No matter how flashy your website or blog looks, at the end of the day it’s only as good as its content.
One of the biggest challenges of running a content-dependent site is keeping your audience captivated. There are multiple streams of content competing for your audience’s attention, and unless you consistently deliver high-quality posts, they’ll tune out.
Here are seven of our favorite tips for generating new blog post ideas guaranteed to keep your audience coming back for more.
1. Practice ESP with Keyword Optimization
SEO content is any content designed to attract search engine traffic. Keyword optimization means using the top keywords (words and phrases your audience uses to search) related to your business to tailor your content for maximum organic search visibility. Use your keywords as clues for how people found your content, what your audience already responds to, and they want to see more of. Give your audience what they want, without having to ask for it.
To make effective use of your keywords for content creation purposes, do keyword research before you start writing. Focus on keywords that are already getting high search volume, so you’re writing about topics people are searching for. Google’s Keyword Planner is a great place to start.
Also pay attention to related words or topics for ideas to optimize for, or write about. You can find related terms at the bottom of a Google search engine results page. As a quick example, here are some alternatives to the query for “blog post ideas.”
2. Tap into the Power of Online Trends
Whatever is currently trending online is a rich source of engaging material. You may have heard the term “trendjacking.” Trendjacking (or newsjacking) is appropriating a trending topic for use on your own site. If there’s a story that’s in-line with your business, jump on the trend and share the news with your audience.
For example, last year we created an infographic using our data to try and predict who would win an Oscar based on how much content was being shared about them online. Another recent trend that marketers jumped on around the world was the release of the latest Star Wars Film (some taking trendjacking even further, like this example from Hootsuite, by publishing their article on newly named Star Wars Day, May 4th #Maythe4thBeWithYou)
To maximize your trendjacking success, keep these pointers in mind:
- Be timely
- Choose the right story (make sure it’s relevant)
- Think critically and bring something new
One caveat with trendjacking: Be careful. It can backfire if you’re not tactful, so tread carefully on stories which could be seen as controversial, divisive, or in poor taste.
3. Keep It Timely with Seasonal Content
The calendar is another great place to look for inspiration. Whether it’s back-to-school time, the holidays, or mid-summer vacations, there is a constantly changing list of trending topics to touch on. Not only are these opportunities constantly rotating, but they usually require less setup (users probably know why you’re talking about something seasonal), and have a baked in sense of urgency.
Be sure to avoid worn-out cliches or content which seems exclusive to certain groups, especially if your audience is diverse. You want your seasonal content to feel inclusive, and not unintentionally alienate certain groups.
Last spring at AddThis HQ we put together a social media spring cleaning list for community managers. It was timely (spring), required little backstory (spring cleaning is a trope), and best of all, super useful and applicable to our readers.
4. Get Personal with Case Studies
When in doubt, get personal by spotlighting a particular person, group, or situation over a period of time. Case studies generate high-quality content because they convey the true value of your products or services with your audience. Case studies should be distinguished from testimonials. Testimonials are merely opinions, whereas proper case studies are backed by facts and stats.
Case studies are effective because quantifiable facts and stats convey authority and legitimacy. However, creating a compelling case study requires finesse. Kissmetrics provides a comprehensive resource on how to use case studies to create content. They also have a great case study section on their site if you’re looking for inspiration on how to structure yours.
5. Bring it Home with User-Generated Content
What’s a better source for content than your own customers? If you know how to reach out and become a platform for your audience to tell their stories, they’ll help create content that’s in line with your brand and your readers. User-generated content (UGC) can be used on your website, blog, and social media.
One way to get your audience in on the posts is with a CTA (call to action). Call for outsourced content by asking your audience to submit their own content. When you receive multiple responses, curate the top contenders to share on your site.
By sharing user-generated content, you not only gain free content, you also create a sense of community, loyalty, and appreciation for your customers.
GoPro is an awesome example of UGC (literally) in action. While their product really lends itself to UGC, they’ve done an excellent job making it foundational to their content strategy. Here’s a helpful list of other brands that have successfully utilized UGC for marketing campaigns.
6. Tap into Your Employee’s Expertise
Your biggest source for blog post ideas could be sitting right next to you. Just as you can use your audience to create relevant content, you can ask your employees or colleagues to create thought-leadership posts.
Tapping an internal expert to generate content can give your blog a different tone and spin on your typical posts. It’s also gives your content a more personal feel when it’s explicitly written by internal team members from different departments.
7. When in Doubt, Ask Your Audience!
If you want to know what content your audience wants to see, just ask them.
Pose the question to your audience or subscribers and then follow-up on their responses. Ask what kinds of content they want to see more of, and if they have suggestions on how you can improve. You’ll likely get a slew of new blog post ideas.
You can pose these questions on your blog or on social media. You may also consider a more formal survey which you send out to your subscribers via email.
Whatever method you choose, take the answers to heart. Analyze the responses, then refine your content accordingly. When you do publish content that your audience asked for, be sure to call it out and let them know you not only listened to their suggestions, you acted on it.
Here’s an example from Neil Patel of an email he sent to his subscribers asking them what topics he’d like to teach. This same kind of question and survey can be applied to content you can cover on your blog, social media, webinar series, etc.
The “Choose which topic you think I should teach here” led to this simple survey:
With these seven ways to come up with new blog post ideas, go forth and engage your readership! Your website or blog’s success ultimately relies on your ability to provide engaging, high-quality content for your visitors. Use our tips to source creative content that appeals to your audience.