This article was written by Will Miedema, one of Compose.ly’s very own content writers.
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 the uninitiated, here’s a quick list on how churning out 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.
Hopefully you don’t need too much convincing that a blog is a near-necessity for any company. The real trouble starts when you start looking for things to write about. How do you find the right blog ideas for your business?
1. Create Blog Ideas Using a Topic Generator
If you’re not sure where to get started but want to do some highly effective brainstorming, a topic generator can be one of the best tools in your arsenal. And the best part is, using generators like these is incredibly easy. Simply drop in a few keywords you’re interested in and watch the ideas roll in.
Here’s a few to get you started:
- HubSpot’s Blog Ideas Generator
- Build Your Own Blog’s Blog Post Ideas Generator
- Link Bait Title Generator (Great for coming up with catchy titles, which increases page views)
- Portent’s Content Idea Generator
Not every topic generated is going to be a home run of course, but the main idea 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. Even if you don’t use a suggested topic from a content generator, they’ll likely provide you with a few potential ideas that you can flesh out any way you like.
2. Do Some 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, if not thousands of ideas.
A quick search for the keyword “blog” on Answer the Public returned 966 distinct results, all about different topics. Here are a few examples taken from the “Questions” portion of the results:
- Why blog for your business?
- Which blog makes the most money?
- Can I blog about my life?
- Are blog sites free?
Subscription services can be another effective way to generate optimized content. Using a keyword search engine such as SEMrush gives you the tools you need to create high ranking online content, while also providing market insight and quantifiable analytics of your site’s traffic.
3. Hit the 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), and diving into individual subreddits will allow you 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. Keep an Eye on 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. Check What’s Trending
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 / Autocomplete Results: 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.
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 the Compose.ly blog for some of the best ways to create meaningful subject matter for your readers and make your written pieces work for you.