There is one question asked more than any other in the blogging/content marketing industry:

“How do I continually come up with new blog articles and ideas for my business?”

And being that I receive this question from readers maybe more than any other I get, I knew it was time to give the answer, and here it is:

Stop talking so much.

Start listening more.

That’s right, the answer isn’t Google.

Or some latest keyword tool.

The answer is found in listening to every question you’re ever asked from this day forward.

Whether it’s in an email.

Or on the phone.

Or face to face.

You get questions from prospects and clients all-day, every day.

So start listening.

Then write them down.

And then start answering.

If you do this, you’ll never look for another blog post again, as they’ll come looking for you.


***I intentionally made this my shortest post ever of TSL, mainly to make a point—We’re making this process of “blog topics” harder than it need be because we’ve forgotten our greatest source of information and inspiration—living, breathing, and thinking customers.

Agree? Disagree? Is it really as simple as I make it out to be? Speak your minds friends.

Download your FREE copy of my 230 Page Inbound and Content Marketing Made Easy eBook now and start reading in 60 seconds!

103 thoughts on “How to NEVER Run Out of Blog Topics and Ideas Ever Again

  1. Agree!

    For me, my greatest inspirations has been my own problems I encountered in the past and also the problems I ran into while helping my clients.

    Not many people who are starting out will have that kind of experience (I know I didn’t when I started out.) In those cases, some of the best topic ideas can be gathered from online forums, Quora, Yahoo Answers and so on.

    One thing before writing blog posts. If you seriously have to look for answers while writing your article, you may want to delay your post till you have had enough experience (If you are writing how-to or articles that are generally advising people to do something).

    I say this because too many people start writing blog posts after reading forums like digital point forum which is complete bull sh*t most of the time.

    So, depend on these sources for topic ideas and not necessarily the answers.

    Cheers :)

    • Very SOUND advice all the way around Adarsh. It really bothers me when I read a post from someone and I can tell they really have no experience as to what the heck they’re talking about. I think the essence to a great blogger and teacher is that of being able to draw from life experience and tell the story.



  2. Totally agree. A lesson I have been learning all my life.
    Short post. Short response.
    I have been reading your blog for a while. You have a great perspective on life. Thanks for that Marcus.

    • Incredibly kind comment of you to say Ralph, thank you!

      And I hope you’ll keep reading :)


  3. Hey Marcus,
    In short, you are spot on! Keep up the great work my friend!

    • Hey Steve! Great to see you bud! So glad you got a little something out of it. :)


  4. This is pretty sound advice not only relative to generating meaningful blog topics. I think that when it comes to business (and maybe even life) in general, people need to shut their pie holes just a wee bit and listen.

    • Amen, amen, and amen Ruth. Honestly, this is a post about life, not blogging.

      You rock!


  5. Hey Mane man, spot on. Quite a change of pace from your usual content-heavy posts to something that looks and sounds like a poem or a song. It still packs a huge punch though.

    • Hahaha, yeah, it was certainly a different style to this one my man. But sometimes a little change-up is pretty darn fun, ya know?

      Always appreciate you coming by Josh.


  6. You mean there isn’t an Affiliate Link that will solve all my problems?

    All I have to do is listen to the people I serve? No way don’t believe it.

    There has to be a tool I can buy that will solve all my blogging issues.

    It would make me much more comfortable if you just tried to sell me something Marcus so I didn’t have to actually use my brain and be creative.

    Thanks for nothing.

    • Rebecca Livermore


      Thanks for my first laugh of the day. :)


      • No doubt… I wasn’t sure if people would think that was funny or annoying…

        Have a great day!

    • Aw, Ryan if you really want to buy something, I’d be happy to oblige :-) You’re spot on too by the way :-)

      • Cheryl – I will certainly keep you in mind the next time I’m looking to throw some money around!! ha!

    • Hahahahaha, AWESOME comment my man…now you’re speaking my language! :)

  7. Ms.Amber

    i totally agree! you did great on this post.

  8. I think it is sound advice. I am however, trying to figure out how the hubspot keywords fits in with this — and the fact that the article may not “fit” into the list of words you should market.

