“Content marketing and blogging used to be competitive a few years ago. Now, it’s an absolute war!”
That comment, overheard at a recent marketing conference, underscores the huge content marketing challenges and frustrations we now face every day.
Around 84.3 million new blog posts are published every month by sites using WordPress (a platform that powers nearly 28% of the internet.)
And as the graph clearly reflects, that number is still on the rise and shows no signs of slowing down.
If your only counter strategy is to create more content on a daily basis, you’ve already lost.
As a small business with limited resources, do you honestly believe you can compete with the bigger publishers churning out dozens of new articles every day?
There’s still hope though.
You can’t beat the bigger players in terms of publishing frequency.
But you can take the smarter route and create content topics guaranteed to attract lots of visitors, backlinks and social shares.
Using this approach, you can reduce your publishing frequency (and the associated costs) and focus on creating better quality content without exhausting yourself.
In this post, Upward Media will show you exactly how to find engaging content ideas for your blog.
1. Get Content Ideas from Google Search
Google has answers for most questions.
And since we’re trying to come up with ideas that have a higher probability of generating traffic, why not start our search from the search giant itself.
There are several ways you can use Google Search to quickly get an idea of a topic’s popularity
– Google Autocomplete
When you start typing a query in Google’s search box, it shows you several other closely related search terms.
These searches don’t pop up randomly.
They’re generated based on the other frequent and popular searches related to your search.
In simple words, these are the topics people are looking for.
And you can use them to get an idea of what your audience wants.
For example, if your company offers weight loss products and you’re looking to generate content ideas for your blog, the snapshot above should serve as a guideline.
– Google Trends
Google Trends is a goldmine for marketers and bloggers. It gives you a clear picture of what people are searching for on the web.
You can enter a topic or a keyword and it’ll tell you if people are interested in it.
For example, here’s what we found when we searched the last 90-day trend for the term “Content marketing”
It also gives you a list of related topics and keywords that people interested in “Content Marketing” are searching for.
You can generate dozens of blogging ides from Google Trends in no time.
– Google Related Searches
Google shows related search queries at the bottom of every search page
You can use these to understand what your audience wants to learn, and tailor your content accordingly.
2. Learn from Your Competitors’ Most Popular Posts
Why reinvent the wheel when your competitor’s have already done the hard work for you?
You can find lots of great content ideas just by analyzing the most popular and successful content of your competitors.
Most blogs have a “Most Popular Posts” section where you can find the posts with the highest number of comments or the most traffic
Find 4-5 competing blogs and analyze the top 10 posts on each of them.
If you’re not sure who your competitors are, you can use SEMRush to find them
For example, we got this list when we searched for Quicksprout.com (a popular content marketing blog) on SEMRush
You can expand this list to view up to 10 results in the free version of SEMRush.
But that’s more than enough.
You’ll have a list of 40-50 titles that are proven to work well.
You can use this information in several ways.
- You could analyze the most popular posts and create a MUCH improved post on the same topic. For example, if a post shares 21 tips on something, you can create an article that shares 35 tips. Read the comments at the end of the post to see if people are asking any other specific questions that the post doesn’t answer
- You could use the popular topics to get an idea of what your audience really wants to learn about and then create titles based on your understanding.
- You can break down the popular posts into separate and much more detailed posts. For example, if a post shares 10 methods to something, you can break it down and create 10 separate posts explaining each method in much more detail.
Competitor analysis is one of my favorite ways to find blogging ideas because it works on a proven formula.
3. Use Quora To Find Questions No One’s Answering
Quora is a great place to find popular topics for blog posts. There are thousands of discussion threads on Quora where people ask questions related to almost everything under the sky.
Simply search your industry/niche on Quora and look for the questions with the highest engagement (most number of answers and upvotes)
These are the topics that generate the highest interest in your target audience.
You can also analyze the answers for the most popular questions to understand the kind of content your target audience likes.
You can gather all this information, add more value and publish on your blog.
4. Find the Most Frequently Shared and Linked Content
One of the best ways to come up with proven topics is by finding the posts that already have a lot of social media shares and backlinks.
You can do this manually by searching Twitter and Facebook with your main keyword and see which posts come up at the top.
Most blogs also display the number of social shares on a blog post which can be used to get an idea of its popularity.
However, doing this manually is a time-consuming process. Save time by using tools like BuzzSumo and Ahrefs.
Both tools not only show you the most popular blog posts on a topic in terms of social shares, but also show you the posts with the most number of backlinks
You can’t do this manually
For example, we searched for “content marketing tips” on Ahrefs which gave us a list of the most popular posts on this topic
We then sorted the list by the number of referring domains, which gave us the posts with the most number of backlinks.
When a post has a higher number of backlinks (along with a lot social shares) it’s a strong indicator of its quality and shows that people found it useful.
You can list down all such posts in a separate sheet, analyze them one by one and see how you can create an improved version of that content.
It also gives you a strong understanding of the kind of titles that are popular with your target audience.
5. Unveil Hidden Gems Using Amazon
Amazon is the world’s largest eCommere website. But it also has the biggest collect of eBooks on the web.
In fact, some of the most popular books ever published were all listed on Amazon first.
Once again this is a goldmine if you’re looking for blogging ideas.
Go to the category related to your industry in the books section of Amazon, search for one of your main keywords and sort the results by the most number of reviews.
This will show you the most popular books related to your industry.
You can use this information in two ways
- Look at the titles of the books and read their descriptions to understand what they’re about. This can alone give you lots of blog post ideas.
- Read the reviews under each book to understand why the readers liked the book. Also look at the negative reviews to identify the things that the author failed to address.
Note down everything in a separate sheet and use these insights to come up with titles that not only give the readers what they want but also make up for the knowledge gap left by the author.
6. Hack Topics With Udemy
Have you heard of Udemy?
It’s one of the world’s largest collections of video tutorials on hundreds of topics.
Choose the category that’s most relevant to your industry and look for the most popular courses in it.
For example, we searched for productivity courses and sorted the results by popularity.
Just looking at the list of courses and their titles will give you lot of insights about the topics you can write on.
But Udemy gives you more.
It requires every course to be broken down into smaller chapters and modules. The list of modules for every video is displayed on the course enrollment page.
For example, here’s a snapshot of the outline for one of the courses:
Are you getting any pointers from this?
Each of these headlines can be converted into separate blog posts.
And since it’s an extremely popular course, you know that each of these points will resonate well with your target audience.
You can find even more detailed course outlines for some of the other courses on Udemy.
The Take Away
There’s so much data and content available on the web that you really don’t need any guesswork when coming up with new ideas for your blog.
You only need to look around, find the content that’s already performing well and create a more valuable and useful version on your blog.
This way you’ll not only deliver more value to your audience but also save valuable resources for your company.