Struggling to come up with content ideas for your blog? Here are 12 strategies for generating value-packed blog content that converts for your business.
Tip #1: Start with your target audience
Before you start brainstorming content for your blog it’s important to first make sure you understand who you are writing for. Doing this work up front will save you a lot of time in the content creation process because it gives you a much better understanding of what kinds of content are going to convert.
So step one is having a deep understanding of your buyer persona(s) and what content they want to read. What kinds of content is your buyer persona searching for? When you know your audience and what they want to read, you stop wasting time on content that doesn’t serve your business.
Not sure how to build a buyer persona? Check out my blog post to learn more.
Tip #2: Understand your content needs for each stage of the buyer’s journey
Once you’re dialed into your buyer personas, the next step is to brainstorm the content needs that your buyer persona has at each stage in the buyer’s journey.
As they are making that purchasing decision, what are their biggest questions or concerns? Read through the below questions and start brainstorming a list of ways you can answer these questions through blog content. The key is to create a ton of content for each stage of the buyer’s journey.
What does your target audience need to believe in order to want to purchase your product or service?
What is the biggest push-back you get from potential customers?
What do you wish people knew about your industry?
What are the most frequently asked questions you hear?
What is a knowledge gap that your target audience has when it comes to your product or service? How can you educate them?
What is a problem or conflict your target audience faces? What do they need help with? How can you solve it for them?
Why do people use your product or service?
Is there anything complicated you need to explain about your product or service that someone wouldn’t immediately understand?
Why do you offer the product or service that you do? What’s the benefit? What’s the point?
How does your product/service work?
How can a potential customer start experiencing the benefits of your product or service before purchasing? Is there anything you can recommend them to do?
What makes you different from your competitors?
Why should someone trust you? What expertise or background do you bring to the table?
What exactly are they going to get when they hit that purchase button?
What benefits have your current customers been experiencing thanks to your product or service?
Tip #3: Perform keyword research
With keyword research, you can create a list of phrases, words, and questions that you know people are searching for and then use that list to come up with valuable content for your readers.
Keyword research also helps you rank better when it comes to Search Engine Optimization (SEO). When you start building content based on common keywords in your industry you will have a better chance of gaining organic traffic.
Check out my blog post to learn more about how to perform keyword research.
Tip #4: Create content pillars
Once you’ve researched your targeted keywords, start to sort those keywords by topic. This helps you organize your content ideas and also establish where you want to build topical relevance. Getting organized with your larger content buckets or content pillars also makes it easier to generate specific blog topics.
Ask yourself these questions to start figuring out your major content pillars:
What do you want to be known for?
What do you want people to come to your blog to learn about?
What questions do people have about those topics?
How can you break down each question into a blog post?
Each blog post should only cover one specific topic at a time that falls under a larger topic area you have chosen to cover.
Tip #5: Tune in to frequently asked sales questions
The best place to find creative content ideas that will resonate with your audience is to look at the questions they are asking you or your customer service team.
What questions do you or your customer service team get asked all the time? Make a list of these questions and start brainstorming ways you can turn these questions into blog content.
Tip #6: Listen to your target audience
You should spend less time assuming you know your audience’s content needs and more time listening to their content requests. The first stop is your frequently asked sales and customer service questions (see above!). The next stop after that is anywhere your target audience likes to hang out online.
Some great sites to check out are:
Amazon: Even if you aren’t selling anything on Amazon, this website could still be helpful for you. Check out customer questions and feedback on products in your industry. Use these to get a good sense of what people are looking for and what questions they have when it comes to your industry or topic area.
Quora: This is a forum for posting and asking questions. By following the topic areas your business covers you can see what questions people are asking. Use these questions to build out your content ideas.
Reddit: Search the topic you want to write about and read through comments in relevant communities to get a sense of what people are talking about and the language or keywords they are using.
