Content and SEO are equally as important… But which do you start with? We asked 60+ experts to share the strategy they prioritize—and why.
Content Marketing | Jun 25
Masooma Memon on December 29, 2020 (last modified on March 10, 2021) • 26 minute read
So you have your digital pen at the ready, a steaming cup of coffee sits on your desk, and your blog post publishing date is just around the corner. The problem is: you just can’t come up with suitable blog topic ideas to write on.
In times like these, it’s common to wish for a magic lamp – one that comes up with a highly-relevant-to-your-audience topic idea every time you give it a rub.
Alas, there’s no magic blog topics generating lamp. But there’s us and this guide that sources 30 places where you can look for valuable blog topic ideas.
In fact, with these blog topic idea sources, you can easily publish between 1-5 pieces per week (if you have the resources) as 75% of our contributors do too:
Ready to get started?
We have a list of ways to come up with topic ideas for your blog below, followed by the details:
Let’s get going:
“Google Search Console is a gold mine for topic ideas,” insists Samuel Schmitt. “You can understand the intent of your audience and how they found your website and blog articles from the Search. It is especially great to get bottom-of-the-funnel content ideas that drive qualified traffic ready for conversion.”
Ashley Sterling from The Loop Marketing agrees, “The one strategy we use to find really great topics is through Google Search Console and other related data. By reviewing the queries that site visitors are looking for, we have a direct reference of what they are or are not finding.
If the strategy is used correctly, this would mean that your site visitors are able to find what they’re looking for, and enhance your credibility as a source.”
Lastly, Spreadsheets for Business’s K. Burnett vouches for using Google Search Console for getting a list of blog topic ideas to add to your editorial calendar.
Burnett’s process looks like this: “I started copying and pasting queries out of my Google Search Console into a spreadsheet.
From there, I can sort and look for queries where I’m getting a lot of clicks (or impressions) but my average position isn’t very good. This tells me that these subjects get a lot of search volume. I need to expand the depth/breadth of my writing on these topics.”
Another source for blog topic ideas is Reddit that John Frigo from Supplement Warehouse recommends.
Frigo elaborates, “I like to peruse Reddit’s subreddits surrounding my niche to come up with blog ideas or content ideas. I also just generally keep up with the news, current events, and pop culture. For example, if I’m in the business niche and I see an article about Ticketmaster requiring a covid vaccine to attend a concert that’s a business-related article right there.”
By doing so, you can get your hands on some really valuable blog topic ideas that address your target audience’s pain points.
Kaylee Strozyk Creative’s Kaylee Strozyk is in favor of this tactic for extracting topic ideas for your blog. Strozyk writes, “focus on the problems that you solve for your specific users. What questions do they have about their problem? How does their problem impact other areas–their lifestyle or work?
Then, pick a very specific part of their problem and focus on gathering the most in-depth and actionable information about that one thing. Don’t try to solve every part of their problem in a few paragraphs.”
“Your customers will tell you what they want to read,” comments Nicole Wolfe of TopSpot Internet Marketing.
“Check your paid search queries to see what your customers are searching for when they are looking for you. This will lead you straight to the most applicable ideas and might even give you an idea of other products and services to include on your website.”
Tommy Landry from Return On Now shares using this Google feature for blog topics. Landry lays out the details: “I’ve found a long list of ideas on how to generate a good blog post topic. One of my favorites over the past year or two is to use the Google Autosuggest function coupled with some quick keyword research.
To do this, first, you have to come up with a general topic you want to target. Say you want to write a post about digital advertising. First, go to Google and start to type in a related question but let Google suggest the variations of what you might complete the question with.
For example, I might search for ‘Why my digital advertising is’. Google suggests things like ‘important,’ ’the future,’ ‘affordable,’ and ‘effective.’ Then research if any of these has concrete search demand, and pick the one with the most potential. Boom, you have a new topic read to roll.”
This one’s my favorite way to look for blog topic ideas to add to your content editorial calendar. And one that I refer to when writing comprehensive blog posts as well.
Nozzle’s Boyd Norwood talks about it: “The People Also Ask boxes in the SERPs contain a wealth of information about what people want to know. At the very least, spend 15 minutes searching various terms related to a specific topic and jot down any of the questions you see when a PAA box is served up. This should give you a handful of ideas.”
