As an owner/operator of a business, regularly creating and delivering fresh website content is an absolute must. One of the most effective ways you can engage and market toward your existing customers and grow your base is by providing new material on a blog.
For those new to blogging, here's a quick list on how a weekly blog post can help your company grow.
- It establishes you as an authority in your industry, increasing the level of trust between you and your customers.
- It drives more traffic to your website.
- It keeps your business relevant.
- It drives quantifiable long-term results for your business's growth.
Of course, producing regular blog content is far easier said than done. The real trouble starts when you start looking for things to write about.
No need to worry, though—we’ve got you covered. Try these seven ways to get new blog post ideas for your business.
1. Get blog ideas using a topic generator
If you're not sure where to get started but want to do some highly effective brainstorming, a blog topic generator can be one of the best tools in your arsenal.
The best part is, using generators like these is incredibly easy. Simply drop in a few keywords you're interested in and watch the blog ideas roll in.
Here's a few to get you started:
- HubSpot's Blog Idea Generator
- Build Your Own Blog's Blog Post Ideas Generator
- Content Row's Headline Generator
- Portent's Content Idea Generator
Of course, not every topic generated is going to be a home run, but the point is to get possible ideas flowing.
An idea created from a generator doesn't have to be taken at face value either. If there's a topic that you like but isn't quite up to snuff, change it to make it fit your needs. In this way, topic generators serve as a launchpad for brainstorming, feeding you content ideas that you can tweak as necessary.
2. Do keyword research
Have a general idea on what you'd like to write about, but not sure which direction to take it? Searching for your keywords on a research engine can return hundreds of ideas.
Think you can only do keyword research with paid tools?
Not at all—there’s a rich variety of free tools you can use to conduct keyword research, such as:
- Answer the Public - Type in a keyword and you’ll get a rich output of relevant questions and phrases centered around your keyword.
- Google Trends - Search for words and phrases related to your industry in Google Trends, and the platform will show you popular related queries. You can even dive into the specifics of where searches are concentrated around the world.
- Google - That’s right, you can use the search engine itself for keyword research. How? Check out the autocomplete suggestions or related search results offered by Google to find popular search terms to target.
3. Browse online forums
Need to find out what your readers are interested in? Online forums are an amazing resource for digging up potential content.
There are forums for just about everything, so there's a good chance that a wealth of information for your industry is already available. Knowing where your target audience likes to spend time online will help point you in the right direction. Finding out where your audience is lurking might take a bit of digging, but some good places to start are:
- Reddit - A perennial favorite because of its high visibility and active community (as high as 1.66 billion visitors a month, by some estimates)—try diving into individual subreddits to get as granular as you like on any given topic.
- Instagram - A quick and easy way to see what kind of content gets the most hype. Check your competitors’ followers to see what is well received and what isn't.
- bbPress Forums - If you've got an "old school" customer base, this just might be where they spend their online time.
- Quora and Stack Overflow - The Q&A Kings! Check these to see what questions people are asking about any given topic.
In addition to what might be considered a "general" forum, there are countless specialized forums, too. Spend some time googling a few keywords and you're likely to find at least a few. Find topics that are popular with your customer base right now to promote sharing and discussion of your blog posts, and increase the traffic level on your company website.
4. Study your competitors
What better way to monitor what your target audience is interested in than by starting with what your competitors have to offer? Finding out what your competition is doing to increase their own market presence can help you make decisions on what content to use for your own company.
Specifically, keeping tabs on your competitors will help you:
- Eliminate trial and error. By monitoring what competing companies are using for their own web content, you can latch on to what has already been successful for businesses with an audience similar to yours.
- Find new keywords. Spending time on a competing website's blog will help you find those keywords you may have missed. Once you've got a few new keywords, use the resources from point number 2 of this post to find even more blog ideas.
- Rank higher on search engines. Following your competition's lead will help you find relevant content more quickly, ensuring that the topics you publish online are relevant to your intended audience.
This obviously isn't a license to plagiarize, as you'll still need to keep your content original. However, by using information readily available from a competitor’s website, much of the hard work has already been done for you.
5. Explore what’s trending on social media
Want to capitalize on what's popular right now?
Searching for trending topics from popular social media sites is a surefire way to find out what people are talking about.
By using sites that aggregate the most popular topics by day, hour, and even by minute, you'll get a feel for what people are highly interested in at any given time. These sites allow you to see which topics are on the upswing. Being first on the scene when a new popular topic breaks will help ensure your content is seen early and often.
Some top-notch tools for hunting down current trends are:
- Trends24 - This site provides an hour-by-hour breakdown of the most popular Twitter trends over the last 24 hours.
- Trendsmap - This real-time map of Twitter’s trending topics is great for getting an idea of popular topics in specific locations.
- Google Trends - Besides keyword research, you can also use Google Trends to see what people are searching for, how popular the search is, and where it's happening.
By securing an idea relevant to a current trend, you'll be able to capture the momentum of the topic while it's still popular, generating more visibility for your content before the trend is over.
6. Piggyback off of your top-performing content
Dive into your website’s analytics to see what currently performs well.
How can this help you come up with new blog post ideas?
You can find out your most popular pieces of content—and then create posts that are relevant to them. Ahrefs refers to this as creating “splinter” articles for guest posting, but this strategy is also applicable to your blog content.
This doesn’t mean recycling old content or creating a new post that’s nearly identical to an older one, though.
Once you’ve identified your top-performing content, consider:
- What is the main topic being discussed at length?
- Is there a point that could be further elaborated on?
- Is it possible to create an offshoot of the article in a new content format? E.g., using the highlights of your how-to guide to create an infographic
- Can you take an alternative stance on the topic?
A successful splinter article builds upon the momentum generated by your popular content so that interested readers can continue reading on your site rather than navigating away.
7. Try a new content format
Rather than decide on a topic to produce a blog post about, reframe your goal as deciding on a new content format to try out.
It may feel like you’re working backwards, but hear us out.
Blog posts can come in a variety of shapes and sizes, although by force of habit, we tend to stick to what we know best. As a result, your blog may consist primarily of just one type of content.
If that’s the case, consider mixing it up with one or a few different formats. That could be by creating:
- Photo slideshows
- Interviews with industry experts
- A round-up of quotes or tips
- Case studies
- Downloadable content
For instance, if your current blog content consists primarily of long-form, text-heavy guides, consider making your next piece an infographic or listicle. When you’ve decided on a new format to try out, it’ll be easier to think of a topic, as certain formats are more conducive to certain subjects.
Creating new and exciting content will be much easier when you have relevant, customer-oriented material. Using the tools in this article will help you cultivate an area of expertise and become an authority in your industry. By using the methods outlined above, you'll be able to create engaging pieces that lead to strong returns on your digital content.
For more info on procuring, producing, and publishing excellent, web ready content, check out Compose.ly’s blog for some of the best ways to create meaningful subject matter for your readers and make your written pieces work for you.
This article was written by Compose.ly writer Will Miedema and originally published in April 2018.