The blank page mocks you. Look at that cocky bastard.
Maybe you don’t have a plan. Maybe you’ve been blogging for years, and you’re out of topics because you’ve already recycled your recycled topics.
We get it: you need to know how to find blog topics your customers love and how to keep your content fresh. Thankfully, we’re around and here are our oh-so-professional yet achievable ideas to get the blog done.
Be a Planner, Get a Planner, and Track Your Results
The best way to stick to your blog topics is to help yourself conform to a schedule using a calendar. This will also help you spread out what types of subjects go when and monitor which posts perform best. Blog post performance (especially including sales, newsletter, and other conversions) can be a positive indicator for that post’s topic. Make sure to track your results to inform future content.
Go beyond page views: those are meaningless if they aren’t increasing your branding and converting to sales, especially if they aren’t on-topic for your brand, service, and product.
Start With Your Buyer Persona
Who buys your products and services, anyway? What does their life look like on a daily basis?
As much as you might enjoy rolling in the dough, your customers do more than buy your products and obsess about you every day. By engaging with your customers, asking them to fill out surveys (bribe them with a discount!), and posting language encouraging feedback, you can easily learn more about them.
Some stores collect zip codes at checkout or ask customers to volunteer demographic information, but just as valuable is affinity information: this means you’ll want to know more about your customers’ lives than just their gender and location. Do they have families? What kind of books or other entertainment do they like to consume? This can help you determine which information is most valuable to them.
Begin your blog topic generation with ideas about your customers’ lives and how that can relate to your product. If you learn that your customers travel often, perhaps you can provide information about how your product or service can help them on the go—or post travel tips relating to the other roles they may hold in their lives, such as professional or parent.
Tell Me What You Want, What You Really Really Want…
That song is now stuck in your head. #SorryNotSorry—because it will enable you to remember how important it is to ask your audience all about what they actually want to see on your blog, or which existing posts they like best.
When you survey your customers with the intention of informing their blogs, you should:
- Ask them directly what type of content they’d like to see
- Inquire about how they’d like to receive it (social media, email, podcast)
- Provide space for them to write in details and make their own suggestions (customers are the most creative and can tell you what they want to see)
- Give an incentive or reward, such as a coupon code
Use Customer Service and FAQ
What are the frequently asked questions (FAQ) surrounding your blog?Each FAQ on your FAQ page could be at least one blog post. You can browse through customer emails and other customer service logs to determine your customers’ pain points, and each of those can be another blog post. Click To Tweet
This means that your blog might go beyond content about how your product or service can help; it might include how-tos and step-by-step instructions with an invitation to contact you for help if they still can’t figure it out based on the blog post instructions.
Formulate Blog Posts With Keyword Research
Keyword research is an SEO (search engine optimization) must. It’s a go-to for finding out what you’re ranking for and where you want to go. You’ll be able to discern how people find your website (what they look up to find it) and how you stack up against the competition. You can also use it to determine gaps in your content coverage (called a gap analysis), so you can fill in the blanks.
Keyword research can reveal real opportunities in the SERPs (search engine page results). You’ll want to find high value, low competition keywords. Unless you’re a major online retailer like Walmart or Amazon, you should aim for niche specific long tail keywords and semantic search phrases. Think about what specifics people might look up to find your product.
We recommend using major keyword research tools like SEMrush and Moz to help you in this process. Both of those companies also have responsive customer service professionals ready to guide you through the process should you hit speedbumps.
Sidenote: slow down for speed bumps. YW.
If you are a clothing manufacturer and you are selling green dresses, think about how competitive it will be if you want to rank for “green dress.” Instead, think about other search phrases based upon how your dress might look:
- Hippie green dress
- Peasant sleeves green dress
- Petite medieval green dress
Using Topic Research: Quora, AnswerThePublic, Reddit
Quora is a social media site based on questions and answers. Users ask questions, and niche experts provide thorough answers on the topic. While it is valuable to your branding and an easy way to establish yourself as an expert by answering questions, Quora’s also a useful site for research.
See what’s out there:
- What are people asking?
- What haven’t you thought of or covered on your blog yet?
