Your next blogging idea is at your fingertips!
The importance of publishing regular blogs to support your business is nothing new but it cannot be overstated. Search engines like Google are on a constant lookout for new information. If you publish fresh new content on your website regularly, then Google will keep revisiting your site. And the more frequently Google stops by, the more opportunities you’ll have to achieve higher rankings.
To understand where blogging fits this picture you need to know a little bit about how Google works.
Google uses an indexing process to crawl through websites to look for new and updated pages. So when someone searches on Google, the algorithm runs a “Filter + Sort” process within its index to seek out (a) relevant information and (b) fresh information. So fresh content is a MUST to get any kind of traction in search results.
In this context for most people “fresh content” equals a new blog or new online article. But it doesn’t end there. Just publishing fresh content isn’t enough on its own – the content has to be good quality too. Because among a myriad of other things it’s looking for while deciding which pages to show in a search, Google also uses the E-A-T principle.
E-A-T stands for:
- E = Expertise
- A = Authority
- T = Trust
In essence, Google will rank your website not just according to how frequently you publish new content, but how good it is, how relevant it is to your target market, and how many people have seen it and – preferably – also shared and/or commented on it.
Plus there’s your brand visibility to consider. You are undoubtedly the best at what you do, so you should be using every marketing channel available to you to tell your potential customers all about yourself and to show off your expertise. The more people read about you, the more they get to know you and your business, the more they are likely to consider you the next time they need what you sell. Blogging is the ideal way to communicate all the reasons why they should buy from you, outside of the traditional sales channels.
So to give yourself the best chance of ranking in search results you not only need to be blogging, you need to be blogging all the time. By that, I mean at least weekly. And not just blogging for the sake of it but blogging because you have some genuine quality new content and messages to share.
What can I bog about?
The biggest issue people have with this concept is a supposed dearth of blogging ideas. Yes you may get it, you may even want to embrace it 100% and dedicate a weekly slot to creating a new blog. But lots of people cannot even begin to imagine what to blog about. You may be fantastic at what you do, you may have the best products and services for miles around, you may have a stellar reputation and a list of customer testimonials as long as your arm.
But what can you blog about?
The good news is that, if you put your mind to it and really think about your story, there are probably dozens if not hundreds of potential blogging topics that you could explore. The better news is that there are lots of free ways to help you dig down into what they might be and find your own unique perspective. The easiest and simplest ideas can come from the most unexpected places. But you need to be in tune with the world around you and be paying attention to what’s happening out there.
So here are my 5 top tips for finding your blogging inspiration.
Fair warning: Once you start this process the ideas will be coming at you thick and fast so make sure you have a way of capturing them all – whether that’s online, on an app, or even using good old fashioned pen and paper!
1. Monitor your competitors
Keep tabs on your competitors, both the direct ones and the indirect ones. Sign up to their newsletters and updates, preferably using a generic email address rather than your branded one. Follow them on social media and If they’re talking about something that impacts your industry then you should be too. Use their topics as a springboard for your own – but don’t plagiarise as that won’t help you at all. This is supposed to be fresh new content for the market, not just for you.
2. Use Google Alerts
You can set up any number of alerts using a single word or a phrase or string of words, company, brand name, individual – anything! You can opt to have them sent to your inbox as they happen (i.e. in real-time), or once a day, or once a week. You can also opt which channels to track: news, blogs, videos, or even books (sadly not social media). The more specific the alert you set up the more detailed and relevant results you’ll get, so choose wisely if you don’t want to be inundated with irrelevant data. Use these alerts to keep track of what’s happening in your industry, with your competitors or with your customers. And use the results for blogging inspiration.
3. Use the Facebook “Save” function
If you’re anything like me then you need to be extremely strict with your time spent on social media during the working day. I’ve got quite slick at scheduling my social media posts in advance and only dipping into the various platforms at specific times during the day. Otherwise I can find myself disappearing down a rabbit hole and losing precious hours on mindless trivia. One trick I use daily is the “Save” function on Facebook.
On any post click on the 3 dots at the top right-hand side and you get an option to Save it (i.e. save post, save link, save video etc). Click on “Save” and you’ll get another option to add the post to a collection (e.g. Business, Food, TV & Film etc).
This tool is especially handy when I’ve seen something that could be a potential blog topic but I’m pushed for time. I can always go back to my “Saved” posts when I want to and take a longer look, and Facebook even very kindly notifies me if I have unopened Saves!
4. Answer The Public
This is my favourite tool for researching blog topics! And it’s going to be an increasingly important one because of the way search is changing. It’s anticipated that as much as 50% of all online searches will be voice-activated by the end of 2020.
This means that search queries are becoming more detailed in the form of complete questions or statements. So what questions are your customers currently asking Siri or Alexa? Answerthepublic.com is a free online tool that lets you find out! You enter up to a 4-word keyphrase and it presents you with a range of questions currently being asked in search engines around that topic.
If I was in the designer handbag business I would use this data for a whole series of blog ideas!
NB: Answer the Public is free to use – up to a point. There’s a cap on the number of times per day you can access it for free, but there are Pro paid subscription options if you want to make full use of it. But for most casual users the free version is sufficient.
Pocket is a great free app that allows you to save a wide range of online articles to read later. You can save it on the toolbar of your web browser or as an app on your device. Whenever you come across an online article, video or blog you just hit the Pocket icon and the item is then sent to your Pocket list which then syncs to all of your devices. The app removes clutter from articles, allows you to add tags and even adjust text settings for easier reading. Then when you have time you just revisit your list to find your blogging inspiration!
So you see with a little bit of imagination and a few online tools there are plenty of ways to identify, save, tag and categorise your blogging ideas. You need never sit staring at a blank screen ever again, wondering what to blog about.
If you need any help with copywriting, keyword research or finding the right tools to support your blogging journey, then get in touch.
About the author: Helen Say is the “copywriting” half of CBL Copywriting & SEO. She’s a mine of trivia (some of it useful) and is expert at trawling Google to find blogging ideas. She’s lost count of the number of different topics she’s blogged about for other people, and she’s often invited to Pub Quizzes.