If you are running part or all of your business online, one of the biggest challenges you’ll face is figuring out what to write about in your content marketing. It’s not enough these days to plaster your blog posts, articles, videos, presentations, and infographics, etc all over the web. Your content has be quality and it has to attract the right kinds of readers for your business. But how do you keep coming up with fresh ideas that will increase engagement from your target audience, convert readers to Adsense and affiliate clicks, or start them down a carefully crafted sales funnel?
The truth is, if you are reasonably smart, coming up with fresh, relevant, and ultimately profitable content ideas is not hard. It’s not even that time consuming. You just need to know where and how to look for the clues that indicate which topics will resonate with your target market in the right way.
Here are eight surefire strategies for coming up with killer online content that any business owner can tap into:
1. Put Google Custom Search on your website. If you are using Google internal site search on your site, you can use the Site Search Report to learn what your current visitors are searching for. You can access this report in your Analytics dashboard. Under “Content” choose “Site Search” and then “Search Terms.” The report shows you exactly what visitors typed into your custom search box, so you can see what they are looking for on your site in their own words. Why is this important? It shows you what kinds of questions your current visitors have, and this information can help you decide which topics will be popular among this targeted audience.
2. Pay attention to site analytics and trending keywords. Along the same lines as the previous method, if you have Google Analytics installed on your blog already, the stats can be a good source of post ideas as well. All you need to do is create a list of those keywords or keyword phrases that bring the most traffic to your blog. By focusing on these high-traffic keywords of your blog, you can come up with more similar topics to keep readers interested and increase your blog’s growth.
Alternatively, you can take a look a SEMrush, which tracks organic search data such as top keywords, and see what your competitors are placing well for in search. Then, write up a post or a series of posts on that same topic.
3. Ask your readers. There several methods for gleaning ideas from your readers. You can put up a Q&A type post on your site, and offer to answer readers’ questions in the comment section. If you have an email subscriber list, you could also offer to answer any questions that your subscribers submit. You will begin to see certain themes in the kinds of questions that are being asked and it should help to spur content ideas. Just a caveat here: make sure that you do actually provide a valuable answer to their questions. Doing so will increase trust and engagement, and also help to establish your authority in the market especially if you give out the answer publicly.
4. What are other bloggers in your niche writing about? Find out what other authority bloggers are writing about, make a spreadsheet of the posts that receive the most reader engagement (i.e. commenting and social sharing), and then write some variation of these topics on your site. There are many ways you can keep track of this.
- You can simply sign up to receive RSS updates or follow the social media profiles of authority niche bloggers
- You can take a look at blogging news sites, such as AllTop. If you are involved in Internet marketing, then pay attention to Bloggerscope, a blogging news aggregator that tracks the most influential marketing blogs.
- You can keep tabs on niche social bookmarking sites, such as BizSugar
- You can head on over to content curation sites, such as Scoop.it, List.LY, Paper.li, and Storify and either create your own listening station or follow other influential content curators.
5. Look at the comments. One of the first things I do whenever I read about a topic that is trending or controversial on either a blog or a media site, is look at the comment section. If you read content from sites that have an engaged community you can really get a feel for common issues and themes among the readership. Often, this insight can be turned into blog content.
6. What are trending news items? Stay on top of new developments in your industry by setting up Google Alerts on relevant keywords, and if you want to get the real-time scoop on trending news items, you could use a social search engine, like Topsy. Simply type in keywords related to your industry and the results should give you some inspiration.
7. What questions is your target audience asking? Make it a point to scan social media platforms and forums for relevant questions that get a lot of response and engagement. If you are on LinkedIn, for example, you may see that certain group items illicit more commenting and engagement from the members. On Twitter, you can do hashtag and keyword searches and specifically look for Tweets requesting an answer to their problem.
8. Real life examples. Did you have a client project that went exceptionally well? What about an interesting anecdote while working with a particular customer? Many times your blog post inspiration will come from the day-to-day issues that pop up in the course of doing your job. So, pay attention to what’s happening to you, your customers, and your business along the way. The most seemingly mundane details could actually be content gold.
So, there you have it. Eight strategies for killer blog content. If you follow the advice above, you may quickly find just how much you really have to say.