I don't know about you, but I have no problem coming up with new content ideas. Especially when it comes to things that interest me personally. But when it comes to things that interest my readers, this is where it gets more difficult.
Whenever you’re creating content, you should ask yourself, “How does this help my reader solve their problem?” If it doesn’t help, there is no point in writing it. Every post should be aimed at the needs and wants of others because you only benefit when your readers benefit first.
Thinking about your readers, and not about yourself is a characteristic of an entrepreneur. An entrepreneurial mindset is what you need to achieve your goals.
Most bloggers create content for the following reasons:
There is one thing you need to remember about creating content — everything you write should help you achieve your business goals.
When you don’t know what to write, you need to think backward. Start with the end in mind. Ask yourself what goal you want to achieve and then work backward to come up with ideas of what you need to write to achieve it.
For example, let’s say you want people to buy your 30-day yoga course for beginners. This is your end goal. What kind of content can help you attract people to buy it?
Obviously, you need a landing page that is optimized for relevant search terms. Some people might find your course on Google when they are searching for “online yoga courses.” But it might take you a long time and ongoing SEO to make sure your landing page gets discovered. What else can you do to increase the visibility of your course on search engines? Write more content!
Before someone decides to take a yoga course, they probably consider several options. You can write an article that targets the key phrase "best yoga training courses" where you can include your own course among others. Before people start looking for courses, they might need an answer to the question "how much are yoga classes?" And before they even start thinking about courses, they might be asking "how to do yoga at home."
You can also write blog posts about "how to get into yoga," “how does yoga help," and even "where to buy yoga mats." Each of these posts can help you promote your course among people interested in yoga.
This is a strategic approach to finding content ideas, and you need to follow it if you want to get your offer in front of your target audience.
Now I'll give you a few tips for how to discover topics that interest your audience.
Using the jobs to be done framework, you can discover what problems your audience wants to solve. It works like this:
[When ___describe your reader’s circumstances__ ] [I want to __describe your reader's problem___ ] [so I can _describe the reason why your reader wants to solve it ____ ].
Let's look at a few examples. Say, you have a blog about mindfulness. Your business goal is to sell your online mindfulness lessons. Your job to be done may sound like this:
"When I am not just busy, but swamped by work and can barely move under the weight of my inbox, I need to do something to prevent burnout so I can handle my day-to-day responsibilities and feel better."
From this job to be done, you can come up with the following topics:
"How to deal with burnout"
"How to recover from burnout"
"How guided meditation brought me back from burnout"
"How does meditation work to relieve stress"
Another example: You have a travel blog and your business goal is to drive traffic to your affiliate pages where you recommend products for travelers. Your job to be done may sound like this:
"When I'm planning to go to Sri Lanka for the first time, I need to know what essential things I need to take with me on this trip so I don't overpack my bag."
From this job to be done, you can come up with the following topics:
"South Asia packing list"
"How to pack for your vacation in Sri Lanka"
If you understand your audience's pains and needs, coming up with jobs to be done that fit your business goals is pretty easy. If you don't know much about your audience, you need to do some research to determine the problems people are having within your niche. You can look through topics related to your industry on Quora and browse through subreddits on Reddit. You can also look for reviews on books and courses related to your niche on Amazon and Udemy. And finally, you can use SEO keyword research tools to determine which topics your audience cares about most.
Keyword research allows you to determine how people you want to target search for solutions.
All you need to do is input a broad search term related to your niche, such as “gardening tips,” “investing in bitcoin,” or “vegan recipes.” With the help of the Keyword Ideas tool (Semrush calls it a Keyword Magic tool), you can find related terms that your readers might search for. If a search term has a high search volume, it means people care about that topic.
Keep thinking backward to come up with ideas for keywords that can help you achieve your business goal.
People who are ready to buy a product will most likely use keywords that include words like "buy" or "try," or keywords that relate to your category, such as "social media templates," or "best vegan protein powder."
