One of my absolute least favorite things about being a freelance writer is trying to keep ideas flowing for multiple outlets. Some weeks, brainstorming for article topics feels like drawing blood from a stone. To come out on top, even in thin times, I’ve sourced a few locations where I know I can always find titles for blog posts.
I wish I had known how to source article ideas when I decided to start blogging. It would have also saved me a lot of trouble when I first began looking for writing jobs. It can be intimidating to pitch an article — even an “audition” idea that will never be published — to a potential employer or client, because you’re in danger of committing any number of faux pas, from submitting something that’s been done to being totally off-base when it comes to what, exactly, the publication is looking for.
These are the four best places, in my experience, to find titles for blog posts. Because most — if not all — use the questions people want answers to right now as fodder, you’re pretty much guaranteed some great SEO just by sourcing content this way.
Now, these may be questions you don’t feel qualified to answer, and maybe they are. Unless you’re an attorney, doctor, or electrician, I don’t recommend providing legal, medical, or home-wiring advice on the Internet. The truth is, I would never have written How to Start a Blog if several people hadn’t asked me that question. I didn’t feel like I had anything worthwhile to say, but the friends and colleagues who approached me obviously did.
If you’re still not sure whether you’re ready to take the leap into producing this sort of content, use one of my methods for finding titles for blog posts and see where it takes you.
This first entry comes with a caveat: unless you live and interact with a network of bloggers, you probably don’t want to ask anyone you know what you should write about next. That being said, you should absolutely be watching, listening, and waiting for the next article idea to hit you. People are asking questions — if not of you, then in your vicinity — and there’s no reason why you shouldn’t be writing them down for future use.
I have a confession to make. Reddit really, truly intimidates me. Way more than Goodreads used to, and I find it incredible that that is even possible. Reddit is the Jekyll and Hyde of the Internet. Some subreddits are the most supportive, warm, and accepting places on the web, but wander into others and you may feel as if you’ve stumbled into the Darknet. If you’re brave enough to sally forth, create a multireddit — made up of subreddits — in your field to source breaking information, pressing questions, and interesting topics.
Quora is a pretty great Q&A site that makes it easy to crowdsource information in a matter of hours. Many users opt to ask and answer questions anonymously, so you don’t have to worry about showing your hand or asking something silly. And if you don’t feel comfortable asking or answering any questions, just lurk around topics related to your field. You’re sure to see a post or comment that jumps out at you, and voila: inspiration strikes!
Portent’s Content Idea Generator
Of all the ways I know of to find titles for blog posts, this is my favorite. Portent’s Content Idea Generator creates great, SEO-friendly titles from keywords you provide. I’ve used a few tools like this one, but none of them have been as useful as Portent’s. Mobile users should be aware that the Content Idea Generator will not work the same on a smartphone as on a laptop, but the results are fantastic either way.
What are some of your favorite ways to find titles for blog posts? Share them in the comments! And be sure to check out more writing resources in my How-To Guides!
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