By: Amanda Lynch
As we turn the corner into another new year, many of us are ready to amplify our content marketing strategies. Blogging is still an essential piece of the puzzle to an overall digital marketing strategy, and smart planning can take your blog content to new heights in 2018.
One of the first steps to blog planning is topic discovery. While it was acceptable a few short years ago to pick a topic out of a hat and run with it, that’s not the case today.
Choosing the correct blog topics is a process, but it’s well worth pursuing if you want to maximize the ROI of your company blog.
Here is how you can find the best topics for your blog in 2018:
Step 1: Know Your Audience
Even the smallest businesses benefit from learning about their blog audience.
In 2018, it’s more important than ever to know your audience. Who is reading your company blog? Before you type the first keystroke on your new blog post, you must be able to answer this question. Otherwise, you’re taking a shot in the dark with your content.
While your customers are the likely readers of your blog, it’s time to get more specific. You’ll want to think about points such as spending habits, location, and needs of your target audience.
Audience discovery can help you adjust your blog strategy down the road if you’re not getting expected results. It also helps you drill down on questions your audience is asking, as well as content they may be searching for via keyword research.
Step 2: Keyword Research
The next step to finding the best blog topics in 2018 stems from keyword research. In 2018, keyword optimization is more than just a guessing game. Researching and understanding keyword data can dramatically impact your presence on Google. It can also be highly effective at choosing blog topics that your customers want to read.
Whichever platform you choose, the best approach is to pick long tail keywords with the lowest competition levels possible. Long tail keywords consist of three or four keyword phrases which are very specific to your product or service.
For example, say that you’re a company local to Youngstown selling running shoes. Instead of simply using “running shoes” as a keyword, you should choose something such as “running shoes in Youngstown.” This keyword phrase helps target potential local customers while enhancing local SEO.
Step 3: Blending Blog Topics with Keyword Research
This step is a little messy, but practice can help you flawlessly blend blog topics with your newfound keyword research efforts.
Using the running shoe keyword example, these are a few possibilities for blog topics:
- 5 Winter-Favorite Running Shoes in Youngstown
- What are the Best Running Shoes for Athletes in Youngstown?
- Running a 5k in Youngstown? Consider these Running Shoes for a Fast PR
Notice the exact phrase doesn’t have to be “running shoes in Youngstown, Ohio.” Google is smart enough to understand the context in most cases. An important note is to never force the keyword into a title. If it sounds awkward, your audience (and Google) will see it as spam.
Step 4: Give Your Blog Content a Goal (And Assign a Category)
Creating blog content for the mere sake of it will only result in spinning your wheels. To maximize the return on investment of your blog and pick the correct topic, every post should have a goal.
How does this relate to blog topic selection?
Your blog post titles should help you achieve goals such as improving search engine optimization or increasing brand awareness.
If you choose a blog topic with a keyword in it, this can be filed under the improving SEO category.
If you choose a topic that centers on a major product or service launch in your company, this can be filed under the branding category.
Assigning your blog content to specified categories can help you choose the right topic. While these are only two examples, correct categories keep your content marketing goals on track.
Step 5: Take Advantage of Tools, Customer Input, and Experience in your Industry
If you’re still struggling with coming up with a blog topic, there are tools that can help you get started. For example, Buzzsumo is an excellent platform where you can find trending content in nearly any industry. You can use this as a springboard to craft new content and add your own angle.
For further improvement on competitor content, consider looking into the 10x content method from Rand Fishkin.
Another option is to turn to social media for help. A simple “what would you like to read about on my blog?” post to Facebook or Twitter can spark conversation and inspire ideas.
Don’t forget that you hear many problems and questions in your industry every day. You can transform customer troubles into great blog topics to answer questions.
This graphic courtesy of Inc can help inspire you with even more blog topics:
Focus on Blog Strategy in 2018
The game is changing in the world of blogging and content marketing. Laser-focus your results this year by implementing a blog strategy that takes your content to the next level. Be sure to attend DOYO Live 2018 to learn this year’s top techniques for content marketing and more.
Amanda Lynch is the owner of Busy Blogs Plus, a content writing company that specializes in blogging and blog strategy. She is a contributor to the DOYO Live blog, a Youngstown State University alumna, and blogs for various business on both local and national levels.