Coming up with ideas is the hardest part of creating high-quality content. If you want your blog content to perform well (i.e. generate traffic, leads, and sales), it must resonate with your audience and compel them to take action.
So, what’s the secret to never running out of blog post ideas?
Simple—listen to your audience.
You can easily get 25, 50, and even 100 ideas at a time if you’re willing to do the work. Here are some of the strategies we use to brainstorm blog post ideas both for our clients and our own blog:
1. Figure out what your readers want
Start by asking yourself what are the problems your audience is struggling with? What topics are they most interested in getting help with?
Let’s say that you’re running a blog for a dental practice.
Your readers are probably going to want tips on dental hygiene or information on dental conditions. So, you simply pick one and start there. For example manual vs. electric toothbrush.
Here’s where keyword research comes in.
There are many keyword research tools out there, but if you’re looking for a free version we like Ubersuggest. Enter your keyword and in seconds you’ll receive a trove of information including the average number of monthly searches in Google and SEO difficulty, which is the estimated competition in organic search.
There’s also a ‘content ideas’ section to help you come up with blog ideas that include your chosen keywords. This list includes page titles related to your keyword that are already published. There’s also data for estimated visits, backlinks, and social shares.
Put your spin on these existing page titles to create new, unique, and creative blog post ideas that outperform the competition.
2. Answer Frequently Asked Questions
Most readers come to your site with very specific interests and problems they’re looking to solve. If you’re not solving your reader’s problems, in their mind there’s no reason for them to stick around.
Think about what questions you hear all day long. You probably answer them without thinking twice. But, you can bet that if people are asking you in person that they’re asking them online. If you don’t already have a frequently asked questions page on your website, we suggest you add one. Be sure you talk to your staff too. Chances are they’re answering a lot of customers’ questions.
Take it a step further by seeing which of those questions and answers you can expand into a longer form blog post. For example, a restaurant may frequently get asked if they’re able to accommodate certain dietary restrictions. Consider a blog a post about 5 Gluten-Free Customer Favorites at XYZ Restaurant.
Another tool that we love is Answer the Public—a free visual keyword research tool that generates an expansive list of questions related to your focus topic.
Each of these questions could be something your audience is searching for and therefore could constitute some interesting blog post ideas.
3. Review Website Analytics
When brainstorming blog post ideas, one of the most obvious resources is often overlooked—your own website.
Web analytics is the go-to resource for measuring content quality and understanding user behavior. But it’s also a great resource for evaluating user needs, including the content that users find desirable and valuable.
Users tell us what they like every time they visit our website. We just have to stop and listen.
Google Search Console provides granular data including the number of views for individual blog posts received to give you an idea about how your audience responds to the different topics you’re blogging about.
Get in the habit of reviewing this data each month to help you come up with future blog post ideas.
You’ll notice that posts about certain topics aren’t doing as well as others. This is likely an indication that those topics aren’t as important to your audience. Use this information to publish fewer posts on those topics and more on topics that resonate with your target audience.
Analyzing blog post views can also help you identify other patterns and cues in your blog content. Does a certain title structure work better than others? Do interviews with subject matter experts generate a better reaction than how-to type posts? Use all of these insights to guide your future posts and generate better results.
4. Check the Calendar
Brainstorming blog topic ideas can be as simple as looking at the calendar to see what funny, bizarre, or feel-good holidays the world has. Keep your pen and notepad at hand, though, because it is bound to give you tons of inspiration.
There are days available for every niche.
Do you work for an orthopedic practice? National Youth Sports Week is in July. Think of blog posts such as: ‘How to prevent youth sports injuries’ or ‘5 most common youth sports injuries.’
A local bakery? August 4 is National Chocolate Chip Cookie Day. Share common baking mistakes to avoid.
The possibilities are endless.
5. Read to Write
Have you ever heard the saying that readers make the best writers? Reading will not only inspire new ideas but helps expand your vocabulary and exposes you to a variety of writing styles.
Curate a list of go-to resources to help you stay up-to-date with industry insights and current events. To prevent information overload, try using Feedly to organize and read all your trusted publications and blogs in one place. Their free plan allows you to follow up to 100 sources and organize them into 3 feeds on web and mobile.
As your reading, think about current events from the viewpoint of your niche.
An incredibly relevant example of this is the current COVID-19 pandemic. It affects everyone, so it makes sense to write about it. For a pediatrician’s office, this could mean a blog with a round-up of activities to keep kids busy during quarantine, whereas a restaurant may consider sharing the recipe of a signature dish so readers can make it at home.
6. Follow Your Competitors
Lastly, pay attention to what your competitors sharing on their blogs and social media channels. It’s also just as valuable to look at what information they aren’t sharing. Draw information from your competition’s best content ideas while simultaneously learning from their mistakes. The keyword here is inspiration. You shouldn’t ever plagiarize content, but instead, use your competition’s content as inspiration to create something even better.
Don’t just look at your direct competitors, but also indirect competitors, replacement competitors and even others in different markets or related industries that aren’t your competitors at all.
- Direct competitors are the competitors that are the most obvious. They offer products and services that are more or less the same as yours.
- Indirect competitors are businesses that sell the same products as you but also specialize in other areas.
- Replacement competitors don’t have to offer the exact same products or services as you do, but they do compete for the same customer base.
Back to the dentist practice example. Look at what other local dentists are writing about. A local pediatric dentist or orthodontist may also spark some ideas. You could even find ideas from looking at a different specialty entirely, like an orthopedic practice.
Once you get your creative juices flowing, coming up with blog topics isn’t as hard as you think. Many of these strategies work best when you make them a habit or carve out time on your calendar to do them each month.
We suggest keeping a running spreadsheet of all your blog post ideas so when writer’s block strikes, you know exactly where to turn. And, when you sit down to plan your monthly, quarterly or annual content calendar, you already have a bank of topics to choose from to ensure your content is timely, relevant and informative.
If you’re still struggling to get topics and simply don’t have the time to work on your own blog, let us help! Call (888) 632-4499 or fill out our free consultation form.