We get it, as a business owner you don’t have time to create blog posts for your audience. Or maybe the blog post topics you’ve published haven’t taken off like you thought they would? If you’ve ever been been wondering what you should write about, this article will help you learn how to find great blog ideas by validating topics ahead of time in this step-by-step guide!
There are a few simple strategies you can do to find great blog topics that will definitely work – even before you start writing.
You need to focus on creating content your audience will actually care about and want to read which will than lead to higher engagement, higher traffic, and more leads/sales! We use many of these techniques when coming up with great topic ideation for our own blog as well as our clients.
In this article, we’re going to show you how to:
- Define your customer avatar
- Build your topic ideas in less than 10 minutes
- Find relevant trending topics
- Get 50+ blog post angles and ideas for higher engagement.
Start with Defining Your Customer Avatar
The first part in creating an effective content marketing strategy is to start by defining the customer or persona of the person you’re writing to.
While this may seem like a ‘no-brainer’ it’s often the one step that is most overlooked. You start thinking about content you would want as a business owner but not actually from the perspective of your customer.
Think about the customer you currently have that pays you the most and brings you the most business. Most agencies will tell you to focus on your “ideal” customer avatar and a lot of the time, you as a business owner go off daydreaming about who you think is your ideal customer when a lot of the time your ideal customer is already doing business with you.
We want to hone in on the most profitable customers, and what kinds of things they would be interested in and be searching for online.
For us, our target customer is a small or medium sized business who wants help with SEO, so we write curate content that helps local business owners with their SEO strategies. Sometimes they will read our content and take the necessary steps on their own, and others will reach out to us for more help because they more than likely value time over money. By providing this content in the first place, we become an authority in the industry. This is what we want to do for your content marketing strategy.
So Mike who needs link building to increase his traffic:
- What kind of SEO strategy should I use?
- How can I prevent SEO Penalties
- What’s the easiest way to do keyword research?
Writing blog posts on these kinds of topics will attract a general, but interested audience.
Notice we don’t write about a lot of content about “what is SEO” because we generally are not trying to ‘sell’ anyone on SEO. Instead, we aim to target customers that already know about SEO and it’s value and just want help getting it done.
When we define our customer a bit more, our best customers are local businesses who need help appearing in the Google local map pack, or run online marketing campaigns. So we think about what kinds of questions or problems local businesses run into when trying to rank, and we write content around that.
So John, a local business owner:
- How to rank on Google Local Map Pack
- Increase your organic traffic and grow your business with SEO
- How to use Facebook to generate more leads for your business
- Deciding on what platform to advertise on.
Typically this content is more specific, and meant to attract our perfect customer.
When you’re creating your customer avatar, try to really hone in on who the customer is, who is going to pay you for your services the most, and who will likely become a recurring customer (if that fits your vertical)
Next, think about the problems or questions that they would look to the internet for answers. And create your content based on this.
So think about your customer flow:
- What do they need to know before they use your product or service
- Do they have other types of products/services would they be interested in?
- What kinds of questions do they ask each time before they make a purchase?
- Do they have problems, fears, limiting beliefs that would prevent them from making a purchase?
This can give you a very solid starting point for doing your research!
SEO Driven Topic Research
Search Engine Optimization can be a very powerful factor to consider when coming up with content ideation. Each blog post you write is a chance to rank for new keywords, new topics, and attract your target customer.
At Pattern SEO we like to take an SEO-first approach to writing content by first identifying the potential profitable keywords, then curating a topic around them.
That doesn’t mean that every blog post MUST be SEO driven – There are plenty of reasons to write non-seo driven content like news, personal stories, fun content, etc. However, if you are looking to drive consistent traffic over time, taking an SEO driven approach can be extremely valuable.
What’s the easiest and fastest way to create a list of potential keywords that you can start targeting in your SEO Strategy?
We call it a competitive Content Gap Analysis. This basically means we look at a competitive gap analysis of what your top competitors are ranking for that you are not. Usually with this process we can generate a list of over 1000+ keywords to target in less than ten minutes!
Here’s how to do it:
Identify keywords with a Competition Gap Analysis:
The first step is identifying your top competitors in search. Think about companies that sell the same products you do, or sell to the same audience you do. Another good way to find competitors is to think about who is putting out the best content in your industry.
Once you have your list of competitors you can use a tool like SEMRush to create a content gap analysis using the tools in their software. After you’re done, this will give you a list of the top keywords that your competitors are ranking for that you are not!
There are a few tips to tweaking this to make it work:
- If your results are generic. Try putting in more specific competitor sites. If you put in a large site, it can often have a lot of keywords that are not efficient and make your keyword gap unusable.
- Make sure you put your competitors that actually are ranking and have solid content – don’t just put in a competitor that you’re familiar with, put in a competitor that is competing in search.
- Filter this list by CPC – we like to use CPC cost associated to validate if these keywords are worthwhile keywords to rank for.
