How To Brainstorm Topics (Not Keywords!)

In the last lesson we talked about why it’s important to research topics not keywords.

Now, we’re going to look at how you can brainstorm those topics.

By the end of this section, you will have:

  • A list of topics
  • A repeatable brainstorming system

Get a pen and paper (or word processor) ready, and let’s get it into it…

How To Brainstorm Topics

Brainstorming starts with your broad niche.

This is the main theme of your site or the content you want to create.

For example:

  • Drones
  • Electric cars
  • Craft beer
  • Baking

From this broad niche, you can begin to dig into all of its topics.

So I am going to show you how we go from niche, to topics, to keywords, to content specification, to the final piece of content in the Drone niche.

When thinking about your broad niche, you can probably think of a handful of topics.

With Drones for example, there’s a variety of topics that come to mind such as-

  1. Drone Photography: drones take stunning pictures
  2. Drone Racing: an up-and-coming sport (there’s even a league!)
  3. Drone Repairs: where to get your drone fixed
  4. Drone Registration: drones need to be registered with an aviation agency
  5. Drone Products
    1. Manufacturers (like DJI who make camera drones)
    2. Accessories
    3. Cases
    4. Batteries
    5. Propellers
    6. Cameras
    7. Replacement parts
  6. Drone Flying tips: how to best fly a drone
  7. Drone Insurance: how to insure your drone (if you’re bad at flying it)


Coming up with a list of topics in your niche isn’t always easy.

So I am going to show you how to generate a list of topics ideas in any niche for yourself along with a cheeky tool we built to take the hard work out of it.

But first let me talk you through it all-

Step #1 – Niche Blogs and Forums

Niche blogs and forums are loaded with topics.

They’re places where people actively talk about relevant-

  • Problems
  • Ideas
  • News
  • Technology

Which can be used as topic and content ideas.

Even just a quick glance at headlines can give you an insight into what people in your niche care about and the types of questions they are asking:


These forums and blogs are easy to find with Google.

Here are some search terms you can use to find them:



Even the simplest terms can bring back a wide range of results:


You can work your way through these results and note down any topic and content ideas you find along the way.

Step #2 – Reddit

There are topic specific Reddit groups for everything and they are filled with passionate people having real-time discussions about a topic.

All you have to do is search for your broad term:


And check out the related communities which show up:


Like forums and blogs you can use headlines to get ideas.

You can also determine how interesting a topic is by the number of up or down votes a thread receives:


But it’s also worth looking at the comments to see what people are talking about.

Like this thread about taking your drone as a carry-on:


It might be that we create a subtopic of “Drone Travel” and create a piece of content showing people how to take their drone as a carry on among other content.

But at this point we don’t really know, just collect the ideas and we’ll make sense of the chaos later.

Step #3 – Quora

Quora is a place where questions find answers which makes it an epic source of search-friendly content.

Like Reddit, you can just search for your broad topic:


And this will present you with a list of sub-topics that you can review and add to your brainstorming.

To get a deeper insight you can go to each topic and look at:

  • The questions being asked
  • The answers being given

Which will give you even more topics to focus on.

Step #4 – Ahrefs Keyword Explorer

If you don’t have access to Ahrefs, you really need it (but don’t sign up for the trial yet).

When it comes to topic and keyword research, it just cannot be beaten and countless hours of keyword research can be consolidated to just a few clicks. It provides the data you need to make intelligent SEO decisions and it’s a backbone of our success.

In fact:

It’s the tool I used for my drone topic examples above – you didn’t really think I used my brain did you?

Using it for topic research is simple. Just fire up the keyword explorer to find relevant topics.

Then enter your “seed keyword” (broad topic):


This will return a breakdown of the keyword’s data.

But what you’re interested in is this list of keyword ideas below:


Within these lists, you will find topic-based search terms you can add to your brainstorm.

Use The Smart Topic Brainstorming Google Sheet

Doing all of those searches manually takes a little bit of time, so I built a smart Google sheet that takes the hard work out of the



It’s super easy to use!

Just open the sheet and then click on File > Make a copy



Now just enter your broad niche where it says “drones”

And then you can just click on any of the links below to open all of the relevant searches for your brain storming session.


Final Thoughts…

Before moving onto the next lesson, make sure you have a list of 8-12 topic ideas for your niche.

I’m going to continue to build out the Drone example all the way from topic discovery to content creation so you can follow along.

Here is my topic list for the “Drone” niche-

  1. Drone photography
  2. Drone racing
  3. Drone repairs
  4. Drone registration
  5. Drone products
    1. Manufacturers
    2. Accessories
    3. Cases
    4. Batteries
    5. Propellers
    6. Cameras
    7. Replacement parts
  6. Drone flying tips
  7. Drone insurance

In the next lesson, we’ll look at how you can transform these topics into a complete keyword strategy where all of your SEO efforts support each other.

You need to have a list of 8-12 topics ideas to continue, if you don’t have these – STOP and prepare them now before continuing.

Lesson Materials
Smart Topic Brainstorming Spreadsheet


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