5 Data-Backed Steps to Better Content Marketing Results

No matter how long you’ve been doing content marketing, you’ve got more to learn. We all do. And not just because there’s always room for growth, but also because the industry keeps changing.

Every year brings new trends, technologies, and tips. It’s hard to keep up.

But every year also brings us the original research from MarketingProfs and the Content Marketing Institute that takes the industry’s pulse and packages it for us in a collection of useful insights.

While the full report is 44 pages, there are five main takeaways I think every business doing content marketing can benefit from.

  1. Fully commit.

Content marketing isn’t something you can dip your toe in and hope for the best. It requires a significant investment in time, money, and energy. And the research shows that commitment is key to content marketing success.

Of the businesses that said their content marketing was successful 93% say their company is at least very committed to content marketing, and 92% say there’s buy-in at the highest level of the company.

content marketing commitment

A good content marketing strategy includes devoting time to:

  • Understanding your audience
  • Developing a strong strategy
  • Creating high-quality content
  • Actively promoting your content
  • Tracking how it performs

It also involves a financial investment in talent and technology. All of it adds up. If your company’s lukewarm about the idea of doing all that and only does a little, they’re unlikely to see much of a result.

But if you do fully commit, you’ll gain more customers and build better relationships with them. 76% of successful content marketers say it helps them nurture leads. 73% say content marketing inspires more customer loyalty, and a full 96% say their audiences view them as a trusted resource.

  1. Document your content strategy.

This insight isn’t new to this year’s research. Every year, the research finds that a content strategy is one of the main keys to content marketing success. It helps you organize your efforts and make sure you’re putting your time and budget toward the content marketing tasks most likely to pay off.

content marketing data

This year’s study found a couple of notable additional benefits. 81% of respondents said that having a documented strategy aligned their team around common goals. And 81% said it makes it easy to decide the types of content to develop.

documented content strategy

With so many different channels, tactics, and content formats to consider, sitting down with your team to develop clear content strategy can help you all get on the same page and make sure your efforts all support each other. And writing it all down gives you something to refer back to throughout the year to stay on track.

  1. Talk to your customers.

Content marketers devote a lot of time and energy to trying to get inside the heads of our target audience. The only way to create content that will connect with the people we want to reach is to make sure we’re basing it on what they care about. That’s content marketing 101.

Which is why it’s a little surprising that only 42% of content marketers are taking time to actually talk to customers to understand their needs. That’s a huge missed opportunity!

content marketing data

This was also one of Margaret Magnarelli’s top tips in her talk at Content Marketing World on being an empathetic communicator. Before you can empathize with your audience, you have to listen to what they have to say.  And really listen. Don’t interrupt or try to steer the conversation. Sit with them and listen to their complaints, their pain points, their experiences, and the way they say it all.

Instead (or in addition to) investing in social listening or audience research tools, invite a few of your customers in for a conversation and spend time listening.

Then revisit your content strategy and look for ways to incorporate what you learned. Rework your personas based on the new information. And get your insights in front of everyone on your team so they can keep the audience’s actual concerns top of mind when creating content moving forward.

  1. Start using paid distribution for your content.

You may already use paid advertising channels to promote your products or services, but fewer businesses think to spend money promoting their content in the same way.

Every year, as more businesses get in the content marketing game, it gets harder to get your audience to notice your content to begin with, much less engage with it. Creating great content doesn’t accomplish much unless people actually see it.

For that, paid distribution methods have become an important part of the content marketing equation. 71% of the most successful content marketers use paid distribution methods to get their content to new audiences.

content marketing paid distribution

Paid distribution includes:

If you’re disappointed with how few people are finding the content you work so hard on, add paid distribution to your content marketing budget.

  1. Have a customer content marketing plan.

Marketers tend to think of their job as bringing in and nurturing leads. Once a lead converts into a customer, they can fall off our radar. But content marketing is a rich opportunity for strengthening the relationship you have with your current customers—which can really pay off. Increasing customer retention rates can increase profits by anywhere from 25-95%.

High-performing content marketers focus on their customers as well as leads. 73% say they use their content marketing to successfully build loyalty with their customers. But as of now, that’s only true of the best content marketing programs. Out of the full number of marketers surveyed, the total is only 54%.

That means for many people reading this, customer content marketing is currently a missed opportunity. If you develop a content marketing plan now that helps you nurture your relationships with customers, you can start to see some of the improved results that top content marketers already enjoy.

 

The data will only help you if you put it to use. Let the insights from the research guide you toward a better (documented) strategy that enables you to bridge the gap between your business and the content marketers at the top.

 

 

5 Actionable Tips from Content Marketing World Speakers to Improve Your Marketing Now

austin copywriter content marketing world

Everyone walks away from Content Marketing World inspired. Many of the talks provide fascinating insights and share good ideas. But in my opinion, the real holy grail of a good conference talk is a specific, actionable step I walk out of the room knowing I can take when I get home.

