A blog is one of the most important ways you have to get people to your site. Having a blog is still a critical part of boosting your presence in search engine results pages, and blogging is one of the primary channels for content marketing for most companies. But then, you probably know all that. You also know the importance of consistency in blogging, as your readers (and Google) want to see new content regularly, and will forget about you if they don’t get it. For most people though, it’s really hard constantly coming up with new topic ideas for each and every post.
Even for a not-very-old blog, it can easily seem like you’ve already covered every single possible topic. It’s already far too easy to neglect the blog; writing takes a long time for most people, and if simply coming up with a topic becomes a chore, your blog will quickly fall by the wayside. Fortunately, with a few changes to the way you source blog content ideas, you will never run out of things to write about.
How to broaden your scope to always have a topic at hand
Anyone who is having trouble coming up with blog post subjects is almost certainly focusing too narrow. You have your core area of expertise, and you might feel that’s what you should write about. Too often, especially with business blogs, the topic is always directly related to the service or product provided, or is at most only one step removed. Your blog needs to transcend this narrow vision. Constantly writing about your core business will inevitably lead to zero inspiration for new posts.
To always have a blog post topic at the ready, you need to change your approach from “what should I write about?” to “what would my intended audience like to read?”. When you can go broad like this, you can create real value for your readers, and that’s the most critical feature of a successful blog. Businesses must get out of the mindset of having their blog be nothing more than a sales channel. When you write a post that has nothing to do with your business, but will provide value to your potential customers, you create so much more than just sales leads.
Content marketing: the gift that keeps on giving
A blog done right is a form of content marketing. When you provide interesting, useful or entertaining content to people, you draw them in. Ideally you generate plenty of sales leads from the traffic, but even when you don’t, you still get something valuable in return.
That something could be a seed you plant in someone’s mind, so down the road when they need your product, the name recognition and the trust and credibility you built by providing them with value makes you stand out above the competition. It could be the SEO boost you get from having more words and more pages indexed by search engines. It may be the other sites that link to your posts, both sending more traffic your way and further pushing your site up in the search rankings. Or it could be the social media shares that drive more traffic. All of these non-sales lead benefits feed into a cycle that grows your brand, your name recognition, your traffic, and ultimately, your sales.
Where to find blog topic ideas
So you’re starting to think about what your target audience wants to read about, and you probably have some ideas already. There’s so much you can do to come up with more. The single most important thing is to read, and more specifically, read what your customers read. Influential blogs in the field, trade publications, forums, newspapers, magazines, if your customers are reading it, you should be too. Anytime you read a post or an article that you feel leaves something out, or that you disagree with, write your own. Chances are, some of the people who read that initial one will agree with your take.
One of the easiest places to look for topics that your target audience will want to read, is the questions they ask. Look in letters to the editor in trade publications, the comments section in blog posts, forums, and question sites like Quora. In the latter two, you can use the search function to look for questions like “how to…?”, “what is the best…?” or “...similar product to [competing product]?” In blog posts with long comment sections, use control+f (command+f on Mac) to search the text of the comments for questions.
You should always be ready to make a note of an idea. It’s great when you can think of a topic and then immediately write the post, but we live in the real world where this is often impossible. It’s crucial to have a note taking system in place. If you’re on your own, it could be as simple as a notebook or note taking app. If you have a team and are delegating posts, consider using project management software to keep track of everything. We use Trello and think it works great, but most apps should suffice.
Remember, you can (and definitely should) write about much more than your own business, product or service. Think about what will be useful to your intended audience, and write about it in a way that will provide real value to them. Once you get into the mindset of writing this way, and keeping your ideas for topics organized, you’ll always have a backlog of topic ideas. It’s crucial to stay consistent in your blogging, having a list of subjects queued up is a super-important first step to consistency.
There’s no point writing ‘em if you aren’t gonna share ‘em. Our product missinglettr automatically pulls the important stuff out of your blog posts and creates unique Tweets for you to quickly approve, schedule, and send out to the world. It’s really easy to use, and totally free to get started. If you have a blog, we hope you’ll give it a try.