How to Find Blog Topics for ANY Website {9 Methods with Complete Steps}

I will show you how to find blog topics for your clients/your website in the below post.

There are different reasons why you want to find blog topics. It may be because you want to:

  • Gain additional traffic on your website
  • Address pain points of your customers,
  • Establish authority on a niche,
  • Convey your USP of your business to your clients,
  • Be visible on digital touchpoints of a consumer buy decision

This article covers different ways to find blog posts that have the potential to rank on search engines for relevant keywords. Each method has at least one point from above covered and is covered with detailed steps for how to actually find blog topics on a separate page. To get all the steps, make sure that you click on other page numbers. You can find other pages at the bottom of each method.

By reading this long article, you can learn how to get:

  • Blog topics for your B2C and B2B business website
  • Topics for your niche blog
  • Content ideas for a small business
  • List of topics for guest posts
  • Additional value add:
    • learn more about your customers
    • Step by step processes of how it can be done
    • free & paid resources to make your work easy
    • keep track of your competitors
    • Align your content marketing strategy with SEO

1. Finding Blog Topics Using Competitor Website

This method is one of the most frequently used tricks for digital marketing blog ideas. You can get content topics AND beat the competition in the process.

The easiest and quickest way to do this is by using tools such as ahrefs, semrush or Spyfu to find top pages of competitors that are getting organic traffic, but this is optional. Seeing top pages that are getting significant traffic can help you prioritize those blog posts.

The rationale behind looking at your competitor’s website for topics is that since your competitor is already doing their research, you can save your resources and capitalize on the keywords they are already ranking for. Your competitor’s keywords may also be relevant to you, saving hours of work in keyword research or in finding content topics.

Follow these steps to get traffic using your competitor’s blogs.

Step 1: Find 3 Competitors Sites that have Good Blog Traffic

If you have been doing digital marketing research for the business, you should already have a list of competitors who are doing good in terms of traffic and rankings.

If not, make a list based on keywords that you are trying to rank for. Once quick way to do this is put keywords on Google search and use a VPN (if you are doing it for other country). Now see the domains that come up in search. Make a list of domains who are your direct competitors in terms of value offerings, and also note the total traffic they are getting.

You can use similarweb or ahref’s free website traffic checker to run your list.

So, Let’s assume you offer “Automation Testing” for small businesses and startups in India & the U.S.A. One of your main keywords would be the obvious “Automation testing for Startups”. So, to find your SEO competitors, you can put this keyword on Google and use a VPN to find region relevant results.

finding SEO competitors using a simple google search and a VPN.

Out of the top 3 results, I could find the third one as the main competitor. The next thing to do here is shortlist more domains (that are your competitors) and run the list in the website traffic checker.

checking website traffic using an online tool

You need monthly organic traffic estimate of each domain because you may want to see the organic performance of the websites that are successful in their blog efforts.

Step 2: Look at their top pages, traffic and primary keyword

You can easily find these top pages with the help of online tools (These tools are generally paid).

This can help you in understanding:

  • Blog topics that could be bringing them business.
  • Type of content that are helping them do well in Google search
  • Additional relevant keywords for you to target in your blogs and in service pages of your website.
finding top ranking pages of competitor by traffic using Semrush tool

If you do not have access to the subscription of these tools, you can harvest URLs of the competitors using their sitemap or with the “site” search operator.

For using competitor’s sitemap for blog topics, you can put domain.com/sitemap.xml or domain.com/sitemap_index.xml in the search bar. If you cannot make out much from the sitemap that is visible to you, you can use any online tool for extracting URLs from your competitor’s website.

Other alternative to buying a subscription is to use the free Ahref website traffic checker tool, put in the domain and just scroll down to see a few of the top pages for free.

find top pages of a website for finding blog topics for free.

The only downside is that you need a lot of competitors with good traffic to find relevant blog topics.

Step 3: Create a spreadsheet with the URLs, Topics, Primary Keyword, Volume & the Actionable

Create a spreadsheet and enter the URLs that you found during your research. You may also want to assign a primary keyword and its volume for your target country. In addition to this, you can put two other columns to make content project management work easier. You can specify if the topic is already present on your website, and the actionable for the topic.

Your spreadsheet can have these columns:

listing competitor blogs for finding content topic ideas

How you assign keyword is up to you. You can check the keywords that this URL is ranking for. Then the most relevant keyword to target according to you. The volume helps you decide if the topic is work doing.

You can notice here that URL traffic is always different from primary keyword volume that you have targeted for a page. This is because of many reasons and does not come under the scope of this article. Connect with me using live chat, email or LinkedIn to know more about this! You can also put up a comment here and will respond ASAP.

After this is spreadsheet is done, you can prioritize:

  • Blog topics to do first
  • Optimizing existing content
  • Competitor blogs that are not getting any traffic.

That’s it! With this process, you have identified blog topics that you should focus on first and as a bonus, you also have benchmarked content for you to optimize later. For competitor’s blogs that aren’t getting any traffic, you may later decide to inspect the post and see if you can do it better.

Bonus Tip

If you are on a competitor’s website, you may see a lot of content. While using tools, you may find that there may be a lot of ‘dead pages’ on competitors’ site that are not getting any traffic. Here is what you do to find worthy topics:

1. Make a list of those pages along with topics that are relevant to your website/niche as well.
2. Try to figure out which keywords they can rank for.
3. Create a content outline and get the topic written better than your competitors.
4. If you already have a page present on your site, try to optimize your existing articles.

