Blogging Ideas for 2013: 5 Ways to Build Your Topic Pipeline

If you’re like me and you’ve set blogging goals for yourself in 2013 (or you’ve had blogging goals set for you — welcome to the team, new OpenView hires!), it’s important to set aside a little time into developing your game plan for actually achieving those goals.

Over the next two posts I’ll provide a list of helpful tips for building a pipeline full of blogging ideas and establishing a simplified blogging process that cuts down on the time and stress that can go into writing and posting.

This week, let’s start with a list of sourcing suggestions that can serve as great resources for coming up with blogging topics and ideas.

Go-To Sources for Blogging Ideas

Conference & Event Schedules

I love this one. Our newest addition to the marketing team, Luis Fernandes, looks at conference speaking schedules for topics. Then he uses the event hashtag to help promote the post once it’s published — brilliant!

Ex: The latest in MarketingProfs’ Digital Marketing World virtual conference series in on content marketing (Feb 8th, if you’re interested). Looking at the agenda, I can see that two topics worth writing about are: 1) The ongoing shift towards more visual content; 2) Creating content that stands out now that the content marketing arms race is heating up.

Note: For the influence marketing folks out there, this is also a great way to do influencer research.

Social Media

Find out what your audience is reading/sharing/talking about now. Use a #hashtag in Twitter to focus on a wide or particular topic (ex: #content, #inboundmarketing, etc.) and see what’s trending. Reoccurring themes are bound to crop up and give you new ideas.

LinkedIn Groups are another great source to get a feel for what topics are driving conversations and to see what real-life questions and challenges your audience members are actually dealing with. Do you have your own solution or a different take to add?

Keep Up with What Others Are Writing About

Few things get the creative blogging juices flowing than being presented with examples of other blogs to react to. If you’re not already, subscribe to RSS feeds for popular blogs in your space. Keep a spreadsheet of popular/trending topics. Respond to other writers’ posts and/or put your own spin on them.

Other great sites to search are Reddit and Alltop and KISSmetrics founder Neil Patel recommends routinely checking out Technorati.

Your Day-to-Day

You really shouldn’t have to go too far to find topics worth writing about. What’s an issue you’re currently dealing with or a problem you’re trying to solve? Chances are that so are others, and by blogging about it has multiple benefits. Simply putting it into a written form can help you break the situation/concept down, and sharing it with others can not only provide them with help and insight, they can then add their own thoughts/solutions to the mix.

Finding ways to turn your work into your writing can also do wonders for simplifying your blogging process. Why make things difficult when you can kill multiple birds with one stone?

If you’re creating a presentation or even just taking notes or sending an email on an interesting topic, think about how much of that material you could incorporate into a blog post. You obviously might need to be careful in terms of proprietary info and avoid using specifics, but you should always think about ways you can apply your effort to more than one use (Ex: This post developed from an email I sent to a member of the Labs team offering tips for generating ideas).

Facebook Graph Search?

I don’t know about you, but I’m personally still trying to get my head around Facebook’s Graph Search, which, depending on who you talk to, is either the social giant’s game changer, a misguided dud, or a disruptive threat to everything from simple search to online dating.

But, if at its essence, what Facebook Graph Search is about allowing users to search using their friends’ likes as a filter, then that has huge implications for both marketing to those users and — in terms of content — simply discovering what particular types of content and messaging is gaining traction within particular groups.

Sounds like a potentially incredible blogging/content sourcing resource to me. But Facebook Graph Search was just announced on Tuesday. There’s obviously much more to come.

Bonus Tip

Keep your posts short and sweet. Try cutting down anything over 500 – 700 words, and if there’s a lot of really valuable content you don’t want to trash, consider turning the post into series. That allows you to go into more depth on select topics and cuts down on the number of new ideas you have to come up with!

Speaking of — next week I’ll share more tips for simplifying your blogging process, including ways to save time with your formatting, distro, and promotion.

In the meantime, here’s a nice list of 52 Types of Blog Posts to get you thinking.

What sources do you use to discover new blog ideas? Share your tips below!