You’ve got a blog—now what? It’s time to tackle the biggest question of content marketing: what to blog about on your company website. Content planning requires topics and themes, and they should directly relate to the challenges and concerns of your audience and the solutions you provide.
Coming up with these juicy blog topics can be a huge roadblock that prevents your content marketing taking off and delivering the returns you expect. So, it’s time to get real about what to blog about with tips, ideas, and resources.
- Blogging without a content strategy and plan leads to wasted time and effort.
- With the right resources, you can develop an endless supply of interesting blog topics.
- Find topics consistently and efficiently with resources that measure keywords, social media engagement, and autogenerate ideas.
- Look both internally and externally for blog ideas.
Blogging without a Content Strategy and Plan is Fruitless
Blogging for blogging’s sake isn’t a successful strategy! The primary aim of your blog should be getting new customers, which means you have to have an effective content strategy. Why is a content strategy critical to choosing what to blog about? Because it sets the tone in how you’ll deliver content to target buyers and deliver the return on investment (ROI), you expect.
Your content strategy is the foundation from which all topics grow. So, if you don’t have one, develop one before you move on to topic creation.
After your content strategy has been set, it’s time for content planning. Content planning is the execution of your strategy. It’s where you begin the journey of learning what to write about, what formats to use, and how to distribute and promote your content successfully.
With a strategy and plan in place, it’s time to look to your available resources to define what to blog about on your website.
Keyword Research Tools
Blogging is crucial to your organic search rankings. It’s no secret that most buyers turn to Google whenever they need to search. This is why your content needs to be optimized for certain search terms.
Keyword research is a vital tool for content marketers as they dig for topics that are relevant to their audiences. There are several ways to use keyword research to decide what to blog about.
What is Google Auto-Suggesting to Searchers?
Whenever you use Google, you’ll immediately see auto-completes, which are based on popular queries used by searchers.
For example, typing in “healthcare data breaches” pulls up a list of queries that are relevant to the term.
This is one way to find suggestions but can be time-consuming. There’s a great tool simply called Keyword Tool that can do the work for you. It uses the phrase you type in and gives suggestions based on Google search volumes. The free version provides limited information, but upgrading to pro offers you a more comprehensive list.
Focus on Questions
Users often ask questions when they search, and the rise of voice search is fueling this. If you want to capture this search traffic, then use QuestionDB. This tool works specifically to compile the questions asked about a topic, giving you a gold mine of blog topic ideas. Be sure to start with a broad phrase.
Using Google Keyword Planner
Beyond Google suggestions, you can also employ Google’s Keyword Planner. Its features can provide a wealth of information on what your audience is likely searching for online. You simply enter a phrase, and it will return to up to 800 related phrases.
What’s good about using the tool is that it also provides you with insights on average monthly searches and the level of competition for that word, which can help you identify possible opportunities.
With Google Trends, you can also find suggestions, but it also offers information on the trending of those phases over time. You may find that certain topics peak during specific times of the year. For example, with regard to the data breach example, you may find there is a spike in related searches during National Cyber Security Awareness month in October, because more content is being created and it’s top of mind for IT professionals.
You can also use Trends to compare two topics and determine which one is trending up. With this knowledge, you can prioritize topics more effectively.
Generate Blog Ideas Based on Social Media Listening
No matter what industry you’re in, there is a buzz surrounding it on social media. You need to tap into this to learn what’s getting traction. You’ll want to determine what topics are trending and getting shared the most. Here are some ways to capitalize on social media listening:
- Follow hashtags: You can choose to follow multiple hashtags on LinkedIn, giving you a real-time view of what people are posting about. You will be able to see trending hashtags on your dashboard when you log into Twitter.
- BuzzSumo: BuzzSumo is an absolute must-have social media listening tool. You can enter any phrase into its search, and in seconds, you’ll see the most shared posts on the topic. It does have a free version, but upgrading will obviously provide more insights.
- Facebook Analyzer: This feature from BuzzSumo assists you in identifying trending topics. You can set the date range for what’s happening now or within the last year. You’ll soon see posts that had the most engagement.
- Quora: Quora is a Q&A social media platform that allows users to ask questions and receive responses. Dig deep into Quora’s questions to get clued-in to what your audience is seeking. You could also use the platform to test out some new ideas, asking questions of your own and gauging the responses.
Check out the Competition
It’s very likely that your competition has a strong blog and is driving traffic to their website. First, you should do a quick analysis of your top three competitors and their blogs. Determine the topics they are writing about, the quality of the content, and the degree of engagement.
Then you should determine how they are ranking for these terms. Several tools can provide you with this information on competitor rankings. One option is SEMrush. With this tool, you only need to enter their URL to find out how they are ranking. However, this is a paid tool.
A free tool with many of the same features is Small SEO Tools Keyword Rank Checker. Enter a URL of your choice, and the tool will show you the site’s top 10 ranking keywords. Or, you can type in the URL with specific keywords to check how these phrases rank. The results will tell you if the website ranks in the top 100 results for that keyword, and will show you the specific page that is ranking.
Another way to find inspiration from the competition is to look at their FAQs. You can do this manually, but there’s a tool that does it fast. FAQ Fox. Enter a keyword as well as the sites you’d like to search. Select generic for the category to find the top questions and topics related to the keyword.
