Generating Guest Post Ideas & Topics

We do a lot of guest posts internally (at Guest Post Labs, of course) and a common problem that we seem to run into is generating topics for these guest blog posts that are engaging, interesting and acceptable for bloggers. Here is a step-by-step method to generate guest posts that has worked for me:

But, before we start…

I’d like to call this step zero, because, unless you understand this step well, you cannot proceed to any of the other steps.

It is very important that you remember that:

  • You are writing these guest posts for users; so, try to keep it as interesting and useful as possible
  • Read the topic and ask yourself – if you were a blog owner, would you publish this on your blog. Similarly, if you were a reader, is this something you’d be interested in consuming and sharing with your friends?
  • Keep your topic concise, well researched and engaging

Step 1 – Using our super secret tool to come up with ideas

Instead of wasting time trying to look at a lot of different sources manually, we came up with a slightly modified version of the Content Idea Generator v2.0. We like to call our modified version the Guest Posts Idea Generator.

As you can see, the Guest Posts Idea Generator pulls RSS feeds from multiple sources including: Google News, Bing News, Reddit and Yahoo Answers among others. The first step to using this tool is to enter your keyword in cell B3 – and, wait as the tool pulls feeds from these different sources and aggregates them in the spreadsheet.

Step 2 – Dissecting options suggested by the generator

I ran a random search term (“plumbing”) in the generator to come up with ideas, and this is what it spat out:

As you can see from the list of stories in Google News and other sources, not a lot of the results for this query seem to be guest post material. But, I’m going to try and show you below how I’ll be using these results to come up with topic ideas.

Tactic A – Re-purpose results

The ideal way to generate topics out of these results is by “repurposing” existing blog posts, tweets or topics others have written about. Out of the results the tool spat out, Blog Catalog’s feeds are more interesting since they seem to be real blog posts. I’m particularly interested in these two results from Blog Catalog:

  • Plumbing Your French Home For Winter
  • How To Unclog Your Garbage Disposal

I can re-purpose both of these topics to something like:

  • Five Plumbing Tips For Your Home This Winter
  • How To Unclog Your {Insert Plumbing Fixture}

Essentially, topic #2 can be a lead-on to multiple other ideas (think of fixtures like toilets, sinks, drains etc.,)

Tactic B – Go creative on tweets!

Tweets are amazing – because, they’re actual ideas from users themselves – stuff that folks want to writer or read about. Another great idea that works for creating blog post topics is reading tweets and coming up with ideas based on them. Here’s one tweet that came up for the query we ran:

“Can”t believe the calls I”m gettin for plumbing jobs off the back of last

night. It”s gonna be a good Christmas…”

This blog post is essentially a plumber that’s getting calls off the hook for Christmas. During the winter and Christmas, a lot of plumbers get

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very busy and they struggle with managing the business. A good piece of information for them would be “5 Tips To Handle Extra Plumbing Business”. Another nice topic you could come up with would be – “Three Seasons When Plumbers Are Most Busy”; though this isn’t a hugely informative topic, it is interesting trivia that a lot of people want to read about.

Tactic C – Re-use Yahoo Answers Questions

This is possibly the easiest tactic of all,

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and I wouldn’t recommend it unless you’re in a hurry to create a lot of medium quality topics in a very short period of time. Yahoo Answers is a great source of questions Det man i alla fall kan vara saker pa ar att roulette betyder ungefar litet hjul pa franska, vilket ju ar ett mycket passande namn for spelet. that have not yet become blog posts. In the query I ran, I could find at least five different topic ideas that I could use straight off the bat with just slight modification:

  • How do you prevent plumbing clogs while saving energy and water?
  • How to work on plumbing and electrical in a non basement house ?
  • How to learn the basics about plumbing and products involved in plumbing?
  • What are the issues with copper plumbing in a home built in 1988?
  • Can i start my own plumbing business without a masters or journeymen license?

Tactic D – Convert “How Tos” to list and vice versa

If you remember the original tip I mentioned about sticking to guides and lists – you’ll understand this tactic very well. I found at least two howtos in the list the tool delivered:

  • How to space bathtub plumbing
  • How to winterize your plumbing

These topics could all be very easily converted to list as follows:

  • Five Tips To Install Bathtubs
  • Six Steps To Winterize Your Plumbing
  • Similarly, I found some lists
  • Five basic plumbing repairs you can do yourself

This can be repurposed to: “How To Diagnose and Fix Common Plumbing Problems Yourself”

Step 3 – More topics?!

Using the generator you should have been able to generate a fair quantity of topics without much effort. But, are you still short on topic ideas? In that case, we would recommend the following additional tactics:

1 – Quora

Quora is a great source of common questions people like to ask and their answers. You can search for any topic on Quora and get a list of ideas to write about.

2 – Google Search

If nothing else helps, a very good idea of coming up with guest blogging ideas is to search in Google for topics in the past that have been accepted. Running a simple “plumbing guest post” query gives me at least 2 million results. We hope that the steps and tactics above helped you generate your topics – we will constantly keep adding more tactics to this blog post as we find more sources!