[Make sure you check SERPs for each primary keyword you want to optimize for]

2. Find Content Marketing Blog Topics Using Webmaster Tools

You can use Google Search Console, Bing Webmaster tools, Yandex Webmaster to find new topics or supporting blog articles.

Webmaster tools apart from showing Search performance of the website are a treasure trove if other insights as well. In addition to serving as a source of truth for your search campaigns data points, SEO strategies, analysis and reporting, they can also help your find content topics that you can publish.

The idea: We will use this topic/URL to find keywords that your page is ranking for. Then, we’ll figure out the keywords tangentially related to your original topic. We will then use these keywords to spin up new content topics and link the page in the topic cluster.

Why: Search engines crawls your live pages in regular intervals and determine what kind of queries your content is suitable to rank for. It then indexes your content and finally ranks it for relevant queries. While this is done, your page ranks for queries that directly related to your topic/content. It also ranks (generally at a much lower position for queries) that are not directly related to your topic. These tangential queries are safe for you to take on a new content topic without cannibalizing your own existing content.

Note: This method works well with a topic cluster, Silo creation or topical node creation SEO strategies.

Step 1: Identify a Parent Topic/High Volume Keyword

Find a parent topic your client is passionate about/ you think has potential to give returns on search. You can also take up any page that is ranking primarily for a keyword that has high search volume.

To do this, enter the seed keyword in search console’s “Page” filter using the “URLs containing” option. Take a time frame which has max data.

in Images: This was for a client, where they were offering general information, guides, alternatives and other stuff about SPSS (PC software).

filtering pages and queries using URL containing page filter in Google search console.

Alternatively, you can sort the pages field and see the top pages receiving traffic. Select one of the pages from here. You can decide to pick a page if the topic is evergreen, or you think expanding on it can bring you sustained traffic over the time.

find top pages for finding new keywords and new content topics in Google search console

Find top pages and from the list choose page. Select a page that has a seed keyword that has high volume. You can also go by sorting by impressions and see which top page has highest difference between impressions and clicks.

Step 2: Add filters and sort data in search console

After you select a particular URL or a topic that has Mutiple URLs, you can see the queries, impressions, position and other data.

  • Make sure that the position tab is selected so that you can view the rows with position data.
  • Now choose the Queries tab from here.
  • On the right-hand side, you will see filtering options. Select the filter and choose impressions to view as a filter there.
  • Select the filter condition as “Greater than”. Look at queries where impressions > some relative value. I have entered 100 here, so that i can see the impressions that are greater than 100.
filtering queries by impressions and sorting by position in search console
  • Sort the position column in descending order by clicking on it.
  • You should be able to see all the keywords that the page is ranking for the lowest positions but has impressions greater than 100.
filtering queries for new blog topics using impressions filter and position descending order

Step 3: Look at Page Queries, Impressions & their Positions

Now look at the keywords (Queries). You may find that some of them are far off from the parent topic and so aren’t included in your main content/post. Take these queries and decide if you can spin up other articles on these queries.

Below image is not the perfect example. For the sake of illustration, you can understand how this trick might help you get supporting articles, new topics to spin off your already performing content.

I got 2 small supporting articles published, linked them internally and the results were good. The clicks, impressions and position metrics have improved for the topic cluster “SPSS”.

adding new topics to content cluster improves traffic of the cluster

You can do the same exact thing for finding new content topics using Bing webmaster, Yandex webmaster tools and other tools that can give you this kind of data.

3. Get Blog Topics from Buyer’s Decision-Making Process

This method requires some creativity, a good understanding of the business and its customers.

  • The idea here is to visualize your customer’s decision making steps based on your target audience and think of topics that might be useful for them.
  • You will be able to find blog topics that would help your users and help you gain traffic.
  • Buyer Journey’s content (content mapped to the buyer journey) is useful as this helps you direct your content marketing efforts and influence decision making of people who might actually be interested in the topic.
  • It would be useful for you since your product/service would gain visibility during the stages of a typical buyer journey and help you convert traffic to sales.

Buyer decision making process is different from a typical marketing funnel since it relies on the thought process of your customer rather than relying on activities to move your customer from one stager to other. I am talking about mix of both worlds here. Because you get into the mindset of your customer and plan your content(activity) to serve their needs in addition to helping them move to the next stage.

We will be using John Dewey’s model of consumer behavior to find blog topics for your website.

There are 5 stages as proposed by Dewey (Originally, they were 4, the 5th one was added as a modern buyer decision making process):

  • Problem Recognition
  • Information Search
  • Evaluation of Alternatives
  • Purchase Decision
  • Post Purchase Behavior

Without going into details of the buyer decision process & SEO, let’s figure out how we can leverage the model for getting content topics.

Example:
Consider, a digital marketing agency (BrandAmp) founded by 2 professionals. When they started taking projects, everything was easily done via spreadsheets. Now they want to scale and are facing an issue in management of the projects. They recognize a problem: How to manage the existing and new projects easily.

2.1 Blog Topics from Problem/Need recognition Stage

Need recognition refers to that moment when a user realizes that they have a problem that needs a solution. This is the starting point in the customer journey.

Let’s also focus on internet habits today. If a question comes to your mind or you are in a fix, what do you do first? You probably pick up your phone and start typing on Google.

These searches could be leveraged by the companies to bring a person’s attention to their product. These queries could be in the form of questions, or it might seek general information about the topic.

If these are relevant to you, you can publish an educational blog to connect with the right customer at the right stage. The aim here is not to brag about your product but actually solve the user’s query. You can showcase your product/service by adding CTAs in between content.

