Pretty much every company worth their salt has their own blog these days. Content marketing is one of the biggest drivers of growth and ROI and is also relatively cheap compared to other channels. In return for the nominal investment, you get subscribers, great stuff to fill your social networks and validation in your industry, not to mention other perks like developing partnerships with rad companies and the ability to reach even wider audiences. But frankly, coming up with new and interesting blog ideas can be exhausting. If you are finding that the ideation is sometimes the most time-consuming aspect of your content marketing plan, fear not! Here are some ideas to get your wheels turning and a little insight into the tactics we use to come up with new ideas on the regular.

Make Unexpected Connections

Unexpected connections are the essence of creativity. W.I.B. Beveridge wrote that “originality often consists in linking up ideas whose connection was not previously suspected.” A straightforward blog post about content marketing might be pretty run-of-the-mill but a blog post about how the pigeons feeding in the park on the way to work mimic an aspect of social media instantly makes it more interesting. These lightbulb ideas might not come to us all that naturally but you can do a little work to help improve your ability to make connections such as engaging in new experiences, traveling outside your everyday routine (even if this just means taking a different path to work), and jotting down random thoughts and notes throughout the day so you have a go-to list to consult. This is one of the most fun and stimulating ways to get at interesting blog ideas.

The Element of Surprise

It’s important to have a cohesive brand and to maintain the voice and tone of your blog to stay in line with what your readers expect from you. But it can also help to shake things up a bit and surprise an audience by keeping your blog varied and surprising with tons of interesting blog ideas. The Hustle does a great job of this – they’ll send out newsletters with subjects like “I love you.” and “Please stop buying our products.” The headlines rope you in and then they keep you hooked with a great story.

Interview an Expert

Interviews with experts always make for interesting blog ideas. But not just any expert. Think outside the box about and not just about the go-to-experts in your industry. If you develop video games, interview some kids who play video games. If you host conferences, interview someone who thinks conferences are a waste of time. The most important thing is to be able to generate some valuable tips from what your expert has to say.

Make a Case Against Something Popular

Everybody loves controversy. One of the most unique blog ideas is to write about it. If you disagree with a popular opinion in your industry, let people know about it. However, you don’t want to just go on a senseless rant so make sure you can build a strong case to back up what you’re saying.

Tell Secrets

Sharing a personal secret or a secret of your business is a great way to guarantee a juicy post. On the lookout for unique blog ideas? Think about secrets. Have you ever hated part of your job? Did you ever really flub up an important meeting or deal in a big way? The confession might be embarrassing to publicly flaunt but chances are there is a lesson in there somewhere – and people love knowing other people’s secrets because it makes us feel more human.

Use Your Hobbies or Travel Experiences to Dream Up Interesting Blog Ideas

Your everyday experiences are a great resource for writing compelling posts and crafting interesting blog ideas. What happened on the way home from work yesterday? What kinds of hobbies have you engaged in lately? Photography? Fishing? Interior Design? Cycling? Surfing? Where have you gone in the past few months? Bring some of your own personal interests and knowledge into the post and go from there.

Stream of Consciousness

Just start writing. It’s a great way to get at your own unique blog ideas. Let all the weird little thoughts in your head seep out onto the page and see if any of them conjure up good ideas. Sometimes the good stuff is just sitting up there waiting to spill out.

Talk About Personal or Company Goals

A lot of people read blogs to feel inspired and motivated – and hearing about other people’s dreams and plans for getting there is a great way to achieve that. Write down your or your company’s goals for this year and where you would ideally see yourself in five years. It gives insight into your life or the life of your company and also excites your audience into thinking about their own futures.

Counterpost

For interesting blog ideas, find posts that are creating a buzz in your industry by following popular blogs and create a reactionary post in response to a hot topic. Don’t shy away from giving strong opinions or overanalyzing – as long as it’s high-level content it will be an intriguing read.

Do Some Keyword Analysis

Content marketing should never be about keyword stuffing – any legit company knows that. But keyword research is a totally different thing and something that we rely on heavily when it comes to developing post ideas. The difference is that you’re trying to target the stuff that your audience actually wants to find. For example, if you are thinking of a general topic you want to write about, such as B2B Marketing, you can use a keyword tool like KeywordTool.io. Just type in the term you’re writing about and the app will give you a list of related searches that people look for – which can be a great jumping off point for your next post.

