In any case, who am I to say where or when you will get your next big idea? It can happen while you are driving to the grocery store by yourself for all I know. That’s the thing about ideas, some are good, some are bad, and some are fleeting.
This is why I have come up with a few ways to consolidate the idea/ topic searching process for creating remarkable content.
1) Know Your Audience and Your Purpose
One of the most important qualities that your blog should have is a great user experience. For this reason, you need to create content that appeals to your target audience by providing them a blog that:
Consistently delivers new insights
Answers all the questions your audience may have
Shares important experiences
Provides tips and tools
It is important to note that these factors will vary according to the nature of your business; however, the jist of it is pretty much the same. A good way to determine the wants and needs of the audience you need to target is through building buyer personas.
According to Hubspot’s blog:
“A buyer persona is a semi-fictional representation of your ideal customer based on market research and real data about your existing customers. When creating your buyer persona(s), consider including customer demographics, behavior patterns, motivations, and goals. The more detailed you are, the better.”
Hubspot is looking for you to be a more scientific about it, but as a small business owner chances are you are already familiar with these personas. They are your clients, you speak to them every day, you are familiar with their wants and needs.
Based on the fact that you are the most knowledgeable about your customers, build your buyer personas in your mind or on paper. Building your personas will help you build content that is tailored specifically to them. You can be very detailed when building these personas, or somewhat brief. Either way, they are a good starting point when thinking about what to write. Here is an example of the buyer personas we use for White Shark Media’s blog:
Suggested blog post types you can write:
Now that you know who you are writing to, another way to get ideas is to fire up your future blog post is to determine which type of post you will be writing. Here are some ideas:
A How-To post
A post with your best tips
An opinion based post (reviews, critiques)
A checklist post
A video post
A guest post (interview, guest blogger)
A roundup post
A recap post
A humorous, out of the box post
A blog post about common problems
- A post about an event
Pro Tip: If you are just starting to write in your blog, I recommend writing an opinion post, or a post about an event. These types of posts are easier to write and can capture you some good traffic from the get-go because of their nature of sharing an experience or providing details about an interesting event in your area.
2) Listen To The Conversation
Chances are that your next blog topic is staring at you right in the face; all you need to do is take a deeper look.
Google+ communities, LinkedIn groups, Reddit, Quora are among some of the best places to discuss the content related to your brand. It is also great to learn about the experiences other people have with the product or service you are looking to focus your blog on.
By being a part of such communities, you will be in the loop about the struggles, updates and successes of the people who are interested in your topic.For example, by just browsing around Quora about PPC, I was able to find a few questions that could instantly turn into blog posts that appeal to my audience, and answer their questions.
Comments on your blog
The comments your readers leave on your blog are golden. Think about it this way, if they complain, then you can write something new that addresses their concern. If they congratulate you, you can find a new way to publish content on the same matter. If they ask questions, well there you have it, your next blog post served on a silver platter.
Monitor your social media
This is an easy way to browse around for ideas, quite basic really:
Refurbish your most shared content
Find ideas based on your readers’ opinions or comments expressed in social media
Gather ideas by typing in the keywords of subjects that come to mind and explore what people are saying about them.
Test different types of topics by posting about them and finding out which ones perform best.
3) Look At What Is Working For Everyone Else
What if I told you that you could see what content is working and bringing in traffic and leads? Buzzsumo lets you know what content performs best, and you can search for any topic or competitor. For instance, if you were to search for “content ideas” it would come up with a list of successful posts about the subject.
In a nutshell you can:
Search for other known competitor blogs you know and see what’s their best performing content.
You can see which people are interested in your content by looking at who has shared it and where. You can also browse the influencers tab to see who is most interest in your type of content and engages with it.
Don’t be ashamed to look for inspiration in what other people have written, if it’s working for them, why wouldn’t it work for you? Just make sure that when you do so, you provide a unique value to what you are writing. There are various tools out there that can help you find this out, but the one I recommend and personally work with is Buzzsumo.
4) Invite Someone To Create With You
It does not always need to be about you. In fact, bringing in other people into the picture can do wonders to spice up your content.
Customer Success Stories
Customer success stories make for great blog posts for a small business owner. They allow you to expose your business, how it works, and how you can make it work for your customer.
Interviews with customers
Whether you interview a member of your company, an expert on a specific subject or even a customer, interviews make for great content:
They spice up your blog because it’s not something you commonly do.
They relate you to your interviewee (pick him/her well!)
They are more interactive and can touch on potential customers’ emotions.
Don’t know who to interview or what to ask? Check out this blog on using interviews to improve your blog posts.
Invite other people in your industry or community to blog for you. Discuss a topic together and enjoy the benefits of extra content, and the extra traffic coming from that blogger’s regular audience. Also, make sure you return the favor.
5) Recycle Your Content
There is a content marketing trend that states that in order to create great content we need to lose the ‘creation’ part a bit. What I mean is that our content ideas are right in front of us, in the content we already have published. The fun part lies in finding new ways to spin our blogs into other more interesting blogs, infographics, newsletters and much more. Here are some ways to find the content that is already working:
Say hi to Buzzsumo again, and do a quick search of your own blog. This way you can find out about your most searched articles.
Another great way is to resort to your Google Analytics Reports. More specifically, tap into the “All pages” report. You will find a list of your blog posts and the type of engagement they have had on the tabs on the right. I recommend not relying on the page views fully and look into the variable that is best suited to you. In the video below, I used the “Avg. time on page” with yesterday’s data as a reference. I base this advice on a great blog post by Andy Crestodina about using Analytics reports to help you find blog post ideas.
Naturally, after finding this information, you need to move on to the actual writing part. But hopefully following up on a previous post makes it a bit easier for you. You should also keep an open mind about the content you want to publish. It is advisable to create more than just a blog post. When refurbishing your content, my best advice is to find an interesting alternative to the post you wrote before. Hubspot has a great guide that showcases nine ways to recycle your blog posts into other content formats.
6) If All Else Fails
Try using a blog topic generator. I personally love to use Portent’s Content Idea Generator. All you have to do is type in the main focus of the topic you want to write about and it’ll come up with a myriad of blog options. You won’t necessarily find the perfect topic on the first try, but you will definitely have a good laugh.
Streamline Your Idea Searching Process
Like I said, you never know when you will find your next big idea. If it happens naturally, bless your heart. But the truth is, that more often than not, that will not be the case. So, if you leave with one thing today is to use this guide to make your own process for finding blog post ideas,don’t just wing it.