    Does regular blog writing really help you get found? I am trying hard to figure out how to get people to find me, and then convert them. I guess it’s just more practice.

    Regardless of my difficulties in marketing, I do indeed think the topic is right on — we should listen more and trust our instincts. Write about those things we are facing, we hear about, we ask about. Hmmm, more food for thought :)

    • Hi Nancy, just thought I’d give you a quick note while you wait for Marcus to pop over. He just wrote about your question about how long it takes to be found etc. recently. If you haven’t read that or earlier posts just this month, I highly recommend you do so. Great insights (though most of them are much longer than this so be prepared LOL).

      And as far as does blogging help you get found? Done the right way, it sure can. It does take time though, and we’re talking months not days. So hang in there, keep learning and keep going!

      • Thanks Cheryl.

        I have been so busy lately that I missed the post. :( I need to go back and find it.

        Thanks again!

      • Thanks for the help here Cheryl…you’re so good :)

    • I don’t pay much attention to my keyword lists Nancy, to be honest. Heck, at this point I don’t even track them as hard. The main key hear is that Google doesn’t measure those long-tail questions consumers are asking all the time. So continue to be a great listener and if you are, and you allow that to be your guiding light and keyword tool, you’re going to be successful.

      Thanks so much for stopping by Nancy,


    • Nancy,

      As Cheryl said, regular blogging helps getting found, but takes time. Whats more, Marcus’ philosophy of educating your reader is **really, really** what ultimately works. I can speak from my experience – people have found us on Google, read our stuff, contacted us for quotes for paid services and signed contracts (in one case, sight unseen!) I personally found this incredible!

      • Great example and thoughts Bala! Thrilled content is working for you! :)


  9. I heard you speak to this point in Toronto. I thought it brilliant then and think it brilliant now. It was one of my key takeaways.

    • You’re too good to me Shirley!!! :)


  10. Perfect once again, Marcus.

    And on that note, the biggest thing I’ve learned along the way is, like your post here proves, not all of our posts have to be 500+ words in nature.

    A few paragraphs that pack a punch, make a point, and get your audience talking can be just as powerful.

    I think too often we feel that every post we put out has to be a home run. Singles, doubles and triples work wonderfully to round out the game!

    • That’s a very good point Joshua. I was nervous a little about the size of the post. But as I looked at it, without the brevity, I think the message would have been somewhat lost.

      Thanks so much for your thoughts Joshua!


  11. Marcus. What’s the deal with these people that run out of blog topics. That’s just crazy. How many keywords are they tracking..50?

    I created a google site page for my employees so they can write down and track the questions they get from customers on the phone. We have a rule…for every one person that asks the question on the phone…there are 1,000 that googled that exact phrase last month. Also, this gets the employees to understand how the “Zero Moment Of Truth” relates to creating content. Next step: getting these new employees to blog about each topic.

    • Jason,

      That is such a GREAT idea. How do you do that? I have never heard of this before and it’s a really good idea.

      Would love some advice.

      Thanks so much!

      • We use google apps at work. I have embedded a table in on our intranet pages that everyone has “edit” privileges on. We group the questions by product and by service…as some questions are product related and some are service related.

        Example of Product Question
        -What is the difference between compost and topsoil?
        -What type of stone should I use under my fiberglass pool? (Marcus knows all about this)

        Example of Service Questions
        -How do I measure my garden beds so I know how much mulch to buy?
        -What tools do I need to spread mulch myself?

        We use google sites for ALOT of things. We have all of our price sheets, schedules of employees, and blogging calendars on there. Once something is changed, everyone that has EDIT privileges on that page gets notified via email. To be humble, it’s a sexy system.

        Every small business should prob. be using google sites in some capacity.

        • Dude, we need to chat. Seriously. I love what you’re doing and it’s time that we spoke some together. I’m speaking at Hubspot at the IMS later this year and have the floor to myself. I’d love to give you a few minutes to share a little of your story…and maybe we could make it a habit to share a stage much more in the future.

