Having a regularly updated blog is essential and a highly effective marketing channel for your business ... but how do you know what to write about?
Use these 10 ways to create laser-focused content and a never-ending source of blog content ideas:
1 - Quora
If you're new to Quora, create an account and then select topics related to your area of interest.
You'll receive a daily digest of the latest questions and answers on your selected topics, or simply search the site for questions related to your market.
You can use Quora in this way to find out exactly what your target market is wanting to find out about. You can then create blog content to fit.
For example, you might like to:
-- Leave an answer on Quora, and then expand that answer into a full blog post.
-- Create the blog post, and then post an answer to the question on Quora, linking back to your blog. However, to link back to your own site successfully and avoid running into problems with your Quora account, you need to provide a full answer to the question, but then suggest people read the post for more in-depth information. It's also a good idea to answer other questions without linking back, to ensure there is a good balance. Even this latter approach can generate traffic via the information you provide in your profile.
2 - LinkedIn Groups
LinkedIn is a great place to network and connect with other business owners and professionals.
If you sell business-to-business, this gives you an ideal opportunity to discover the interests, questions and challenges of your potential customers, and keep close tabs on your marketplace.
By joining relevant LinkedIn Groups, you can:
-- Get inspiration for new content based on the discussions taking place.
-- Share your new content in order to help other members of that group. However, check the rules of the group in question, and ensure that you're providing value and interacting, rather than purely linking back each time you post.
3 - Forums
There are forums for practically every topic. To find one related to your niche, use Google to search for "forums" together with your niche keyword, for example, "recipe forums".
Similar to LinkedIn Groups and Quora above, you can use forums to find out what information people are looking for, as well as problems they are looking for solutions to.
You can then craft content accordingly that's highly targeted to meet these needs.
4 - Keyword Research
Do some keyword research to discover what information people are looking for online that relates to your niche.
The easiest way is to use Google's keyword tool within its advertising program, Adwords. You can use the tool even if you don't actually purchase any advertising with them.
By repurposing the content you create for your blog on a regular basis, you would potentially get even more of the available traffic and be more prominent in front of your marketplace.
There are paid keyword research services available too such as Wordtracker that allow for more detailed research and additional keyword information.
5 - Ask Your List
If you want to know the type of information your market is looking for, try simply asking your list and/or your social media followers.
For example, use a tool like SurveyMonkey to quiz your list or social audience about what they want to know about your topic.
You could generate a more regular source of blog content ideas by setting up the question on your thank you page after someone subscribes to your ezine, or as a regular autoresponder email.
Create content based on the type of questions that come in. If one person asks, there's a good chance that others are wondering as well.
It can also help to credit the person who asked the question, with their permission. This can encourage other people to send in their questions, and also shows you want to be responsive to your community.
6 - FAQs
By paying attention to the type of questions that come in through your customer support channels, you can have a continuous source of blog content ideas.
Write blog posts that answer the more frequent questions that you get in. Then each time the question comes in in future, you can refer them to the blog post. You could also add a link to the blog post to a customer support knowledge base.
7 - Twitter
Run a search on Twitter using hashtags related to your niche, eg. #yourtopic
You can use this in different ways as follows:
-- Look for questions people are asking on the topic.
-- Click through to posts and other content, and look for comments from people that inspire new ideas for blog content.
-- Look for conversations on Twitter related to the topic. What are people asking? What information are they looking for that a blog post could cover?
8 - Other Blogs In Your Niche
Look for related blogs in your niche, via social media platforms as well as Google.
As mentioned above, look for questions posed in the comments, or areas of confusion or difficulty that you could help clarify with a post.
Also pay attention to which posts are generating the most interest. This gives you an insight into hot topics that you can create your own unique content on as well.
9 - Businesses In Your Niche On Social Media
Check the conversations on social media around similar businesses in your niche, for example on their Twitter accounts and Facebook Pages.
Again this gives you clear insight into what people in your market are looking for, and even gaps of information available online that you could help fill with your own content.
10 - Conferences, Trade Shows, etc.
Nothing beats meeting people in person and discovering where the gaps in their knowledge are and what they are looking for information about.
As well as speaking with people directly, listen in to surrounding conversations, and be aware of their reactions to speaker presentations. For example, there may be areas of confusion or a general lack of understanding that you could create content to address.
So that's 10 easy ways to generate laser-targeted ideas for content you can then create for your blog and elsewhere. Put them into action and build traffic by attracting your target market to your blog.
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