15 Sources to Find Proven Content Ideas (In 30 Minutes Or Less)

November 1, 2016 by Andrew M. Warner 67 Comments

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content ideasAren’t you sick and tired of struggling to come up with content ideas?

Millions of content creators, just like you, struggle with the same thing.

In fact, most of the ideas they come up with, nobody ends up reading it.

(And it’s really tough building a successful business that way.)

But what if there was a MUCH better way to find proven content ideas for websites?

What if I told you that there are shortcuts you can use to create content that grows your business and attract readers?

Well consider yourself very lucky because today I’m going to share those shortcuts with you. And no, you’re NOT going to find anything about searching for hash tags, endless brainstorming sessions or using a content idea generator here.

Strictly advanced techniques from proven sources.

Bonus: Download a free checklist that will show you how to quickly leverage these shortcuts. Includes 2 bonus shortcuts for generating content ideas not found in this post.
Ready?

content-ideas-infographic
1. Dig Up Suitable Blog Post Ideas from Conference Agendas/Schedules
Is it just me, or is the idea of attending live conferences cool?

Yes, you learn new strategies, techniques and forward-thinking ideas that can drastically improve your business — and your life.

And yes, you get to network with online peers you’ve Skyped (or had a Google Chat) with for what seems like decades.

But to me, that’s no where close to the best part.

If you want to publish great content consistently, conferences are the perfect place to find ideas.

contentcreation
Here’s how you can use conference agendas and schedules to uncover golden nuggets of topics that’ll make your content unstoppable:

First, do a routine search for conferences related to your niche.

[keyword] + “conferences”

For example, if you were in the food blogging space, you’d search for something like this:

contentcreation0
Next, visit the first 5 pages in the search results to find suitable conferences:

google search result
Slider1
When you find a conference that looks promising, look for the word “agenda” or “schedule” on their site:

just food conference
If that particular conference doesn’t have it, move on to the next one. But, if it does, this will be the main place where you’ll get a run-down of the what’s being covered.

At this point, sift through the topics discussed until you find one that interests you.

edible plants
Once you found a topic that interests you, what’s next?

Do a simple search in Google Keyword Planner to see if the topic is worth focusing on.

In this case, based on the description of this particular presentation, I did a search for the keyword “edible weeds”:

Keyword Planner edible weeds
2,900 results!

How about the exact keyword for the presentation “edible wild plants”:

Keyword Planner edible wild plants
Definitely not bad at all.

Make no mistake, you can unearth some great blog topic ideas with this strategy alone. And not only is it a great strategy to come up with topics you never thought of, but it’s also a great strategy to learn how to create good content for a website as well.

Try it out.

2. Turn Udemy into Your Personal Idea Factory
Newsflash:

Coming up with great content ideas for blogs isn’t that tough.

Some people do intense keyword research. Others have a proven system to help them come up with multiple topics on a weekly basis.

But did you know that one of the best, and little-known, places to formulate unique content for your website is Udemy?

udemy
Here’s how to use this site to search for your next big topic:

First, enter your keyword into the search bar of the site.

For example, let’s say you were in the meditation space. You would search for “meditation”:

udemy-meditation
Next, sort the results by the “most relevant” …

udemy-meditation-scroll
… and choose one of the courses for that keyword:

udemy-meditation-results
(Start off with the most reviewed courses first — these would ensure that a fair amount of people bought the course and liked it)

For the sake of this example, let’s choose Meditation For Beginners.

The first thing you’re going to look at is how many people actually enrolled in the course:

udemy-meditation-enrolled
Over 8,000 enrolled students is awesome.

This just confirms that people are interested in the content that’s shared in this course. And that works tremendously to your advantage.

Next, take a look at the curriculum to get an idea of what topics are being covered:

udemy-meditation-curriculum
Then, while looking through the course, create a spreadsheet with Google Drive or Excel full of topics you can modify.

Something like this would work:

keyword-planner
When you’ve completely exhausted one course, rinse and repeat with other courses.

pro-tip
You see the potential, right?

3. Copy Good Blog Topics By Strategically Using BuzzSumo
Ever notice that certain content always seem to go viral?

Why is that?

What separates you from them? Their content from yours?