          Whatcha think?


          • Marcus,

            I’ll email you tonight. This all sounds amazing! I’m pumped!

            Thanks for everything Marcus!

    • That rule is officially awesome my man. I’m going to borrow it for a while. 😉

  12. Marcus,
    I have my notebook ready!

    • Love it Lori…just be sure to let me know how it goes!


  13. Funny you should mention this. Just this morning I was writing a post about my struggles to come up with content and then I came across this and the copyblogger inforgraphic. When I ask anybody what I should create videos about, they always tell me to answer questions. That’s exactly what I’ve started doing.

    • Sounds like a plan brother. :) BTW, are you going to be at any or both of the Blog Worlds this year? Looking forward to catching up again soon man.


    • I’m with you Srinivas. I started a Q&A series some time ago and it’s been going great. I literally take questions people ask me, about my industry or on forums and message boards and answer them. There’s no guess work on trying to figure out what people want to know. 😉

      Great stuff Marcus. The short post have to admit is a bit refreshing. I LOVE your long ones, but definitely can appreciate the quick reads. :)

  14. You beat me to it Marcus! I was going for one of my shortest posts, saving the ‘what to blog’ for later… and asking the questions, to see what needs answering. We absolutely make this too complicated; I know I stress out as I wonder if my content is up to snuff. Really need to think like our customers and clients, write what they want to read. FWIW.

    • Looks like the early bird got the worm D’ 😉

      Yep, we make it too complicated. We do. And I think if our keystone becomes that of a listener, we’ll all be a lot more successful.

      Thanks so much for stopping by, as always! :)


  15. It maybe your shortest Marcus, but in my opinion you have never said a truer word.


    • I’ll take that any day of the week Gary. Thanks!

  16. Oh, that’s a concise post, short and to the point. Stop talking and start listening. Wonderful. Reminds me of the rule for success, Stop whining and start doing.

    Btw, this is probably my shortest comment. :)

    • Hahahaha, I think it is your shortest comment Andrea…and very fitting indeed!

      Thank you for being amazing!


  17. Diane Bianchi

    This little article is one of the most powerful I’ve ever read! The advice offered is so true. After I read it I immediately was able to note down 9 ideas for articles from remembering my own or others’ questions. Thanks!

    • Awesome Diane! So thrilled you got something out of it! :)

  18. I have a great big smile on my face right now. My only short post, I think a five sentence one about two weeks or so ago was titled. Listen, Everybody Wants To Be Heard. It was too much of a similarity not to share with you but you did better, you nailed the headline! The art of listening is key to everything. Yes, it’s that important. Sue

  19. Hey!

    Congrats on writing the shortest and probably the most kick a** post! Yes, I did say that! 😉 If I ever meet you in person, you are getting one big hug for this post! :)

    Just the other day, I wrote about blogging conformity and how we are writing too much of the same thing and complaining that we have just run out of ideas. I mean, okay we all go through writers block and just find it hard sometimes, but there are ideas all around. Just open your eyes. There is so much to learn from. Write about that. There are so many things you might be disagreeing with, shed the “I agree with everything happening” tag and just debate it. Don’t be disrespectful, but there is way in which you can voice your opinions.

    The magazine I write for, we make it a point that we will write about what is actually happening and something new; even if we have to discuss something old, we need to convince the boss of why we think it needs another shot or what “twist” we have to it.

    There are many things to write about; laziness may stop you from finishing them off, but nothing can stop you from thinking about it in the first place!

    For the mean time, big virtual hug! :)

    • Love it Hajra! Your approach is spot-on and too often we don’t truly speak/write of our observations– the things we see and the questions we hear.

      Thanks for being awesome lady!


  20. Reminds me of James 1:18 and following…something along the lines of shut up and listen. (My horrible paraphrase.)

    • Okay, James, you made me look up James 1:18. At first I was confused, and wondering what translation you were reading, but then I realized it is verse 19 :) which reads, “So then, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath. . . ” Or if you want to go with the more loosely translated Message version, “Post this at all the intersections, dear friends: Lead with your ears, follow up with your tongue, and let anger straggle along in the rear.” That one is a bit closer to your “shut up and listen” version. 😉 But they both say essentially the same, and fit beautifully with what Marcus wrote in this post. Thanks for reminding me of that.