Industry-specific discussion groups: Seek out and find different forums for your industry. These resources are great for diving into the mind of your ideal consumer, getting on top of trends in your industry, and ensuring you are capturing the language and keywords that people are frequently using.
Tip #7: Perform a content audit
Sometimes evaluating your current content helps identify where you need to focus your future content. This is where a content gap analysis can come in handy.
Start by identifying the content you already have on your blog or other channels. Organize your content into one spreadsheet using these categories:
Buyer’s journey stage
Targeted audience/buyer persona
Content format (how does this content currently exist, e.g. blog, infographic, video, etc.)
Any other notes or relevant information
Once you’ve compiled all your current content into a list start noticing themes and trends.
Do you talk a lot about one area of your business and not the other?
Do you have a lot of decision stage content, but not enough awareness stage content?
Identify your gaps and start brainstorming ways to fill them or ways to add on to the content you already have. This is also a useful exercise so you aren’t duplicating efforts and you can repurpose or update old content instead of recreating the wheel.
Tip #8: Sync your marketing calendar with your content calendar
Sometimes the key to content creation is syncing up your content schedule with your marketing calendar. By being proactive and looking ahead, you can plan out your blog content to align with any upcoming campaigns, initiatives, product launches, events, etc.
This way you won’t miss out on relevant blog content. Plus you can skip out on the last-minute frenzy to get out a blog about that new product you’re launching.
Here are some questions to ask yourself to help generate content ideas based on your upcoming schedule:
What events do you have coming up that you should put out content for or that you want to promote?
Are you launching any new products or services? What questions do you need to answer before you launch?
Are you excited about any upcoming announcements, campaigns, or initiatives? How can you identify content that supports these?
Will you be attending or hosting any conferences, podcasts, shows, or other events? Plan to write up content before and after the event to promote and also share what you’ve learned.
Tip #9: Check out your competitors
While you shouldn’t ever be stealing your competitor’s content, it is a helpful exercise to get to know the content that your competitors are putting out.
And I’m not just talking about your direct competitors, but also the other content platforms where your target audience might be spending time. Your blog is competing with those content channels, so it’s important to know what exactly you are competing with.
What gaps do I have in my content that exist on their website/blog?
What topics are they heavily focused on?
What topics are getting a lot of traction/engagement?
How can I make my content different and better than their content?
What makes me stand out from them?
What unique perspective do I offer on this topic?
When you acknowledge your own content gaps compared to your competitors, you can start to identify your own content areas to focus on.
Tip #10: Read everything and anything in your industry
The more you can read about your industry the easier it will be to pick up on trends and content ideas. Spend a few hours every week reading or listening to the latest blogs, articles, books, podcasts, and other content in your industry.
Start to gather your thoughts, even if they aren’t concrete ideas, into a spreadsheet. And make sure to save your favorite articles in a swipe file, or a saved folder. Then when you hit writer’s block or run out of content ideas, you can circle back to that spreadsheet and swipe file for inspiration.
Tip #11: Get a group together for a brainstorming session
Sometimes a good old-fashioned brainstorming session is the best way to hammer out new content ideas. The key to a successful brainstorming session is not focusing on finding the “best” idea but focusing on getting out any and all ideas.
After the session is over you can go through and pick out the best ideas to focus on. But in your group, open it up so everyone feels comfortable sharing whatever comes to mind. You might be surprised by what content ideas you come up with that you hadn’t thought of before!
Tip #12: Listen to what the data is telling you
As you are planning future content make sure to dive into the analytics on how your current content is performing. This will give you a better sense of what is and isn’t resonating with your audience.
If something falls flat, ask yourself why that content didn’t perform well and maybe de-prioritize that topic area. If content performs well, ask yourself how you can create more content in that topic area or how you can expand upon what that article was about. If there is interest in something, capitalize on that interest area as much as you can!
Need help generating content ideas for your blog? Don't hesitate to reach out to learn more about how I can support the needs and goals of your business' blog.