A business based on a blog is a great lifestyle business. However, the biggest problem I, and all bloggers, face on a daily basis is having plenty of good and fresh ideas for new blog posts. This problem has kept me up more than a few nights, plagued by the nagging, seemingly eternal, question “What will I write my next blog post about”?
Sleep deprived and tired of running into this same old problem, again and again, I devised a system that has solved this problem for me. Check it out and see if it helps you write better posts that your readers will love, get a better night sleep and build your blog traffic.
Blog Topic Generation – With and Without Google
Use Google Part 1 – Autosuggest
Try the Google.com auto suggest feature to see what topics relate to your niche and are most often searched. To do this type in the search box your keywords and watch how Google tells you popular subjects in the drop-down menu. An example, using the keyword “e-commerce” Google auto-suggested these topics that all would make excellent blog posts; e-commerce definition, e-commerce platforms, e-commerce sites. In addition to strong reader interest, these types of posts will rank well in Google search engine results.
Use Google Part 2 – Quick Answers
Continuing from the example above I clicked on “e-commerce sites,” from the auto suggest drop down menu. I scrolled down the search results page to find the Quick Answer box labeled “ People also ask” and it lists several each of which is another good idea for a blog post; “Which is the best platform to build an e-commerce website and “Is square space good for e-commerce?”. These answers are compiled from actual Google search engine users thus they are of high interest to your readers.
Use Google Part 3 LSI – Latent Semantic Index
Furthermore, we continue our Google Journey from above and scroll to the bottom of the same search results page. We see the LSI ( Latent Semantic Index), i.e. related keywords, hyperlink list that searchers are using most often, another treasure trove of new blog post ideas; “top 10 e-commerce websites, best e-commerce sites for small business and e-commerce websites list”
Use Google Part 4 – Google Trends
Our friends at Google publish a report of trends from users data. The homepage shows the most functioning trends in graphic chart format. You can select a category; I chose Business and a country, I picked my location United States and found item # 8 Abercrombie & Fitch. Clicking on the title I see articles about it being for sale. Eureka, blog post idea, Abercrombie Ecommerce Fuels Merger Deal and American Eagle vs. Abercrombie Ecommerce Stats.
Google Part 5 – Correlate
Within the Google Trends site is a section called Correlate which is designed to figure out what items people want to read more about – exactly the type of info that will generate great blog topics. The Google Correlate associates the trends in users searches and other data such as geographic, demographic and time/date. Let’s use our example of e-commerce again. Enter your keyword in the search field, and it will show you a list of keywords that are correlated with your niche keyword, mine offered smart cards, databases, international, free clip art and image processing. Blog posts that list free clip art sources would be popular, as would an infographic showing image processing on e-commerce platforms or a checklist on international e-commerce software reviews.
Solve Your Readers Problems
Keep a running list of your reader’s most pressing problems and answer them in a blog post in question and answer Q & A format. Blog readers want practical “how-to” information to help solve their problems. Recently I wrote a post about a question from a fictitious reader named William who asked me whether Kabbage loans if were a scam or not. The question and its answer created an informative post that got many good comments.
Turn Comments into Posts
Read through your blog comments, especially those on your most read posts to find questions and topics that can be expanded into a blog post. You could start by thanking your reader, by their display name, for the inspiration of your latest post. My readers often ask insightful questions about posts that can have become an article. Another way to use comments is to write a blog post synopsis of your readership’s opinion on a subject of a past post. You can also visit your competitors’ blogs and peruse their comments to get ideas for your niche. Best pages to find questions are “how to” tutorials and guides.
Tell a Story
Everyone loves a good story. Use one of your experiences as it relates to your niche, or make up one and say it is your “friend’s” story. As a small business blogger, I often describe problems and solutions as if it was one of my “clients”. This is a great way to clearly explain how a process works by illustrating the steps in the narrative. People like to read about other people’s experiences since they can then understand how they would react in the same situation. Also, this shift in perspective is far more interesting reading than another boring checklist. A popular post on my blog told the story of how a “client” went through the process of applying for a loan from Kabbage.