People who are considering options are likely to use a pattern of “something versus something,” such as "supplements vs vitamins," "keto vs low carb," or "one brand name vs another brand name."
Make sure you also consider problem-related how-to keywords:
You can also find low-competition long-tail keywords if you look at all the suggested topics that come up when you type one of your target keywords in Google. For example, if I type the keyword "how to become a copywriter," I'll get all these interesting ideas I can consider for my blog articles:
Read also: How to write SEO-optimized articles
Also, pay attention to the "People also ask" box on the first page of Google search results. Google shows the following questions that I can address in my article about "how to become a copywriter."
I might also consider turning some of these questions into separate articles.
Keyword research helps you better understand your target audience and find topics that are relevant to them. But you might still miss some important ideas that might bring a huge amount of search traffic. Competitor analysis is a good way to identify valuable keywords and find gaps in your own content.
The easiest way to do competitor analysis is to find the best examples of blogs in your niche and look through their posts. When you're searching for competitors, you'd better choose those with large traffic. Similarweb is a tool that can help you check how many monthly visits a website has.
For example, Hubspot has one of the most popular blogs about marketing. Let's see how much traffic it gets. 14 M visits! Wow, that's huge! If you have a blog about marketing, you can browse Hubspot and write down topics you haven't covered yet.
If you prefer a more data-driven approach to competitor analysis, you can use the Semrush Keyword Gap tool that compares keyword portfolios of several domains at a time. Using this tool you can find out keywords that you've missed out on.
You can get more insights about your competitor's content with Ahrefs:
Now when you know what problems your audience wants to solve, what keywords they use to search for information and what your competitors publish on their blogs, there is still one more thing we need to figure out. And that's trends.
By discovering what people in your industry are currently talking about, you can find untapped content topics.
What topics are currently hot? There are a few tools that can help you figure it out!
The Reddit Keyword Research Tool
This tool shows you hot topics that people are talking about on Reddit. To use it, type in the name of a subreddit and get a list of keywords from that subreddit. For example, if I type in "web-design" subreddit, I'll get the following list of keywords:
Exploding Topics is a tool that analyzes millions of searches, conversations, and mentions across the internet from popular categories such as education, lifestyle, health, and legal, and shows you topics that are getting more and more popular.
This tool shows you the top articles that receive the most engagement on social media. Let's try "renewable energy." As you can see, BuzzSumo shows the latest news in this industry.
YouTube is a great place to discover content ideas. All you need to do is find some channels in your industry and see the most popular videos on those channels. For example, let's say you write about startups. Let's see which videos are the most popular on TK Kader's channel about scaling a SaaS startup:
YouTube is a treasure trove for content ideas!
Product Hunt is another great tool to find content ideas, especially for those who write about technology, new products, and startups. Using Product Hunt discussions, you can find questions that interest software entrepreneurs and use them in your content plan.
Just like YouTube videos, Podcasts can be an awesome place to research content ideas. Find some trending podcasts in your industry and look through their episodes. Pay attention to titles and also descriptions.
For example, I work in the software industry, and one of the podcasts I often listen to is called Found by TechCrunch. On this podcast, they interview startup founders in different industries asking them about their companies and how they've built them. For me, this podcast is a great source of information about trending technologies and products that get investors' attention.
Because industry conferences are usually held once a year, they're a perfect source to look for relevant in-demand topics. For example, here is what the lead generation track at AdWorld, one of the biggest marketing conferences, looks like:
Feedly helps you pull together all blogs that interest you to keep you up to date with content that's getting published in your niche. It can help you identify some of the content tendencies across different websites and hone in on the best stories and topics to focus on.
So there you have it, here is a quick summary of how to come up with new content ideas:
Remember, content ideas should always come from your audience. If you get a chance to communicate with people who read your blog, make sure you ask them what type of content they prefer, what topics they would like you to write more about, and if they've enjoyed your latest blog post.
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