This year I was lucky to sit in on a few sessions that provided such gems. Here are a few great actionable tips that are now on my to do list and you might want to put on yours as well.

  1. Write down your goals (and read them every day).

The first keynote talk of the conference came from Joe Pulizzi, the Founder of the Content Marketing Institute, and it covered a subject he’s written about before and clearly believes strongly about: writing down your goals.

He provided examples from his own life of how meaningful it is to set clear goals and remind yourself every day what they are so you hold yourself to them. He recommended the goals you write down be ambitious, tied to specific dates, and serve others in some way as well as yourself.

And he named five categories that he urged attendees to write goals for:

  • Career/wealth
  • Family
  • Spiritual
  • Mental
  • Giving

I’m still working out exactly what my goals in each category will be, but I plan to put them at the top of the to-do list document I consult each day so I have a solid reminder of where I want to be and keep working to get there.

  1. Create (and use) your mission statement.

Does your company have a content mission statement? It should. If that sounds intimidating though, don’t worry. Andy Crestodina makes it easy with a simple template:

Our company is where [audience X] finds [content Y] for [benefit Z].

content marketing mission statement

Plug in the relevant info for your company and you’ve got a line you can do a lot with. Andy recommends sharing it far and wide. Make it the tagline for your blog or even your whole website. Put it next to your email signup form. Add it to your social media profile. Tack it onto your email signature.

Your mission statement tells people why they should care about your brand’s content. It’s a good, concise way to pitch everyone that encounters your brand on why they should follow you.

  1. Create a spreadsheet of microcontent.

Lee Odden gave a talk on influencer marketing which included this useful tip. Every interview you do with an influencer is full of quotes and insights. Why just use a quote from it once and be done? Instead, he suggested organizing all the valuable nuggets you get from your interactions with influencers over time into a spreadsheet.

In the spreadsheet, fill in each influencer’s details (name, company, position, link) so it’s easier to access those when you quote them. Categorize the different quotes based on what they’re about so you can more easily identify relevant ones to use as you create new content. And even if you don’t find the right quote for the new content you’re creating, your spreadsheet can help you quickly identify a good influencer to get in touch with to provide one.

This is useful for making your influencer marketing go further, but you can employ the same tactic for other types of microcontent as well. Add all the valuable statistics you find you may want to reference again to your spreadsheet (this is something I could definitely use). Pull in good examples of the types of tactics you write about and good social media status updates you may want to embed in future content. By having all this information well organized in one place, you can make your future content creation efforts more efficient while still always adding value.

  1. Use details to immerse readers in your content. Content Marketing World - Michelle Lazette

Michelle Park Lazette’s talk on writing more like a journalist included a number of good suggestions to bring better storytelling to your content writing process. A few of them related to this idea that getting detailed and specific in how you describe what you’re talking about can bring it more to life for your readers.

She suggested paying attention to the sensory details of any situation you’re in – adding in a mention of smells, weather conditions, colors, or the looks on people’s faces makes the reader feel more like they’re there.

She also recommended, as often as possible, replacing adjectives with numbers. Saying a company has been doing business for a long time means less than saying they’ve been at it for 37 years. Getting specific adds believability to what you’re saying and makes it more real for the reader.

  1. Do a validation audit of your content.Content Marketing World - Margaret Magnerelli

Margaret Magnarelli spoke on a topic I care a lot about in life as well as content: empathy. She shared the three phases that all empathic communication, professional and personal alike, must have:

  • Listen – Before you can do anything else, you have to actually hear what your friend or customer is saying. Listen to their complaints and pain points without inserting yourself into the story or trying to jump too quickly to solving the problem.
  • Validate – This is the step people most often leave off. After you’ve heard the person out, let them know you’ve listened and understood what they’re saying by repeating back to them what they’ve said. This shows them you were paying attention and get it. It’s an important step to them feeling like the communication is successful.
  • Suggest solutions – Only after the first two steps is it time to provide suggestions for ways to solve their problem.

You may already do a good job of addressing the problem and solution in your content, but there’s a good chance you’re skipping the validation step. Margaret recommends doing a validation audit of your content.

Go back through everything you’ve written to look for pieces missing the validation step and add it in. Doing this exercise will also help you get better at recognizing where and how to include validation in future content pieces moving forward.

 

My brain is spinning with all the ideas from the conference I need to now organize and put to use. Whether you made it to Cleveland last week or not, hopefully these actionable tips can help you create a plan to get something specific and useful out of Content Marketing World this year.

Should You Use Gated Content?

gated content

Image source: skitterphoto.com

For many businesses, one of the frustrating things about content marketing is feeling like you’re investing a lot of time and money, putting a lot of value out into the world – but it’s hard to connect that work back to solid leads and sales. One of the tools content marketers have to bridge that gap and turn content into a more direct lead generation tool is gated content.

