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Hubspot has a great tool for blocked bloggers to get new blog topic ideas. Here’s how to take it further and generate greater content.

If you’re a blogger, or someone tasked with creating fresh website content on the regular, you know the struggle: How to keep coming up with new ideas to write about.

Well, like most things these days, there’s an app for that. It’s Hubspot’s Blog Topic Generator. Hubspot are masters of inbound marketing content, so it’s no surprise their tool is super useful.

How it Works

The process is simplicity defined:

  • Go to the site
  • Plug in three broad topics
  • Click a button
  • Get 5 fresh blog topics based on your input.
  • Repeat the process until you’ve got as many ideas as you need.

While the underlying algorithm may remain a mystery, some things become clear after a few uses which, if you think beyond the machine, can make this already helpful tool invaluable.

Getting Better Ideas Out of It

Pattern Recognition

To test things out, I plugged in three terms: shoes, candy, TV.

Below are screenshots from three separate attempts. You’ll notice Hubspot’s tool follows some consistent patterns to generate blog headlines.

blog-topic-results1 blog-topic-results2 blog-topic-results3

In fact, you’ll see we’ve even got some repetition. These are well-written headlines, but it’s pretty clear what the patterns are.

You Take It From Here

Now, you could just take these topics and run with them verbatim, cranking out a bunch articles with these exact headlines. You could do that. But then, so could everybody else.

What I suggest instead is use these ideas as a mere starting point. Notice the patterns and use them to get inspired, then extrapolate to create new ideas that flow from these suggestions. You will start creating better ideas that come from your own experiences on your topics.

What Hubspot’s Tool is Good At

The point of this article is not to knock Hubspot’s tool. On the contrary, I think it’s great. When used as the probably really intended, it accomplishes some very useful things:

Helping writers focus broad topics into writable content ideas

This is great because it can be difficult to narrow a broad idea down to something worth writing about, and gives you new ways to look at a well-worn subject.

Helping writers learn better headline writing structure and wording

One thing a lot of writers struggle with is writing great headlines. It takes a certain skill to know what combinations of words will do a better job at getting readers’ attention. There are other techniques involved too, and they are all well-represented here.

Breaking you out of blogger’s block

There’s nothing worse than staring at a blank page, especially when you’ve got a deadline. Hubspot’s Blog Topic Generator is a great way to grease the wheels in your head and get them turning.

What It Could Do Better

For a free tool, it’s great, but it could always be better. Here are some ideas.

Variety

It doesn’t take long for the tool to start repeating itself, and that’s when we get a look behind the curtain. Results boil down to “7 Things About ____ Your Boss Wants To Know” and “What Will ____ Be Like In 100 Years?”, with one of your topics picked at random to fill in the blank.

If there were more variations in the mix, it might take longer to wear out the tool’s novelty. As it is, I’m writing this article about how you can take it further.

Combining Topics

From what I can tell, the Blog Topic Generator keeps subjects separate. It would be amazing if the tool used artificial intelligence to generate headlines that combine potentially disparate topics into completely novel article ideas. As creativity is often based on combining existing things in new ways, it could be a real game-changer.

Originality

This goes back to my first two points, but Hubspot’s tool would go from great to amazing if it exhibited a bit more originality and creativity. We’ve all seen headlines like the ones it generates, but if it were able to generate some truly novel ideas, it could be invaluable. But, that’s supposed to be your job, right?

Of course, these are but one man’s suggestions… about a free tool, and I feel certain Hubspot will expand the tool’s usefulness over time. Meanwhile, I’ll take what I can get.

Alternatives

Just like you wouldn’t cut a steak with a butter knife, it’s useful to have a few variations on any type of tool. With that in mind, so here are some alternatives to Hubspot’s generator.

Being a Better Blogger

While Hubspot’s tool presents its suggestions as a week’s worth of blog topics, an important question persists: “How often should I blog?”

Short answer: All the time.

Longer answer: It depends. (Doesn’t it always?)

You should really blog as often as makes sense for you and your audience. We are all limited by time and resources, and audiences’ attention span must be handled with care. If you have an active following, daily blogging might make sense for you. You should shoot for a couple times a week at least.

Whatever you do, do it consistently so you become part of your audience’s routine. Just don’t let your blog collect dust.

Here’s Neil Patel’s take.

And here’s another take from SmartBlogger.

If you struggle to keep a regular schedule, a blog topic generator tool can be a big help. Use it to create tons of ideas, then bank up articles and release them on a regular schedule. When you find yourself with extra free time, write as many posts as you can. Then when you’re super busy, you won’t leave your readers hanging.