AnswerThePublic (ATP) is a tool that reveals what questions people ask on the internet about any given topic. What’s unique about it? ATP groups these questions according to type, such as how to or prepositional phrases. It even spits out insightful charts for you to work from; we recommend choosing topics directly based on those questions, and using those questions as SEO phrases in your posts.
Reddit is a more fiery platform than Quora. There are tons of questions and answers, but also more uh, occasionally “vibrant” debate between experts and anonymous users alike. These hot-button topics might be good fits for your blog, sparking debate and discussion among your audience and making your posts even more shareable.
Trust Your Instincts
Keyword research is crucial, but no one has the expert knowledge about your niche like you do, especially down to the level of your product or service. Do you notice an industry trend or an interesting correlation? Does a new pop culture phenomenon somehow relate to what you sell? Are you ready to release an innovative product? This presents an opportunity to get your audience on the right path.
Marketing experts will tell you that you should never make an uninformed, unresearched guess about your content topics.
We think you should—every now and then. Just make sure your content is still keyword-focused, even if you’re banking on a trend.
Keep It Green. Evergreen.
Evergreen content is continually relevant and long-lasting. Those FAQs? They’re timeless, and they’re a great example of evergreen content potential. People will always look them up, and as long as you keep your answers current, it’ll marinate and age in Google like a fine wine. Only less gross than that.
You’ll have customers wearing green dresses and drinking that fine wine. That’s the evergreen life.
In fact, most of your content should be evergreen, or timeless and relevant. This creates a measurable foothold in Google and provides authority to your brand. Naturally, you’ll also gain more backlinks over time, which Google considers the ultimate in valuable ranking signals.
Make Some Frenemies: How To Use Influencers’ Topics Without Stealing
“I wish I’d seen that first. Why didn’t I think of that? Now I must crush my enemies!”
Don’t beat yourself up over it: you can’t predict everything; you can’t cover everything, either, and you can’t always be the one with the innovation or a new way of looking at a more established topic. Sometimes, the competition is going to get the drop on you, or someone in an adjacent industry might come at it from a different angle.
But you wanna steal that topic, don’t you?
What if we told you that you could—ethically?
There are a few simple rules to spinning innovative or popular content.
- Put your own spin on it. Don’t copy it exactly. Do not plagiarize. Do talk about it, and add your own angle. How is it relevant to your customers or their interests? Make sure your post answers that question.
- Credit the original poster with the idea and link to them. In fact, you should shoot them a message letting them know all about it because it’s likely they’ll retweet. They’ll also value a backlink from you linking to the original blog post. Be gracious.
- Consider a roundup. Roundups are lists featuring multiple expert opinions. If you’re inspired by an influencer, reach out to them for an opinion on the topic. Make sure you stick to the best practices—link back to them—and ask some other experts as well. Format their answers (make sure you proofread: not all experts are editors) and publish. Many of them will retweet. It’s total link bait, and influencers will love you for it.
Whatever you do, never forget to credit and link to the original source.
Driving Esoteric Knowledge: Big Data Dump
You know those data heavy, well-researched topics that often include original data or some knowledge drops from Statista?
Start with a fascinating statistic and go from there. Data can tell a story, and it’s a real talent to spin data into storytelling. Be that bard for your customers, and use it to engender trust, answer questions, spread correct information, and encourage sales and opt-ins.
Talk About, Be About It
If you’re like many small business owners and freelancers, you’re flying solo much of the time. Life exists beyond your home, and that means chatting with people.
Okay, you can stay home, but at least employ the use of Skype or something to chat about topics with other industry experts or even with your family.
Yes, even your kids can help you. Or your dog, if it talks back.
Just get those topics bouncing around like a bucket of bouncy balls dumped down a flight of stairs and you’ll be well on your way.
Do You Need Help With How to Find Blog Topics?
Does the idea of performing a content gap analysis intimidate you? Don’t even HAVE a FAQ page?
If you want to avoid taking the time to research keywords, survey customers, and plan content, you’ve lucked out, because Dominate With SEO is here to help. Fill out our Discovery Form to get started as soon as possible. We’ll handle the details so you can focus on creating and marketing your product or services.