      • That’s what I meant (facepalm!). Sadly showing how long it’s been since I’ve been in that passage.

        How does the saying go? “Almost only counts in horseshoes and hand grenades…” something like that…I don’t think Bible verses are either.

        • Hey, if you wrote that without looking it up, you did better than I would. If it had been me, I would have probably said something like, “Somewhere in the book of James. . . ” On a very positive note, you made me look it up, which is a good thing, indeed. So no need for the facepalm!

          • Any excuse for a lookup is always a good thing! 😉

        • Either way James, it was a great thought!

  21. Hey Marcus,

    A few years back I interviewed for a sales position at a company that had an awesome reputation by employees and customers. During the interview process, I was told that every member on the sales team (9) made at minimum $100k per year. It was also shared that the year prior, the average income was about $65k per year. The change was due to a change in sales philosophy.

    During the interview process, it incredibly clear that this organization was looking to hire an individual that was willing to adapt to a new approach of selling in an industry that had years of pushy sales.

    The change in philosophy was, as they coined it, selling by listening instead of selling by telling. No joke! The idea was just as simple as you shared here, and some organizations do very well to this day – instead of over-speaking yourself out of a deal, listen to understand where ‘said’ products/services can be a solution. Of course there’s a few more points of their process, but essential, it was a model based on building rapport and listening before ever pitching.

    I was offered, but didn’t take the position. I had another in my back pocket. I was “listening” to the best offer!

    My story has nothing to do with blogging, which usually tends to be the case…but hey, there’s some relevance to why listening is so important.


    • JK I have many years of direct B2B sales and listening is the hardest skill to learn. It is so easy to drive a conversation but lose in the end. Vs just steering it and winning a sale. I was taught a formal step by step sales process my first job which was pretty rigid and I didn’t accept most of it. But listening and responding was the part I took from it.

      I had a very contentious situation my last sales job. We made a custom cooling valve for a fuel cell bus. Damn things worked always at the plant on the test benches then failed in the field. Mercedes was not happy with my customer or my company. Two groups of really smart engineers couldn’t figure this out for about 9 months. Dollars and dollars sunk with flights from NY to Vancouver and shipping and testing and rebuilding.

      Then one day it built to a head and me the finance degree guy listened to both sides during a conference call that was heading to major lawsuit. And I realized the customer changed how they wanted the valve to work but never formally told my company. PhDs couldn’t figure this out! So our valve worked based on how we were contracted it to work. But didn’t work on the hydrogen powered bus. My customer was so embarrassed. I remember sitting in my rental car in Denver wondering if this meeting would go bad or not. The main guy from my client said ‘It seems we were in the wrong this whole time, my apologies. Please everyone hang up and let me work out with Howie how we can pay for this all.’

      That was a huge lesson for me.

      • Dude, that’s a really incredible story Howie. Really man. And a lesson learned.

        Thanks for sharing brother.


    • JK, what’s up my man? Great to hear from you and I like that you’ve brought this up because the principles of “listening” carry on to everything we do in life. Whether it’s our relationships with a spouse, our children, a friend– listening is the greatest key to all of them.

      Appreciate you man!


  22. Marcus – Great post! I think so often people get caught up in what is trending on Twitter and what is popular on Google they forget to think about the things that are happening around them.

    • Exactly Jenny. We get so caught up in the “noise” that we stop listening to what truly matter the most– our customers.

      Thanks so much for dropping by!


  23. If you are passionate about what you do you will NEVER run out of ideas for topics … but yes, listen to the questions and reply via blog posts …

    • I’m passionate about the Falchettos…#justsayin 😉

  24. Hey Marcus,

    I absolutely agree.

    My personal opinion is that there is no such thing as Writer’s block – you cannot actually run out of ideas to post (you could only get more ideas!). You conscious mind just thinks that you don’t have anything to write. Every minute you are alive, you are doing thinking, collecting and processing information. The key is to “fetch out” the best and possible ideas and write about those.

