You know you should have a blog on your website, but what do you do if you have no blog post ideas to publish on it?
Well, here are eight ideas so when you’re next working with a writer (like me), you know you’ve given them a list that’s genuinely useful for your target audience.
When I hear people talk about how they can “churn out content”, it makes me shudder. God knows there’s enough thoughtless filler content knocking about on the internet. We certainly don’t need more content just for the sake of it.
Content that’s genuinely useful and shareable is the stuff that shows you’re an expert in your industry or niche.
It’s also the stuff that attracts your ideal customer and helps them realise your particular product or service is the right one for them.
So with all that in mind, how can you find content topics that are genuinely useful for your audience?
Let’s get straight into the list…
1. How to use your product/service
This is a great one to start with – the ever popular ‘how to’. If you need to learn how to do something, you’ll usually head to Google and type or voice search:
how to [insert question here]
The chances are your product or service could do with some guides or supporting content.
If you have a product, consider articles on…
- How to use it
- How it’s made
- How its features and benefits make it the best product of its type
And if you offer a service…
- The process and how it works from start to finish
- How to get started
- How your service helps your ideal customer
These are just a few ideas to kickstart your list. I’m sure you’ll be able to think of many more specific to your business.
2. FAQs and common customer service queries
What could be more useful to a potential customer than being able to answer any questions before they realise they want to ask them?
Frequently asked questions and common customer service queries are a fantastic source of content ideas, as you know you’re getting right to the heart of what your customers or clients need from you.
Considering FAQs and queries can help open your eyes too. Often when we’re immersed in our industry or niche with years of experience, it’s hard to think of it from the point of view of a layperson or novice who might not have the same understanding.
The questions people are commonly asking can be a goldmine of potential blog post ideas.
Like the name suggests, the mythbuster is a great post type to dispel any myths there might be around your product, service or industry.
Are there any common misunderstandings around your business or your business type?
Are there any terms or phrases associated with it that people get muddled?
You can use FAQs and customer service queries to help come up with topics for a mythbuster too. Anything people frequently misunderstand or find confusing relating to your business is useful to include in a mythbuster.
Putting together a guide that clears up a number of myths is not only great blog content but the individual myths and responses can make useful content for social media, too. This way, you get the most mileage possible from your content.
If there’s one thing I enjoy, it’s efficiency 🤓
4. Current news or trends you can jump on
Keeping up with current news stories or trends that are relevant to your business or niche is another great source of ideas.
The only issue with this idea is you can’t tell when something relevant to your business or industry is going to pop up. So you can’t rely on the news for a steady stream of ideas.
But if you’re able to react quickly and get some useful content out in a timely way, you may be able to make the most of any traction on social media.
While some trends hang around, others often pass quickly and without warning. So if you can’t get content ready quickly enough, you could waste your time and/or money.
Or even worse, you risk looking a little sad and behind the times by talking about news and trends after they’re current.
5. Google Trends
On the topic of trends, Google Trends is a useful tool to help you come up with high level, relevant topics.
Enter a broad topic or search term and filter by country and timespan. Then you can see how interested people are and if interest is growing or declining.
If I wanted to find out more about the topic of acrylic painting and its general popularity in the UK over the past 12 months, this is what I’d see:
It also suggests related topics and terms you might want to look into. They aren’t always relevant, like acrylic nails which is suggested as the top related query for my search.
But I can see there’s an increase in people looking for acrylic painting tutorials. This is great if that’s what I want to write about (and I often do).
The topics are definitely broader than you’d want to cover in one blog post, but it’s a great starting point. Plus, you can often come up with a few blog content ideas from one search on Google Trends.
6. Answer The Public
While we’re looking at useful tools, Answer The Public is another good ‘un.
With Answer The Public, you enter your topic (again, I’ve used acrylic painting) and it suggests a list of questions people are asking on this topic.
Here’s a handful of the questions that came up from my topic search:
Sometimes the questions are obvious or commonly asked questions but others may surprise you (such as “can acrylic painting freeze?” which isn’t something I’d ever considered before 🤷♀️)
This is definitely one to explore for your niche or topic.
7. Look at what your competitors are doing… then do it better
It’s surprisingly easy to come up with ideas that are relevant to your industry or niche by looking at what your competitors have on their blogs. Then you can use this as inspiration for an even better, more in-depth article for your own site.
The crucial thing here is NOT TO COPY the approach your competitors have taken with their articles. Creating a carbon copy of existing content is not only plagiarism but it’ll offer absolutely no benefit to you in the long run. Duplicate content is one of the many factors Google’s ranking algorithm considers, and it’ll work against you.
You’ll need to consider if the articles will work for your business and do your research to make sure they’re popular topics among your target audience. It’s not enough to assume your competitors have done their research!
And even better – can you add some of your own original data or research to the content to really set it apart from that of your competitors? Or maybe you can approach it from a different angle?
All in all, this is a great way of generating ideas. You just need to make sure you do the work and check its popularity, as well as developing it to make it even better than whatever you’ve already seen online.
8. Figure out what no one in your industry is talking about
This idea is a little more labour intensive but can turn up some absolute gems, not to mention setting you apart from others in your industry.
What you’re looking for here are the content gaps. This is the stuff that isn’t being covered for whatever reason. Often you might have content gaps on your own blog, but you can also see if there are general industry-wide content gaps.
What do people want to know, but no one in your industry is talking about?
One of the easiest ways to do this is to keep your eyes open on your travels around the internet and social media, reading content that’s relevant or related to your own area.
Don’t just read the post or article itself. Continue into the comments section and see if anyone (or better yet, several people) ask a question about a related topic that they can’t find the answer to anywhere online.
Then it’s over to you to write or hire someone to write a comprehensive, useful guide to the topic to answer all those questions.