Content is the most critical part of your digital marketing strategy. But, coming up with that content, specifically blog topic ideas, can be… challenging. The longer you stare at your blank Google doc, the cursor blinking in the left hand corner, the harder it is to come up with ideas for your blog.
We’ve all been there.
Thankfully, there is a wealth of information at your fingertips that can help you develop traffic-driving blog topic ideas.
Strategies for Coming Up with Blog Topic Ideas
Publishing relevant content week after week means you need multiple strategies for generating new blog topic ideas. Below, we’ll dig into various methods to help you create content that drives traffic, produces leads, and increases conversion.
Most of your site visitors, and subsequently your readers, come to your site for one reason — they have a problem, and they need to solve it. It stands to reason that your content should solve that problem or help them with a solution.
At Content Journey, most of our blog topic ideas are solution-oriented, like the blog you’re reading now! We want our readers to find helpful information when they come to our blog. If you’re perusing our packages, you may notice that they include a lead magnet.
What’s a lead magnet, though?
Good question! We answered that question for you in our “What’s a Lead Magnet?” blog.
We know what questions our readers have because we ask them.
In our initial discovery calls with prospective clients, we always take a moment to ask them what questions they have about content marketing. Not only do we get to answer that question immediately, but it allows us to see trends and apply those insights to creating blog topic ideas.
There are several ways to determine what questions your current and prospective clients have. If you have a customer success or sales team, you can ask them what questions they get frequently. The drawback to this route is that it is easy to forget all the great questions potential clients asked.
If your business uses Slack or Teams, add a channel for your team to drop great questions they’re getting asked on the spot.
Additionally, your support team has excellent insight into the needs of your current clients. Your support team fields questions all day long that likely deal with pain points your existing customers have. Utilize the wealth of information that your staff knows.
Another way to determine what questions current or prospective clients have about your business is through social media. While you’re engaging with your audience, keep an eye out for questions they ask your team.
The great thing about social media is you’re not just limited to your account! Use the search feature, type in some relevant keywords, and content other people have posted will pop up. By exploring the results, you can identify relevant blog topic ideas.
Educational & Informational
This type of content gives the reader information. We call these the “what,” the “why, and the “how-to” posts.
In general, “what” content introduces and explains a concept, like strategies, tools, or tactics. For instance, Facebook recently rolled out a re-design for Facebook Pages. We manage social media channels for some of our clients, but not all of them. We knew that some of our clients, and even readers who aren’t clients, would need to know the ins and outs of the new design.
When we learned about the change, it became a blog topic idea. We put together the information the blog needed to cover and assigned it to one of our writers. Shortly after, we shared what You Need to Know About the New Facebook Page Design with our clients and readers.
By publishing that blog post, we provided vital information to the people that needed it.
Persuasive in nature, this type of content explains why a particular concept, tool, strategy, etc., is essential. Look at your “what” content to generate “why” blog topics.”
Perhaps you’ve explained what inbound marketing is, but have you explained why inbound marketing is an essential component of digital marketing strategies?
Be sure to back up your claims in “why” posts with facts, statistics, or supporting documents.
The next step in creating educational and informational blog content ideas is “how” posts. By now, your readers know the what and the why, now, tell them how.
This type of content either explains how something works or is a step-by-step tutorial. At Content Journey, How Content Marketing Works serves this purpose.
There are great examples of “how” posts everywhere. You’re reading one right now!
A lot of great blog topic ideas fall into this category and include:
- Frequently Asked Questions. FAQ posts are a great way to utilize the information you receive from your sales and support teams. Compile questions around one topic into a Q&A format for your blog.
- Infographics. This type of content requires some design ability or the money to pay a designer. Infographics typically compile a lot of information, data, or statistics into a highly shareable and visually appealing format. In What You Need to Know About Social Media Image Sizes, we embedded an infographic in the form of a cheat sheet. We took it one step further and added a gate to the downloadable content, turning our infographic into a lead magnet.
- Newsjacking. This type of post means taking a popular news story and using it to leverage your product or content. It requires some close monitoring, but there are two pretty simple ways to monitor relevant news — fill your RSS reader with popular publications as well as popular industry publications and sign up for industry-specific newsletters. At Content Journey, we like theCLIKK.
- Comparisons. Content that compares two things like software, hardware, tools, or tactics is written explicitly for clients in the “consideration” phase. In this stage, prospective clients are trying to determine which solutions address their problem. At Content Journey, we might use blog topic ideas like “what’s better — organic traffic or paid traffic?” to write a comparison post. The information provided should be unbiased, helpful, and provide value to the reader. Comparison content is an opportunity for conversion.
Creating Content Without an Audience
You may be asking yourself, “How do I know what to write about if I don’t have an audience yet?”
Another good question!
Reader, the answer lies in keywords.
Not only do keywords give you insight into the questions consumers are asking about your industry, but they are also an essential part of Search Engine Optimization. Before we dig into finding and using keywords, let me explain a little bit more about SEO.
Search engine optimization is a highly nuanced and strategic part of your digital marketing strategy. Essentially, SEO helps your website rank higher in search engine results pages. Ideally, when a person searches “What is a marketing plan,” we want them to see our blog on the first page. The deeper your content is in the results, the less likely it is that readers will find you.
It would be nearly impossible to give you a full run-down on how to improve your site’s SEO strategy in this post.
