Finding blog topics can be easy, or it can be tough – depending on how you do it.
Getting ideas is easy – but figuring out how to create blog posts that people want to read, and want to share, is a different story altogether.
A few years ago, before the internet became crowded, it was easy. All you had to do was to have a look at the Google Adwords keyword tool, throw up something with that in the title, and build a few backlinks to it. People would come flocking to your blog post, and you would make money.
But times have changed…
Besides the fact that the internet has become a crowded space, with every Tom, Dick and Harry going after making money online, there is also the little matter of web users becoming more savvy and critical. After all, if you are spoiled for choice, you would want to pick the best, right?
Add to that the fact that people now search very differently from how they did a decade ago, and that there is more social interaction and marketing happening now than ever before, and you face a very different environment.
So – how do you create blog posts that people want to read?
The short answer: Find out what it is that they want to read, and give it to them.
The better answer:
Firstly, define your audience. if you had to define the average person in your audience (or the audience you want to attract), what would he or she be like?
More importantly, where would they hang out?
Because THAT is where you will get your ideas.
Allow me to explain:
Where your crowd “hangs out” will depend on your niche. People who struggle with emotional issues my hang out on a forum, while people interested in internet marketing my hang out on Facebook groups. People suffering from embarrassing conditions like Candida will probably use Google to find out what they need to know, and women who are into fitness are more likely to be hanging out on Pinterest.
(ok, this is a gross generalization – but you get the idea. Your audience will most likely be visible in several places online)
By going where your audience is, you can see which types of questions are asked. You can see what bothers them, and what carries weight. If it is on a Facebook group or forum, look at the number of shares and comments allocated to those questions – those are the topics that drive engagement.
If you have to work through Google or Pinterest, both provide you with tools to see what people are looking for. While you are typing on Google, see what the “suggested search terms” are that come up. On Pinterest, once you have done the search for your brad topic, you will see a list (it can scroll from left to right) with additional search terms commonly used on Pinterest. The further to the right you scroll (“down the list”), the less frequently that term is searched for.
Of course, when you take those keywords, and plug them in again, you will get ideas for long tail keywords (on both Google and Pinterest).
In order to determine the engagement for topics found on Google and Pinterest, have a look at the blogs they originate from. Compared to other blog posts on the same blog, how many shares and comments did any specific post get? Also note whether the blog is focused on a related topic, or whether it was just a once-off post the blogger dit – because then it becomes more difficult to compare the engagement ratio to that of other posts.
Then dig a little deeper:
Whether you are digging around on blogs or social groups/forums, take some time to read through the actual posts and comments. You will find that people reading those posts often have additional questions, which may prove to be common questions.
Think of it like peeling the layers off an onion – as you research one possible line of topic ideas, others surface.
Stay up to date with new questions:
In order to have a constant stream of new ideas, set up some Google alerts with some of the broader keywords related to your niche. As those are delivered to your inbox, you can explore the blog posts or forum threads they are one, and see what else surfaces in the conversation.
The bottom line is this:
Decide who you want to write for – then go find them, and see what they really WANT to know.
As Zig Ziglar said: “If you can help enough people to get what they want, you will be rich.”
Note: he didn’t say “need” – he said “want.” Big difference.