Sometimes inspiration for great blog content comes easily. The idea almost pops into our head fully formed and all we need to do is put pen to paper, or nowadays, fingers to keyboard.
Unfortunately, it isn’t always that way.
Other times, it feels like your brain is doing something like this…
So, what do we do on those days when we’re feeling about as inspired as cold cup of tea?
Fortunately, all is not lost.
In this blog post I’ll be exploring some of the tools and methods you can use to help you come up with the inspiration to create engaging and thought-provoking content.
So, if you want to find out my tried and tested solutions to coming up with great blog post topics, here we go…
1. Use a Tool Like Buzzsumo, Google Alerts, Mention (Among Others)
One of the best ways to find inspiration for your blog content is by using a tool that allows for both mentioning monitoring and researching topics.
We’ll cover this is two sections as they involve slightly different approaches but should achieve similar goals.
Mention monitoring tools are ideal for keeping track of people talking about your blog, your industry or your areas of interest online. They usually track mentions across both social media and websites.
It’s worth experimenting with what works for you but a good place to start is by monitoring mentions of 3-5 keywords in your industry and seeing what results you get.
You’ll almost certainly have to do some extra filtering, exclude some words, set up location filtering and probably other things too, but nonetheless, you’ll start to get the information you need to be able to see what people are talking about online when it comes to your industry.
Once you have this data, ask yourself some of the following questions?
- Are people consistently talking about the same things? If so, are you able to offer expert opinion or insight into the topics they’re talking about?
- Do people consistently ask the same questions or encounter the same problems? If so, is there a way that you can help to answer them?
- Is there any big or breaking news in your industry? Again, if you feel you can offer a take on it then it could be a blog post
With mention monitoring, you are also able to keep track of specific people and companies. So, if other experts in your field are sharing great content, you can often build on their work by exploring things further, doing round ups, or offering further discussions points etc.
So, what are the best tools for mention monitoring? Here are the main tools that we use at SiteVisibility and suggest you take a look at:
Note: we explore this a bit further in section 3
Topic research involves using a tool to undertake research to find the type of content in your field that’s performing well already and seeing if you can build on it, expand it further, learn from it, or even challenge it.
Here at SiteVisibility we use two specific tools for this which approach it in slightly different ways:
Buzzsumo is one of our favourite tools and if we only recommend one tool from this entire section, this would be it.
Within Buzzsumo, all you need to do is search for the topic or search term that you’re interested in and you’ll see the most popular and best performing content:
The screenshot below shows the worldwide results for the term SEO trends 2019:
In the click of a button, you’re able to research content from all over the world and sort it by a number of different metrics including engagements, backlinks, shares and more.
By reviewing the results and seeing what’s worked for others, you can come up with inspiration for your own blog content.
The SEMrush Topic Research tool is a great way of getting blog inspiration quickly, and it also has the added bonus of including search volume data too, saving you the time of doing separate research.
It’s one of our favourite tools when it comes to spotting new opportunities within your blog content and in a commercial sense, spot gaps where your competitors aren’t performing.
To use it, you simply put in an area you’d like to focus on, select the country and let it do the rest.
Think of it as automated brainstorming…
Each of these cards (as SEMrush refer to them) contains an existing post that they deem to have been ‘successful’ as well as 10 potential blog post titles.
Combining what you can learn from a blog post that’s already doing well, the potential search volume, and your own thoughts, you can very quickly come up with a quite a few ideas for fantastic blog content.
2. Read Your Social Posts, Comments and Emails to Find Customer Pain Points
The logical next step from point 1, every time someone leaves a comment, asks a question or sends you an email, you’ve got a potential blog post right there.
You might find that several people are asking you the same thing, or that they want a piece of advice on how to action something from a previous blog post, or maybe they’re just offering a counter opinion? All of it could be relevant and useful future content for your readers. If somebody has taken the time to contact you, you can be sure plenty more people will be thinking the same thing.
You could also ask your staff, if there are problems or issues they are having and see if they become the inspiration for a post.
Solving a problem is nearly always a source of great content.
Even simpler, just ask them what they think you should be blogging about and to suggest some titles. Likewise, you could ask your readers the same thing. After all, if they’ve said they want more of X or Y, giving it to them is never a bad idea.
Finally, it may also be worth reviewing the comments and posts on competitors or on other sites in your industry as well.
3. Keep a Content Tracker Spreadsheet
It’s worth keeping a spreadsheet of content that you’ve come across in the past that you’ve found interesting.
At SiteVisibility we find that a shared Google Sheet is more than enough for people to add to and it’s the perfect place to look for some inspiration on those rainy days when your creative brain isn’t working at 100%.
When it comes to thinking up some new content ideas, simply review the content that people have added and see if you can come up with your own blog content inspiration.
When creating your own content tracker, we recommend using some (if not all) of the following columns:
- Twitter handle
- Description – if you fill this in at the time, it will help speed things up when you’re looking for content ideas later
- Category – these will be self-defined but we’d recommend sorting them by topic
- Content type – again, you define these yourself, but it could be something like:
- Curated list
- Date Added
*Note: If you’re in a large organisation, it may be worth splitting these out by separate tabs so you can keep track of them more easily and don’t end up with an unmanageable spreadsheet.
4. Update or Take Inspiration From Old Posts
One of the best ways to inspire new content is to look at your old stuff.
If you’ve got old posts that have performed well but are getting out of date, bring them up to the present day. This can be done either by updating the original or creating a new one and then linking to it. If a post has done well in the past then it’s likely you’ve created something that resonates, performs well in search, or has generated discussion. Therefore, it makes sense to try and replicate that.
For example, in 2016 we wrote a blog that Outlined the Top 3 Challenges Faced by Retailers in 2016 and it immediately became one of our most popular posts ever in terms of organic traffic. So, at the end of 2017 we created another that talked about some of our original points and posed some more.
Guess what? It replaced the original post at the top of our Landing Pages report in GA and we wrote it in a way that aimed to replace it in the SERPS too… which it did.
So how does this help you? Well, your old content could well be some of the best inspiration for your new stuff. It will take some digging around in Google Analytics or Google Search Console, and will probably take some trial and error but akin to a prospector finding gold in the Wild West, you could stumble upon a stream of content that works for you and can be your go-to when you need inspiration.
If you have any methods of getting inspiration for your blog content we’d love to hear them either via the comments below or on social.
If you’re looking for help with your content marketing efforts, please don’t hesitate to get in touch, our team would be happy to help. You can either call us on 01273 733433 or via the contact form below.