When it comes to blogging, one of the most common struggles I hear from others is that they just don’t know how to come up with blog post ideas. They aren’t sure where to find inspiration. They don’t know which topics are going to get them the most return on their investment.
But here’s the thing… Every blog post you publish on your website needs to follow two key criteria, no matter which industry you’re in.
- It should be relevant to your audience. Every blog post you publish needs to be something that would appeal to your target audience. It has to fill a need or solve a problem for them so they’re interested enough to click through to your website.
- It also needs to add value. All of your blog posts should provide valuable, high-quality content. If you’re just publishing fluff, you’re wasting your time and you’re wasting your readers’ time.
When you keep those two tips in mind, it’ll serve as the foundation for coming up with blog post ideas your audience will truly love and enjoy reading. Now, that doesn’t mean I’m going to leave you with that. I have some more tips that will help you fill up that editorial calendar of yours!
How to Come Up With Blog Post Ideas Your Audience Will Love: 8 Simple Ideas
Coming up with blog post ideas all starts with getting a little inspiration. While that may seem rather daunting, it’s actually quite simple when you know where to look for the inspiration you need to begin creating. Whenever I’m short on ideas, there are a few simple things I like to do and I’m sharing them with you today.
1. Answer questions from your target audience.
The number one thing you need to keep in mind when you’re trying to come up with quality blog post ideas is to answer the questions your target audience has. When you answer their questions and solve the problems they’re struggling with, they’re sure to appreciate it. And they’ll begin to see you as a valuable and helpful resource. This will leave them wanting to come back to your website time and time again.
Now, the trick is to figure out what those questions actually are. You can do this in a number of ways, but your blog comments, social media replies, and emails are three of the top places to look. If you’re actively paying attention to the messages your readers are leaving you, you’ll likely find some of their questions.
Once you find those questions, it’s your duty to answer them in the best blog post possible. Not only will you be helping those readers in particular, but you’re going to wind up helping a much wider audience who likely have the exact same questions.
Two other ways to determine the questions your audience is asking are: social listening and reader surveys. I’ll talk more about those in a minute!
2. Dive into your Google Analytics.
Your analytics can provide a wealth of knowledge, as long as you know what to look for. While many turn to Google Analytics to track pageviews and to see where their traffic is coming from, they often don’t realize great content ideas are right there in front of them. So, where can you find content buried in all that Google Analytics data?
First, you’ll want to see which of your blog posts are the most popular. This will give you a good idea of what your audience is really interested in. You can then use this information in a variety of ways. One key thing to do with this information is to create more similar posts. Since you know that particular topic or style worked really well, this can help spark new ideas.
However, you can also piggyback on the success of that original blog post by writing a follow-up post. Do you have something more you could add to that post? Is there a related topic you could write about that those readers would also be interested in? It’s so simple, but very effective!
Another idea is to check out the keywords people are searching to land on your website. Unfortunately, Google made this a little tricky some time ago. They started blocking you from being able to see the keywords people searched while logged into their Gmail accounts. This left site owners seeing a lot of “Not Provided” listings in their analytics. (This post from WordStream will help you get your keyword data back.)
Here’s the thing… You can still see some of the keywords people search to ultimately land on your website when you’re in Google Analytics. And you can use that information to your advantage.
Ideally, you’ll want to see which keywords people are searching and determine whether or not they’re receiving the information they’re looking for. If those keywords directed them to a relevant, high-quality blog post, then you’ve done your job. However, that means you could also consider writing more blog content around similar keywords because they show what your audience is actively interested in.
And if those keywords directed them to content that potentially isn’t what they truly wanted, you have a new blog content on your hands. You can take those keywords and write brand new content to target them directly.
3. Do a little social listening.
Social listening is just a nice way to say you’re eavesdropping on your audience. If you can figure out where they’re spending their time online (whether it’s specific social media platforms, Facebook groups, or other forums), you can drop in on their public conversations. It’s your opportunity to see what they’re posting and what they’re talking about with others.
Now, I know you might be thinking that sounds a little weird, but trust me… It’ll help you out when you’re trying to come up with blog post ideas. When you tune into what your target audience is talking about, you’ll begin to notice what they’re struggling with and in what areas they need help. You can then take it to your blog and answer all of their questions in the most helpful way possible.
4. Find out what’s trending in your industry.
Many bloggers love to turn to trending topics to create amazing content for their blogs and there’s good reason for it. Trending topics make very timely and valuable posts in the moment. The key to making those trends work for you is to get something published quickly while that topic is still hot. If you wait too long and the moment passes, you aren’t going to gain the traction you had hoped for.
However, if you’re willing to take advantage of trends, you can certainly do that. Do an online search to see what’s trending in your industry. What are the current hot topics? What’s the latest news? You can take that information and allow it to inspire plenty of blog post ideas. The trick to making those trending topics work well is to put your own spin on things and make it unique so it stands out from everyone else writing about the same thing.