    I get most of my blog post ideas from
    1. Thinking about blogging in my spare time,
    2. Just doing something unusual with blogging – blog challenges that I do,
    3. From blog posts I read and comment,
    4. From reading books, watching TV and pretty much everything in my daily life.

    Anyways, thanks for the short, but inspirational post, Marcus 😀

    Appreciate it,

    Jeevan Jacob John

    • LOVE your take on this Jeevan. And completely agree that writer’s block is more a result of the writer not doing certain things/activities that will lead to mental stimulation and inspiration. Too often we hear the phrase “I’ve got writer’s block” like it’s a disease or something, when in reality it just means our brains aren’t at all in gear and we need to make something happen.!

      Great stuff bud!


      • Jeevanjacobjohn

        Thank you, Marcus :)

        Yes, of course. We just have to keep ourselves engaged – reading, commenting, thinking etc. and ideas will come to us – I mean, to our conscious mind ;).

        Thanks for the reply!


  25. Your short post is great and to the point. It’s probably more complicated especially for personal web logs that don’t necessarily have clients who would ask questions or much readership to get feedback from. I bet it gets more difficult as the web log starts to hone in on a niche.

    • Hi Chromilo. I think it comes down to blogging to tell your life story vs blogging to earn a traffic, leads, and sales for a business. Honestly, if someone doesn’t have a business goal in mind, then I don’t think consistent content should be a driving force for blogging, as it’s more of a ‘personal’ thing at that point. But if business is the goal, then listening for questions is really the key to everything.

      Thanks so much for dropping by,


    • has a nice script that you can add to your blog that asks: What would you like us to blog about next?

      I’ve used this on our company blog to solicit anonymous suggestions from readers at one point and let me tell ya, it was very effective. Whether you’re an established blog, or a newbie, soliciting feedback from your readers is essential to your growth!

  26. Hey Marcus,

    We should listen more, take notes, but we should also use an editorial calendar and plan our content. I’m terrible at planning what content to write, and even though I find it fairly easy to come up with ideas for content and to actually write it, I usually do everything in one batch. I sit down when I’m going to write the post, and I find the content right then, and I start writing until I finish. It would have been so much better to know what to write about, and then keep writing or taking notes every day (several times a day). This way, the quality of the posts would be a lot higher. At least, that’s what I believe :)

    • I do understand what you’re saying Jens. Like you, I don’t have a bunch of articles on stand-by, just waiting to be published. But I do know that I’m going to post twice a week, and I usually have a pretty good feel for what the topic is before I start hitting the keys. But I think if someone has an editorial calendar, and then they know exactly what the subject of the post is going to be in advance, they’ll likely be much more successful.

      Thanks again bud.


    • Jeevanjacobjohn

      Hey Jens and Marcus,

      I do the exact same thing – come up with the ideas and write when I actually want to publish the article. I used to believe that planning out ideas and doing everything in advance – before I start writing – could help me by making my articles a lot more valuable.

      I have tried that, but it never works for me. Planning stifles my thinking with the article; once I have planned the article (if I do), I always stay within those ideas – it is much harder for me to think out of those ideas.

      I think it entirely depends upon the person. If you like planning, stick with it. If you don’t, don’t do it (but try it at least 2-3 times :D).

  27. Marcus,
    You are a great listener. You have actually responded to each and every one of my comments and requests and I am amazed..
    I guess this strategy works for someone who has business for long like you. For me, like adarsh I am relying on what questions, problems I had and then pick a topic and post. Once I come across more comments, I guess I would rely on your method to hit it right on!!

    • That’s a legitimate point Latha– early on in business you’re not dealing with as many customers as you will be once you get going,and so there aren’t quite as many “listening” opportunities. But if you continue to research online, pay attention to discussions, yes, you’ll find the content ideas you’re looking for.

      Good luck Latha!


  28. Wonderfully simple!
    The possibilities really are endless if you take in all the information you’re being given consciously. Now the trick will be to remember! Notepad time!

