You’ve heard it before: there is no engagement without good content. It is the element in your marketing efforts that can grab your audience’s hearts and minds, with an enormous potential of bringing long-term results. However, if you already had to source content ideas for your blog, you know that appealing content is hard to find. Sometimes you feel everything has already been said, written, and discussed, and your ideas seem to have dried out.
No need for drama. There are a plethora of online tools — many of them for free — that enable you to source content ideas for your blog by leveraging the power of data and search trends. Alternatively, you can also use some old-school, straightforward tactics to find your next blog post. With them, you might find what you need right under your nose. In this article, we will look at some platforms that can help you source content ideas for your blog.
Why understanding search matters to content
People resort to online search for basically everything. Google alone processes about 3.5 billion searches every day, or 40,000 searches per second–and 1 in every 5 of those searches has never been done before. This not only provides us with an inestimable insight on how and why people use the internet, but it also represents, as one former Google data scientist states, the most important dataset ever collected on the human psyche.
From a digital marketing perspective, relying on search data is critical for driving results based on consumer behaviour. It applies not only to, say, improve conversion on your online ad campaigns, but also to have people engage with your content. Using your blog posts to start conversations and provide assistance is an efficient way of building long-term relationships that can lead to sustainable business growth.
Now let’s check some of the best tools and strategies that will help you source content ideas for your blog.
The best ways to source content ideas
Answer the Public
Answer The Public is an online platform that explores Google’s autocomplete data to dig up all kinds of questions people are asking around any keyword you want. It enables you to explore numerous, ultra-relevant content ideas based on Google’s organic search’s consumer insights. It also helps you validate and juice up your own content ideas.
Once you pick your keyword and choose a specific region, Answer the Public presents you the ‘question wheels’-comprehensive, highly visual reports that provide dozens of phrases formed around the selected keyword. Those phrases are categorized according to their relevance in Google search and the prepositions and pronouns that define the questions.
For example, if you type ‘upcycled clothing,’ the question wheel shows all relevant questions around the keyphrase, like ‘can you sell upcycled clothing,’ ‘is it legal to sell upcycled clothing,’ or ‘where to find upcycled clothing.’ The tool will organize them according to the words ‘why,’ ‘who,’ ‘what,’ ‘where,’ ‘when,’ ‘how,’ ‘can,’ ‘which,’ ‘will,’ and ‘are.’ Under these words/categories, the tool ranks the questions from the most relevant to the least.
Answer the Public has a free version that provides users with limited searches, basic data intelligence features, and downloadable reports. While these can be useful, premium subscribers have access to unlimited searches, unlimited users, data comparison over time, and prioritized support, among other features.
Google Trends is the primary keyword-related tool offered by the tech giant to analyze search volume and compare how different terms are ranking at a given moment or in time. Google Trends also provides geographical information about users, making it a critical resource for you to source relevant, engaging content ideas for your blog.
Let’s say you are still interested in writing about upcycling clothing, and you want to see if there was any recent upward trend in searches on this topic in your region. On Google Trends, you can select the country in which the searches were done, the period (either within the last hour or in the past 15 years), the category (‘clothing’, ‘fashion’, ‘retail’) and the kind of result you want (YouTube videos, Google Shopping articles, news, et cetera). You can use whatever result you have and combine it with different terms and see how they rank so that you can choose your next blog post according to the most relevant search data.
You may be put off by how Google Trends work and by its interface, thinking it might be too geeky for your everyday needs. Google Trends can actually be very easy to use, given you rely on the right support. Google provides training and support material depending on how you use the tool, like this set of lessons aimed at news professionals.
Hubspot Blog Topic Generator
Hubspot provides companies and specialists with sales, marketing, and services software for their growth needs. And one of those resources is the Hubspot Blog Topic Generator, a straightforward tool for when you feel uninspired for writing your next content post.
The Blog Topic Generator is super easy to use. All you have to do is type in your term, and the tool generates five blog post ideas – one for each business day – using these keywords.
For example, for ‘upcycling clothing,’ some ideas are ‘Upcycling Clothing: Expectations vs. Reality’ and ‘The Next Big Thing in Upcycling Clothing.’ Hubspot presents one year’s worth of blog post ideas for paying subscribers, plus some SEO tips for your content.
Social platforms (Quora, Reddit…)
Some popular tools among end-consumers can also provide you with fresh, appealing content ideas for your blog. Platforms such as Quora and Reddit have hundreds of millions of users every month, so plunging into them might be the answer for your writer’s block.
Quora is one of the most popular query platforms in the world. It may not be as powerful as Google, but it has 300 million active monthly users posing all kinds of questions. Some of them sound insanely unique or plainly absurd, which made Quora so popular in the first place. Even so, some questions may be helpful for your blog. Typing ‘upcycled clothing’, you’ll find insightful questions like ‘Why is upcycling clothes important?’, or ‘How do I do a collaboration with big brands for upcycled clothes from unused fabric?’. The people that posed these questions might just be waiting for your blog post to have the answer they need.
Reddit aggregates social news, promotes discussions among users, and rates web content. With its 430 million monthly users, this top-rated social platform can be a valuable tool to source content ideas for your blog. Once you type ‘upcycled clothing’ on Reddit, it gives you hundreds of posts with photos, videos, and discussions about ideas of reusing fabric and old clothes and how to market them. You can sort the results by date, relevance, or ‘hot,’ so Reddit gives meaningful insight on how your post can make a difference for your audience.
One more tactic to source your new blog posts is to rely on more prominent platforms, such as Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, and YouTube. If you follow the right content creators and specialized media, you’ll see fresh ideas flowing in by being up to date with the latest topics. Just be careful not to replicate outright content that others already published.
Product reviews & forums
Another way to source new content ideas for your blog is by doing a little scavenging yourself. If you search for a particular product or service related to your business, you will likely come across hundreds of product reviews and forums where people give their personal views about them. Users can vent about some bad experience they had or rave about an item that changed their lives—either way, sometimes their opinions and interactions provide helpful insights. So keep your eyes open, inspect those websites, and figure out a way of reaching these customers with inspiring content.
Rely on your own blog
This may sound a little obvious, but sometimes we can be so overwhelmed by work, by data, or by the pressure of having new ideas that we just forget to do our homework. If you can’t think of anything new to publish, simply check the most popular content on your blog. It can give you a hint of what people want, seek, and need, so try making a list of topics or titles inspired by your top articles’ main subjects. Once you have it, use the data-driven tools we presented above to validate your ideas and create content that is sure to inspire and captivate your audience.