You understand the value of blogging. The countless studies citing the success that business blogging brings are hard to miss. If you're a StartupNation subscriber, you're likely not new to digital marketing, and the slew of benefits that blogging can provide your startup.
In case you've forgotten, HubSpot marketing stats share that compounding blog posts (posts that gain more and more traffic the older they get) make up 10 percent of all posts and generate 38 percent of overall traffic for websites.
The same study found that companies that published 16 or more blog posts per month got around 4.5 times more leads than companies that published zero to four posts monthly.
You get the idea. Blogging not only generates more traffic, but more leads, too. At the end of the day, isn't that what makes a website effective? However, you may be having difficulty finding a blog topic that benefits both your audience and your startup’s goals.
After almost three years of being thoroughly immersed in the world of business blogging, here are some tips I can share with you when it comes to successful content marketing via blogging.
Figuring out how to choose a blog topic becomes a lot easier if you know how and where to do some quick research. Use these three sources of audience information to get a better idea of which business blogging topics to cover first.
Research your competitors
This is one of the easiest and most effective ways for finding a blog topic. You can choose to take a high-level, informational approach, or you can take a data-driven SEO approach to competitor research. After all, improved SEO is one of the top benefits of business blogging.
There are several methods of conducting keyword research for free.
For example, after combing through the competition's blogs, you could copy and paste some of the headlines into a Google search. From there, examine some of the common phrases amongst the top results. There's a good chance that those common phrases are keywords that you'll want to target in your next blog post.
In that same Google search, keep an eye on the 'œSearches related to' field at the bottom of the search engine results page (SERP). This search engine results feature is frequently packed full of question-based long-tail keywords that people are searching for in your industry. This will usually list related keywords that you'll want to group together in your upcoming blog.
Don't forget to analyze the Google-suggest keywords. These will usually appear as a drop down when you're typing your search into the Google search bar at the top of the page. Related queries will show up underneath the query you entered that shed some light on what other keywords Google associates with your search.
While these free methods of keyword research have some level of validity to them, it's always best to use a keyword research tool if you have the budget. I personally use SEMrush for most of my keyword research because it allows me to explore what my competitors are ranking for, and which of their blog posts bring in the most traffic. This lets me create a list of priorities while learning how to decide what to blog about first.
Browse industry forums
Browsing through help forums in your industry can be very enlightening. Not only does it give you an idea of popular topics for your niche, but it is an explicit way of learning what problems you can solve for your target customer.
For example, pretend your startup builds project management software and there are several forum threads about how to filter time spent on a project by user in your competitor's software. The threads might point out that this isn't currently a feature, or that it is, but it's confusing to find. If your software is more intuitive in that area, you can write a blog post addressing the troubled forum user's question so that your website shows up in a Google search the next time a potential customer has an issue.
Ask on social media
Last but not least, if deciding what to blog about for your audience is becoming a hassle, go right to the source and ask them. Treat your social media channels as targeted tools for conducting market research. If a certain topic is in demand, you'll know about it once you put feelers out to the people who follow your business.
Asking your audience what they'd like you to blog about will help you determine your next topic. In addition, you've just fostered audience engagement, and improved the sincerity of your brand, which can be hard to do at times.
Once you have a better idea of what to focus on in your blog, make sure your post addresses the most likely intent of your readers. They may be expecting to get different things from your blog post, whether that’s solving a problem, relieving a fear or learning something new. Once you’ve chosen a topic to blog about, and how to go about writing it, the rest of the insights and research are up to you. If you stick with it, blogging will have a significant positive impact on the bottom line of your startup’s content marketing efforts.