For getting blog topics from Problem recognition stage, you should:

  • Identify pain points or routine problems faced by your target audience. This can serve as a base for your blog topics.

Please note that the moment that the person realizes about the problem, it can be triggered by internal factors or by external factors such as advertising.

Consider the example here:

Tootion is an online workspace offering project management capabilities on their platform. They published an article on “How Tootion’s is revolutionizing the way startups work” on a PR channel got it syndicated so that business news readers get exposed to it.

BrandAmplio is a small business catering to other businesses in IT industry. They started with a small team of 3, but now are expanding. As they want to scale, they are having trouble managing their projects and expansion together. The founders know that they now need to increase operational efficiency and are doing their best to manage their projects efficiently.

  • Startups like BrandAmplio could be exposed to that PR post and start searching for more information on Project Management.
  • Even if they do not read the PR article, they could themselves search for
    • how to increase operational efficiency
    • automation of company tasks
    • project management challenges when scaling a business
    • project management services for Startups etc.

Tootion might consider these searches and publish blogs like :

  • How to manage your projects while you scale
  • Here is how you manage growing teams, projects and your company
Example (Contd.):
Now BrandAmp understands their desired state is using a project management tool. They are starting to gather information and dig deeper.

2.2 Getting Topics from the Information Stage

Now that the user is aware that a product/service can satisfy his need, he may search for information about that product.

The searches at this decision stage looks like more like mix of branded terms and “what is” keywords.

For this stage, you can easily find blog topics by:

  • Thinking about the next search of the user
  • Putting your keywords from first stage (need recognition stage) in Google and gathering the types of queries can be searched next from the results that come up.

Tootion may publish blogs related to Tootion’s features and additionally they may also publish topics like

  • how to automate your workflow: Scaling 101
  • Goods and Bads of Project Management Methods
  • best workspace and project management tools for startups
  • project management templates
  • Demo of your product or service
  • Tutorials of how the features works

These posts may help users understand more about project management and with this, they might also learn features of the product and how Tootion’s workspace can help them. Additionally, BrandAmp may come across blogs where Tootion have published additional use cases of their product and have provided additional resources – team management, personal productivity, project management templates.

Example (Contd.):
Now that BrandAmp knows about some products such as Tootion and others, they search for alternatives or other methods that help them scale and manage their projects

2.3 From Evaluation of Alternatives Stage: Blog Topics on Comparison

The user may use the information he learned in the previous stage to compare products and services and evaluate his options.

You need to think about middle of funnel content. Here you can publish comparisons of your product and your competitors (creatively =)), address deep pain points and your product as the best solution etc.

Tootion may publish blogs on topics such as:

  • Tootion vs Fira
  • Tootion vs frello etc
  • Use automation in Tootion
  • Manager vendors & their finances in your project management app.
  • Top 10 Project management tools in 20XX
  • X reasons to use a cloud based project management tool

If your client or company does not want you to put up competitor’s name right away, you can use this topics for guest posting.

Example (Contd.):
BrandAmp has shortlisted 2-3 products but needs some more persuasion for purchase.

2.4 Purchase Decision in a Buyer Journey

Users may have decided to purchase your or competitor’s product but may do some final searches before the purchase.
Here, you can publish:

  • Case studies
  • Experts recommending your product
  • Mention Discounts, one time deals
  • Reviews and Testimonials from customers
Example (Contd.):
BrandAmp decided to go ahead and give Tootion a try, since Tootion is a subscription-based service, BrandAmp has some time to evaluate and decide if they want to renew the subscription.

2.5 Leveraging Post Purchase Behavior Stage for Blog Topics

Depending on the user experience, the user may influence others to buy the product or not buy it.
For this stage (bottom funnel content), you can think of digital marketing blog ideas post extensive documentation of your product or the service, have a help & support section on the platform/website, post customer testimonials etc.

Tootions may publish extensive documentation which may help users use the product effectively, and also rank for keywords related to how to’s of project management software.

Note:

  1. This is a simplistic take on buyer decision making process. The purpose here is to get inside the mind of a consumer and understand what kind of information they need. And to help them move through the buying decision stages and purchase the product.
  2. If you already have a mapping of customer journey and queries for your industry, you can use those queries to publish blogs. Rather than going for generalization, the topics and the content should be directed to that stage.
  3. Since the topics you initially thought on your own might be built on a lot of assumptions, it is recommended to do keyword research and choose topics accordingly. This can help your content rank for target keywords and bring in relevant traffic.
  4. Companies may choose to publish blogs not because they want it to rank, but to help consumers move through the buyer stages. This movement can be aided by using contextual internal links, adding CTAs, Demo content etc.

4. Find Blogs Topics from Keyword Research

The easiest way to figuring out how to find blog topics for SEO is to do keyword research. This method will help you understand what people are searching and what you should focus on.

Before doing keyword research, you need to know your target audience. If you are a business that serves France, you need to direct your approach according to the queries most prominently used there. If you are a blogger that wants visibility from your target audience, you need to perform your keyword research according to that. This essentially means keeping in mind the language they generally use and their search habits.

There can be many approaches how you do keyword research for finding key topics, this is what I usually follow:

Step 1: Gather as many relevant keywords as you can.

Here the objective is to gather blog keywords so that you have a potential list of topics and subtopics later.
If you have a relatively smaller niche, it makes sense to gather all keywords you can. If your niche is wider, you can target a particular category.

