Smiling young woman in glasses with bright ideasCongratulations! You’ve just been awarded the task of coming up with healthcare blog topics for your organization.

You may not have to write the blog posts (which, ahem, WriterGirl is happy to do for you), but you still have to create topics for the year’s editorial calendar. That means putting on your brainstorming hat and generating ideas that cover at least 52 weeks.

All in all, when you consider the task ahead, you’re not sure if congrats or condolences are in order.

And what about your diverse healthcare audiences?

Coming up with topics can be a daunting proposition. Mainly because you want fresh, relevant subjects that will appeal to your various audiences — since many healthcare organizations have several categories within one umbrella blog. For instance, you may have categories specifically targeted to seniors, millennials, young moms and others.

This means the 52 weekly ideas may need to blossom into a couple hundred more.

Here’s the good news: Brainstorming dozens of topics is very doable, and it doesn’t have to drain your brain. In fact, with a few tips under your belt, you may find it harder to turn off the deluge of ideas once they start flowing.

7 tips for coming up with healthcare blog topics

1. Lean on lists

Readers love lists. And blog writers love lists, too (exhibit A: the post you’re reading now). That’s because research shows lists have a hold on ever-decreasing attention spans and fit the way people tend to read these days. Consider blog topics that list “top 10” items — those have evergreen popularity. Or create how-to lists, which are ideal in the healthcare space when it comes to showing readers how to stay healthy, find a doctor … the list goes on and on.

2. Ask what readers want to know

The best people to tell you what to write are the ones you’re writing to. Getting ideas from consumers and patients doesn’t have to be a complex undertaking. If the timing and setting are appropriate, reach out to them by email or phone to ask if there are any special topics they’d like to know more about. Or simply ask a question in a social media post. For instance, ask about their experiences with men’s health screenings, flu vaccinations or mental health counseling. Then invite your followers to leave a comment.

3. Forage on the forums

Forums and message boards are a proverbial goldmine of blog topics. You can easily google the category or term you’re interested in by adding the word “forum” or “message board.”  If you want to write about pregnancy, you could go extremely broad and type in “pregnancy message boards.” Or you can narrow it down to a specific topic. For example, if you type in “c-section forums,” you’re bound to find a lot of content that’s associated with the subject. And don’t forget old standbys reddit and Quora — they’re still great sources for mining topics. In over just an hour or two, you can see many specific questions (and answers!) in the forums that get your gray matter going with ideas.

4. Make time for tools

Ah, the wonders of Google. Just by typing in a phrase or a word, you can create an abundance of topic ideas that appear beneath your search term. Not only that, you’ll be able to see what people are already searching for and how your topic may rank. You can also search topics on Google Trends and look at the related queries as well as the topic’s interest over time. Idea generators like HubSpot’s Blog Ideas Generator are another handy resource.

Google Trends Report

A Google Trends report can give you an idea of a topic’s search interest as well as related topics readers may be interested in.

5. Get trendy with it

Healthcare is an everchanging industry. By keeping your audiences — especially consumers — up to speed on trends, you can help build a loyal reader base. Think about what you see in the latest healthcare news. But don’t just share that information, add your unique perspective to it. One way to stay updated is to set up Google Alerts and learn about what’s emerging in the healthcare space. There’s always something new going on that can fuel your blog topics.

6. Let other blogs do the heavy (idea) lifting

Google blogs that are similar to yours and dive in. No, you’re not trying to copy them, you’re just looking to be inspired by them. Let’s face it, there’s nothing new under the sun, but you can add that special sauce only your brand can provide. Something else to keep in mind: The other blogs may have been written, but that doesn’t mean they’ve been read. Let your blog be the standout by putting a different spin on the multitude of ideas you find on other blogs.

7. Map your mind

Mind-mapping is an old brainstorming standby for a reason. It works. First, you’re going to go old school: Grab a sheet of paper and a pencil and write a possible topic on the center of the paper. Next, break that topic down into subcategories. Keep branching out to more subcategories and you’ll see new ideas blossom along the way.

You’re now armed with effective ways to brainstorm your blog’s editorial calendar. In fact, your brain may already be overflowing with the tactics you’ll start with first. And for that, congratulations are definitely in order.