Tonya Davis from Frenchplanations adds to this: “Utilize the ‘People also ask’ box on Google. This is a great way to help gauge what common queries people have around your target keyword.
Try to gather a few similar query ideas to compile into a single post. This also provides you with a great opportunity to try and optimize your blog for the featured snippet spot as well. If people are commonly asking these questions and you do a blog post around it in a question and answer format, you may get the featured snippet position for it.”
Stephanie Riel from RielDeal Marketing advises you to “pull from your frequently asked questions from your clients/customers.
So often we see business owners struggle with blog content ideas, when the answers could be right in front of them. Poll your sales staff or social media team on some of the most common industry questions they repeatedly answer.
Not only will this give you insights into what your audience actually wants to read, but it will also give your team some content they can leverage during the customer journey process.”
Shortlister’s Jakub Rudnik also says, “One of my favorite way to find undiscovered, audience-specific topics is to take user questions or feedback and look for opportunities to write educational content.
Your customers often know your product or the problems it solves better than you do. Take that feedback, then invert it and turn it into a topic. These ideas are generally niche, but you’ll reach the exact persona that you want to sell to.”
“Check articles and topics of your competitors or close niche representatives,” suggests WritingMetier’s Vasy Kafidoff.
It might sound as I’m forcing you to copy those topics, but I didn’t say that! You do not need to copy-paste topics and write about the same issues simply. I would suggest you checking other topics to get inspiration and create yours.
For example, once I have found a great article on some SEO website that was talking about ‘7 delicious ways to get more traffic to your blog’ and that topic helped me to figure out a topic for my personal blog that talks mostly about writing and I have written a post on ‘The 4 writing skills bloggers are looking for and not finding.’ So check other articles and be inspired by other’s ideas.”
At Simple Rate, Paul Kim and the team uses the same approach. Kim shares the details: “The best way we come up with blog topic ideas at Simple Rate is to analyze our competitors, as well as other brands in the space who are targeting different geographies.
We mainly use Ahrefs to find what our competitors are ranking for, and start by making a master list of keyword topics, along with their search volume and difficulty score.
From there, we’ll prioritize topics based on relevancy (what topics are closest in relation to the categories we’re trying to build out), and difficulty. We’ll typically build out easier long-tail topics first as they’re much quicker to rank and start driving traffic.
The best part about doing topic research this way is that it’s essentially endless. You can get thousands of topic ideas from direct competitors. And once you’re done with those, you can start looking into other brands targeting different geographic locations and see what topics they’re targeting. Once you’re done that, you can brainstorm what other closely related categories you can target next and rinse and repeat.”
“For instance, rather than writing a blog about ‘How to Prevent a Clogged Sink’, write a blog about ‘10 Ways You’re Currently Clogging Your Sink’.
It’s the same information, just presented in a different light. You don’t have to reinvent the wheel for every blog post you create, but you do have to find a slight angle that makes it grab someone’s attention.”
This is a popular method among our contributors for coming up with blog topic ideas.
Claire Adams of FitSW Fitness Software suggests you “spend more time doing keyword research on related keywords! You should be doing this when you are writing to rank in searches. Scroll through all possible related keywords when you search a base word.
You can better understand what people are searching for and wanting more information on. From these keywords, brainstorm every possible topic around it. This helps you to have an ear on the ground for public discourse and know where you can fill in the gaps with your own research and knowledge.”
Easy Mode Media’s Ben McLaughlan also says, “relying on keyword research is a solid way of identifying blog topic ideas, as well as headings and sub-headings.
Whether you use a 3rd-party tool or Google auto-complete/related searches, it’s easy to identify keywords people are searching for. By researching a broad or seed keyword, variations related to that topic will be uncovered. If done right, it’s easy to find topics that real people are searching for.”
To go into further details on keyword research, use “Google Trends, Moz, Google Ads Keyword Planner, and SEMrush” as the team at SectigoStore.com does. Casey Crane explains they use these tools “to see what topics people are talking about and to search for keywords that relate to them.
Typically, we look for keywords with decent search volume and low-to-mid competition levels. This not only helps us write timely articles that incorporate relevant keywords, but it also helps us to come up with more evergreen topics as well.”
You can easily pass these evergreen topics to your writers’ team. This brings us to an interesting bit that our respondents shared with us – the majority, about 80%, have 1-5 writers on their team.
