7 Best Ideation Tools For Coming Up With Stellar Blog Topics

Do you have trouble coming up with great things to blog about? Don’t worry, everyone at some point does. Fortunately, there are a lot of great tools you can use to get the topics ideas flowing again. Here are the seven best types of tools to use for coming up with stellar blog topics.

Keyword Research Tools

If you just need a keyword phrase to spark an idea, keyword research tools should do the trick. Since I write about content marketing, I could put in the phrase “content strategy” and get 700+ related keyword ideas from Google’s AdWords Keyword Planner.

I could also enter content strategy into Ubersuggest and see the suggestions that Google offers when someone starts typing in content strategy.

Between these two free tools, I could find hundreds of blog topic ideas. Best of all, I will already have great keyword phrases to optimize each blog post with since both tools reveal keyword phrases that users search.

Topic Generators

Of course, just because you have a great keyword phrase doesn’t mean you have a great headline. If you’re struggling to come up with great headlines, topic generators will help you out. HubSpot offers a free topic generator that will create titles around up to three keyword phrases.

If you sign up for the form below the first five suggestions, you’ll get many more emailed to you. Considering the popularity of HubSpot’s own blog, you’ll be headlines that use formulas that are proven to be successful.

Q&A Forums

If you like answering questions – in the form of blog posts – then people who participate in Q&A (question and answer) networks will inspire you with great topic ideas. Depending on your niche, you should be able to find lots of great questions on sites like Quora, Yahoo Answers, StackExchange, and even Reddit.

If you can write blog posts quickly, you can answer one of the questions that inspire you with your blog post. That way, content inspiration leads to content promotion.

For those niches that aren’t covered by these Q&A networks, you can use forums for inspiration. Mom bloggers can find hundreds of questions for inspiration in the BabyCenter community.

Consumer Surveys

In addition to attracting new readers to your blog, you want to keep the readers you have coming back for more. So how do you do that? Ask them what topics they want to see you cover on your blog. Consumer survey tools like Google Consumer Insights, Qualaroo, and Qeryz.

Depending on the tool you use, you can have your survey question popup up in the bottom left or right corner of your blog. Or, you can position your survey at a specific point in your content to engage active readers.

Social Media

If you want a blog post that will perform well on social media, you should use social media to research the best topics. BuzzSumo allows you to search for the most popular content in the past year on a specific topic.

You can sort the results by a specific social network to find out which topics performed best on Facebook, Pinterest, LinkedIn, Twitter, or Google+. This tactic would be useful for businesses that know that they get the most conversions from LinkedIn visitors. Those businesses could find out what headline formulas and content types perform best with LinkedIn audiences.

The goal in this case is to create a better piece of content than the one that was most popular. Your content should have an even better headline and more valuable content. Then you can view the sharers of the content that inspired you and see if they would be interested in promoting your post.

Blog Feeds

Monitoring blog posts by the top blogs in your niche will help inspire you to great blog topics. You don’t even have to read the posts for the most part – just watch the headlines. Subscribing to the top blogs in your niche using tools like Feedly will help you get the latest news in one place.

You can use the number indicator next to each post to see it’s popularity in relation to other posts on the site. You can also use the search when curating blog posts on a specific topic.

If you don’t have time to subscribe to the top industry blogs, you can use sites like Alltop [http://alltop.com/]. Alltop aggregates the top blogs on topics ranging from accounting to zoology.

Find the topic that matches your niche on Alltop, copy the URL, and add /rss/ to the end of the URL to get its RSS feed. Add that RSS feed in Feedly to see the latest posts by all blogs on that topic page. It’s a quick way to subscribe to over a dozen popular blogs in your niche.

Your Customers

While your customers are not tools, your customers can be a huge source of great blog post inspiration. Since you are ultimately creating content to attract customers to your business and keep customers loyal to your business, writing content with them in mind is ideal.

Talk to everyone in your company that deals with your customers from sales to support. Each person will likely be able to tell you some questions that they have heard over and over again from customers. These are great questions to use to inspire your blog content.

For larger companies, you may be able to break up the content into different categories based on the types of questions your customers ask. They could range from content about your industry as a whole, content that helps your customers with challenges not related to your products or services, support content for your products, and sales content to promote your services.

It’s a win on both sides – you will have more to blog about, and your customers will have more reasons to visit your blog!

18 Blogging Tools Every Marketer Needs

If you’re blogging for your business, then you will want to know the right tools to help you with organization, research, inspiration, development, images, and promotion. In this post, we’re going to look at 18 blogging tools every marketer needs in their arsenal.

Organization Tools

A successful blogging strategy starts with an organized one.

1. Trello

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Trello allows you to use cards and lists to organize your blogging tasks. You can create cards for each blog post and lists to move blog posts from the idea stage to the analytics stage. You can assign blog posts to specific people, create a checklist of action items, attach files, and comment back and forth within each card.

2. CoSchedule

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CoSchedule is a blog editorial calendar that you can use to manage blogging tasks within WordPress or on the CoSchedule website. In addition to assigning blog posts to specific people, creating a checklist of action items, attaching files, and commenting back and forth, you can also use CoSchedule to schedule social media promotion of a post once it is published.

