Choosing The Best Topic For Your Blog
Choosing new blog topic ideas can feel daunting, especially if you’re new to blogging. You want your blog post to stand out and give people a reason to come back to your website. That means producing content that’s valuable, authoritative, and relevant to your readers.
How do you come up with blog topics that accomplish all of this? If you need some help choosing the best blog topics, make sure you’re tapping into these resources.
Bonus: they’re all free.
Your Audience and Customers
The first step in any marketing strategy is to have a solid understanding of your target audience, their needs, and their pain points. If you don’t already know who your audience is and what’s important to them, you shouldn’t be blogging yet. Spend some time developing written buyer personas so that you can better understand who you’re speaking to.
If you have a solid understanding of your audience and what they value, this should naturally lead you to come up with some relevant blog topic ideas. In the same way, your existing customers can be a valuable resource. If you’ve been in your field for any length of time, chances are you hear the same questions and comments from your customers and potential customers repeatedly. All of these are excellent opportunities for blog topics.
If you’re charged with developing content, but you aren’t actually in a client-facing role, talk to your customer service personnel or account representatives. Ask them what questions they are repeatedly fielding, and work with them to develop content that answers those questions. Most likely, they will be thrilled to have content on the website that they can direct customers to get more information on the subject.
Make sure any customer-facing personnel know to alert you when they get a question or a comment from a customer that might make an interesting topic for a blog post. Don’t stop with the frequently asked questions, though. Every once in a while, a customer will raise an issue that you may not have considered before or haven’t previously addressed on your blog. If one person has raised the question, then chances are other people have the same question. These specific questions may attract a smaller audience, but the traffic to your website will be highly qualified.
Google Trends is an extremely valuable tool that will show you trending queries that are related to the search terms you enter. This is a great place to go when looking for content ideas.
You can filter your results by geographic region if you’re a local business and you want to see trending queries in your area. You can also change the date range so that you can see trend lines over a shorter or longer period to evaluate how consumer interests have changed over time. This can also help evaluate any seasonality related to your industry.
For example, let’s say you’re a nutritionist in Colorado and you want to attract more clients who are interested in achieving a healthy weight. If you search for the term “weight loss” in Colorado over the past 5 years, you’ll see several breakout queries* that would make excellent blog topics:
“Intermittent fasting” and “macros for weight loss” are both topics that easily lend themselves to long-form content that could be fully optimized for search. Using these breakout queries as a guide, you can use these phrases as your target keyword and dive into keyword research for your blog.
*Breakout queries are defined by Google as having had a “tremendous increase” during the specified time period.
Naturally, you could expect more traffic from blog topics addressing these breakout queries as they are heavily searched.
Google Search Console
If you don’t have Google Search Console activated on your website, you are missing out on a gold mine of data. Search Console is a service from Google that shows you how your website performs in Google Search results – including which search queries are currently generating the most impressions for your website.
For example, looking at the top queries for the nutritionist website over the past 3 months, you can see they are currently ranking for several queries related to allergies and gluten sensitivity, along with one about “nutrition for kids.”
You might wonder if the website is currently ranking for these queries, why use these as blog topics? What often happens is that these impressions are happening in spite of – not because of – deliberate SEO efforts.
If you take the topics that are already generating some impressions for your site, and further optimize them with the proper keywords, traffic to those blogs can skyrocket. In many cases, this means updating and expanding on the content you already have, while other queries may present opportunities for new content development.
“People Also Ask” Queries
The “People Also Ask” box is a Google SERP feature that shows you other queries related to the term you are searching for. The PAA box will often show on the first page of results, near the middle or top of the page.
If you click on the questions shown in the PAA box, the box will expand and more questions will be loaded. This is an excellent way to discover search queries that you can use as a new blog topic. Often, several of the questions from the PAA box can be combined into one blog post that has the potential to rank well on Google.
Let’s take the “nutrition for kids” example from above. If we enter this query into Google, the PAA box shows us numerous questions that can either be added to the existing blog content or used to create an entirely new blog. Don’t just throw out some answers to these questions, though. Spend some time looking at the content that is currently ranking in the PAA boxes, and see if you can make your content more comprehensive or otherwise better.
Constant Analysis of Blog Topics
The more time you spend blogging, the easier it will be to come up with a blog topic. Constantly evaluating what’s working and continue getting to know your audience better is part of a successful blogging journey.
Spend time regularly reviewing your website analytics to see where people are spending the most time on your site. If someone else in your company is handling your social media, make sure you’re consistently touching base with them to learn which posts are getting the most engagement. Furthermore, be sure you’re reading other top blogs in your industry. Before long, you’ll have a running list of blog topics just waiting to be written.
She is the Director of Content for a medical marketing agency, and is certified in inbound marketing, content marketing, email marketing, site structure, and keyword research.