If you find the hardest part of creating blog content is coming up with ideas, you’ve landed in the right place. By the time you’ve finished reading this your head should be buzzing with content marketing ideas that will keep your calendar full for a while.
Your blog content should serve two main purposes:
- Keep your customers and audience engaged with your brand and services/products
- Bring new traffic to your site through your content marketing strategy
But what happens when you run out of content marketing ideas? Do you just keep churning out blog content that you think is relevant, without really knowing if it’s what your customers want to read?
Here I’m going to share some tips that I use myself to generate ideas for this blog and others that I write for.
What you’re not getting here is just a list of blog content ideas which leave you none the wiser as to what you should actually write about.
No; these are things you can do to find specific topics for your blog content. Topics that your existing customers are interested in, and that will help drive new traffic to your site.
Ready? Let’s go.
1. Check your FAQs
You’d be surprised how many great ideas for content are sitting right in your inbox. Or on a long-forgotten FAQ page.
If you already have an FAQ page on your website, look through it and see whether any of the questions could be covered in a full blog post. Some may even have the potential to become a series series of posts.
Remember that visitors to your site won’t necessarily have the same level of knowledge that you do. A post that goes back to basics on some core industry concepts could be just what they need. Or how about explaining some of the jargon and acronyms you use regularly?
If you don’t have an FAQ page yet, you can still find customer questions in your email and social media inboxes.
They don’t even have to be that frequently asked, to be honest; for every person that contacted you, there are probably 10 more who had the same question but didn’t bother getting in touch.
If they had been able to find the answer in a blog post, perhaps they would have stuck around for longer.
So, take some time to trawl through your messages and make a note of the questions people have asked. Not everything will be suitable for a riveting blog post (How long does delivery take?), but even a topic like refunds can be used to explain more about your company values and give visitors a reason to remember you (Why we decided to offer a no-questions-asked refund policy).
Actually, I take it back about not being able to create interesting content about product delivery. How about documenting the journey that a product takes from being ordered and picked off the shelf to arriving at a customer’s front door?
If you’re currently working on an FAQ page, by the way, check out this article which explains how you can use your FAQs to help your SEO efforts.
2. Ask your customers
If you’ve exhausted all the topics from your FAQs (or just haven’t had much contact from customers yet), try a more direct approach.
I don’t mean you should just write a Facebook post saying “What topics would you like us to cover in our blog?”, because the chances are your followers don’t really know, or their answers won’t be specific enough to help you.
Instead, try asking things like:
- What do you find difficult when it comes to … ?
- What are your biggest struggles as a … ?
- Is there anything that would make … easier for you?
- What do you love about … ?
You could do this as an open post on social media or a quick survey sent out by email. If you send an email survey, explain how long it will take to complete and make it as short as possible to improve your click-through rate.
When you’re asking people about things they find difficult or don’t understand, you may find you get more candid answers with the privacy of an email survey.
With any luck, the answers will give you inspiration for at least a few pieces of content. You could even turn the results into an infographic that you can share with your followers.
3. Do keyword research
The primary purpose of keyword research is to identify keywords that will drive your content marketing strategy. By inserting your target keywords into your blog posts and other content, you improve your search rankings for those keywords and, with any luck, drive more traffic to your site.
But a basic report from Google’s Keyword Planner can also be a goldmine for content writing ideas.
This post you’re reading right now, about content marketing inspiration… guess where I found out that this was something people were searching for? Yep, through keyword research.
You’ll need to put a few hours aside to do this thoroughly, as the report you get will probably contain hundreds of potential keywords – and that’s just based on one single seed keyword. When doing keyword research for Stuff With Words, I needed to research the terms ‘proofreading’, ‘content editing’ and ‘content writing’, as well as a few other keywords I was targeting.
There is a lot of other stuff you can do with your keyword planner report from Google, of course. However, for the purposes of getting content marketing ideas, all you need to do is read through the list of keyword suggestions and highlight any that lend themselves to blog topics.
Look out for questions in particular, and any long-tail keywords (of 3 or more words) that are almost a complete blog title in themselves. This includes things like:
- What’s the difference between … and … ?
- How to …
- Tips for …
- Different types of …
- What’s a … ?
- What does … mean?
- What does a … do?
- Guide to …
- Basics of …
For example, in the screenshot above you can see the term that inspired this blog post.
If you don’t have the time, inclination, or know-how to do all of this yourself, I have good news.
We at Stuff With Words can do your keyword research for you for a one-off fee of $80. For this, you’ll get suggested keywords to use in your content marketing strategy as well as a ton of great ideas for blog topics. Contact us if you want to know more.
4. Expand on other popular content
Do you know which of your existing blog posts draw in the most traffic each week? If not, get yourself over to Google’s Search Console and find out.
Good evergreen content will keep attracting people for months – even years – after you originally write it. It’s your job to work out exactly what it is that makes certain posts so much more popular than others on your site.
Is there a particular topic that seems to capture people? Or a certain post format (lists, tutorials, etc.)?
If you identify a consistently high-performing post, find ways to expand on it in separate posts.
It shouldn’t be too hard to drill down further into various topics that readers are showing interested in. Be sure to link to the new content from the original post as this will help you make the most of all those visitors.
When I’m writing a blog I often find that I can’t write in full detail about everything I cover right there. This would make the posts far too long and would mean a great deal of repetition for my readers. What I do instead is create cornerstone content on the key concepts of the business (such as content marketing and keywords) and link to those from other articles. Readers who want more information have easy access to it, while those who already understand the concept can continue uninterrupted.
5. Try different content formats
If you have run out of ideas for blog posts, perhaps you just need to create something a bit different.
Your blog doesn’t have to just consist of standard blog posts. In fact, the more you can mix it up, the more interesting it is for your readers.
Consider things like:
- A ‘day in the life’ of your staff members
- Customer case studies which show how your business made a difference
- ‘Behind the scenes’ insider snippets
- An analysis of the results of that email survey you just sent out
Remember that not everything you write about has to be directly related to your products or services. If it’s telling people more about your company or adding value to someone interested in your industry, it’s worth publishing.
If you’d like some more ideas for different types of content for your blog, check out this resource with 58 content writing ideas.
And whatever you post, remember to keep it tied into your website content strategy by always optimising it with your chosen keywords.
If it’s not working to draw people to your site, why are you spending the time or money on it in the first place?