Content Research

One way to ensure that you will have a successful blog post is to research the blog posts that have been successful in your industry. These tools will help you with that research.

3. BuzzSumo

BuzzSumo allows you to find the most socially shared blog posts on specific topics or on specific domains. This tool will give you insights into the best headline formulas and places to publish if your goal is to create a viral post on social media. You can also use this tool to find the influencers who are most likely to tweet your blog posts by looking at who tweeted the most popular posts on related topics.

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4. MozBar

MozBar allows you to look through the top search results for a particular keyword to see the number of links to each piece of content. This tool will give you insights into the best headline formulas and places to publish if your goal is to get a lot of SEO benefits (and links) from your blog posts.

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Keyword Research

Speaking of SEO benefits, here are some tools you can use to research the best keywords to optimize your blog posts.

5. Google AdWords Keyword Planner

Have a great topic idea in mind? Use Google AdWords Keyword Planner to research the keywords you think would be great for your post to determine their search volume and get some related keyword suggestions that might be better.

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6. SEMrush

If you have the link to a great blog post on a topic you plan to write about, you can use SEMrush to analyze that blog post to find the keywords for which it is optimized.

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Topic Generators

Now that you have great keywords and topic ideas, all you need is a great headline. Here are some topic generator tools that will help you create winning headline formulas.

7. Portent’s Content Idea Generator

Enter your keyword into Portent’s Content Idea Generator to get headline suggestions as well as some great tips on creating a valuable piece of content. Keep refreshing until you find a headline you like!

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8. HubSpot’s Blog Topic Generator

Enter up to three keywords into HubSpot’s Blog Topic Generator to five suggested headlines. If you scroll down below the five suggestions, you can fill in some information to get hundreds more for free delivered to your inbox.

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Grammar Editors

Once you have written your blog post, you will want to check it for errors. These two tools will help you get the best results when you don’t have a human editor at your disposal.

9. Grammarly

Grammarly goes beyond your standard word processor grammar and spelling checks. It also helps you with sentence structure and style. Think of it as a grammar editor + teacher, rolled into one, that helps you improve your writing.

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10. Microsoft Word

Of course, Grammarly still doesn’t catch everything. Copy and paste your blog post into Microsoft Word (or its alternatives) to fix a few more simple errors.

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Image Tools

In addition to your text, you need visual content in the form of images to help break up the text, give people something to share, and help with search optimization. Here are some image tools that will help you get the best visual content for your blog posts.

11. Canva

Canva allows you to create unique images for your blog posts using their simple (and free) online editor. You could even use it to create custom cover photos that promote your latest blog post on your social profiles.

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12. Jing

If screenshots add value to your content, use Jing, TechSmith’s free screenshot capture program. It allows you to capture specific areas of your screen and annotate them to add more value to your blog images.

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13. Piktochart

Infographics can help increase the chances that your blog post will be shared. Piktochart allows you to choose from hundreds of templates and create professional infographics without design skills or expensive software.

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14. BigStockPhoto

If you’re not interested in creating your own images, you can use stock photography instead. BigStockPhoto offers thousands of images to choose from, along with stock video footage as well.

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Promotion Tools

Once you have published your blog post, you will want to promote it for maximum results. Here are some tools that will make promotion of your blog content simple.

15. IFTTT

IFTTT (If This Then That) allows you to take your blog’s RSS feed and connect it to other applications and social networks to automatically promote your blog post when it goes live. For example, you can have your latest blog post automatically published to your Twitter account, Facebook page, Facebook groups, LinkedIn, Reddit, Delicious, Blogger, Tumblr, and many other networks.

You can also have IFTTT automatically sent your latest blog post to Buffer so that Buffer can publish it to your Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Google+ profiles, groups, and pages.

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16. GetResponse

Several email marketing services have an RSS to email feature that allows you to have your latest blog post emailed to your mailing list. GetResponse is one of those services. Just choose an email template and your latest blog post will automatically be formatted to it and sent to your email subscribers.

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Analytics Tools

In order to determine the success of your blog posts, you will want to analyze them. Here are two free tools that you are likely already using.

17. Google Analytics

There are two ways to measure your blog post success in Google Analytics. For blog posts published on your own website, you can visit the All Pages report to see which blog posts get the most visitors and  related data about your visitors’ behavior on those blog posts. You can also visit the Landing Pages report to see which blog posts attract visitors who complete the most goal conversions.

For blog posts published elsewhere, you can visit the Source / Medium report to see which offsite blog posts drive the most traffic to your website and related data about how those visitors behave on your website. You can also see which offsite blog posts drive the visitors who complete the most goal conversions.

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18. Google Webmaster Tools

Google Webmaster Tools allows you to see how well your website pages perform in search. In the Search Queries report, click on the Top Pages tab. This will show you your top pages in search with data on impressions, clicks, CTR, and average position in search results. Click on the arrow next to a blog post to see the keywords that drive traffic to that particular post.

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In Conclusion

As you can see, the right set of tools can help you up your blogging game considerably. Be sure to try these and similar tools to help your business blogging be more successful and simpler.