social media how toAre you struggling to come up with articles for your blog?

Are you looking for ways to generate new content ideas?

To keep your blog audience engaged, you need to continually generate new content.

In this article I’ll show you 7 easy ways to help you find new and interesting content ideas for your business blog.

#1: Look Into Bottlenose

Bottlenose provides live social intelligence for you by analyzing activity across all of the major social networks. It allows you to “surf the stream” and discover what’s trending in social media in real time.

To discover what’s popular right now on the various social networks, use the free Bottlenose Search.

Here’s how:

  1. Open Bottlenose Search.
  2. Type your topic directly into the search bar OR select a popular topic from the list that’s provided.
    bottlenose search

    Bottlenose searches for real-time mentions of your topic in social media.

  1. The Now tab will show Top Trending Links, Trending Topics, Recent Comments and Recent Images. The articles you discover through these links can serve as inspiration for topic ideas for your own blog content.

    bottlenose trending content

    Bottlenose displays trending content in various formats.

  1. The Sonar tab shows trending topics that are similar and related to your topics. For example, my search on #blogging is linked to many other trending topics and subtopics as you can see below.
    bottlenose sonar section

    Sonar shows links among trending social media topics.

This search reminded me that I hadn’t written about lead generation (#leadgen) recently. You can also find trending current-affairs topics, such as the iPad mini or the 2012 election, which make for attention-grabbing topics.

Using Bottlenose allows you to create content that is engaging with what’s trending in social media in real time.

#2: Write a Blog Post From Customer Questions

Your customers come to you with questions because they see you as a knowledgeable resource. It’s very likely there are others out there who have the same questions. The questions you receive (in person, and via phone and email) are a great starting point for a blog post.


Do you keep track of the questions you receive and use these for content ideas? Image source: iStockphoto

There are a couple of benefits to this strategy. First, you’ll increase the likelihood that others will find your blog by searching for this topic. And you’ll further establish yourself as an expert in the field.

#3: TweetChats

TweetChats are regularly scheduled events where people from all over the world get together to have a conversation over Twitter about a certain topic. Basically, it’s an updated version of chat rooms, conducted over Twitter.

These are great resources for finding blog content, because a TweetChat almost always involves questions, answers, facts and opinions.

Here’s how you can find TweetChats specific to your topic and area of interest:

  1. Open the Twitter Chat Schedule Google Doc.
  2. Open the Find box (click command + F or control + F).
  3. Search for keywords on your topic. For example, “finance” or “money.”
    search for keywords

    Search for keywords related to the content focus of your blog.

  1. Once you find a match, use the Twitter Chat hashtag found in Column A (see image above).
  2. Take this hashtag and paste it into the box at the top of TweetChat. Click Go.
  3. TweetChat will give you all of the most recent tweets related to this chat.
    tweetchat results

    Use interesting tweets or questions as a starting point for your blog post.

Use TweetChats to find tweets to inspire ideas for your blog content. You’ll likely find the questions in these tweets to be particularly helpful.

#4: Read Blogs in Your Industry for Ideas

I’m not advocating ripping off other people’s ideas nor copying material from another site. Because of the search engines’ work to reduce content spam, this would only hurt your site.

Instead, use these ideas and add your own commentary on the subject. Take the topic and discuss whether you agree or disagree and why. Provide your own references, data and/or examples to support your thoughts.


Other blogs can be a great source of inspiration. Image source: iStockphoto

#5: Quora Questions

Quora is an amazing Q&A site that features questions with answers containing facts, opinions and humorous stories that are voted on by Quora members.

Further, Quora’s content license allows the following: “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.”

Here’s how you find blog content on Quora:

  1. Go to Quora.
  2. Type your topic into the search bar. Quora will populate the list with common topics.
    quora search

    Quora search will suggest several topics available based on your search.

