If you’re like a lot of other business owners, you know that blogging can be good for business, but you hate trying to come up with topics. Trust me, I know the feeling. Sometimes, it feels like there’s nothing else to talk about. After all, “There’s nothing new under the sun,” right?
But there are some tried and true ways to get inspiration and come up with topics when you feel like the well has dried up. Here are some of my personal favorites:
#1 Listen to your customers.
One of the very best ways to come up with blog post topics is to listen to your customers. What are they saying? What do they ask about, again and again? What issues are they dealing with?
Here at Spark Marketer, we have a weekly chat where we share what our clients have been asking about or talking about, as well as any issues that have come up throughout the week.
Every topic and issue gets added to a spreadsheet that we can all access, add to, and pull from, which is great because it reveals themes and provides insight to those of us who don’t get to have regular conversations with clients.
Knowing what our clients are dealing with, asking about, and talking about, enables me to write (hopefully) helpful content that’s relevant to what they’re going through. So, yes, it’s altruistic. But, the bonus is, it provides me with a wealth of blog post ideas. It’s how I came up with this one!
Don’t ignore the wealth of ideas in the conversations you have with your customers. After all, they’re the very people you should be writing for!
#2 Use Google autofill & “people also ask.”
Google makes it kind of easy for you to “listen in” using autofill and “people also ask” in search results. All you have to do is start typing in a word or sentence, say, “Why is my fireplace,” for example, and see what autofill comes up with. There, you’ll find out how people are finishing that sentence and just what people are asking.
When you type a question into Google and press enter, you’ll also notice that Google shows a few related questions in the search results, under the title “People also ask.” This is great for finding related topics to write about or other questions to answer within that same blog post. It’s like a free look inside the minds of those searching for topics, services, and products you deal with. Creepy, but helpful.
#3 Check out Answer the Public.
Answer the Public is a pretty great tool that allows you to type a keyword or topic into a search bar and come out on the other side with a whole host of related questions people are asking on the web. It’s a great way of expanding your ideas when all you have in mind is a general topic or keyword. Plus, the guy on the home page is pretty entertaining, in a judgmental kind of way.
Here’s an example of how the questions are organized. The results below are for the keyword “fireplace.” Check it out.
#4 Spy on Quora.
If you can get past the fact that people ask some of the dumbest questions possible on Quora, you’ll find that it’s sometimes a good way to see what good questions are being asked about a particular topic. It’s also a great way to see what kinds of answers people are getting, so you know what misinformation and misconceptions to address in your blog posts. You can choose topics that interest you and Quora will send you emails when related questions are asked, or you can just go to Quora and start looking around. But brace yourself. Like I said, some of the questions are ludicrous, and you’ll spend a few minutes just wondering how these people have made it this far in life.
#5 Keep your eyes and ears open.
A lot of times, topics will come to mind and inspiration will strike in the strangest of places, so keep your eyes and ears open. If you’re a local service business, as painful as it can be sometimes, watch the local news. Are there reports of consumer fraud in your industry? Maybe you need to do a post on what to look for when hiring a company that provides the services you offer. Are there certain products you use to do your job that provide a better value for the homeowner? Maybe it’s time to showcase those in a blog post. Maintain a curious mind, keep your eyes and ears open, and you’ll come up with ideas. The more accustomed you get to thinking outside the box, the easier it will be to find inspiration.
Well, I hope you find these helpful. Now that I’ve shared some of my favorites, I’d love to know how you come up with blog post ideas. Let me know at email@example.com!
When it comes to making your website stand out, content plays a pretty big role. Sure, we’ve been saying “Content is King” for years, but for years, people have continued to put out trash content and land top rankings in search. Not so anymore (phew).
Now, it’s all about helpful, informative, thorough content that satisfies the searcher’s intent. Yup, if you want to show up in search results and increase your online traffic, you’re going to have to write E-A-T content.
Since When Does E-A-T-ing Have to Do With Content?
E-A-T is an acronym from the Google Search Quality Evaluator Guidelines. It’s part of the requirements for evaluating pages in search results. Here’s what it stands for:
E – Expertise. This means making it clear you know your stuff.
A – Authority. This means making it clear you’re THE authority on the topic at hand.
T – Trustworthiness. This means making it clear Google can trust you with their searchers.
3 Quick Tips to Help You With E-A-T
In the past, you worried about whether or not your content was informative and original, but now you have to worry about proving your expertise, authority, and trustworthiness, too? How do you do that?
#1 Cover your topic thoroughly. Think of all the people may have and answer them. There are several great tools (besides using your ears to listen to customers) for doing this, like relying on Google Autosuggest, People Also Search For, and tools like Answer the Public. The point is, you want to not just answer the searcher’s intent, but also anticipate their next question in that same piece of content.
#2 Aim to get mentions, links, shares, and other authority-building signals that tell Google it’s safe to trust you. When it comes to links and mentions, not just any links or mentions will do — you want relevant, natural links and mentions that build up your authority in your niche or area of expertise. How do you get these? By doing step #1 and covering your topic thoroughly. The better your content, the more you’ll find people linking to it and mentioning it.
#3 Keep the positive reviews coming. While reviews are different from the content you’re creating directly on your website, they’re still signaling your expertise, authority, and trustworthiness (or lack of all three). While Google knows that most businesses have at least a couple of negative reviews, too many negative reviews signal to Google that something isn’t all that great or trustworthy about your business. And ya know what? They don’t want to serve up that kind of business in their search results because it’s likely not the kind of business searchers want to do business with. So work on getting more positive reviews!
Bonus Tip: Make Sure Your Content Is Clear, Well-Written & Sending the Right Message
According to an article from SiteProNews, “8 out of 10 people will read headline copy, but only 2 out of 10 will read the rest.”
Now, that doesn’t mean the rest of the content can be fluff (Google don’t play that). What it does mean is that you have to make it obvious that you have what your potential client needs, as soon as they land on your site. This means making sure your headers and subheaders are descriptive, and breaking up text in scannable, easy-to-read chunks.
Also, you’ve got to make sure your content is written in a way that sends the right message and puts your business in the right light. Whether you like it or not, potential clients are judging you based on your grammar and tone. If your content is littered with typos, it will communicate that you don’t pay attention to details and will hurt your professional image. So give it a quick edit or have someone edit your copy for you.
Is Your Content Helping or Hurting Your Business?
So let’s recap: To build a strong web presence and show up in search results, your content should communicate a high level of expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness. You have to prove to Google that you’re worth the searcher’s time, and that you’re the answer to the searcher’s question.
Sounds like a lot of work, huh? It’s really not. You are an expert. You are an authority. You are trustworthy. Just make sure your content reflects that.
You see, as frustrating as it can be, all of Google’s changes and rules are designed to make the search experience better for the user. Google wants to shine a light on the websites that possess an air of authority, because these are the websites that are most likely to help the one conducting the search. So if you’re the best there is and you put time into creating content that reflects that, E-A-T should be easy to swallow. 🙂