Check out TweetChats

TweetChats are these cool virtual events that happen on the regular and give people from all over the world a chance to converse on Twitter about any topic they wish. Remember those old AOL online chat rooms? It’s like that but on crack. Check out this Twitter-Chat-101 guide that will walk you through the process of starting up or joining a chat.

Look to Your Comments

If your blog already has a decent amount of traffic, take advantage of your comments section to find new ideas. Readers love to engage with popular blogs and it’s common for people to comment with questions on the same topic or a different topic. Try to get a sense of what knowledge they are thirsting for and why they are coming to you to find it. Chances are a lot of other people reading your blog are wondering the same things.

Use Bottlenose

Bottlenose is a great resource that offers live social intelligence by checking out activity on major social networks. You can surf the trends to find out what people are talking about in real time, then come up with unique blog ideas. Just open the Bottlenose Search and type your topic, i.e. “Artificial Intelligence” into the search bar. A list of articles will pop up to give you a sense of what people are discussing on the Ethernet.

Read Over Shoulders

Reading over shoulders is a great strategy for interesting blog ideas — especially helpful if you own a local business. It’s easy to find out what’s trending on the web but tapping into the interests of the folks right around you can be trickier. Glance over the shoulders of people who are reading the paper at a nearby diner or bar or taking the bus on the way home. Notice any common themes? Are people interested in an upcoming social event? Politics? Sports games? Some new urban planning development? This doesn’t have to be a literal look over the shoulder either – you can check out your local connections on Facebook and LinkedIn to see what people are gabbing about.

Write a Satirical Piece

Part of the problem with blogs is that they can get so hum-drum and boring. Instead of writing directly about a topic, try writing a satirical piece about it. If you are trying to promote your next Meetup, for example, write a post about the prevalence of horribly dull meetups or about how meetups are the new Tinder for finding your match in the city. Have fun with it, and you’ll be surprised how many interesting blog ideas you can come up with.

Be a Critic

Critics get a lot of flack but they also get a lot of attention. Curating or summarizing someone else’s work and writing up a critique of what’s working and what’s not is a great way to get your posts a little extra attention. The linkbacks to successful sites will also bring more traffic.

Get Someone Else to Do It

People love to guest post, especially if your blog has a solid following already. Find people who have interesting things to say and would be down to write for your post and have them think up topics that excite them or pitch them ideas yourself. You can come up with 4 or 5 questions about their expertise to get their thoughts flowing and then let them take the lead – it will help give your blog more variety in tone and flavor.

Update Older Posts

One of the greatest ways to maximize the value of your posts is to take a look back through the archives to see which posts you could update with more current information. For example, we published a post of social media conferences in 2016 and mid-way through the year realized we could tack on dozens more that had only recently been announced in order to make it a more comprehensive list. You can do the same with guides, lists of all sorts and other informational posts that might benefit from a little revamping.

Photo Journal

Instead of doing a straightforward blog post, you can make it more visual by doing a photo journal. You could do a “Day in the Life of Your Business” photo montage that offers a glimpse into what happens at your company everyday. Or you could compile your favorite photos by staff members throughout the year of events, team members and work life just to showcase a more human side of your business.

Tell Your Own Story

Sometimes we get so caught up in presenting ourselves as a business, we forget that we are people, too. One of the best ways to come up with interesting blog ideas is to tell a story, whether that be something that you’ve learned while working for your company, something your team has managed to overcome, changes you’ve seen take place since your company’s inception or little bits of advice you’ve gathered along the way that your readers might benefit from. This kind of post is not only fun to write but can also be incredibly useful for others in your industry.

Start putting together your ideas file by creating a Google Doc or spreadsheet where everyone can deposit ideas as they come up. It’s a great resource to have to get you out of a rut when you’re stuck. And above all, remember to just push forward – publishing regularly is important these days and, the way content marketing is moving, getting some kind of work out there, even if you’re not confident that it’s your absolute best, is better than letting your blog sit silent for long periods at a time.