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 process for picking out your next epic blog topic so you can connect with your audience on a value-added level.
Step #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!
Step #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.
Keyword research starts at Google. 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 golden nuggets, they can give you some real insights.
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.
Truthfully, Keywords Everywhere isn’t my only SEO tool. I also use Keysearch and occasionally Ubersuggest. Out of all of these tools, Ubersuggest is the only free one (though they now offer paid plans). But, if you can fit it in your budget, I would recommend using a paid program.
Keysearch is my program of choice. When I search anything on Keysearch, it gives me a ton of other suggested terms that I can also use when it comes to keywording my article.
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!
Step #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!
Need help with your blog topics?
This process takes a bit of time to get used to, but if you’re really struggling for topics or simply don’t have the time to dig in and find the information you want or need, then maybe it’s time to get help.
We happily help our clients come up with topics, research their keywords and blog post components, write their posts and even manage their blogs. If you need help running your blog, reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org, and we’ll be happy to help!