  1. The results page will list popular questions and open (unanswered) questions. These unanswered questions are a golden opportunity to identify topics to blog about. It’s likely that others out there have the same question.
    unanswered questions

    Use unanswered questions on Quora as a starting point for your blog content.

  1. Answer an unanswered question on Quora (optional).
  2. Take your answer and transform that same content into a blog post.

#6: Examine Topsy

Another social search tool, Topsy, allows you to search across various social channels. Topsy provides a sleek interface and provides you great control to filter your results.

  1. Open Topsy Search.
  2. Type in your search topic. Topsy provides you with a populated list of topics as well.
    topsy search

    Use Topsy Search to find social media content for your topic.

  1. The default search results show links and images for your topic that are trending on Twitter. You have lots of flexibility to adjust the results. You can filter by time, type of result you’re looking for (Links, Tweets, Photos, Videos) and type of network (Twitter, Google+, Facebook).
    topsy search results

    Topsy search results can be filtered and you can create recurring alerts for yourself.

  1. You can also create an email or RSS alert to send you regular updates for this topic. This feature is great if you regularly need trending topics in your area of expertise delivered to you with a certain frequency.

#7: Comment on Popular Blogs

The most popular blogs in your specific areas of expertise probably get hundreds of comments per post. Because of the volume, the authors don’t have time to respond directly to all of these comments and questions. This is a golden opportunity for you.

First, reply directly in the comment thread and provide a helpful response to the commenter’s question. Second, take the question from the comment and your answer and create a blog post with that content.


Use the comments you leave on industry blogs as a starting point for your own blog content. Image source: iStockphoto

If you continue to answer questions on these industry blogs, you’ll begin to be recognized as a subject-matter expert. Plus, you’ll have a blog filled with great content for your readers!

Get More Blog Content Ideas

An active blog with fresh content can be a great boost to your company’s bottom line. Use these tactics to generate more ideas for the content you publish on your blog.

What do you think? Do you have any other techniques that you use to generate ideas for new content? Leave your questions and comments in the section below.

Images from iStockPhoto.
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  • Time and again, I find that content written from the heart ranks well and is well-received. If you’re stuck for ideas, try writing about a topic that you’re passionate about. It’s the easiest way to blog, and even if it’s not a good fit for your own site, you can offer it to someone else as a guest blog.

  • Chimezirim Odimba

    I like the point you made about replying to comments on top industry blogs. It is true that the hosts of such blogs really don’t have the time to respond to the many questions that arise in the comments. That’s a golden opportunity you’ve called attention to and I am going to explore it in my niche.

  •  Your customer service team is a great source of topic ideas.  The work directly with customers every day and know what kinds of questions they have.  Once you write great content that answers these questions the customer service team can share it. 

  • I am going to check out Bottlenose for sure. I really like answering the customers questions in a post, or blogging comments. I agree Nick, if you are wondering what questions to answer, you should head to the frontline, your customer service team will offer a wealth of information.

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  • I have a little network of sites that I comment on and one I write for and that’s definitely helped me get the juices flowing. I also just checked out Bottlenose. I like it! That Sonar drilldown is really great! thanks for sharing that!

  • Melody Abbott

    Great article! These must be some of social networkings best kept secrets. Or I’m really out of the loop….In any case, thanks for the great advice.

  • I LIKE #7 and I will definitely try it!  Thanks for the article!

  • Great to hear. I think you’ll find two big benefits:
    1) The readers will appreciate your help and check out your site from your link in the comments. 
    2) Over time, you’ll build a relationship with the site owners. They’d very likely have you as a guest contributor. 

    Good luck!

  • Customer service is the first line of your team to receive questions. More than just the question content, they experience the emotional highs and lows of your customers and can rely these emotional responses to your content/marketing/sales teams. This technique can help you find those pain points that could be solved be great content. 

    Also, I think almost everyone in the company should spend half a day working in the customer service department. It gives you a great understanding and appreciation for the job and customers that are served. 

  • Great to hear @mckeagan1:disqus – Let us know the results you experience. 

