When it comes to running a blog, whether it’s for a personal website or your own small business, the biggest challenge that my clients face is coming up with a blog topic. You’d think it would be easy—but alas, it’s where most people get stuck.
But fear not. If you’re wondering how to pick your next blog topic, this handy little post will help you out. We’re going to walk through a simple three-step process for picking out your next epic blog topic so you can connect with your audience on a value-added level. You can skip ahead if you’d like:
The process for finding engaging blog topics is really simple, and the best part is that if you do it right you should be able to find more than one topic during one brainstorming session!
1. Take a look around
If you’re struggling to come up with blog topics and you have no idea what to write about next, take a look around. The internet is a big place and there are tons of opportunities for inspiration.
Instead of scratching your head and wondering what you can even add to the conversation, it’s helpful to go on an internet search. But where to look? I recommend checking out a few places:
- Your favourite blogs—you read them, see what they’re talking about and what gaps you think need to be filled
- Your competitor’s blog—this is a GREAT place to look for blog topics. What are they currently talking about, and more importantly, what does it look like they’re missing?
- A professional association or organization that you’re part of—associations and groups tend to be tapped into what their members are talking about, so see what they’re talking about and how it applies to you and your business
- Your favourite news site—The news is a great place to look for topic ideas. What’s happening out in the world and how does it apply to your business? Did a big celebrity get divorced? Maybe you can talk about the implications of wealthy divorces on your family law blog!
There are SO MANY places out there where you can find inspiration for your blog. Note that it’s important not to steal anyone else’s idea, simply borrow their topic and put your own spin on it.
I recommend setting the clock for 30 minutes, grabbing a notebook, piece of paper or iPad and Apple Pencil and start a big list. Do this once a week, once every few weeks or even once a month to make sure you’re getting fresh ideas.
Then, make sure this list ends up somewhere where you can have regular access to it and add to it as you go along. That way you’ll never be out of great blog topics!
2. Find your keywords
Chances are that the pile of blog topics that you’ve now come up with are simple one or two words with nothing really substantial behind them (unless you’re a nerd like me and you add notes along the way). That’s where keyword research comes in.
Keyword research is something that we do to help search engine optimization, but realistically, we also do this so that we can come up with the most comprehensive blog post possible. Researching keywords makes it easier for you to give the Google-searching public (and your audience) what they want in a blog post.
Finding the best keywords for your blog topic starts with Google (or your preferred search engine of choice). Head there, start typing in your main topic and copy down all of the suggested answers that Google gives you. For example, if I want to do a blog post on law firm marketing, this is what Google suggests for me:
While these Google searches don’t always bring out all of the golden nuggets, they can give you some real insights for what people are currently searching for.
Now, you might notice that my Google search has more information than yours—namely, I can see the search volume (i.e. 2,900/mo) and the dollar value. That’s because I use a paid tool called Keywords Everywhere that gives me that information.
But Keywords Everywhere isn’t my only SEO—nor is it my favourite because it doesn’t give me nearly enough information on the topic.
My favourite tool, and the one I spend a good 25 percent of my day in is SE Ranking.
I like SE Ranking because it’s a lite version of SEMrush without the hefty $100+ per month price tag. For less than $30 per month, I get access to information on any keyword or competitor that I’m interested in.
Yes, there are free ways to search like Ubersuggest, but as someone who gets most of her blog traffic organically through Google, I would highly recommend that you invest in a paid SEO program. Especially if you can find something inexpensive. I pair SE Ranking with Rank Math (my number one plugin for WordPress bloggers) for some real SEO power.
While this article is about picking your next blog topic, it’s important to understand the value of keywords when it comes to beefing up a great topic.
Having more keywords not only means better SEO, but also a more comprehensive blog post. If you’re a fashion blogger that’s writing about spring dresses and you find out that people are searching for “blue flower spring dress” you can add it into your post, not only giving you more keywords but also more comprehensive content!
3. Create your outline
Some might consider the outline of your topic part of your writing process, but I put it firmly in the topic idea part of the process.
Why? Because if you can’t come up with more than one subhead on your topic, then it wasn’t meant to be. A well-written blog post doesn’t necessarily have to be as long as this one, but it does need to truly cover the topic that you’re talking about.
Covering a topic means asking the questions your readers will ask, the subsequently answering them. It’s important that you’re comprehensive—that doesn’t mean that you have to touch on everything and everything, especially if your topic is HUGE like “freelance writing.” It just means that at the end of the day if someone reads your blog post, they need to get something out of it.
If you’re looking for a general outline rule, I recommend drafting your headline (this can change) and three to five headings (if you have more than that you’re looking at a MUCH longer blog post). If you can come up with that, you’re golden!
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