Ever get stuck coming up with blog post ideas?
Or maybe you’ve published some content, but it didn’t take off like you thought it would?
There’s a solution – and it lies in validating the topics ahead of time!
Instead of just brainstorming ideas and praying they will work, there are some simple tricks you can do to make sure the blog topics will definitely work – before you even start writing.
By doing this simple research process, you’ll be able to write content that your audience actually cares about and wants to read.
This can lead to more engagement, higher traffic, and more sales!
This is the same process that was use to validate topics at HOTH Blogger.
In this article, I’m going to show you how to:
- Make sure you’re writing topics for the right audience
- Come up with unlimited ideas that will work for you
- See what’s working for your competitors
- Find trending topics in your niche
- Find questions your customers are asking
- And much more!
Let’s get into it!
1. Start By Defining Your Customer / Audience Avatar
The first part in creating any blogging strategy is to start by defining the avatar or persona of the person you’re writing to.
Think about your perfect customer and the kinds of problems they have.
We want to really hone in on who this person is, especially what kinds of things they would be interested in and be searching for online.
For us, our target customer is someone who wants help with SEO, so we write answers to the questions we get asked all the time:
Avatar: John who needs link building to increase his traffic
- What kind of SEO strategy should I use?
- How can I prevent penguin penalties?
- What’s the easiest way to do keyword research?
Writing blog posts on these kinds of topics will attract a general, but interested audience.
Notice we don’t write about “what is seo” because we generally don’t want to try to “sell” anyone on SEO. Instead, we want customers that already know about SEO and its value and just want help getting it done.
When we define our customer a bit more, our best customer is an SEO agency or an SEO consultant.
So we think about what kinds of questions or problems SEO agencies would run into, and we write articles about that:
Avatar: Andy, a manager at an SEO Agency
These kinds of articles are more specific, and they are meant to attract our perfect customer.
When you’re creating your customer avatar, try to really hone in on who your perfect customer is.
Then think about the kinds of problems or questions they have that they would search for online. You should craft your articles based on this.
Think about the customer path:
- What do they need to know before they use your product or service?
- What other types of products / services would they be interested in?
- What kinds of questions do they ask every time before purchasing?
- What kinds of problems / doubts / fears would prevent them from purchasing?
This can give you a great starting point for doing research!
2. Get Blog Post Ideas From Competitor Research
If you have competitors that are actively creating content online, you can find what’s working for them and model their strategy.
1. Research Your Competition’s Popular Articles
Both tools can take a URL and show you a site’s most shared content.
First, go to Ahrefs content explorer and put in the URL of the competitor you want to research.
Then, sort by total shares (or by a number of other metrics) and see what comes up.
When you find topics that have been widely shared, you know that this is a validated topic for your audience.
2. Jack Your Competition’s Keywords For Content Ideas!
Another way to create blog posts that will get traffic is to do keyword research on your competitors.
You can analyze what keywords your competition is ranking for (or trying to) with semrush or ahrefs. Here’s how:
2. Go to organic keywords on the left.
There, you’ll see all the keywords that your competitor is ranking for.
This can be a good way to find ideas about new topics you can write about while confirming that there is traffic for those keywords.
3. Taking this a step further, you can then put these keywords into content explorer and see what types of articles are being shared or linked to.
Ahrefs content explorer will bring up the top articles based on links, shares, or traffic around those topics.
You can use these articles for further ideas or seed content.
3. Use Reddit To Find Trending Tops & Seed Content
Reddit is AWESOME for finding ideas.
- There is a subreddit for almost everything (including giraffes with Joseph Gorden Levitt’s face photoshopped onto them)
- Users are active and vote up what they care about (thanks for doing the work for me, dudes!)
- It’s constantly up to date with trending topics
- It’s easy to see what’s popular by using the now, week, month, year, and all time filters
- The comments section is often GOLD for finding seed content
Here’s how to use reddit for blog topic ideas:
2. Check out the topics.
For more active subreddits, you may find topics on the default view. For subreddits that are not as active, you may have to sort by top month, year, or all time.
3. Check out the comments section.
This can be GOLD when an expert drops knowledge bombs or extra resources.
You can find either seed content, more resources, or ideas in there too!
4. Bonus – Check out the sidebar of the subreddit.
Often times, there are links to guides that have already been written or popular subjects in that niche. You can find links to awesome resources / tools here.
4. Use Answer The Public To Find Search Phrases & Questions
Answer the Public is kind of like a Google suggest scraper on crack – and I mean “on crack” in a good way.
Instead of just pulling your keyword + a, b, c etc, it will actually look for all kinds of words pre and post keyword.
This will help you find questions that actual people are typing into google around your search phrases.
This is perfect, because we’re trying to find out questions / topics we can write articles on, and this will tell us what kinds of questions people are typing in.
For instance, if you have to write an article around the topic of masonry paint, how would you make that interesting?
1. Go to Answer the Public here, and type in masonry paint.
2. Check out the answers.
Answer the Public will give you all sorts of ways to look at the scraped results. You’ll want to click on ‘data’ and just check out what came up.
They have sections for questions, prepositions, and alphabetical. Any one of these sections could bring in cool topic ideas, so check them all out.
Here’s one I found that looks interesting – “masonry paint for fireplaces”.
Ok, so what do you do with this? Check out this next section:
5. Use Ahref’s Content Explorer or Buzzsumo
If you want to find the best content on a certian topic, or find an angle, using the content explorer is a great way to do it!
1. Go to ahrefs content explorer.
2. Type in your main topic or an idea you got from keyword research, competition research, reddit, or answerthepublic.
Here’s the one I was just working on for masonry paint / fireplaces.
3. Sort with various filters based on what you’re looking for.
I was able to take a pretty boring topic, find what people are looking for that can actually lead to that paint, and validate that topic.
Now I have an angle for an awesome topic I can use to draw in someone who could be in the market for masonry paint!
6. Use Feedly / RSS To Keep Up With Trending Topics & News
Finally, another way to keep track of what’s popular going forward is to take the subreddits, sites, competitors etc that you found in this research and create a feedly out them.
Feedly is an RSS aggregator that will let you quickly see what type of content is coming up in your niche.
1. Sign up for feedly.
2. Search for or add RSS feeds of sites in your niche.
You can find sites in your niche by visiting alltop or by simply searching Google.
3. Keep an eye on trending topics.
Feedly will give you a share score right beside the article name, so you can easily identify what’s getting shared.
This is a great way to keep your blog current and even take advantage of new topics / keywords that aren’t showing up in keyword planner yet.
Getting ideas for blog topics shouldn’t be a random thought process.
With just a little research, you’ll be able to validate blog topics that are already proven to be popular in your niche!
When we start any new project at HOTH Blogger, we go through this process to research and validate the topics to make sure each article is validated before we even start writing.
Have any questions or other suggestions?
We’d love to hear them in the comments!