Get Personal – Day in the Life
Your blog readers want to get to know you better, and you can do this by getting personal. Describe a day in your life, their favorite blogger. They will find it interesting to go “behind the scenes” and find out about how you get insider information in your niche, what blogs you read, where you find good research and how you select blog topics. Tell them about your work mates, your office team and the software and processes you use to get your site published. What is perhaps mundane to you could be fascinating to them. Remember they read your blog because they are interested in your knowledge and opinion in your industry.
Write a Book Review
There are hundreds of good books on every subject imaginable. You don’t even need to read it. Go to reader review sites such as Amazon.com or Goodreads.com and read the posted reviews. Combine and paraphrase a few of the best into your book review. Don’t forget to link to your Amazon affiliate account for commission and to offer your readers an easy way to buy the book.
Curate Content – Comment on Others’ Content
Curate content is a new buzz word in Content Marketing which means that you editorialize about other sites’ published material. The Content Marketing Institute defines the practice as “Content curation assembles, selects, categorizes, comments on, and presents the most relevant, highest quality information to meet your audience’s needs on a specific subject.” Google likes this because it shows critical thinking and builds your subject authority. There are right and wrong ways to do it. Best practices are to use research heavy, data-driven articles then analyze the results into an expert conclusion opinion. Be sure to properly credit and link to the original content and use quotation marks for all content published from other sources.
Get Inspiration from Q & A sites
Sites such as Quora.com are filled with real people asking questions about your niche looking for answers. Use the search function and input your niche keywords then click on the tab Most Viewed Writers in your niche, then click on their name and scroll through the list their answers to find the ones with the greatest Upvotes, which indicates your audience greatest interest. Using my example of the e-commerce niche, I found inspiration for posts such as “What Should I consider when deciding if I should create my e-commerce website or use a third party platform such a Shopify?, “How can I get manufacturers or supplier for products of my new e-commerce startup? And “What online web building platform should I use to build a drop shipping business?” Bingo more blog post ideas that will resonate with your audience based on the Q & A site users up votes and most read writers status.
Borrow Your Competitors Best Topics
Your competitors’ data hold lots of secrets you can profit from. There are easy ways to learn which articles are the greatest traffic sources and also which are their most linked content. Using the professional software Ahrefs, subscription based, you can enter your competitors’ URLs and in minutes discover exactly which pages are their winners, then “borrow” the concept and type of information to make even better pages on your blog. Continuing with our e-commerce niche example, I used Ahref.com to study the well ranked and popular blog on Shopify.com/blog and found, by clicking on the Top Pages link in the left column, that these are the most visited page topics; business name generator, best comparison shopping engines, logo maker and understanding drop shipping. Also, Ahrefs has a section called Pages, Best by Links, which list the pages most linked to from other sites on the internet, an excellent indicator of top quality content. There I found these topics and ideas; which social media platforms drive the most sales, the percentage of e-commerce done on mobile devices, the ultimate DIY guide to beautiful product photography. Voila, more blog topic posts ideas.
Build a Story – Your Niche + News Trends
This is an old publicity trick to combine current events with a product you want to promote to create a story. This capitalizes on your readers interest in news items and growing trends and connects it to your niche. As of this writing, France’s election is big news so I could combine it with my example topic, e-commerce to come up with hybrid ideas such as How the French Do E-commerce and If the EU disbands will this effect E-commerce sites.
Bio: Paula Daniel is a serial entrepreneur who, after doing “time” in corporate America, has learned about what products and services really work well in business today. You can learn from my experience and my associates as we shop from the internet for tools, supplies and information to build our businesses and improve the lives of our family and ourselves on our site.
My strongest belief is that the safest, most secure and most lucrative job you can have is owning your own business. I learned this valuable lesson the hard way by investing time, energy and emotion into a corporate career only to be fired unceremoniously –when I dared think creatively outside the box. My entrepreneurial journey to starting my own business was first by necessity but then turned into a great blessing of prosperity and freedom. Graduating from the school of business hard knocks and learning how to start, manage, and then sell my business for over $1,000,000. Learned more about real life business this way that I learned in my four years at the NYU School of Business.