One common question I keep hearing from clients is how to come up with new topic ideas for their website or blog. Content Marketing works, but only if you keep generating relevant and updated content.
There are two problems with this:
A. Coming up with new topics and ideas for your blog.
It’s not easy to come up with new topics every day. Many companies have dedicated content team and an editorial team whose job is to come up with a schedule for their content. But as a startup, you would be wearing multiple hats and content-writer might be one of them.
B. Coming up with topics which are relevant and worthy of sharing
Even if you published a blog post every day, it means nothing if no one reads the content. Your blog should have posts that are relevant to your industry. It should also make people go beyond the headline and read the entire post.
There are many ways to come up with such topics and ideas, but here are 3 ways that I have tried and which are sure to make your readers also interested.
1. Use tools like BuzzSumo or UberSuggest
Coming up with generic blog topics and guessing if they would be shared on social networks is very risky. I spend at least 10-15 hours on research, writing and editing a blog post before I hit publish. What if it bombs on social media? What if no one shares it?
Instead, why not find topics which were already shared widely on twitter, facebook, etc., and use that as a starting point for your post?
That’s where BuzzSumo comes in. It is a paid tool (with a free trial) where you can search for your topic and see what articles were popular on various social media.
You get a few topics for free and can use that as a base. You can refine the keywords and get more results too.
For example, if I want to write blog posts for a travel agency, I would start off with a search for “travel destinations” in BuzzSumo. I can see that the top post (by facebook engagements) is “Top travel destinations on each continent for 2019” and 3rd post is a similar list of travel destinations for the budget traveler.
The other 3 posts are promotional posts about how a specific country is voted as the best travel destination in 2019 according to some criteria.
Looking at this we can identify that these two types of posts are performing well.
If you think 5 topics are not enough, you can also use UberSuggest, a free, feature-rich tool by Neil Patel.
You can do a search using similar keywords and identify blog posts that were shared widely. It also presents you with other keyword alternatives, which is useful to refine your search.
2. Search for Questions in Quora or Reddit
Sometimes, you might think of a particular topic, search in BuzzSumo or UberSuggest and see that no one has written about it at all. Does it mean you should drop it? Not so fast.
Many times people have questions which need to be answered, but can’t find a good quality resource to link to. There are many ways to find such good questions. You can do a quick search on Quora (a popular question-answer site) to see what kind of questions your audience is asking. Most questions would have been answered already. In that case, collect all the answers and write your own comprehensive post, covering all the topics. If not, you have to do a bit more research and come up with a good blog post that covers most of the topics that are related to the question.
Once your post is published, you can add your answer to the quora post and link to your post at the bottom.
But remember, unless you are adding more value than others, you would be marked as spam by others.
Reddit is also another popular site to search for such content. Reddit has numerous subreddits related to your industry, where there will be newbies asking questions. You can search for these types of questions and find what are the most asked questions and write your blog post accordingly.
For programmers, searching on StackOverflow would yield a better result than other sites. You have numerous programmers asking a variety of questions that you can use to write your blog post.
3. Search on Twitter and Google Trends for the latest news and topics people are talking about
If you are in an industry that requires writing about the latest news, what better source to find such topics than to search for twitter. Keep a close eye on the trending topics and tweets which are becoming popular. There are many publications that collect all the top tweets about a trending topic and do a round-up post about it. These types of posts perform well because not everyone follows everything on twitter. And even if they missed some trending topic, they can quickly cover most of it by reading these types of posts in 5 minutes.
Another place to find what is trending is to use Google Trends page. This tool allows you to explore what everyone around the world is searching for. You can see the trend for specific keywords and compare them across other search keywords too. You can filter it based on the country to find topics in your specific region too.
Google also has another tool that is not used widely – Google Alerts. This tool allows you to set up alerts for specific keywords and topics and will send you an email when something new comes up on the web.
Using these three methods, you can come up with topics that are new, fresh and guaranteed to perform well with your target audience.
Coming up with new topics is the most hard part of the content marketing process. Once you get the idea for a topic and the outline for the post, it is just a matter of writing it out and publishing it. You can hire content writers to write your actual blog post and edit it.
What industry are you writing content for and how do you come up with new topics?
Srini is an entrepreneur+developer who realised launching a successful product is much more than building cool features. He has helped numerous startups and businesses build successful businesses for the past 13 years.