  • That’s great @google-890e41fbb576e6ac5e4dace37fab79e1:disqus , glad to help. 

  • @MKTdojo:disqus let us know how it turns our for you! 

  • Yvan

    This is good stuff that I can use… like it.

  • Meg Bertini

    Wow, super helpful with several great ideas. Thanks!

  • Thanks a a lot for such an informative post Andrew. I was unaware of a  few options mentioned in this post like Bottlenose.

  • There are some really great resources mentioned here and I look forward to trying several out this week to fill the balance of my content calendar for this year.

    Another area that’s a rich resource for ideas is – whatever book you’re reading right now. Whether I’m reading one on my iPad or in traditional form – I keep notes of ideas that pop up as I’m reading and draft titles of potential blog posts. I rarely use them all – but if 10 or 15% lead to new posts I’m that much further ahead.

    BTW, this post has given me several ideas for future posts – so thanks for that as well! 

  • @twitter-90878646:disqus – Glad to help! Please do return back and share your successes with us. 

  • I do the same when reading books. I keep Evernote, with my list of blog posts, nearby to get the idea out of my head and stored into a safe place for later use. 

    @twitter-12027082:disqus  – Glad it could help. 

  • Thanks to @CindyKing:disqus and the entire @smexaminer:twitter team! They put together amazing content every week. 

    Writing for this awesome publication is a pleasure. Plus, they give great feedback and helpful suggestions, which have helped to improve my writing and branding.

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  • Randy Kemp

    You may wish to examine your LinkedIn groups and your LinkedIn questions and answers.  See what topics are being discussed and what has been shared.  It sometimes provides inspiration for a good blog post.

  • Claire, like you I’m a write from the heart blogger. The problem with that (and I apologize for suggesting a problem exists; speaking from my own experience though) is that we’re not always passionate. Sometimes passion runs low. Maybe we’re tired, brain-dead from work, emotionally stressed, whatever. 

    The result can mean inconsistency in terms of topic and posting frequency, as well as posts that appear to be more about what we’re interested in and less about what is of interest to our readers. 

    I’ve had to make myself attempt to adhere to a content calendar that involves certain topics written on a somewhat routine schedule. But I find that consistent practice, even when passion or inspiration are lacking, makes me a better blogger. Then, when inspiration does strike, it’s all the sweeter! 

  • These are some awesome resources! Thank you Andrew! 

  • Great article! Thanks for all the tips.

  • Great article and some fantastic tips, hadn’t heard of Bottlenose and Topsy both look like very useful tools. Thank you! 🙂

  • John Fike

    These are great ideas and I think I will put several of them to use, particularly for clients I blog for since I am not always “passionate” about all the industries my clients work in. This will help keep posts alive and relevant.

  • You always have great information. Thanks so much!

  • Reading forum comments/questions (similar to #2) can really help you come up with topics (and subtopics, too). I haven’t heard about Bottlenose, so will check that out. Thanks. =)

  • I have Evernote installed everywhere but haven’t even scratched the surface with – I’d love to see a post on how you use it!

  • Niveen Salem

    Thanks Andrew for the tools provided in here! I also like Ezine Articles. They are great to search related topics to any niche and gives an idea about what to write. Thanks again ~ Niveen

  • Suzanne

    This is an excellent summary. Using the comments you leave on other’s blogs for your own blog is great. My clients mostly have a hard time finding the time to blog. I”m encourage them to think of how they can break one post or topic up into three pieces and post throughout the week that way. Anybody use Outbrain? Is it most appropriate for medium to large businesses? Thanks, Suzanne

  • @twitter-12027082:disqus – Glad you asked. I’m almost included this link above, but didn’t want to seem like I was pushing my content. 

    Here is a post I wrote last year entitled “3 Great Social Media Uses for Evernote”. My favorite and most useful is #1 

  • I’ve encountered that same issue. While I prefer to write about topics I’m truly passionate about, it’s not always the case when working on behalf of clients. 

