Content Marketing, Podcast

Podcast Transcript: How to Come Up with Topics to Write About

April 16, 2020

Welcome to Into the Inbound with Technology Aloha, a podcast about Web Design, Internet, and Content Marketing with Aloha. Join us every Tuesday for new episodes. To listen to our recent podcasts or read our blog visit technologyaloha.com/blog.

JILLYN: Hi, I’m Jillyn founder and executive director of Technology Aloha and I’m here today with our Content Manager, Kelli, to talk about how to come up with post ideas. Our podcast today will be broken up into three sections; Generating Ideas, Focus on Customers, and Keyword Research. So, Kelli, why content marketing?

How to Come Up with Topics to Write About: Hand holding up a light bulb.

Why Content Marketing

KELLI: So, think about the value you could bring into people’s lives with your ideas. Then consider how to create great content around that topic and niche, but remember that generating post ideas should be done separately from your writing, brainstorm, plan, write and edit your posts but do it all at different times.

JILLYN: Great advice, because otherwise, it’s a little crazy, right?

KELLI: Oh, yeah.

Brainstorming Topic deas

JILLYN: So, let’s jump into the generating ideas part. What are some great brainstorming ideas?

KELLI: What are your competitors writing about? Find out what they’re missing and focus on answering those questions.

JILLYN: I think that’s a really good point because one of the things that I find when I’m reading on the internet is a lot of times there are some really great topics out there, but they don’t actually answer my questions in a way that are actionable.

KELLI: Yeah, a lot of people create content that is very surface-level, so it explains that it exists but it doesn’t tell you what to do about it. So, if you’re saying that something is explaining the existence but not helping you in any way, find a way to focus on helping someone.

JILLYN: So, on the competitor side of things, how do I use my competitor’s content without copying their content?

KELLI: Obviously we don’t want to copy content. You’ll get pinged by Google. Sometimes what they’re writing about is hard to find or hard to understand and what you want to do is you want to take content and you want to be able to make it understandable and searchable and accessible to your readers. So, if you see that they’re writing about something that you want to write about, just find a way to connect with your readers more than how they’ve done it.

JILLYN: What about some exercises and things, do you have that you particularly use when you’re trying to come up with content for us?

KELLI: Yes, I will pre-write for a short amount of time, like one or two minutes, everything I can think of that we’ve written about before that is related to our business or just anything that I think might be related. I don’t use a lot of it but I do find little gems in those moments where I can find the perfect content to add. It’s something where you’re just letting your brain vomit onto the page and don’t be like “oh, that’s a terrible idea” and delete just leave it there, take a break, come back look at stuff and be like “oh, okay that idea wasn’t great but it sends into this idea which is really good.

JILLYN: I love that! Great tip.

Write about Frequently Asked Questions

KELLI: So frequently asked questions are always a really good place to start. The fact of the matter is the clients are probably asking you questions all the time. As they come in, write them down and then write posts about them.

JILLYN: So, when you’re answering those frequently asked questions you’re focusing on your customers. How do you come up with topics for customers and not topics for yourself, how do you avoid writing for the wrong point of view?

Write for Others, Not Yourself

KELLI: That all comes down to having really good marketing or buyer personas and if you don’t know what personas are, we do have some posts on our site about that but the idea is your building imaginary people that you are writing for. It’s much easier to answer a person’s question and write for a person than to write for everyone. Not only is it easier, it’s a lot more effective.

Being able to write for a persona lets me narrow down how I phrase things and how I want things to sound which really helps me because how I phrase something strongly affects the ideas that I should be writing about.

JILLYN: Agreed, it also ensures that you use the correct language.

One thing though is when I got these personas how do I find what they’re interested in and how do I avoid writing about what interests me versus what interests them?

KELLI: I think this comes down to your why and what need does your business fulfill. So, you went into this business for a reason and what do your clients need, and just like with brainstorming there are a number of ways to do this and different tools that you can use, one of them is the five whys. So, we’re not going to give examples or go into that cause that can be a very lengthy process but the idea is why does your client come to you, answer that and then keep asking why five times. You’ll be astounded at the volume of really targeted content that you’ll come away with from that particular exercise.

And when you’re answering the questions you’ll probably be using industry jargon, so how do your customers talk versus industry jargons.

JILLYN: I completely agree, you’ll probably, in talking to your clients and customers find that they use the same phrases or ask the same questions and use the same words and are probably not the words that you use. Keep in mind that your clients don’t know what you know it’s why they come to you and are your clients. So, you use their language not yours.

And as a secondary, it’s always good to have somebody who is a relay person go through your topics and make sure that you’re using words they understand.

Keyword Research

JILLYN: So, keyword research is key and thank goodness we have Kelli on our team because she’s good at the keyword research side of things. How do you find keywords that customers use Kelli?

KELLI: So, there’s a couple things that I use. The first one I use is Google Auto-Fill, I start to ask a question and let Google tell me how people phrase the full sentence or question.

JILLYN: And that’s a really nifty tool because what Google does is they actually keep track of every single thing that anybody has ever typed into their search field to give the most commonly typed phrases. So, those are the ones that are searched for the most.

KELLI: And the other thing is once you get in there and just ask one of the questions sometimes Google will list other related questions and that can give you a lot of different keywords as well.

The other tool that I use is Moz’s Keyword Explorer, it’s a free tool and it’s really, really, helpful because when you change what word you’re focusing when you change it just a little it can drastically change what you would write about and that probably again circles back to the personas thing because if you have two or three personas, you might write the same post two or three times from two or three different points of view and two or three different ways that they would search that so you would want two or three different keywords or keyword phrases.

JILLYN: Yeah, that makes perfect sense. So, what about ads and Google Ad Search. Do you use that tool?

KELLI: I use that tool to see what people are paying for ads because that’ll show you the really popular keywords. I also use it cause it tells me a lot of people research this so it costs this but several people search this just not as many so it costs less but it lists all those keywords and those combinations and again the combinations and how they’re phrased and gives me ideas for different personas and different things to write about and so that’s how I use Google Ad Search. It doesn’t even need to be I’m going to be paying money it’s what are people paying money for.

JILLYN: Yeah, and that’s always a great thing to look into, right?

Thanks for Listening!

JILLYN: So, that’s it for today. We will include links to a bunch of blog posts for you guys and get more in-depth information if you’re interested. Otherwise, we would love for you to join us again on a future podcast and we look forward to your comments and questions.

KELLI: Yep, if you do have any questions, please put them below we’ll be looking at that because that is another way that we can come up with more topics to write about.

JILLYN: Thanks, everyone!

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