Originally published on January 21st, 2019. Updated for March 23rd, 2021.
A good blog makes the difference between a mediocre website and a very effective one. With all the pressure riding on your blog, it is easy to get writers’ block. What do I write about? What are people interested in? How can I drive sales with my blog? What does my blog need to boost my SEO? Here is a funnel exercise to narrow down and create some awesome blog post topics for your business:
1. Your blog posts need to fit inside your niche
If you have found your niche already, congratulations! If you haven’t, you aren’t alone. Honing your niche is one of the most slippery yet crucial things you can do for your business. Simply put, your niche is where your passion meets your audience’s needs. For example, instead of being a company that offers general HVAC services, your business specializes in indoor air quality. You market to people with pets, allergy issues, asthma, and other special health and home considerations. That niche sets you apart from other companies and focuses your target market.
In general, your blog post topics need to fit inside your niche. You don’t want to bore your audience or repeat the same information, so don’t publish topics that are too closely related. But, if you want to develop your niche, your blog needs to be written to draw those specialized interests. If your niche is indoor air quality but you never write about allergies, how will you ever get the attention of those allergy customers who would pay for your services?
2. Address your audience’s pain points
Have you ever watched a late-night infomercial for some obscure product and thought, “Wow, I was just having an issue with that the other day. That item would really fix that problem for me.” That’s what your blog needs to do for your customers. Each post needs to answer a question or provide a solution for an issue that your audience has.
It’s important to note that while you are considering pain points to generate blog topics, think about how your customer will be phrasing their Google search. There is no use in a blog post that expertly answers a question that your audience can’t find. Phrasing your blog topics as a question is a great way to pick up on those keywords plus it naturally grabs attention.
3. Do your keyword research
Keywords are like little pieces of iron in your blog that the huge magnet of search engines pull up towards the top of search rankings. The more accurate keywords you have, the stronger the pull of your article towards to the top of your audiences’ search. An effective keyword is one that is:
- Relative to your business
- Interesting to your audience
- Phrased from your audience’s POV
It may seem time-consuming to sit down and write out all of your keywords and then research them, but it is worth it to create effective blog post topics.
Writing your blog post topics
Once you are inside your niche, focusing on audience pain points, and have a list of keywords, you can start generating topics. Sit down and free write a long list based on your criteria. Reach out to colleagues, friends, and family to get their ideas too. It is better to have a long list of available options for topics than to have to try to come up with a new topic every time you need to post. Here are some more ideas to spark your creativity for blog post topics:
1. Season or timing considerations
Putting out a new blog post about a seasonal issue (Why does my heater stop working after a cold snap?) is gold for capturing trending Google searches. Work to get ahead of the curve so you can publish and promote timely blog post topics to your audience. It shows that you are active and thinking and provides an answer that your audience is asking at the moment.
No, it’s not a typo. Checking keywords often is great for sparking blog post ideas. Your main keywords (the ones that directly apply to your business) are probably stable, but you need to be on the lookout for keywords to change.
3. Pulse of your own business
Get inspiration from issues that your business has been dealing with lately. Maybe you have had a rash of questions about a certain topic. Or, maybe there is something that you wish all your customers would know about your business. Those are great places for a blog to start.
4. Competitor check
What are your competitors writing about? And, more importantly, is it being received well? Your competitors’ website is a great place to check out what works and what doesn’t.
5. Ask your audience
Don’t forget to ask your audience what they want to hear. Use your social media platforms to get feedback on what problems they face and what they want to know. Then, once you write a blog post, you can tag them and direct them to the blog. It shows that you care about their feedback, plus creates an online community and gets you in front of their followers as well.