Blog content ideas. Where do they come from?
Well, if you're like me, they're drawn from a deep, dark place of suffering. A place which represents all that is malign and vindictive about the human psyche. That's right.
How do I find blog post ideas for any given niche?
I find them all online.
Seriously. I mean, I do occasionally bemoan the difficulty of thinking up new blogging topics, but...
That moaning is something in the nature of erm... exaggerated? An obfuscation, if you will. Really, finding new topics to blog about can be pretty darn easy.
Here's a quick guide:
1) Learn what makes a good blogging topic
The best topics to blog about give value to your audience. They're there to help educate whoever reads them about whatever topic you're the expert in.
Ideally, this means you should write about what you know.
Google has, relatively recently, pointed to the importance of this by updating the list of guidelines used by the real-life humans who perform some measure of quality control on how the search engine works.
“Author authority” is designed to be a measure of how trusted a source of information any given web page is likely to be. It's not actually a ranking factor precisely, but it's worth bearing in mind when it comes to who is the acknowledged author of your posts.
So, going back to that “giving value” point:
How do you know what kind of value your audience is looking for?
2) Ask questions
You've heard the old adage:
If in doubt, ask. There are a whole bunch of people you can ask for topic ideas. Some of the more tech-centric following steps require you to have at least some sort of starting place. Asking is a sometimes fairly low-tech one.
These are some pretty useful people to ask right near to you:
Your sales team: potentially including yourself if you're a small business, your sales team will interface with your customers a whole lot of the time. They know where they hit trouble in converting leads, for example. Could your company's blog answer the question and smooth the way?
Your audience: your audience is a ready source of blog post ideas. Social media is probably the easiest way to interact with them in the modern age. But don't forget about the good old paper questionnaire (consider putting all these in a hat afterwards and offering a little freebie to the winning name). What do participants feel they need to know about your company or industry?
In fact, you could probably gather some ideas without actually asking a question at all...
Aren't there days where you feel like you've answered the same question about your business a hundred times?
As a freelance copywriter, I often find myself needing to explain about the rates charged by SEO copywriting services. Why do some people charge by the hour or by the word? Why do some people do it by the day or by project?
Whatever your personal bugbear or FAQ of choice is, that is clearly a topic which a substantial number of people need more information about.
3) Steal titles and topics
Yes, it's legal. It's totally legal. Don't even worry about it. Why wouldn't... ahem... borrowing someone else's idea be legal?
No more mister nice person. Your competitors – and, more importantly, the influencers in your industry or niche – can offer you a ready source of potentially good blogging topics.
Of course, if you have a local competitor in your industry and they release a blog post entitled “6 tips to help you become a better freelance content writer” and you release one a day later which you decide to call “7 tips to help you become a superior content writing agency”...
I'm afraid the blood shed at that showdown at high noon is on your hands. Those big influencers or brands in your niche, though – they're where it's at. What questions are they answering?
You can check:
Online in blogs and on websites
Offline in papers and magazines
In the titles of Ebooks – especially the free ones some people give away as marketing
4) Ask Google
Okay, I said you can find everything you need online. You can. In fact, you don't even need to get very fancy about it.
If you just want some good ideas and you don't care too much what the odds are of being able to compete on the keywords you use (I mean, you probably should care about this. But maybe you've got a large, keen, hugely reliable audience), ask Google.
There are a couple of ways you can do this without breaking a sweat:
Use autocomplete: Google knows what other people are searching for around the basic topic which you have in mind. It will helpfully attempt to save you the three or four whole seconds it would otherwise take you to complete a query. Stop typing after you've entered your basic topic or keyword. For a search like “blog post ideas” you get results like “for beginners”, “for 2019”, “for November” and so on. Ideal.
Check the “Searches related to” box: good for finding semantic keywords too, the list at the bottom of your Search Engine Results Page offers a number of perfect blogging topic suggestions related to the thing you were searching for.
5) Use a blog post ideas generator
Yes, they exist. Yes, they are awesome.
A blog post ideas generator is a wonderful, magical thing. They essentially replicate the “ask Google” trick above on a much larger, much cooler scale.
Check out, for starters:
Answer the Public: this should go at the top of any list of blog generator names. Just add some basic words or a keyphrase and see what people out there are looking for, displayed in several exciting – and incredibly useful – ways.
HubSpot Blog Ideas Generator: this will kick out five basic ideas without you needing to sign up for anything at all. You can access plenty more – more than you should ever need really – by adding your John Hancock. The ideas aren't always perfectly sensical, but it should only take you a little work to re-engineer them for your purposes.
BuzzSumo: this one takes a little more thought to use than the other two. But it does have the added advantage of displaying an analysis of trends in data over set periods of time. That's a pretty neat benefit.
6) Measure the results of your new blog content ideas
Okay, you've done the easy work. Now comes the hard stuff.
Measuring the results you get is probably the toughest and, for most people, least fun part of the process. Creativity time is over, people. Buckle up and get ready to stare at some numbers.
You can use Facebook Insights, Google Analytics and other tools to track engagements with your content. But the only metrics which really matter in the final analysis are how many people your posts persuade to:
Share your content
Join your mailing list
Buy from you
Because sadly, in the end, the best blog content ideas in the world won't be much use if they don't actually benefit you or your company. Still wondering how to find blog post ideas for business – your business in particular?
Comment below and I'll see what I can do!