Circling back to keyword research tools, another good combination that you can try is that of “Ahrefs.com and ContentDistrubution.com” which Oskar Nowik from Website Simplified uses.
“The reason this is a powerful [combination of tools] is because it’s a data-driven way of coming up with content ideas. Initially, I pull my seed keywords from Ahrefs Keywords explorer and then export them into the Content Distribution tool. This tool groups all my Ahrefs keywords into topic clusters which helps to avoid keyword cannibalization.
The majority of blogs and marketers are still unaware of this powerful combo which I am taking advantage of. This is not the cheapest way of seeding blog topic ideas, however, it’s the most data-driven way and it allows you to fully cover the entire niche with content without running into the risk of keyword cannibalization.”
“One of the best ways to come up with blog topic ideas is to utilize the search stats in your SEO software,” suggests Test Prep Insight’s John Ross.
“Run a report that catches the biggest swings in search volume for a number of keywords in your industry. Whichever keywords jump way up in search volume month-over-month should get your attention. If any keywords spike in terms of search (look at % increase), this generally means that the topic is trending. Find the best form of the keyword-based on search volume and keyword difficulty, and write a blog post on that topic.”
Here’s another tool-based way to find blog topic ideas. The suggestion comes from Frank Olivo of Sagapixel who writes, “One of the easiest ways to find blog topic ideas is Ahrefs’ Content Explorer.
It’s basically a search engine that allows you to filter content by estimated organic traffic, links, and Domain Rating (DR), so you can find topics that websites similar to yours are already getting traffic for.
The uncertainty around whether a topic will drive organic traffic is reduced and you have the option to filter out posts that are miles ahead of you in backlinks.
All you need to do is enter a seed keyword into Content Explorer, filter the organic traffic to whatever minimum you require, then filter by referring domains. Many SEOs that use this tactic filter out by DR, but I’ve found that you often miss out on opportunities when you do this.
We have small business clients with content that outranks Home Depot, mainly because our post is more comprehensive. Opportunities like those would be missed if we filtered out everything over a DR of 50.”
There are plenty of ways you can reach out to your audience to ask about what they’d be interested in reading on your blog. HeyOrca’s Datis Mohsenipour, for instance, lays out a list of channels you can connect with your audience to learn their views:
Andrew Hatfield from Arrikto seconds “listening to customer calls for the questions that your customers and prospects frequently ask.”
Shannon Howard from The Predictive Index suggests the same, “listen to calls with your customer success team to understand the problems your customers have that your product is their solution for.
Muhammad Mateen Khan of PureVPN goes on to advise: “Whenever you interact with customers – in emails, on social media, through blog comments, etc… Just ask them.”
Summing up, Andrea Moxham from Horseshoe + co. writes, “Every time your customers ask you a question related to the product or service you provide, write it down. At the end of the month, review those questions, identify common themes, and base your blog topic around those pain points.”
“One great tip for coming up with a great blog topic is by looking at your previous blog topics, and discovering an overarching theme,” notes Elizabeth Weatherby of Dominick’s Steakhouse.
“When you can group some blog topics together, you can elaborate more on each in a larger post, proving your points and showing your value, and tying each blog together.
Linking to each blog within your website is also really great for your SEO! Looking at your past topics helps you to stay cohesive with your content output. If you don’t tie blogs together, your past blogs will give you direction as to where to go next, and related topics that you haven’t written about yet.”
Editor’s Note: Track how well all your highly trafficked blog posts are doing each month using this Blog Performance Tracking Dashboard.
Jonathan Aufray from the Growth Hackers Agency recommends keeping an eye on what’s trending. Aufray points out, “there’s an infinite number of ideas you can come up with for your blog. But, to always come up with new ideas, I recommend you check what’s popular and trending.”
As for tools that can help you with this, Aufray suggests: “tools like Google Trends, Buzzsumo, and Right Relevance are very helpful to uncover new content topics in your industry.”
Alternatively, you can do what Vickie Pierre from QuoteCarInsurance.com does: “If you want to know what people are interested in, check out what’s trending, and look for a unique angle.
This can be as simple as heading to your Twitter feed and seeing which hashtags are trending. It can also be as simple as heading to Google Trends and seeing what people are searching for. Or, you can search out a handful of news sites and see which subjects are grabbing the most headlines.