5. Turn to your competitors.
Before I dive into this section, I want to clarify one thing… I’m not telling you to copy your competitors and everything they’re doing. What I am telling you to do is draw inspiration from them. You can learn a lot from your competitors if you take the time to do a little research.
Since your competitors are likely coming up with amazing blog post ideas, you can use that to inspire your own. What you’ll want to do is use a tool like BuzzSumo to figure out what their most popular posts are. BuzzSumo will show how many social media shares a post has gotten, as well as plenty of other useful information. When you see which posts are the most popular, you could use that to inspire your own. You can put your own spin on it or come at it from a different angle.
You also have another opportunity to come up with great content when you look at their most unpopular posts. Take a look at these posts, read through them, and ask yourself what you think is missing. Why didn’t those posts work well for them? You can then take that information and create a post of your own while addressing everything they missed out on.
Your competitors can truly provide you with a wealth of inspiration, but you have to be willing to put in a little work to learn more about them and what they’ve been doing. Research will show you what has been working in their strategy and what hasn’t and you can use that to your advantage.
6. Read industry blogs + their comments.
Telling you to read the blogs in your industry for inspiration on your own content certainly isn’t a ground-breaking tip. However, I felt the need to mention it here simply for the fact that I believe you should never stop reading. If you want to be a better writer and if you want to get those creative juices flowing, reading what others have created is certainly helpful. (Just don’t go into content overload.)
But there’s another thing I’d highly recommend you do while you’re reading those industry blogs you love so much. Read their comments section! The reality is, many of these industry blogs are larger websites and you don’t find the writers taking the time to answer questions they receive in the comments of their posts. This is your opportunity to answer those questions in a blog post of your own.
If you find that multiple people are asking the same questions, that’s a good sign that a lot of people are probably searching for that online. Use that to your advantage by writing a blog post on your website that addresses their issue. After all, the key to coming up with winning blog post ideas is to solve the problems your audience is struggling with.
7. Have a brainstorming session.
One of the many reasons it’s so important to have other blogger and entrepreneurial friends is that it gives you the opportunity to bounce ideas off one another. If you’re feeling stuck for ideas, reach out to your friends and ask them what they think you should write about. For ideas that you’re just unsure of, ask for their feedback.
Having trusted friends by your side really makes a huge difference. And you’ve likely heard the saying that “Two heads are better than one,” right? Make use of that! You can plan regular brainstorming sessions with your friends or send over a quick email whenever you’re really needing help.
8. Ask readers what they want through a survey.
And finally, my last tip for coming up with blog post ideas is a very simple one, but it’s something a lot of people neglect to take advantage of. If you truly want to know what your audience would like to see from you, all you have to do is ask them. They’ll tell you!
So, how do you go about asking your audience? Well, there are a number of ways you can do this.
You could put together a survey where you ask your audience to answer a few key questions that will give you an idea of what they need. Some questions you could ask include:
- What are you currently struggling with?
- Which types of blog posts are your favorite to read?
- What would you like to see more of on my website?
You can really ask them anything you want to know! The important thing is that you take action on what your audience has shared with you. Don’t leave those survey responses to sit there and gather virtual dust. Take what they’ve said into account and use it.
If you don’t want to create a full-blown survey, you can also ask via social media or through your email newsletter. Tell your readers that you’re putting together your next editorial calendar and you’d like to make sure your content is exactly what they need. Then, ask for their ideas. Ask what they need help with when it comes to your industry and then deliver it to them.
What to Do With Your New Blog Post Ideas
Now that you’ve compiled a list of some amazing blog post ideas, what should you do with them? You can’t just sit there and wait for them to come to life. You have to take that next step and begin creating. Here’s some advice to help you out:
Storing Your Ideas
My advice is to store all of those ideas in one place. This makes it so much easier to refer to later on when you’re planning your content. I actually keep all of my blog post ideas in a single note in Evernote. This note is split up into my blog categories to organize my ideas even further. So, whenever I’m planning my blog posts and need something on a specific topic, it’s all right there and easy for me to find.
Of course, there are plenty of other digital tools you can use to help you out with storing ideas and content planning. You might even prefer to keep it old school by jotting your ideas down in a notebook. And that’s totally fine! You can use whatever method works best for you, but I truly encourage you to keep everything in one place so your ideas never go missing.
Creating Your Editorial Calendar
Your next step is to begin moving those ideas into your editorial calendar. Having an editorial calendar allows you to plan content in advance, which gives you the opportunity to be more strategic about what you create and publish. Instead of just publishing any old topic that comes to mind, you can be sure your posts are truly relevant and valuable to your readers. Plus, there won’t be any excuse for not having ideas on what to publish because your editorial calendar will already be planned!
If you’re like me, you’ll stick to planning your content one month at a time. (Any more than that is just too much for me!) However, if you’re feeling ambitious, you can absolutely plan your entire quarter or the full year all at once. Do what works best for you, but make sure those ideas are moved into your calendar. Don’t forget about them!