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11 free tools to generate ideas for your blog

Author's avatar By Expert commentator 17 Jun, 2015
Essential Essential topic

Struggling to generate ideas for your blog? Here are the tools you need

As an inbound marketer, you know how important your blog is for attracting people to your website, driving up your SEO rankings, and building trust with your target audience. You also know how difficult it can be to constantly come up with new and exciting content ideas that will both educate, entertain and convert your blog readers.

In a recent survey from HubSpot and Smart Insights, we found that quantity and quality of content are top challenges for marketers. However, it doesn’t need to be an obstacle that gets in your way! In this blog post we will provide you with 10 cool (and free!) tools to help you brainstorm fresh new ideas for your blog so that you never have to run dry again.

Understanding Your Customer’s Language

The first step to creating great content that attracts the right people to your blog is to find out what your audience is actually searching for in the search engines. The following tools are great ways to find out the terms your potential customers are using to find you.

  •  Google Keyword Planner
  •  Google Suggest
  •  UberSuggest
  •  HubSpot Keyword Tool

Let’s dig in and see how you can use each one for content creation.

1. Google Keyword Planner

The Google Keyword Planner was launched in place of the old Google Keyword tool. It can be used to search for keyword and ad group ideas. Enter a keyword or phrase, the URL of a landing page and/or an AdWords category, and the Keyword Planner will return some potentially relevant keywords.

Knowing what your customers are searching for is the first step in creating content that gets you found. The tool also gives every possible combination of keywords that you provide it with for help generating your long-tail keywords and blog titles.

google keyword planner

2. Google Suggest

Google Suggest is a super simple and often overlooked method of finding out what people are searching for. Simply type in your keywords and Google will suggest some variations of those terms which are highly searched.

social media best practices

And scrolling to the bottom of the search results page will provide you with an extra helping of related searches you can use for your blog titles -- magic!

social media best practices suggestions

3. UberSuggest

UberSuggest is a free keyword suggestion tool that makes good use of Google Suggest and other suggest services. Simply type a term into the search box, choose a language and a source and UberSuggest will extract suggestions for it.

With this keyword tool you can instantly get thousands of keyword ideas from real user queries -- that means real people are using these keywords in the search engines so if they’re relevant to your business, you should be ranking for it. You can use it to get ideas for your next 100 blog posts and put your ideas in an editorial calendar.

uber suggestapples

4. HubSpot’s Keyword Tool

The HubSpot keyword tool helps you understand what keywords are currently attracting people to your site. It also shows you relevant keywords that you might not be currently ranking well for. This helps you understand what topics you should be addressing in your content.

Simply input your keywords to see where you rank for them, how many visits your website is getting from them, and how difficult they are to rank for.

hubspot keywords

Using Social Tools and Real-Time Trends for Idea Generation

We have selected the following social tools for you to try out for generating ideas for your content.

  • Google Trends
  • Bottlenose
  • SocialCrawlytics
  • SEOGadget’s Content Ideas Generator
  • Quora
  • Social Inbox
  • HubSpot’s Blog Idea Generator

5. Google Trends

Google Trends helps you identify what topics are relevant for your country. It can also show if there are seasonal trends for different topics you are writing about and what are rising terms relevant to a topic. This will help you target the right content at the right time.

google trends

6. Bottlenose

Bottlenose acts like a social search engine. It pulls in trending articles and commentary from social platforms based on keywords you enter. This helps you identify what’s relevant for your chosen topics and will spark lot’s of awesome content ideas.

Bottlenose

7. SocialCrawlytics

SocialCrawlytics is a great tool for helping you figure out what competitor content is resonating with their audience -- an audience you just may want to reach, too. It crawls a site and shows how many social shares each URL has gotten.

socialcrawlytics

8. SEOGadget’s Content Ideas Generator

SEOGadget’s Content Ideas Generator is an awesome Google Doc that get’s populated with news stories, articles and tweets related to a topic. If you want to brainstorm content on “inbound marketing” you can simply enter that keyword and the generator will give you a treasure chest of ideas with one click of a button.

Content Ideas Generator

9. Quora

Quora is the social question and answer platform. It can be a great resource of ideas for your various content topics. For example, if you search for “inbound marketing” you can see the top stories and trending questions. You can also look at questions that are currently unanswered.

quora

10. Social Inbox

HubSpot’s Social Inbox takes monitoring further than keywords by focusing on the people who matter to your business. View social activity by customers, leads or any other segment you want.

You can set up monitoring streams based on keywords or twitter handles, and get email notifications as soon as anyone on twitter mentions them. This enables you to see what your customers and leads are saying about your keywords and should provide lots of ideas for creating content.

social inbox

11. HubSpot’s Blog Idea Generator

To kick-start your creative process, the Blog Topic Generator will come up with a week's worth of custom topics for you -- all in a matter of seconds. Using keywords you provide, the tool will come up engaging titles tailored to those terms. That way, you're always featuring relevant, but interesting posts on your blog.

hubspot's blog idea generator

Hopefully after using all of these tools you’ll have a whole year of blog titles in your editorial calendar that attracts high quality traffic to your website and converts into leads and customers for your business. Why not use our free tool InboundRank to see where your blog ranks now before you step your content up a gear and then compare your ranking position again in 6 months to see the difference quality and quantity content can make. Find out where your blog ranks.

Do let us know which of these tools you prefer and others you recommend that we have missed.

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By Expert commentator

This is a post we've invited from a digital marketing specialist who has agreed to share their expertise, opinions and case studies. Their details are given at the end of the article.

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