    I also suggest you use the clients staff as much as possible to help you because they’re probably much more knowledgeable than you about the specific industry. Combine that knowledge with your writing power and you’ll have a much easier time. 

    I previously used this Google Form to send to employees of clients (with permission) to gather blog ideas. 
    1) Open the link below.
    2) Click on the ‘Form’ menu
    3) Select ‘Go to live form’ to see the form you can send your clients.  
    4) Feel free to make a copy of this file for yourself!

  • Thanks for the suggestion; I’ll check out Ezine Articles. 

  • I haven’t used Outbrain, but I have tried Zemanta in terms of offering suggested articles from other sites which are similar to my post. 

  • Sarah Bauer

    Cool article! I’m going to have to check out Bottlenose, it looks brilliant. 

    I turn to Alltop for industry news and inspiration. It gives me a rundown of popular blogs in my industry, and provides an awesome entry point for responses to other posts and blog comments. 

    I also try to read the bulk of the blog comments on articles that interest me, because therein often lies questions that need answering, or insightful suggestions to think about. 

    Thanks for the advice,
    Sarah Bauer
    Navigator Multimedia

  • Tanfastic

    Similar to using social media to monitor trending topics, I also read several news sites to find interesting stories about the industry I’m writing about. Write a quick overview of the topic/issue referring back to the article, add your opinion and any interesting insight you have and then ask your readers what they think.

  • Wow!  This is substantive!  Thank you!!!!

  • John Bisnar

    It’s refreshing to see an article that delivers what you expect to see once you get to it. Great tips. I know for our team it’s a constant balance in finding fresh ideas or re-visiting older ones where we can add much more value. 

  • If you write about your passion or work, you find it easy to have fresh ideas. Still good to have inspiration through good tools like those shown here.

  • These are great new things I had not known about. Thanks so much for the post! I will definitely be utilizing these from now on!

  • These are some great tools.  I had no idea about Bottlenose. This might be a goldmine for ideas.  Thanks for the pointer and I plan on sharing this with my readers.  

    I’ve been in a rut trying to come up with new content that will be helpful for my readers.  I don’t have any excuses any more.  

  • Excellent Andrew, yes these are some of best areas where we can get much of ideas to create content that loves our audiences and interact with them socially. .! 

  • Andrew, I really like this systematic approach and the helpful tools you recommended in this terrific article. Being my blog is directed primarily at the relatively new social media user (especially those in their 50s and 60s), I often write about my latest experiences with the social media sites I embrace. That said, there is something to be said for branching out a bit. 🙂

  • @google-e6cc074fff9bdf8af9c17cbad3e74d1f:disqus – Thanks for the kind words; I try to deliver helpful and direct, specific info. 

  • More great ideas on how to share valuable content with our blogs. Thank you Andrew for sharing such valuable information!

  • Excellent resources! Thanks for sharing! Topsy and Bottlenose look especially interesting!

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  • lberezin

    Dear Andrew,

    This is one super post! Thanks so much.
    I signed up for Bottlenose and absolutely love it.

  • awebsavvy

    Everytime we think we have mastered a new tool, our gurus find more for us to explore. Have shared your timely information with the few clients that are committed to blogging. They are also the ones who see ongoing results and are increasing their client base. Thank you. 

  • Glad to help Larry. Come back soon and share your results with us. 

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  • Very good article , thanks for sharing Andrew , very useful tips. Best regards.

  • Hi Andrew,
    I’m amazed by this information..I will definitely book mark this on for today and future reference.
    Thanks so much for sharing these sites.

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  • J.R. Picklo

    I have noticed that when answering a question on a forum I’ll look at it and say, wow! Just one or two more paragraphs and that would make a good blog post. Great article and resources. Thanks.

  • Finding humor in everyday things is definitely enjoyable and will build your blog more entertaining than your initially allows.

