How To Find Blog Topics That Influence Buying Decisions

Ideas for blog topics
This entry is part 2 of 6 in the series Content Creation for Small Businesses

There are 291.7 million Tumblr blogs. WordPress now runs over 1/4 of the internet. On WordPress.com websites alone (not self-hosted) there are 58.3 million new blog posts going up each month. With such a massive amount of content being flung out into the interwebs every day, how can you and your business stand out from the crowd?

You have to find great blog topics to cover. Finding great blog topics is the first step in creating content that converts. Welcome to the Research Phase of your content generation strategy.

Content Generation Recap

Writing blog articles that work is so much more than just jotting down a few paragraphs and publishing it to a website. The first step to rising above the noise is creating content that speaks to your customers—that is to say, content they actually want to read.

It’s a safe bet that the vast majority of your website visitors don’t care if you just got a new fleet of vehicles or if you had a booth at the county fair. The content you create must provide value to the reader, or they simply won’t read it.

The #content you create must provide value to the reader, or they simply won't read it. Click To Tweet

By finding out exactly what your audience’s needs and wants are, you can create content that is both helpful and (most importantly) shareable.

So how do you find those diamond in the rough topic ideas?

Great Blog Articles Start With Relevant Blog Topics

Creating content that resonates with your readers begins first and foremost with understanding your target market. A few things to ask yourself are:

  • Which social platforms do my prospects and customers use most?
  • What websites are they reading to answer their questions related to my product or service?
  • What questions are they asking on those websites?
  • What forums do my customers frequent for industry news?

Understanding these things is crucial to the success of your content strategy for one reason: Relevance.

Once you’ve answered these questions, it’s time to get your hands dirty.

How to Find Great Blog Topic Ideas

Browse Social Media

People rant and rave on social media. No surprises there.

Tapping into social media platforms can provide you with tons of insight and a laundry list of blog topic ideas. What questions are they asking? What are people’s complaints? Are people excited about anything?

A few places to start looking for ideas on social media are:

  • Groups or Communities of people that are discussing your product, service, or industry
  • Competitor profiles
  • Your company’s profiles

If your social media profiles aren’t currently generating a lot of comments and shares, this content generation strategy will help you drive more social engagement in the future.

Read Blog Comments

Once you identify where your customers spend their time, dig through the comments on relevant blog posts. Seek to understand what the core needs and desires of the consumers are.

Knowing exactly what people are asking for or saying about your product or service will help target the exact keywords and phrases for which people are searching.

Visit Relevant Forums

Forums are notorious for being a place where people go to rant or rave about all manner of things. They are also a great place to find like-minded people that could spawn more topic ideas.

Reddit is a great place to find a forum on just about anything. In case you’ve never been to Reddit, it’s a no-holds-barred free-for-all of excellent information that spans a vast range of topics and spurs some honest and informative debates.

Read through a few threads on Reddit or an industry-specific forum and you’ll find a goldmine of questions, comments, complaints, and other nuggets of digital gold (aka blog topics).

Unsure of any forums related to your industry? Try searching Google for {industry name} forums and see what pops up.

Browse Microsites and Directories

Microsites like Yelp! and Home Advisor can offer some highly targeted insight into what people are asking of your industry.

Check out businesses that are rated highly. What are they doing right? How are they helping people with their needs and desires?

On the other side of the coin, look at businesses that are rated poorly. What are they lacking? How can you improve the experience of the folks who were left wanting more?

All of this information can turn into blog topics that will directly address the needs and wants of your target market.

Use a Tag Cloud Service

As I gather information about an article, I like to copy and paste the best comments, rants, raves, complaints, questions, and other consumer input to a Google Doc or other word processor for safe keeping.

Once you have all of this information stashed in a single place, take that document and upload it to a word cloud service like TagCrowd.

Word cloud services help you visualize the most common words or phrases in the content you have collected. Using a service like this allows you to target your blog posts at very specific keywords that are most likely to be found via an online search and convert.

Now your on-site SEO skills come in. But that’s a post for another day.

To Sum It All Up

Consistently creating quality blog content will establish your business as a thought leader and a source of reliable information in your industry.

To make the most of this opportunity, you must understand what your customers are looking for—what they want to read. Using these strategies, you’ll spend less time gathering blog topics and more time handling leads generated by your content strategy.

This is Article #2 in the SMB Content Generation Series

Series Navigation<< The Ultimate Content Creation Strategy For Small BusinessesFirst Draft Conundrum: How To Get Everything On Paper >>

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