Fact is, there’s certain topics that will ALWAYS generate a buzz from readers. Doesn’t matter if the topic is about real estate or dog training.

They write about it because it’s proven.

Bottom line?

If you want to create great content, you NEED to do the same.

How? BuzzSumo.

For example, say you operate a parenting blog.

Clearly you can come up with a number of ideas based on your own experiences as a parent. But unless you write targeted content other parents want to read, no one will care what you have to say.

That’s why you need to be strategic if you want to create content that converts.

And using BuzzSumo to draw inspiration can give you unlimited, proven ideas at your disposal.

Here’s a short video to see how it’s done:

4. Expand on a Single Topic From a List Post
List posts.

They’re everywhere.

And despite many objections to them, readers love to read and share them.

The same is probably true for your posts. If you’ve ever written a list post, it’s probably one of the most popular posts on your site, right?

That’s no coincidence.

In fact, list posts are the ‘secret stash’ to unlocking new blog post ideas.

Here’s how:

Let’s say you don’t have any list posts on your site.

The best thing to do is find a list post from a site in your niche. For example if you were in the bodybuilding niche, you may come across an article like this:

The 12 Health Benefits Of Cold Showers THEBODYBUILDINGBLOG (1)
Search through each point on the list to find something you could turn into a stand-alone topic readers would be interested in, like this one:

bodybuilding
You can justify if it’s a topic worth writing by looking at how many searches it gets a month …

Keyword Planner – bodybuilding
… and if it’s a topic that others in your niche has written about it:

Keyword Planner – bodybuilding-1
Bottom line:

List posts are still something to pay attention to — even if you don’t like it. That said, make sure that you make this a part of your process for find ideas for blog topics.

5. Find Proven Content Ideas by Simply Reverse-Engineering Sub Headings
You can agree that subheadings makes content MUCH easier to read, right?

For example, these are two screenshots of completely different posts:

screenshot
Which one would you most likely read?

Probably the one on the left, correct?

After all it’s formatted better, has more white space AND has subheadings to make the content more readable.

And that’s what subheadings do best. Helps divide content into readable chunks.

That is, unless you look past that and see it for the ‘idea-producing’ goldmine it actually is.

Here’s how to take advantage of irresistible headlines and use it to create irresistible content:

First, go to a site that’s related to your niche.

For example, if you were dabbling in the growth marketing niche, you may consider a site like Sujan Patel’s.

sujan-patel
Search the site for posts your readers might be interested in … like this post Sujan wrote on FOMO (Fear of Missing Out):

sujan-patel-fomo
Within those posts, look for interesting subheadings that you think you can use …

sujan-patel-subhead1
… and use it to create new, engaging content:

content-ideas-yoast-example

Slider2
6. Use Questions Readers Have as Ideas for Blog Posts
Fact:

The world is full of people desperately wanting to know answers. Doesn’t even matter what the question is.

And because that practice is so common, it’s almost a no-brainer to swipe ideas from this resourceful shortcut.

There’s only one problem: you just need to know where to look for the questions. And answer the ones that your readers are desperate for an answer to.

Think of it like this:

Your reader has a debilitating headache.

Addressing that particular topic that’s causing the headache, and providing the solution they want, is the cure.

The end result? They’ll hang on your every word.

Makes sense?

Here’s the 3-step process you can use:

Step #1: Find a topic your readers want an answer to
To find topics, go to a site like Quora to find potential problems people want answers to.

For example, in the parenting space there’s a lot of great questions that are asked … like this one:

quora1
Close to 500 answers to this question alone.

Obviously this is a question that you can really turn into a topic with a ton of value, don’t you think?

Step #2: Determine if the question is something that gets searched for often
This is important.

The potential a topic has only goes so far.

You need to make sure that it’s a topic that’s actually searched for.

Following the same parenting example, let’s do a keyword search for the phrase “having children”:

quora2
720 monthly searches!

In other words, 720 people have questions regarding “having children” each month.

And even looking at other results, you can see a familiar theme:

quora3
After you’ve determined it’s something that people actually look for, it’s time for the next step.

Step #3: Write a post that goes above and beyond what’s already out there
Finally, you want to create something that will be, head and shoulders, above other content.