  • To get topics, put some keywords which come to your mind in your favorite keyword research tool. You can get variations of that keyword from the tool. Look for keywords which have some volume and less difficulty.
  • Remember that you do not need to pick up all keywords for blog post, that essentially mean the same (‘much obliged’ and ‘thank you’ mean the same. Choose the one relevant to your audience.). You can choose the version most relevant to the region where your target audience is.
  • Now, you need to look for your competitors’ keywords during your SEO topic research. Look for what they are ranking. You can do that by putting your competitor’s website URL in the tool and see their organic keywords.

When you see your competitor’s keyword, put in the filters there.
Filter by volume, difficulty, and CPC. This trick still works for finding topics that you can quickly target. If you have already done that, try loosening up your limits in the filter area or use other parameters (get creative).
Bonus Tip: You can use “for” to be included in your keyword search criteria to find user friendly topics. e.g. Project management tools for *, attractive hairstyles for * ([age][gender][event type][place])

  • Now in addition to those keywords, find some long tail keywords by setting up filters of word count in your tool or find them if you have any other way. (Some tools provide long tail keywords in the form of FAQs and other suggested queries).
  • Export all your keywords to a spreadsheet.

If you are unable to get keywords for your project or the keywords that found have a very low volume, this guide for keyword research by Google can help you get an idea. Even after this, if you are not getting SEO keywords with good enough volume, you can use this trick:

  1. Try to think of some other related topics that may come to your user’s mind while searching for your topic. Use those topics as a base for your keyword research for this method. Find and sort out closely related topics and their related keywords.
  2. These keywords can be your elemental backbone for a new topic. You can add your product/services or your niche as a supplemental yet valuable content addition.
  3. Understand that SEO on a higher level is about gaining visibility. If you only target core terms that your competitor’s do, you are not doing enough. This means thinking out of the box and being visible on topics that none of your competitors have targeted yet.
  4. Based on your understanding, pick the related topics that you think can go up on your company website or your blog.

Example: Tootion is a project management software. They have a well-established online presence. They are your direct/indirect competitor. You can pick up their keywords using any tool. For making this easy, you can use filters to your advantage.

Ideally, you should exclude branded keywords and then filter out your core terms (think project management for this example). In the below image, you can see that I have put in the filters of SEMrush Organic research tab. Words count greater than 2 or 3 can give me query-based keywords which can easily make up topics for interesting blogs.

how to do keyword research when you cannot find any keywords.
Organic keyword research for finding blog topics using SEMrush.

Step 2: Shortlist keywords and make cohorts

  • Now that you have a huge list of keywords, you need to organize them. Remove the ones you think are irrelevant for you and keep all others.
  • Group similar keywords based on the topic. It might make sense for adding keywords like ‘blog topics, blogging tricks, blog content’ to a different cohort than ‘keyword difficulty, keyword research, keyword volume’.
  • Please note that you can use these queries to publish completely separate topics, or you can use them together to create an article on a border topic – it’s completely up to you.
  • It is ideal to create blog posts on each keyword, only if it has some considerable volume.
  • If you are a B2B business, you are less likely to find keywords with high volume. The solution here is to optimize for whatever you have got.

Step 3: Select keywords to find topics not already present on your site

Remember, that there should only be one main version of an article for a particular topic on a domain.

If you have some existing content for a keyword that you have just now found, you should optimize your existing content for that keyword.

Please note that if it takes much more resources for optimizing existing content than to make a new one, you can create new content and use the same existing URL.

I generally create a spreadsheet like this to plan further:

keyword research for finding new blog topics

You need columns B (Global Volume), C (Country Volume), D (Keyword Difficulty) to decide whether it is viable to create content. You can also look at metrics such as click ratio to understand if for a particular query, you can get some clicks. Not having good clicks for a query with good volume might mean that the first result is very good or there are ads on SERP or there is a featured snippet eating up the traffic for a query (zero click keyword).

Note that you are not creating content around a keyword just for the sake of traffic. You should only select topics from your blog ideas bag if it is helpful to your user.

5. Find Content Topics Using “Audience Personas”

Audience Personas can help you publish content for your audience strategically. Knowing your customers/potential audience can also help you find content topics. I will share the “how” in this section.

User persona for finding new blog topics - whiteboard image
Mapping your audience interests with your user personas on a whiteboard (Source: Canva)

What & Why of an Audience/User Persona

According to Einstein marketer, an audience avatar, user persona, audience persona, buyer persona or a customer avatar is “a detailed profile of your ideal customer. It doesn’t make assumptions or categorize people into groups. The avatar focuses on one person and outlines everything about them.”

In the interest of keeping this section short and digestible, I assume that you know what a user persona is.

“Content that is written for everyone is written for no one”.

By knowing your user’s interest, desires, pain points, common touchpoints and more, you will be able to find content ideas that much more suited/relevant to your users. 

Elements required for a persona

For the purpose for finding content topics, your persona can have any number elements. The trick here is to have enough data so that you can derive some meaningful insights on what your average audience might like to read.

Here are some common elements that I generally use to make up a persona. For the purpose of simplicity, you do not need to have ALL the information. Pick the elements you think can give you a peek of how your audience actually is.

