prediction post.
The first route is purely speculative and just for fun. However, it’s important to emphasize that you use a very clear tongue and cheek approach in the tone of the content.
Even sites like The Onion still get mistaken for “real” news, even though the entire site is clearly satire.
The other approach though is a much more refined and educated prediction.
Based on what you observe from patterns, trends, and sometimes personalities, make an educated guess on where you see things headed, and share the research that brought you to that place.
Popular statistician, Nate Silver, has made his career off of making accurate predictions for Major League Baseball and the 2008 Presidential elections, where he correctly predicted how 49 out of 50 states would vote.
If more serious prediction posts are something your blog could benefit from, I highly recommend you read his book The Signal and the Noise: Why So Many Predictions Fail – but Some Don’t.
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16. Critique Posts
Originally this subhead was going to be “Attack posts”.
And while a full on textual assaults will always be a part of blogging, they really lack the finesse and tact a well written critique can offer.
When I think of a critique post, I mean constructive criticism too.
Opinions are offered every day online, but unless those opinions can lead to more positive outcomes for those under the microscope, they’re unwelcomed and will either be ignored or put them on the defensive. So be aware of that before you just put it out there.
The best thing you could do is get in touch with someone who is in charge with whatever it is you’re critiquing, and politely ask if you could offer some tasteful public feedback and possible fixes.
This less charged version of a rant could then lead to bigger opportunities further down the road.
I used to love a good debate in high school – there was something about preparing a case either for or against something that I quite enjoyed.
This is one of those really fun blog topic ideas that can go over really well, especially if you make it a real coordinated effort between you and another blogger.
Have fun with it, make up posters to post over your social networks, talk a little smack ahead of the debate, then publish both sides with a coordinated effort between you and the person you’re going to be debating.
Take it a step further and conduct your debate over a Google+ Hangout on Air so people can watch you go head to head live.
No one said you had to stick to just text and images. Have a blast, there are new media formats popping up all the time.
(You could also try arguing both for and against a topic in one post – you can end up with a pretty balanced post).
18. Hypothetical Posts
‘What if….Google and Yahoo merged?’
‘What if …Facebook bought Hulu?
What if…Twitter died tomorrow?”
By proposing a hypothetical situation, you allow your readers some breathing room to make their imaginations run wild.
In the blogging world, there’s so much contrived interaction prompting techniques, that it’ll be a reshing breath of fresh air for your readers to just allow their minds to play.
One of the reasons I got into blogging was that I stumbled across a couple of bloggers who were writing in a satirical form and taking pot shots at politicians (I can’t seem to find the blog to link to).
What was compelling about the satire was there was factual information weaved in with a little snark.
A well done satire piece will get your readers bobbing their heads and nodding in agreement, making it really hard to resist clicking that “share” button.
Every industry needs a little levity, so why not be the person to offer it?
Well written satire or parody can be incredibly powerful and is brilliant for generating links for your blog.
20. Reader Projects
So much internet still operates on a broadcast-like principle.
I write an article, you read it. I make a video, you watch it.
You might leave a comment, or take some other action, but that’s only after you’ve taken in what I put out.
Flip this model on it’s head. Make your reader have to input something in order to get a promised outcome.
One of my favorite people on the web, Ze Frank does a fantastic job with this.
He frequently gets his viewers involved by getting them to upload videos, creating flash widgets that change your voice, getting them to dress up their vacuum cleaners and other fun things.
Chances are what you’re doing won’t be as absurd, but the point remains the same – GET THEM INVOLVED.
Run polls, ask them to share links to what they’re reading, run small contests and give away small prizes, swap books, share playlists. Create Memes. Encourage play.
It’s these kinds of projects that make the internet a fun place, and adds more depth than just something on a screen that talks at you all day.
Which reminds me, if you’ve made it all this way, thank you. I’d love to get to know you better and help you and take a stake in your future as a blogger.