This is very similar to step #2 in Brian Dean’s Skyscraper Technique:

cmmistake6 (1)
But what you want to do is go to BuzzSumo and do a search for the main keyword of your topic.

quora4
Visit the sites that show up, ethically “steal” their ideas and figure out how you can make your content drastically better.

Can’t get much simpler than that, right?

7. Source Your Best Blog Topics from Industry Related Forums
Here’s the deal:

Forums are one of the best shortcuts you can use to generate ideas.

Similarly to Quora, you can use it to find questions people are asking that you can transform into actionable content.

For example, let’s say your primary keyword was “photography”.

Do a search in Google with inurl: forum + “photography”:

forum
This brings up more than a few forums around the topic of photography:

forum1
Choose a forum and skim through the threads.

forum-thread
When you find something that interests you, do the research in Google for the phrase:

google search result-2
If there’s a lot of results, check out the content on the first 5 pages to see how you can make your post better.

8. Utilize the Power of Snooping through Comments
Most of the content that you read is incomplete.

Agreed?

Sure they have a few good points, but want to know what else they ‘sometimes’ have?

Intriguing comments.

More specifically: comments that asks a question or require further elaboration.

I’m sure you’d like to see an example.

Here you go:

cmmistakes13

This is a post that Dre Beltrami put together a while back called 11 List Building Strategies that Actually Work.

It covers a lot of detailed information on a topic every business/blog can relate to — list building. But as good as this post was, there were still certain questions people had:

cmmistakes14
Which would provide the perfect opportunity to create possible topics. Here’s a few I came up with:

How to Persuade People to Sign Up For Your List
The 5-Step Process to Building Your List BEFORE You Launch (and Why it’s Important)
15 Tricks to Growing Your List That’s Right Under Your Nose
Pretty simple, right?

It may take a while to find posts with genuine questions but when you do, do the proper research to find out if it’s something people are interested in.

Ready for the next shortcut?

9. Find Interesting Blog Topics In Non-Promotional Facebook Groups
I don’t need to tell you that Facebook is a goldmine for traffic, shares and likes.

And according to a poll by Survata, it’s the preferred social media platform:

facebook-twitter
Awesome news if your target audience is 25 – 55+ years old.

But here’s the best part:

Just like forums, Facebook is one of the best little-known places to find ideas.

Go figure.

And here’s how to use it to find highly targeted topics:

First, do a search for groups in Facebook related to your general niche.

For example, if you were in the sales niche you’d search for “sales”:

facebook-group
When it auto-populates results related to that main keyword, scroll through and click on groups that you’re interested in.

Slider3
And what you’re looking for are questions people may have — like this one:

facebook1
Once you found a question, now what?

Well, do a general search for it in Google:

facebook-google-search
Study the posts that show up on the first 5 pages of results and determine if it’s a topic worth pursuing.

If it is, great!

But if it isn’t, don’t sweat it.

Keep on searching for questions other group participants have.

In no time at all you’ll have a large array of topics to work with.

10. Keep it Simple and Ask your Readers What Blog Post Topics They Want You to Write About
Want to know something?

This is probably the quickest content shortcuts you can apply.

And should probably be one of the first ones you should try. Because if you really want to write quality content that’s targeted, ask your subscribers right when they sign up.

I know, it seems so obvious, right?

Truthfully, this never crossed my mind until I saw Derek Halpern do this when I subscribed to his email list:

cmmistakes15

Then, I saw Pat Flynn did something similar:

cmmistakes16

This is genius.

Why?

Because rather than guess, you find out exactly what issues/troubles they’re having by just asking them.

And not only does it help you connect with them, but think of how appreciative and loyal they’ll be if you help resolve their specific problems.

Here’s an email template that would work fairly well:

cmmistakes17

Giving them a choice to ask for what type of content they want shows them that you truly care about creating content just for them.

11. Stalk Emails for Golden Nuggets of Topics
Hit the play button to see the shortcut in action:

12. Take Advantage of Google’s Auto-Populate and Steer Clear of the Guesswork
Okay, show of hands.

When searching for something in Google, who actually notices the suggestions that populates?

Yes?

Well, those simple suggestions are Google’s way of helping you create content worth reading.