List of Elements

  • Personal elements:
    • Age Range
    • Gender Identification
    • Area of Residence
    • Country
    • City
    • Personal goals
  • Professional elements:
    • Occupation 
    • Industry
    • Occupation work type
    • Working Schedule
    • Travel in their work
    • Professional goals
  • Extra-curricular elements:
    • Hobbies
    • General interests
    • Day – to – day life
    • Morning Routine
  • Good to have elements:
    • Affinities with Industry
    • Daily struggles
    • Pain points
    • Desires
    • Wants

Explanation of some elements mentioned above:

Most of the points are self-explanatory. For others, here are some examples for clarity:

  • Affinities
    • What part of your business product/service do they love interacting with?
    • What role do they play in the purchase decision of your solution?
  • Struggles
    • What is their daily struggle while commuting to work?
    • Struggles for a project manager might be to visualize his personal tasks in the morning, visualize his team’s tasks for the day, create shareable databases for knowledge sharing & automation between the two.
    • Struggle of a digital marketer may be to handle internal teams of content writers & external vendors (content writers) for the same project effectively.
  • Pain Points
    • Pain point of small businesses in Canada could be friction in getting financial support from institutions.
    • Pain point of a manufacturing company in USA could be shortage of employees in the market.
    • Another example for a medium business could that their administrative works keeps getting out of hand.
  • Desires
    • Desire of a food blogger might be to manage their restaurant visits and writing reviews while still maintaining their day jobs.
    • Want of a copywriter could be to reduce his proofreading time so that he can produce more content per day.
    • Want of a SEO executive could be to have SEO SOPs, Temples tailored for his projects so that his turnaround time for tasks related to his project goes down.

More context for creating audience personas

You can add other elements you think are necessary for you to know. Adding these would depend on your niche and your use case.

Once you have this information, you will have a much clearer idea on some broad topics as well as specific content topics that you would like the content on.

Please note that a B2B audience persona can have lesser and other typical elements such as their role in decision making, type of company they work with, the software/brands they are exposed to, their professional goals etc.

It is a good idea to create a template in spreadsheet including the above elements. Once you are done, you can create multiple personas and give each persona a separate worksheet.

A worksheet could also contain topics or clusters that you may create content on. Other than that, it can contain YouTube videos, market research, other resources related to your avatar habits on buying, evaluating, researching etc. 

Creating an audience persona for finding blog topics

Creating an audience persona is easy if you already know about your target audience. If not, you can use Google Analytics for creating personas.

What if you do not have enough data to get these insights? There is a way around that. You Competitors!

Find competitors closest to you in terms of target audience, offerings and positioning.

Put it in the market explorer tool of SEMrush and click on the Audience tab:

If you do not have access to SEMrush, here are some resources to help you create personas without paying anything:

  • Ask you sales team what your customers are like!
  • Look at market research reports and use free market research tool to know about your audience and industry. You can use:
    • Statista. You can get a lot of data even with a free account.
    • Google Trends. You can use it to identify trending topics in a region.
    • Govt websites for statistics. Govt of Canada has a massive website for this purpose. US govt has one too.
    • Reports and Studies from other major brands. For example: if your niche is “human resource” or “remote job markets”, Glassdoor has a market analysis section on their website.
    • LinkedIn (highly relevant for B2B) and other social media platforms to collect representative samples of your target audience.
  • Use tools on your website to collect data. You can use SurveyMonkey or TypeForm.

You can use these free templates to put in your data and create a persona:

  • UserForge – The only persona creator I could find that is not restrictive. It has a free plan for 2 personas and 2 collaborators.
  • HubSpot make my persona – Interactive, easy to use persona maker but has fields you may not want to fill.
  • Adobe Express User Persona Templates – Thousands of free templates but takes too much time to create a detailed one. Also, some elements while creating personas are paid (like Canva).

I suggested to create an excel sheet since no free template allows you to put all the data that you want there. Excel sheets are easy, and since you might already be using Google Sheets or MS excel sheets in your professional life, you can make them quickly.

Using Persona to find Blog topics (with an Example)

Now that you have a pretty good idea of what your ideal customer looks like, you can start thinking of blog topics that might be interest to them and have a rationale for each of these.

I’ll share a fictional example here:

For example: You’re a personal finance coach who runs a blog and you want topics to publish on. Using the methods mentioned above, you create user personas.

  • Name: Bandler Ching
  • Age Range: 18-24
  • Gender Identification: Prefers not to say
  • Area of Residence: Urban
  • Country: USA
  • City: Boston
  • Personal goals: Wants to retire by age 40
  • Occupation: Software developer
  • Industry: IT
  • Occupation work type: Hybrid/Work from home and office
  • Working Schedule: 9 AM to 5 PM but works 10-12 hours a day
  • Professional goals: Lead a product division
  • Hobbies: Writing tutorials
  • General interests: Climate Change, Travelling, Eating out
  • Day – to – day life
    • Starts a day with strong coffee
    • Goes to a gym
    • Works at office and then sometimes at home.
    • Listen to podcasts
    • Often hangs out with F.R.I.E.N.D.S. at a coffee shop
    • Read blogs, browses internet, Instagram scrolling before sleeping
  • Affinities with my Industry:
    • follows “financial independence” Instagram pages
    • Likes and engages in “motivational quotes” and “self independence” posts on reddit and other micro blogging sites.
    • Have some amount invested in mutual funds and large caps
  • Daily struggles
    • Does not have time to look at his financial portfolio
    • Struggles to go out with friends more often/spend more time with loved ones
  • Pain points
    • Investment does yield good return
    • Does not have adequate knowledge of market to invest in other asset classes
  • Desires
    • To open his own software development business
    • Be his own boss
  • Wants
    • wants to get a higher salary
    • wants to make quick cash on the side

Now that you have created this persona, you can use this information for richer insights.