Once you have a greater understanding of what ‘hot topics’ are out there, begin searching the web for additional inspiration. Plug the term into Google or Google News to see what people are really talking about.
You may quickly discover that there are aspects and angles to the topic no one else is addressing. Or, perhaps you’ll find that you have an answer to a commonly asked question in the category.
Whatever the case may be, if you can start with what people are actually talking about, you’ll be that much closer to coming up with a topic that people will not only want to read, but that they’ll also talk about.”
To tap into Quora for a boatload of potential blog topics, “put a link from Quora’s popular questions into an SEO tool like SEMrush or Ahrefs to identify relevant keywords to incorporate within your content,” outlines Nicolas Vargas of Marketingconcepts.co.
“You can do the same exercise with sites like g2.com or capterra.com.au if you’re after content ideas for B2B software,” suggests Vargas.
“One way we come up with article topics is listening to what people ask us in other channels,” shares John Locke of Lockedown Design & SEO.
“Questions from current or prospective clients, what colleagues ask us in Slack channels or in DMs, inquiries about digital marketing that we get on social media, YouTube comments on our channel—we use all of these to create new content. If those people are curious about these topics, there are probably 10x as many people wondering the same that don’t come forward.”
Andre Oentoro from Milkwhale recommends looking at “Reading forums and seeing what people are discussing,” for finding ideas for your next blog post. “Look for recent topics that people aren’t writing about yet.
For example, when IGTV on Instagram first came out, there weren’t a lot of articles on it but there was a lot of discussion on different platforms. So, we took the opportunity to create an infographic on that and it was a big hit.”
“Reading far and wide outside your industry, whether it’s fiction or non-fiction books, blogs, advertising or any other medium,” advises Dan Thornton of TheWayoftheWeb.
“And then imaging how those same authors, bloggers, and copywriters would tackle your industry. Combined with more conventional keyword research and insight into your customer questions and behavior, it can give you some really exciting ways to tackle topics differently from all of your competitors, and also helps to prevent burnout and churning out almost identical articles.”
In fact, if everyone on your team is a reader, you can gather several topic ideas this way. Thinking whose job is it to come up with ideas? Our contributors think it’s everyone’s.
“One of my personal best ways to come up with blog topics is by looking at your existing customer base,” outlines Hans van Gent from User Growth. “Check with your sales department or your support desk. Most of the time, a problem is not only a problem for one person, but there are more people struggling with the same issue.
If you can answer an exact burning problem of your customers (not just with your product or service but in this case via your content), not only are you helping your potential customers straight away, but you will also increase your chances of social and search traffic.”
From The Center for Sales Strategy + LeadG2, Shaye Smith shares a similar take: “When looking for new blog topic ideas, we host a brainstorm with our sales team and client services team and ask, ‘What are the top questions you get asked most?’
This brainstorm creates several topics for us to work around, build into our content strategy and topic clusters, and create really awesome blog articles that are highly-read and shared – both by blog readers and used by our sales team as sales enablement pieces in their sales process.
By finding out the most common issues/pain points from prospects and clients, we can assume that the probability of others out there having the same problems is very likely – which in-turn creates highly-searched and read content.”
Besides talking to your sales department, digging out blog topics by sitting with your customer support team can also give you a list of valuable blog topic ideas.
Stephen Taylor of WISER Systems, Inc. comments on this: “One tactic that almost always works well is to ask your customer support teams what they’re hearing. If dozens of customers are asking them the same question or bringing up the same complaint, you’ve probably got something you should write about.
Even if your blog is more focused on attracting new prospects–not necessarily helping current customers—you’re still likely to see real engagement with the content because that blog post will be adding genuine value to someone who cares enough to go looking for information.”
“Ask them about the challenges your customers are facing currently and what questions they getting on a regular basis,” recommends Medallion Capital Group’s, Matthew McEwan.
“Then think about a blog topic that can address these challenges and answer these questions. This is a great way to find current and relevant topics that will help both your customers and your staff by answering questions and providing solutions proactively.”
Every business has some loyal customers. So why not make the most of them? Referral Rock’s Katrina Dalao insists, “Talk to your best customers or users. At one time, they were also browsing your blog. And now that they’re also customers, they have the best insight into what makes your product/brand stand out, and how it meets their needs.