For example, let’s say you wanted to publish a post optimized for the keyword “exercise plan”.

First, type it in Google:

google-exercise
And what you should notice are additional suggestions of topics people are eagerly searching for:

google-exercise-aut-populate
This alone should give you many options to take any single piece of content.

But wait, that’s not all …

Here’s something else that Google does to help you.

google-exercise-auto-populate
Even more content suggestions that people are searching for.

Think you can use this shortcut to create exceptionally targeted content?

I know you can. 🙂

13. Use the Most Popular (but Underused) Site to Uncover Hot Topics For Blogging
I think you can agree with me on this:

Slideshare is a site that you know about, but don’t use as effectively as you should, right?

In fact, you barely use it at all.

And like it or not, you’re missing out on a treasure trove of juicy topics to write about.

You might be wondering:

“Yes. I’ve heard of Slideshare. And I know it’s a great place to repurpose my content, but how can I use it to generate proven content ideas?”

Here’s how:

Head over to Slideshare and instead of doing a search, click on “more topics”:

slideshare
This will bring up topics assigned to a specific category.

Next, explore each topic until you find one that matches your general niche.

slideshare-1
Say for instance, you were trying to find content revolving around anything workplace related, you would choose “Recruiting & HR”:

slideshare-2
Lastly, seek out content that not only interests you, but has a decent amount of views.

slideshare-3
With this slide, you can clearly see how many views it has.

All you need to so is view the slideshow, get ideas and start putting pen to paper.

14. Use This Simple Trick to Dominate your Niche
Look:

Sometimes when you’re looking for fresh content ideas, you need to think outside the box. And one of the best ways to find these ideas is by looking through niche specific magazines.

Here’s the step-by-step process:

First, let’s say you operated an E-commerce site in the soap making niche — and you were struggling with proven ideas.

The first thing you want to do is go to Google and search: “soap making + magazines”:

soap-making
Your results will be a mixed bag of magazine in that niche.

soap-making-results
Next, choose one of the magazines and try to find either a current of past issue that you can preview:

soap-making-magazine
The fortunate thing about these magazines, is that they tend to feature a ton of articles that cover a wide variety of topics. And it won’t take long until you find a topic that catches your attention like this one:

cold-process-soap-mag
And when you search for the keyword “cold processed soap”, you’ll see that it gets only 110 searches per month.

cold-processed-soap
But here’s the interesting part:

That main keyword revealed absolute gems …

cold-process-soap
… and:

cold-process-soap-making
And — BOOM — you’re good to go.

Rinse and repeat to find other potential ideas to create.

15. Borrow Ideas from Visual Content Sources like Infographics
If you’ve been online for any amount of time, you know that visual content reigns supreme.

In other words:

The days of just plain text isn’t effective anymore — which is a good thing!

After all, according to this study, 65% of the population are visual learners and need visuals to help them fully grasp a concept.

But, believe it or not, certain visuals like infographics can be used generate a MASSIVE number of content ideas.

How can you do that?

It’s easy:

Visit a site like Visual.ly (the largest online collection of Infographics) and create an account.

visually
Then, enter a keyword that describes your site’s broad niche. For this example, I’m going to use the keyword “travel”.

visually-travel
The results will show pages and pages of infographics revolving around the keyword “travel”.

visually1
All you have to do is find an infographic that interests you and create something better.

You don’t necessarily have to create an inforgraphic though. But it should be something that’s head-and-shoulders better than what you found from the source.

Now, what’s great about this shortcut is that it’s a well that will never run dry. New infographics are being created everyday which means the ideas should be endless.

Can you say jackpot?

Which Shortcut Are You Going To Start With to Generate Your Content Ideas?
I know, constantly creating content is a chore. Especially if you’re fresh out of ideas and don’t have a clue of what to write about.

Fortunately, these shortcuts are pretty damn easy to use — and they work.

So, are you ready to use the one of the 15 shortcuts from this post?

If so, then I recommend grabbing the free checklist I made just for this blog post.

The checklist walks you through all 15 of the sources listed here…

…plus 2 bonus sources that I didn’t have room for in today’s post.

Click the image below and enter your email to access the checklist.

content-ideas-download-checklist

Filed Under: Content Marketing
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