  29. Well that’s a very nice tips! I think I can forward this article to my colleague who sometimes said that he ran out of ideas!! Thanks a lot for sharing this,mate.

  30. I would say something witty but already left a response to JK longer than your post here Marcus 8)

  31. I love that you say that Google is not the answer! I have a really bad habit of just turning to google whem I’m doing uni work to try and get answers quickly. But as you say, sometimes its just best to get your thoughts out on paper and then hone them down to something thats worth writing about. Thanks for the spur on!

  32. I can’t believe I am reading this on this day. I just started writing down the questions that are being asked in the classes that I teach, so that I can begin to write out my responses. This is great inspiration Marcus. Thanks!

    • Awesome Romona! Looks like we must be on the same wavelength! Keep up the great work!


  33. I can agree with this (for the most part).

    Here’s what I try and do to keep feeding the blog beast:

    – I make a list of all of the questions I’m asked daily/weekly,
    – Every other day, I write tentative post headlines. Nothing else, just the headline.

    I try to match the headline with the question being asked and then I work I writing an outline and finally, my post. Sounds time intensive, but it really isn’t. I helps me get organized and keeps me full of things to talk about.

  34. I do agree, but what about a blog that is just getting off the ground? If you don’t yet have any readers to listen to, the only voice you have is the one in your head. :)

    With my new blog project, I have the first 20 or so posts laid out on a whiteboard. If I start to attract an audience before then, I can quickly shift gears and give them more of what they want to hear.

    But at least initially, I believe that you have to have an idea of an initial direction for your site and the focus to follow it, to ensure you last long enough for the visitors to arrive and provide you with the vital feedback you need to make the site grow further.

    Thank you for getting me thinking about this though. It’s a good idea to keep in mind as a site grows and the pressure mounts to “perform”. :)


  35. Laura

    I agree I am usually looking for the most asked questions and used that as a topic for my next post. It is always a challenge to write something new yet I am always proud to learn more and be able to share them at the same time.

  36. honestly i don’t understand how this can be a question. I have a book full of ideas i just wish i had more time to write about them, to make videos about them to explore them in more depth. My kids and life keep getting in the way.

  37. Talk less and listen more. That’s the key to generating new ideas. I usually visit and join forums to get some ideas. Yahoo Answers is also a good place to get ideas. More importantly, the social media would bring out some ideas when you get to interact and follow people around.

    Spatch Merlin

    • Yep, forums and Yahoo Answers are two other perfect places to get the idea juices really flowing Spatch. Excellent point.


  38. Every blogger want some good idea for the title of their post and i think getting idea from this post will surely help them and through this post they will get some innovative titles.

  39. This is so right — whenever I’m feeling uninspired, I ask my customer service team to let me know what questions they’ve been dealing with. I’ve got instant blog ideas ready to be shaped into FAQ-style posts with very little effort!

  40. This post really had the impact and punch you aimed for Marcus. I know most bloggers dread the idea of “running out of topics”, so I think it’s great that you addressed it. Your motto about listening more is great. I feel it allows you to actually see ideas that are right in front of you.

  41. Celine

    Hi Marcus,

    And thanks for this very useful post. I am considering starting a blog to share my thoughts and tips with all my friends, colleagues,students, neighbours and relatives who are always seeking my advice for their relationship problems. I want to share with all these people but also all those who are willing to start a relationship or are already in one and are trying not to sink with the ship of their marriage. I could have started it since but was afraid to find myself with no topics to write about. Your post is the solution. Thanks

    • Celine, so thrilled to hear your words and I really do hope you’ll trust your gut and start that blog– the reward will be amazing.

      Best to you,


  42. You are right in some point Marcus but what if I have limited feedback from my readers, then I still need the help of Google for this matter. It is true that there are times, we ran out of ideas but it is only temporary, so no need to panic about it. For me, stepping out from your home, stop looking at that monitor and talk to real people in the park, cafeteria or other place where you can get fresh ideas and not just from trending keywords given by Google, social media and stuff.

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