Some of the most important factors of SEO rankings include:
- Page speed
- Mobile page speed and optimization
- Age of domain and overall authority
- Content optimization
- Technical SEO (such as site maps, AMP HTML, and structured data)
- User Experience
- Internal and external links
Is your head spinning a little bit? You’re not alone. Mine is, too. Thankfully, Lindsey and Daniel do all of the behind-the-scenes SEO strategies for our clients!
Fret not. You can use a pretty neat tool to determine what people search for related to your product or industry.
AnswerThePublic uses data from the autocomplete function within search engines and delivers valuable phrases and questions back to you. Simply type a word or phrase into the search bar on the AnswerThePublic site to get the insight you need to create timely, relevant, and helpful blog topic ideas.
Personal Blog Topic Ideas
Like any other relationship, building a connection with your audience requires you to get a little personal. It’s important to be relatable and share who you are, what you stand for, and the experiences you’ve had.
Our founder, Lindsey, was recently invited to join the Entrepreneurs’ Organization Accelerator. Their mission is to “empower entrepreneurs with the tools, accountability, and community to… grow and master their business.” Not only was it an honor to be accepted into the program, but it allowed Lindsey to network with other entrepreneurs in Oklahoma City.
Lindsey talked to Lorenzo Banks, an Accelerator board member, and a partner at Banks, Gillett, and Gillett about strategies their family law firm could use to help them stand out from their competition. As Lindsey spoke, she realized that she was making the strategy too complicated.
Simply put, Lorenzo is a lawyer, not a marketer. He didn’t need to hear the complexities. He needed a simple solution, and he needed someone else to do it for him.
When she returned to the office, she wrote about the experience and what she realized and shared those insights with our readers. Her post is authentic, relatable, and informational all in one. It reminds our readers and clients that we are humans, too — not content-writing robots.
Other examples of personal blog topic ideas:
- Introduce your team. You can do this with new hires and existing hires. Allow them to write their posts or interview them.
- Share something you tried that went wrong. Maybe you tried a fancy new plugin on a client’s site, and it didn’t perform as you expected. Write about why and what you might do differently in the future before implementing a change.
- Share helpful tips that are industry-adjacent. Not everyone knows this, but Lindsey Miller has a Masters of Science in Human Relations with a Clinical Mental Health specialty from the University of Oklahoma. Due to her background, Lindsey spoke at WordFest 2021 and shared how to De-Stress in 10 Minutes or Less. The topic is not specific to our industry, but eight in 10 Americans feel that their mental health is suffering due to increased stress. For business owners, it’s probably 10 out of 10.
Other Helpful Tips
There are a handful of essential tips that I want to pass along to you that don’t directly deal with blog topic ideas but are crucial when creating content.
Create Buyer Personas
A persona is a somewhat fictional, yet still accurate, representation of your ideal customer based on data. Your audience should be primarily made up of ideal customer types to create conversion opportunities. Creating a buyer persona allows you to attract valued visits, leads, and customers.
This fictional persona has all of the characteristics that your ideal customers have, such as:
- Demographic details such as age, location, language, income, spending power, stage of life, and career
- Interests like volunteer work, attending concerts, and doing home-improvement projects
- Behavioral traits like social media use and spending habits
When you’ve done all of the research and pulled the data required to build your buyer persona, you put it all together to create your ideal customer.
Here’s an example:
Persona 1: Ana, Small Business Owner
- Female entrepreneur
- Age 30-40, may or may not have children
- Manages a small team of employees but does her marketing
- Uses Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter regularly. Does not have a LinkedIn presence.
- Interested in outsourcing marketing, including social media, to focus on running her business
- Is passionate about sustainability, women-owned businesses, and relationship-building
- Believes in supporting other small businesses
- Travels with her family
- Works out regularly for her health
Build Your Brand Voice
Your brand voice is another type of personality — it is how your business communicates with your audience. It’s not about grammar. It’s about how you use language, tone, and storytelling.
This personality applies across all content and all channels. You wouldn’t put out content that didn’t feature brand colors or your logo, right? Similarly, you shouldn’t put out content that doesn’t align with your brand voice.
Sprout Social surveyed consumers and asked them why some brands stood out from the rest.
- 40% said memorable content
- 33% said distinct content
- 32% said compelling storytelling
Without a brand voice, you can’t have any of these things.
Like your style guide and your social strategy, your brand voice requires documentation. Create a brand voice document to ensure that all departments, from social to marketing, are in line.
This document should include defining personality traits, common vocabulary, phrases, and examples. Additionally, this document should include any grammar or formatting information like the use of Oxford commas.
You’ll also want to define brand tone expectations. You won’t use the same tone across all situations. When Content Journey announced Kenna Griffin as our content director, the style was a little more playful than the tone when we wrote about Working With and Leading Remote Teams.
Generating Blog Topic Ideas
Coming up with blog topic ideas isn’t as easy as opening up a Google doc and having a go at it. That’s why companies like ours exist. As Bill Gates said, “content is king” and that something that important to your digital marketing strategy requires data, research, design, planning, and flawless execution.
If you’re like many small or medium business owners, creating content that will drive traffic, create qualified leads, and bring you business feels daunting. Often, writing content probably never makes it to the top of your priority list. We get it. You have a business to run. That’s why we made it our business to take on your content strategy. If you don’t have the time or the inclination to come up with optimized blog topic ideas, set up a discovery call with us. It’s our job to create strategic and relevant content for you, regardless of industry.