Aside from discovering great topics, you can even draw from the phrases or words they use, since this is exactly how your target market speaks.”
Next up, look for blog topic ideas by asking your community. This tip comes from Ceillie Clark-Keane of Unstack who shares, “I love getting blog post ideas from questions we’re asking as a marketing team or our customers are asking in our community.
For instance, I joined Unstack in October and spent a lot of my first couple of weeks auditing content and re-optimizing promising blog posts. When I talked about this with my other team members, and when customers noticed our blog improving (still flattered about this), I got more than a few questions about the process.
So I decided to write about blog post SEO with tips that I used and found helpful. That’s the best part of finding blog post ideas this way: I know people who are also interested in the topic or looking for ways to refresh their posts will find it useful, too.”
ClydeBank Media’s Benjamin Sweeney adds another blog topic resources here. Sweeney notes, “how-to posts are a great way to respond to search intent. If you are having trouble thinking of some new topics, ask your colleagues one thing they struggled with – big or small – this week.
Chances are they aren’t alone, and their responses can be a good way to get started brainstorming topics. Other questions to consider – what’s one thing you learned this week that you didn’t know last week? What’s one thing you accomplished recently and how did you do it?”
“Use free online tools like AnswerthePublic.com and AlsoAsked.com to see what people are looking for and asking online,” comments Ronit Levy from Simple SEO Systems.
This way, Levy “Let my potential audience tell me what they’re already looking for. Based on the data, I can determine what the main topic and subheadings will be.”
“We like to take a look at our Search Queries,” Text Request’s Ramey Miller opens up. “What are our potential customers searching (usually on Google) for that that they end up on our site? For instance, we noticed that people were looking for a good way to earn more reviews. So we wrote a blog about!”
This one’s a hat tip to Marc Andre from Vital Dollar who what they do: “I look at the blog posts that are generating the most search traffic and think about other related topics that could be covered.
Maybe that means taking one of the points from the existing article and diving into more detail in a dedicated post, or maybe it simply involves covering other topics that are closely related. The fact that your existing post is getting search traffic shows that Google feels your site and your content is relevant for this topic, so other content on similar topics may rank high as well.”
Editor’s note: Track which keywords are ranking well using this Keyword to Pageview Dashboard that tells you how keywords are translating into pageviews.
“One great way for coming up with great blog topic ideas is using the Ubersuggest keyword tool,” outlines Randy VandderVaate from Funeral Funds.
“If you’ve come to a brick wall with no ideas to write, use this tool, and it will give you content ideas based on the keyword you want to go for.
Ubersuggest will display different existing content on the web with the estimated number of visits. You can then view the contents that many people are visiting and then get ideas. Put your ideas in a spreadsheet. When you collected enough, choose the best. Write something better-showing expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness.”
“Address your audience’s pain points,” advises LeadG2’s Amanda Meade. “When you truly know your audience, you know the questions they’re asking. You take those questions and turn them into valuable content.”
LiveHelpNow’s Natalya Bucuy adds to this, “If a content marketer knows who the audience is, picking a topic becomes so much easier. “For example, if the audience is contact center customer service agents the topics would revolve around customer experience and ways to make it better. If the audience is a team of managers, employee experience topics might be a better fit.
Starting with the audience as a guide is a great first step. Of course, examining their needs further by seeing what they are interested in specifically is the next step.”
Summing up, Melanie Musson from TexasCarInsurancePros.com writes, “Let your audience choose. Ask for suggestions. Not only can you deliver what they want, but you also gain better insight into their interests.
We spend a lot of time building buyer personas, but we can still miss key information they’re searching for. Interacting with them and letting them come up with blog topics is an excellent way to form a more comprehensive buyer persona.”
“To truly take things to the next level, try mapping your prospect’s consumer journey to purchase,” observes Sasha Matviienko of growth360.
And that’s all, folks. Here’s hoping you got yourself a great checklist (if not a magic lamp 😃) for digging out blog topic ideas.
Remember: by taking to keyword research, finding a theme to the blog topics you’ve already covered, talking to your customers, and much more, you’ll not only come up with ideas for your next blog pieces, but you’ll get topics that your audience will find relevant to their needs.
Thus, paving the way for attracting more readers to your blog.
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