You can also employ BuzzSumo to understand what’s trending with competitors. Instead of searching for a topic, you can enter a website. From there, you’ll receive a list of the most shared posts from those websites.
Idea Generators and Aggregators
If you’ve exhausted a good number of these tools, then it’s time to turn to an idea generator or aggregator. These are easy to use sites that require you only to provide a phrase or keyword, then the autogenerate a bounty of ideas.
Enter three words, and within seconds, you’ll have five blog ideas based on your phrase.
This generator is a bit more detailed and requests more information, including keyword data, desired outcomes, pain points of your audience, industry information, and target demographic. It then provides you with numerous headline ideas.
Complete the sentence “blog about…[TOPIC]”. Then this tool provides you with headlines, allowing you to insert relevant phrases for fresh ideas.
Use up to three terms, typically nouns, to get a list of possible ideas to add to your content plan.
Using a news aggregator tool allows you to tap into the big stories in your industry. There are several different options. First, you can use Google Alerts to receive the best results from Google News every day. It’s free and can spur ideas. There are also tools like Feedly, which allow you to find and organize sources as well as filter out things that aren’t important, resulting in more ideas for your content calendar.
Develop Content Topics Based on National Days and Seasonal Events
Every year, there are special days that dedicated to specific topics. Examine these days and events and find one that’s relevant to your audience. In this post, we’ve been using the example of healthcare data breaches. There are many days, weeks, and months throughout the year related to healthcare IT. Identify those, and turn them into topics that you can post along with the special day’s hashtags.
Seasonal events also can inspire timely topics. Those events might be related to industry conferences your company is attending. If so, write blogs about what attendees can expect from your company, or offer them a preview of the event.
Other opportunities exist with national events that will most certainly be trending. Take advantage of these to position your content. For example, the Super Bowl is the most-watched sports event of the year. Your company may have nothing to do with football, but you can probably make some kind of connection to it.
With any of these events, you’ll also benefit from being able to post with a trending hashtag.
Be Your Own Inspiration
You often don’t have to look outside your organization to find blog topics. Topics that you should blog about on your website can come from your own content analytics, if you have already published content. The first part of this exercise is to know what you rank for and how well you rank. You should measure and track this with a keyword master list.
This document should include keywords you rank for and want to rank for as well as their search volume, competition, and keyword mapping. Start with seeing where you rank for all those keywords. Then update it every month to see where you are improving or declining.
Find What You Currently Rank For
To dig into this, you can use Google Search Console. Find the list of phrases for which you currently rank. You can then determine if those topics can be expanded upon with additional content. If you create new blogs around those topics, link back to the page you are already ranking for greater SEO value.
See What Users Are Searching for on Your Site
Looking at your site’s search tool can also provide you insight. Go into Google Analytics and look under Behavior > Site Search > Search Terms. You’ll see the most popular website visitor searches. This intelligence can then help you develop topics you know your audience is craving.
Find Ways to Repurpose Posts with High Engagement
Google Analytics will show you the pages with the most views. Within the first 10 to 20 results, you are likely to see blog posts. As well as these page views, look at average time spent on the page to see what topics interested your readers the most. Once you have determined the content that performed the best, decide how you could repurpose the content for new blog posts.
One way would be to freshen up the blog with new data. Alternatively, you may use a new format. Take a well-loved blog topic and turn it into an infographic post, for example.
Write Opposite Posts
If you’re finding that content around best practices or how-to guides, flip them around to deliver the information from a different angle. Let’s say you have a high-performing post on “Best Practices to Avoid Data Breaches.” The opposite of this could be “X Mistakes that Companies Make in Data Security.”
In this way, you aren’t repeating the first post, but are instead repositioning it to attract more viewers, as you know it has meaty content that your audience needs.
Use Internal and External Feedback for Blog Ideas
You have sources all around you that can contribute to your blog ideas. Look for inspiration from both your teammates and customers. Encourage content idea collaboration with departments outside of marketing. These individuals have a wealth of knowledge for you to absorb. Sales team members interact with buyers every day and can give you details about their concerns or what they’re hearing about the competition.
Product owners and subject matter experts can offer you insights on why products are designed a certain way and why that matters to your audience. Also, your customer support team is directly communicating with your customers and can update you on their frustrations, concerns, and successes.
Look to your customers for ideation, also. Get in tune with what they are engaged with, by sending out surveys and asking for their opinions. You could also create user groups so that they can interact in a space that lets them share their needs. Your customers may be interacting with your brand on social media as well, so always be listening for this, so that you can gauge their interests and respond accordingly.
All these resources to help decide what to blog about on your website have one thing in common—listening. To be an effective content marketer, listening to all the sources around you is vital. To develop the best topics that will generate real results, you need to keep your finger on the pulse of your audience’s needs, the industry landscape, your competitors, and your own content analytics. By doing these things, you’ll have topics that are meaningful and interesting.
However, you may be thinking about how you’re going to do all this with limited bandwidth and talent. That’s why so many companies turn to blog writing services for that boost. If you’re ready to bring more traffic to your site with quality content that’s consistently published, check out our Content Builder Service. Set up a quick consultation, and I’ll send you a free PDF version of my books. Get started today and generate more traffic and leads for your business.