5 Tips For Coming Up With Blog Post Topics When You’re All Out Of Ideas

5 Tips For Coming Up With Blog Post Topics When You’re All Out Of Ideas

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 in the comments!

The 5 W’s of Visual Content

The 5 W’s of Visual Content

Visual content can help you potential customers connect with the information you’re giving them. When putting together yours, consider the 5 W’s of visual content.
5 W's of Visual Content - Spark Marketer

Content & Courting Google

Content & Courting Google

When it comes to making your website stand out, content is just as important as, if not more important than, design (shh…). And not just for your potential clients, but for the ever-changing, impossible to please: Google. Whether you like it or not, if you want to show up in search results and increase your online traffic, you’re going to have to cater to Google.

Courting Google - Nashville TN - Spark Marketer

Getting Noticed By Google

We all live under Google’s roof and we all have to follow Google’s rules. So what kind of content is Google looking for?

  • Consistent Content: As inconsistent as Google is, you can’t be. One of Google’s big turn-offs is when a business’ NAP (Name, Address, Phone Number) isn’t consistent across the Web. Why does Google care? If your business has several different names, phone numbers or addresses listed on the Web, Google can’t be sure which is correct. And they aren’t going to go out of their way to offer questionable and confusing information to the Searcher, so you’ll be skipped right over. NAP cleanup is one of the most tedious jobs – but it’s almost one of the most important jobs. If it looks like you don’t know who you are, why would Google or your potential clients know or care?
  • Informative Content: Google is working to provide an even better, faster and easier search experience for Searchers. In order to do so, they have to weed out websites that are likely to prove useless to the Searcher — which means if your website isn’t informative and content-rich, in Google’s eyes, you’re out of the race. Well-written, helpful and knowledgeable content is what Google is looking for, because chances are, that’s what the Searcher is looking for. Why do we search in the first place? Because we want to know Who, What, When, Where and How. Does your website content clearly provide the answers?
  • Original Content: This is one of the biggest misunderstandings we come across as a digital marketing company. Many websites seem to be well-written and authoritative – and somehow, very familiar. That’s because so many business-owners don’t understand the importance of original content, and simply copy and paste from a similar website. Although this method may save you time, it certainly won’t help your online presence grow. Google despises duplicate content, and will essentially rule your business out as an authority. In other words, don’t skimp on content – take the time to get it right.

The Searcher is the Center of The Google Universe

If you read Time Magazine’s article on Millennials (a Millennial refers to anyone born between the early 1980s and the early 2000s), or if you happen to know any Millennials firsthand, you know that they have a reputation for being lazy. Well, although I will defend Millennials and say that I think it’s a characteristic of modern humanity and not just a generational thing, I will say that when it comes to searching the Web, especially for services, it had better be easy and fast. Let’s face it, we’re a nation of impulsive, impatient people, and we don’t want things tomorrow, or even now – we want them yesterday.

If your website looks great, but is lacking helpful information or is inconsistent and difficult to navigate, chances are, you won’t even come up in the search results. And even if you do somehow make it past Google, how will your potential client know that you have what they need? According to a recent article in 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 (we already discussed how upsetting this is to Google), but you have to make it obvious that you have what your potential client needs, as soon as they land on your site.

Once you enter your potential client’s radar, you have a limited amount of time to build authority and trust. And whether you like it or not, potential clients are judging you based on your grammar and tone. If your content is littered with typos, you certainly won’t come off as a professional. On the other hand, if your content is too technical, it will bore your potential client, go right over his or her head, or both.

The Moral Of The Story

So let’s recap: To build a strong Web presence and show up in search results, your content should be consistent, informative and original. 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.

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. Life is hard as it is – your business’ website should be designed to make things as easy as possible for your potential customers.

Now, ask yourself: Is your content helping or hurting your business?