If you are in the financial advisor business from some time, or you have a good sense of consumer behavior in your business, you can derive some beautiful insights.

These insights can inspire you to find website topics and additionally help you direct your business efforts towards a more strategic approach.

Find out what a male identified person with age range 18-24 and who has interests in traveling, eating out, and climate change likes.

  • Is this person (Bandler Ching) less risk averse and more into managing personal finance?
  • Is the person who is interested in climate change also interested in ESG investing or investing in cleantech companies?

If you are a business catering to this kind of audience then you may already know the answer. If not, research articles can be your way moving forward. With the help of this information, you are ensuring that you are creating content that will resonate with your reader.

Here are some sample topics that I could think of at the moment from this persona:

  1. Planning to retire early? Here are 9 things you need to start right now!
  2. 5 Tips for achieving financial independence without sacrificing your social life
  3. Transitioning from Employee to an Entrepreneur: how to start your own software company
  4. How to negotiate a higher salary: start earning higher with these strategies
  5. Side hustles for quick cash: Your financial independence is closer than you think
  6. Forget mutual funds and equities: these investment options can help you make more money!
  7. How to make the most of your limited time for financial management
  8. Climate-conscious investing: the benefits of esg strategies
  9. Climate risk and investing: incorporating climate change into your portfolio strategy

I personally think this level of extensive research on your audience avatar can help you find content topics and excel in your content strategy in no time.

Things to definitely avoid:

Your personas are supposed to identify with a lot of people. Make sure that your persona is not restricted to a very small subset of people from your target audience. It would be prudent to create multiple personas that cover a major part of your target audience. Creating a user persona based on hypothetical information alone would be no good to you and would probably add no value to your content marketing strategy.

Resources/further reading:

  1. Here is a list of sample personas based on individuals that engage digitally with the National Archives of US Government.
  2. If you have trouble defining a content marketing persona with some specific elements, you can try out building Persona Spectrum to map out situational struggles/pain points of your customers and providing solutions to use-cases that represent a significant gap in current services.

6. Find Content Ideas Using Long Tail Keywords

If you are still trying to figure out how to come up with blog topics, then this method can help. This trick is often overlooked by companies who have just begun their SEO activities.

Ideally, this method should have been only included in the section of this article (find blog topics through keyword research), but I have mentioned it separately because keyword research is generally the first step for most SEO activities, and this sub-process may have been looked. Even if it hasn’t, there is a good chance that you might not have used these for blog topics.

The idea here is to find long tail keywords and use them as your SEO blog topics. Ranking for queries on these topics is generally easier as they have less competition but often requires deep knowledge of the subject.

The process:

Find as many long tail keywords as possible. This method requires you to have seed keywords. You can use tools such as keyword finder, ahrefs or SEMrush. For long tail keywords, put up the filter for word count. Try with word count greater than 3,4 or 5.
For more keywords, you can harvest it from google autofill in the search bar. You can use some prefixes or extensions to find keywords.

You can use Google search console to find long tail keywords.

Example: Seed keyword is: ‘keyword research

You can search for keywords such as “Keyword research for *”. Resultant keywords may include:

  • Keyword research for content writing
  • Keyword research for site structure
  • Keyword research for competitor analysis
  • Keyword research for guest post
Google autofill for new blog topic research
  • Search using question modifiers such as what, why, who etc.

I personally use Keyword researcher pro as this reduces my research time and gives me the results that I want. But this is a paid software, and my company pays for it 😊.

If you do not have access to it, you can do the steps manually. The only benefit this software has been that it gets harvest the keyword from autocomplete quickly. Other features of this tool have not been much help to me (there are better tools for these purposes).

How to Find Long Tail Keywords in Bulk for Content Topics

How to find new blog topics from long tail keywords (using Keyword researcher pro). Here is a step-by-step guide.
You can also use this to find keywords from “Related” and “People also Ask” sections in one go.

Estimated time for the whole tasks: 1 hour

Enter The Seed Keyword and Your Idea as A wildcard character

prepare keyword researcher pro for harvesting long tail keywords

The wildcard character(*) here means that this tool will use A, B, C, D… as a character and search for the whole phrase on Google Search.

Run the Program to Collect long tail keywords from Google Autocomplete

run tool to get google autocomplete keywords in bulk

The tool will enter the phrase – “keyword research for A”, “keyword research for B” in Google search and when the suggestions show up on Google autocomplete, it will harvest them automatically.

Export bulk long tail keywords as a CSV file

export bulk long tail keywords from google SERP

Export the file as CSV by clicking on Export button on the bottom toolbar. We need to do this because the tool harvests whatever comes up, and sometimes the keywords are utter garbage/irrelevant. There are ways around this, but it’s for later discussion.

Upload the CSV file in Google keyword planner to get their Search Volume

upload bulk keywords google keyword planner

Upload the CSV file to Google keyword planner. This way you get to sort the relevant keywords and get their volume in the choice of your country.

Filter keywords by Country and Sort by Volume

select volume by country and sort high to low by volume in that country

Select the country of your choice. Sort by Descending order to find keywords with more volume first.
Now from here, you can pick out the relevant ones and use them as your blog topics.
You can use Google sheets to export the file from Google keyword planner (with historical metrics), use filters there to quickly find relevant blog topics from a huge list.

Estimated Cost: 21 USD

Supply:

  • None

Tools:

  • Keyword Researcher Pro
  • Google Sheets
  • Google Keyword Planner

Here is an old but still relevant resource on finding long tail keywords.