  • dedicate

    Thank you for this. Great post… I was aware of most of these but Bottlenose is a new one on me so will definitely look at that one a bit more.

  • As a new blogger these tools will help me a lot. I had not thought about blogging about the questions I get from users. I will check back often! Thanks, Melissa

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  • Social Media sites is very useful because this is contain more
    information related to evrery field so that users are always updated.

  • Ruth Wiens

    Thank you for the great post I have a twitter account but have never used it. Do you have an article on how to get started? 

  • বাংলাদেশের দালাল

    These great tips will show the right path to the people who straggle for the topic to write on.  What would you say about “Yahoo Answer”?

    Thanks for sharing the ideas.

  • If “Yahoo Answers” provides you useful content then go for it. 

    Personally, I don’t find the questions provided are as useful for blog content that I write, but that could be different in your situation. 

  • বাংলাদেশের দালাল

    Yeah, Yahoo Answer only can bring a few targeted visitors. If we browse the questions, we can take an idea. Just it. Thanks.

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  • Why no reading books?

  • Books are great way to find content and one that I really enjoy. However, most people wouldn’t considered it an “effortless” way to find new content for a blog. 

    Any books you in particular you would recommend? 

  • I am trying to find out some blog post ideas. This article give me lots of ideas for blot post. Thanks Andrew for sharing your ideas.

  •  We do everything with effort. There is no effortless to get content.

  • randyh1555

    I like the idea of  taking the question from the comment and your answer and creating a blog post with that content. When I’m reading one of my favorite blogs, I’ll usually  take a moment to look through the reader comments. If I find a comment that really rings true to me, sometimes that can be an inspiration for my own idea. Or on the other hand, if I strongly disagree with a comment, I can offer my own view on the subject and use that for content. Thanks for info here! 

  • randy hollingsworth

    Sorry I  just posted this but wasn’t logged in, so here I am again. I like the idea of taking the question from the comment and your answer and creating a blog post with that content. When I’m reading one of my favorite blogs, I’ll usually take a moment to look through the reader comments. If I find a comment that really rings true to me, sometimes that can be an inspiration for my own idea. Or on the other hand, if I strongly disagree with a comment, I can offer my own view on the subject and use that for content. Thanks for info here!

  • Your method is a great way to simultaneously learn perspectives from others and generate blog content for your own use.
    Thanks @randyhollingsworth:disqus !

  • I will use this guide to create new posts for my Blogging site. I always think for the new ideas creation. Thanks,

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  • This is a whole unique way of generating good posts for your site. This is something we need to work on and this is an awesome resource.

  • Excellent information, love it!

  • Syakir Rahman

    Great post..! Thank you for sharing.. I waiting for other next useful posy


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  • Alexandra Jentla

    the Quora and Twitter suggestions were most helpfull to me. thanks

  • Jeanne Melanson

    Excellent source for topics to blog about. I’m glad I found this site. I’ll be back for more!

  • Hands down this is the best blog content article I have read. Thanks for the inspiration

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  • chittara

    very helpful tips thanks for sharing..

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  • Great post,This is good stuff for newbie bloggers. and i am also newbie blogger. Thanks for sharing post with us.I will try it.

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  • James

    Nice practical article, but the first link to bottlenose no longer works. It looks like it has changed to a paid service only?

  • David

    Thanks for the post. Although, I think Bottlenose no loger offers their search engine for free. Any sugesstions as to where I can get a similar service for free in 2014?

  • nice post!!

  • Content is still King! Being able to disperse your content by leaving breadcrumbs throughout the inter-webs is key. Quora is great! Another great method is Alltop. All one does is search keywords in your niche and start following all the big players in your blog niche via twitter, facebook etc.

  • jithin daniel raju

    great post for genuine softwares go

  • This is superb idea to find most trending blog post suggestions. I like to choose quora and topsy. Thanks for sharing.

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  • Christopher Pincket

    Great resources. I am new to blogging, and I found this post to be very helpful. Thank you.