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Business Blogging
Email Course

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Lesson 2:

Choose your blog topics

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Deciding what to write about can seem like the most challenging aspect of business blogging. In fact, it’s probably the biggest hurdle to regular writing for most people.

But, getting to know your audience is the first important step in getting over this hurdle. Now, all you need to do is a little research and you’ll be well on your way to choosing topics for your blog that you know your audience will find useful, interesting, and will keep them coming back for more.

Keyword research

Once you have a better idea of who your customers are and what they want, the next stage is to do some keyword research.

Based on your customer profiles, you should be able to come up with a list of words and phrases that your 3 types of customers are likely to use online, when searching for the kind of product or service you offer.

So, now you want to find out how often these words and phrases are actually used as search terms. There are 2 free online tools we use for this:

Google AdWords Keyword Planner

The Keyword Planner offered by Google AdWords is probably the best and easiest free tool for your keyword research.

Let’s say we’re searching for the term ‘content marketing’. You can enter this as your product or service and set the targeting criteria, e.g. UK, English, Google. You can select a date range and you can also customise your search using further variables.  

Google AdWords Keyword Planner screenshot

Using a basic search, you can see that the average number of times people have searched for this exact keyword is between 1,000 and 10,000 per month, which is fairly high. You can also see that this keyword has a medium level of competition.

The tool will also give you related keywords, showing the average monthly searches and competition levels for each. This can help you find more blog post opportunities and may flag up relevant topics you hadn’t even thought about before.

Keep in mind that a high volume and low competition are important, but relevance trumps both of these. So stick to relevant keywords and phrases for your industry, product or service and don’t stray too far off topic!

Google Trends

Another useful tool for keyword research is Google Trends. This gives slightly different results to the Keyword Planner and, as the name suggests, is based around keyword trends.

If we search for ‘content marketing’ in the UK over the last 5 years, you can see that this term has been steadily gaining popularity, with a few key peaks and troughs.

Google Trends screenshot

Google Trends allows you to compare several search terms to see how they’re trending in comparison to each other. This is useful because it can help to inform your choices about which key terms to feature in your content.

For example, if you discovered that ‘hairdresser’ was on a downward trajectory, but that ‘hair salon’ was trending upwards, you might want to use the latter term throughout your website and blogs, in order to stay in tune with your audience’s behavioural trends when searching online.

Topic research

The second stage of your audience research should be around topics. Using the keywords you identified in stage 1, you can carry out some topic research to find out what’s trending around those keywords right now.

This is one of the free online tools we use for our topic research at Wildheart:

BuzzSumo

BuzzSumo allows you to search for the most shared articles on a certain topic over a particular time period. So, if we search for ‘content marketing’ over the past 6 months, we get something that looks like this:

BuzzSumo screenshot

You’ll be able to see the heading of each article, where it was published, and how many times it’s been shared across various social media channels. You can follow the links to read the articles so you can get a feel for what kind of content is the most popular, e.g. the tone of voice, the angle or opinion of the author, whether the article is informative, educative, entertaining, amusing, etc.

By searching for your keywords, plus any related terms you came across in your keyword research, you can find out what topics are trending right now, and gather ideas for potential blog posts that will be relevant to your audience.

Topic research should give you some good ideas about what to blog about for your audience right now. But you should always be thinking longer term too. Why? Because you want to be creating evergreen content that actually becomes more useful over time.

Topic research may also show you potential content gaps that you can fill. Remember to always ask yourself “Would customer X, Y and Z find these topics interesting and useful?”

It’s easy to get lost in the tools, so always come back to your customer profiles and trust your instincts and gut feel.

How we do it at Wildheart

Take a look through the articles in our content marketing blog. You’ll see that we always put our audience first, striving to understand what their problems and pain points are, and aiming to solve these through the information-packed articles we publish.

For example, we posted How to make your blogs more search engine friendly because many of our customers want to know how their blogs can perform better in relevant search rankings. Most of our audience members don’t fully understand SEO (search engine optimisation) so we wanted to explain and simplify this for them.

We’ve also created our own video series called Content Kitchen, which directly answers our audience’s specific marketing questions. Check out the first in the series What social networks should my business be on?

Today’s task

Ok, so now you have an idea of the kinds of articles your audience will be interested in, you can head back to your email to complete today’s task.

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