7. Subject Matter Experts, Sales Teams & CAMs

Addressing pain points is a great way to connect with your customers on a deeper level. The idea here is to understand the space and find inspirations for your blog topics. Expert content can boost your blogs credibility and authority.

Example: For a software company in blockchain space, an SME might tell you that more and more fintech startups are now looking for cost effective ways to perform KYC at scale or reduce third party dependencies. You can use it to create your content around that theme and help fintech startups understand how they can leverage blockchain technology and use your services to help them with their issues.

Your Sales team and client account managers (CAMs) can help you get a sense of what your customers are actively seeking. It might be in the form of questions salespeople get when they approach a client. Or it might be feature add requests, issue resolution requests or general queries from your CAMs.

You can use this data to understand your visitor’s pain points, desires and wants. You can then use these as blog topics so that your content actually adds value to your audience. As this would be somethings they will definitely be interested in reading.

Subject matter experts (SMEs) are professionals who have a great deal of experience and knowledge on the subject. They are an authority on a specific topic and can help you write content that demonstrates better E-E-A-T. Additionally, they can help you with content ideas that resonates with your visitors.

Note: If you do not have access to a SME, keeping one on a retainer just for the purpose of getting content ideas would not be feasible. The alternative is to reach out to SMEs on LinkedIn and have a conversation with them.

Benefits of using SMEs for Content

Apart from improving your E-E-A-T score, subject matter experts can help you in creating compelling content. They can give you subject specific details and technical information that is value rich and problem solving for your visitors.

If your content strategy includes going for topic clusters and gaining topical authority, SMEs can be indispensable for publishing highly relatable content. They can help your content writers with specific knowledge rather than generic.

With AI written content replacing low quality human written content, it is important to differentiate where you draw the line. While your content writers can research and write content according to your content guidelines, SMEs can help you write stories from real people, give that experienced and wise POV that your visitors can actually relate to.

According to HubSpot, SMEs can “take a piece of content from being one-dimensional to a complete and nuanced portrait of a topic or an event.”

How to Get SMEs

Instead of a whole process here, I will touch upon a few points to complement this already long post.

Identifying the Experts

Identifying experts for content ideas is fairly dependent on the industry/niche and the skillset required.

If you are a B2B business, your experts can be small business owners, decision makers for your product/service.

If you require SMEs for topics that relate to a particular department in a company, you have many more options since you would require people who have that particular skillset. Example could be a digital marketing head, marketing operations manager etc.

Shaw systems have a 5-point system for identifying true subject matter experts.

Where to look

There are many obvious places to look at. Here are some of the most prominent ones:

  • Research Institutes/Educational Institutes/Google Scholor
    Look for research papers touching your desired broad topic. You’ll find authors and their details. Find authors with some professional experience and approach them on their stated handles.
    Additionally, you can also find SMEs teaching a post-grad course. Look for higher education institutes and get a list of faculties/visiting professors. You can also find them in a “industry mentorship” program.
  • Social Media
    Search using hashtags and your keywords. Instagram has a plethora of these for personal fitness and health. Twitter is better for non-personal niche and LinkedIn for professional ones.
  • Industry Publications/whitepapers
    Look for whitepapers or leadership posts on your competitor’s website. If not competitors, you can find them in other leading companies thought pieces. It should be easier to approach them since they already have experience in helping with content.
  • Professional Associations
    Do not email them. The response rate is too low. Look for professional associations that are regional, national as well as international. If the local chambers, or associations are harder to reach, you can approach their national counterparts and ask them for help. But I’ve found them to be of no help sometimes 😞. Specially for content ideas, approaching them has been unfeasible. Do let me know if you have any success with them.
  • Communities/Forums/blog publishing platforms
    You can find them in open and closed communities (such as slack). You can also browse the forums and search for topics that are surely of interest to them. In addition, you can find SMEs publishing their thoughts on Medium.

How to leverage SMEs for website content

If you are approaching an expert who doesn’t run his own company, or is an academic, it is unlikely that you would have to pay. But whatever the case, you should provide some value (in moneys or otherwise) to the expert who is helping you out.

You can leverage SMEs for your content in the following ways:

  • Podcasts
  • Guest posts
  • Q&As/interview
  • proofreading content
  • Ghostwriting
  • Webinars
  • Informal communications

You can use any or all of these to make the best of what you have got. Remember that getting blog topics was our goal here. When you have got the information, go through each of their statement and make sure you have got the industry pain points or bits from their experience that can help you devise a topic cluster.
You can then run these topics against your normal blog keyword research and find suitable keywords to optimize your blog.

Industry trends can help you find trending blog topics that may be relevant to your company and your user.

For example: Companies operating in the blockchain space can blog about emerging areas in Web 3.0 or a new proof of concept for a new blockchain based cryptocurrency.

As an agency, you might find it difficult to know the trends for a client in a new industry. Instead of going too much into it, I am going to mention some sources and approaches with which you can find trends within your target industry.

  • Tracking influencers & thought leaders of your industry
    Look at social media and micro blogging sites. You might find that thought leaders have an independently hosted blog or a web 2.0 property with them.
  • Business/Magazine publications & Trade Associations
    Search for your industry magazines on Google or Bing. You can also do the same for finding industry associations present at regional, national or international level.
  • Niche Blogs
    Feedly and Feedspot are two platforms where you can find niche blogs. You can also do a Google using Write for us + Industry niche.
  • Industry research reports
    You can get a peek at IBIS world, or use Statista. Leading organizations (generic such as Mintel or industry leaders) also publish “state of the industry” reports.
  • Using Tools such as exploding topics (freemium), google trends (free), SEMrush trends (Paid).
  • Valuation and investment advice blogs. Financial statements(10K) of listed firms & Pitch decks of entrepreneurs.
    They will have a rationale for their investment advice or why such a product/service is in their portfolio.
    Similarly, pitch decks will have a lot of information that you would find interesting. You can get pitch decks at no cost on the internet.
  • 8 ways for finding industry trends by Euromonitor.