You’ll need to scrub the list of keywords that are difficult, have low search volume, or are just flat out not useful. Once you’ve completed this, take a look at the top-ranking content for your targeted keywords and make a better version of it!
Answer The Public
A lot of great blog posts topics answer questions people are asking in search engines. With Answer the Public, you can input the targeted keyword and generate a list of all the common questions being asked about it in Google. This is great, because we are trying to find out questions/topics we can write articles on, and this will tell us what kinds of questions people are searching online.
Let’s say you have to write an article about the topic of freight shipping for a logistics company, how would you make that interesting?
Go to Answer the Public, and type in freight shipping logistics company
Look at the answers
Answer the public will give you all sorts of ways to look at the scraped results. You’ll want to click on ‘data’ and just check out what appears.
This will give you a great visual to identify profitable topics for curating content for example when we searched freight shipping these ideas appeared:
- How to estimate freight shipping costs
- How does freight shipping work
- What is harbor freight shipping
- When to use freight shipping
I can keep going but I think you get the idea. This is an incredibly powerful tool to use to identify what type of content you should rank for based on what has the most relevant searches online.
SEO Driven Topic Research
Another great way to come up with content ideas is to take a look and see what is currently trending. By covering hot stories or topics, you can be on the forefront of new trends.
Find Trending Topics and Content with Reddit
Reddit is a great tool for finding awesome ideas to write about. Here’s why:
There’s a subreddit for just about everything
Users are active and vote up what they care about (they basically do the work for you)
It’s constantly up to date with trending topics
Easy to filter and see what is popular by using the now, week, month, year, and all time filters.
Comments section is often a goldmine for finding base content
How to use reddit for blog topic ideation:
Find your subreddit by searching reddit or by using Snoop Snoo
Look at the topics
Check the comments section
For more active subreddits, you may find topics on the default view. Other times you have to sort by top month, year, or all time to find quality content ideas.
Comments can often be gold when an expert chimes in which a knowledge bomb or extra resources.
Useful Blog Post Ideas
Creating valuable content improves your audience’s life. It’s why you read your favorite blog. Informative posts position you as an authority on the topic while making your audience like and trust you. So make sure your content is useful!
List posts, or commonly referred to as “listicles” are probably the most common type of post on the internet. Why? Because they’re useful and people enjoy reading them! Create a great list of anything that the audience in your niche would find valuable or interesting. For example, this post you’re reading is a list of blog topics to write about, because content marketing is a critical factor for SEO.
The “How To” Post
How to posts is probably what you’ll find yourself using frequently. Breaking down an outcome into steps. This makes it easy to understand, make sure you include images, or video.
Case Study Post
A case study looks at a project, process, and the result in more of a story-telling format. Try to use it to highlight a success from your product or service. Example: SEO Case Studies
By identifying a problem in your post’s title, headline and introduction. Then use the rest of the post to create a solution to that problem. These types of posts can also be framed as a “How To”, an “ultimate guide” or another angle that fits your vertical.
People are often searching for their questions in Google and other search engines. An FAQ post let’s you create a piece of content answering those Questions. If you have a more detailed answer to the question they are searching, link to that post from your FAQ.
You can do this for your own video or a popular video made by someone else. Turn the video into a blog post of text and images with the equivalent content. Embed the video, take screenshots, and add text to create these type of posts.
Questions to Ask Post
This post recommends questions that your audience should ask, but usually isn’t. This is a great way to inform your audience, educate them on processes they may overlook and you can format these posts like an FAQ
Publishing a study you’ve conducted can get you referral traffic through social shares and quality back-links. Find an angle that works for your business and back it up with real data.
This type of post will give your audience a list of action steps to take. Crossing items off a list is engaging for the reader and gives them a step by step process.
Ultimate Guide Post
An Ultimate guide post should be just that, a truly value bomb post on a topic. It can be a tutorial or a definitive source of information on a pertant topic. For example we have a guide on blogger outreach and guest posts as well as influencer marketing.
If people are searching for terms like “what is [your topic]?” you can provide a post that answers their questions and helps them get to the next step. This is a great way to provide value to people looking for answers.
Similar to research posts, you publish relevant information and numbers around your blog’s topic. If you can’t come up with internal statistics for an interesting post, you can combine statistics from multiple posts and curate them into your own content. Just be sure you are giving credit where credit is due.
Authoritative Blog Post Ideas
You can leverage someone else’s authority in a vertical by promoting them on your blog. Getting promoted by other people and brands starts by being generous and promoting them first. Do some blog outreach and let them know they appeared in your article. People love getting free high quality backlinks!
Do Your Research!
Coming up with blog topics may seem like a daunting task, but if we break it down (like we did in this post). Creating engaging, relevant content can be easy and fun! If you’re struggling with creating content for your brand, reach out to us and schedule a free SEO strategy session where we can help you identify what keywords to target, and what are the best posts for your business!