Doing keyword research for these types of topics may not be prudent since the topic could be new and there might not be enough data to show monthly volume for the relevant queries.

You can base your decision to create content around an emerging topic in your industry on how quickly the topic is gaining traction among your users.

If you are looking for a guide for using Google Trends for Content topics, SEMrush already has one.

Forbes article has 5 questions if you are going after industry trends. If you are looking at a bigger picture then just SEO, this article is a worthy read.

If you are looking to brainstorm about future industry trends, you can use Future Scan PDF by Board of Innovation.

9. Other Methods

9.1 Find New Content Ideas Using blog topic Research Tools such as Ahrefs content explorer, Semrush content ideas, Buzzsumo etc.

There are third party tools that help you find content based on several parameters. These parameters can be similar to the ones we used above in competitor top pages, or different.

Ahref’s content explorer lets you search for continent ideas using keywords and filters. You can see content published around a topic based on domain score, page traffic, referring domains, word count and more. How you use these parameters is up to you.

Buzzsumo has its own proprietary index which tells how much potential a topic has – to be an evergreen topic. It also tells how much engagement the topic has received on social media.

Since there is a lot of material on the internet on using these tools to find blog topics, I am going to skip it here.

If you come across a useful way to use these tools to satisfy your purpose, do comment how you do it and let others know!

9.2 FAQs, Comments & Communities

This is one of the more obvious ways for finding what to blog about. Marketing Guru’s already suggest listening to your customers. You can use this method to know your customer better and help them satisfy their needs by creating content that resonates with their issues.

To get blog topics from this method, you have to do secondary research – a lot of it. Doing primary research might also be possible. You can probably use an online survey tool or get some primary research done through an influencer, forum topic, floating a poll on relevant communities, groups etc.

If you are willing to get your hands dirty, you should make a list of communities and URLs that have active discussion going around about or related to your product or service.


Example 1: You just launched a mobile game and want to focus on creating some wikis/blogs for your users. You can look at reddit, twitch discussions, discord servers for any chatter about your game. Then, you can make a list of probable issues that users might be facing. You can use some of them to create blog content. 
Example 2: You are a debt settlement provider. Since rules regarding debt settlement services for running ads are stringent, you now rely on blogs as a source of traffic. A good idea here would be to search forums, communities through your keywords. There might be discussions about harassment by bank officials, and there you can take notes. You can use these notes to address pain points in your next blog or spin a new topic altogether for the purpose.

You can use your website to look for relevant comments and then decide to create content based on popular demand.

It might be a good idea to do some keyword research before publishing content to make sure you are creating content for people who are searching for it.


Notes:

  • It is a good idea to be aware of the company’s content strategy. The company may be working on pillar-based structure or going for business blog topics that attract backlinks – naturally. For this, the blog topics you may found from the above method(s) should complement that strategy.
  • If a company does not have a content strategy, it would be prudent to do that first. A service providing company posting entertaining content may get some results in search but blog posts containing FAQs for a service may be more helpful in buying decision to the users. It can also help in building credibility and trust.
  • Always audit your existing content first. Make sure that the intent of the new topic and existing topics you may have on your website is not the same. Auditing and optimizing existing content should ideally be a regular activity. Depending on the process you follow, there may be other opportunities for you to find new blog topics.
  • In most cases, broader topics will have high volume but also higher competition. If you can create high quality content that is comprehensive enough to satisfy user intent, then go for it. Otherwise, you can always take 1 query at a time.
  • You will see that many long-form content though well researched, well written does not rank for many queries, because they are useless to people searching for similar queries. Aggregating content from the top 5 results and making longer posts does not mean its user friendly.

Resources For Content Ideas

  1. Moz has a pretty interesting whiteboard image portraying analysis of competitor top pages to gain insights and create better blogs.
  2. You can use Google’s “Year in Search” to find topics that people were interested in that year. You can then run ideas within you/your client’s content department to find blog topics that might be relevant to your readers. To augment your content strategy, you can also look at trends that peaked people’s interest.
  3. You may have come across keywords, topics that are too similar in their meaning. To decide what to do with those type of topics, you can use this free tool called “SERP similarity tool“. This resource can quickly help you decide if you need to whip up a new topic or optimize an existing blog with that keyword.

References:

  • Dewey, J. (1997). How we think. Courier Corporation.
  • Berry, L. L., & Parasuraman, A. (1997). Listening to the customer–the concept of a service-quality information system. MIT Sloan Management Review, 38(3), 65.
  • https://meta.stackexchange.com/questions/356587/relationship-with-googles-get-the-answer-you-re-looking-for-added-to-the-web
Siddharth
Siddharth

Siddharth is a SEO. He started his journey in digital marketing with a small blog which served as a playground for him to learn. The blogs allowed him to strategize and see the results to fruition. He has successfully completed projects as an SEO consultant for several startups. He has an MBA from Delhi School of Business (Marketing & Finance). Currently he is working from home (full time) at a digital marketing agency (startup) in Noida, India. In his free time (which he definitely has!), He likes to meet his friends ‘Offline’.

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