But while putting content behind a form means you gain something (leads and information), you also lose something. If you’re going to use gated content, you have to think carefully about why and how.

What is Gated Content?

Gated content is any content that’s only accessible to people that provide something in exchange for viewing it. In most marketing cases, that means personal information like a name and email address or business information like your title and business size. Sometimes it can also mean content that goes behind a paywall, so you can only see it after paying for it, but that’s more common for media publications than marketing uses.

form2 form1

4 Reasons to Gate Content

Gated content gives you a way to get something back for the content you put so much work into. There are a few good reasons to consider gating your content:

  • To gain leads

When a person hands over information about themselves to download your content,  you end up with more knowledge about a potential future customer. You know what topic they’re interested in (based on what they downloaded) and how to get back in touch with them. That’s information you can do something with if they look like a promising lead.

  • To collect more information from your leads

A name and an email address can be enough to count someone as a lead, but the more you know about them the more you’re able to be targeted in your contact with them. Sometimes the form for a piece of gated content includes additional fields like business size and industry. And if someone that’s already a lead comes back to check out more of your gated content, you can ask for different information than you did the first time – you already have their email, but maybe they can tell you now the services they offer or their biggest business challenge.

  • It gives you an in to continue the relationship

Someone who views a blog post may find it valuable, but then leave the website and never return. When someone gives you contact information they’re showing engagement and giving you a way to keep the relationship going – something that can often be hard to pull off in content marketing.

  • It signals higher-value content

While content marketing is often all about providing value to your audience (for free), there’s definitely still a sense in our culture that a thing too easily gotten can’t be worth as much. For someone with that mentality, a piece of content they have to give something up for will immediately look more valuable than something publicly available to everyone. Putting content behind a form can therefore be a way of communicating that there’s something special about this piece of content, which can make it look more enticing to your audience.

5 Reasons Not to Gate Content

I’m going to come right out with a clear stance here: not all content should be gated. The benefits of leaving content publicly available on your website are too significant to gate everything.

  • Gated content creates friction.

Anytime you put a barrier between people and what you want them to see, you’re decreasing the number of people that will take that step. In some contexts, that’s ok. Having fewer relevant leads is better than lots of irrelevant ones. But a big part of marketing is creating awareness of your brand and product, and content has an important role to play in that. It won’t help people learn you exist if they can’t see any of the content you create because it’s hidden behind a form.

  • It can cause annoyance.

If someone doesn’t know enough about your brand to trust you and care about what you have to say, being hit with a form first thing asking them to hand over their information is obnoxious. Not only will they probably not provide the information you’ve asked for, but their overall experience on your website will be negative.

If you overuse gated content without taking the time to build up trust with freely accessible content, then you can expect your visitors to experience annoyance and frustration – clearly not emotions you want to cause in potential customers.

  • You lose out on SEO value.

When you put your content out of reach for prospects, you’re putting it out of reach for Google’s algorithms as well. Why would they want to rank a page that has partial information on it with a form to learn more rather than a page on the same subject that lays out all the information a searcher would need? If SEO is a priority (and it should be for most businesses doing content marketing), then most of your content should remain ungated.

This is related to SEO, but worth mentioning on its own. When a writer is looking for content to link to in a post or article that will add value to their readers, they’re less likely to choose a resource that their readers won’t find readily accessible. With some exceptions where what’s behind the gate is so uniquely valuable as to be worth it (original research being the main one), they’ll skip over your gated content and find a resource that’s not behind a form to use.

  • Your blog can be a tool to gain leads without gated content.

If your blog content is consistently useful and you promote your email list throughout the blog and website, then you can gain email signups and leads without putting your content behind a gate. Sticking your best stuff behind a form isn’t the only way to gain leads.

What’s Right For You?

Whether or not you should gate your content depends on three main things:

  • Your goals
  • Your audience
  • Whether or not you have content worth gating

If the main goals of your content marketing program are awareness and SEO, then gated content probably isn’t for you. But if it’s crucial to you to gain leads with your content and your blog isn’t doing the trick, then working up some especially high-quality resources to put behind a form could be a great idea. It all depends on your overall goals and if gating makes sense within the rest of your content strategy.

If You Use Gated Content

If you do decide to start using gated content, then it’s important to do so in a way that keeps your audience top of mind and helps you meet your goals.

Make sure your content is worth it.

First things first, if you put lackluster content behind a gate, people will resent you for it. And if you reach out to contact them after, you’re doing so at a disadvantage because they already lost their trust in you. So you have to make sure any gated content you create is top of the line.

Ask yourself:

  • Do I know this is a topic my audience cares about?
  • Is there anything in my gated content people couldn’t easily find with a simple Google search?
  • Will my audience walk away from this content having learned something they can use to make their lives or work better?

If you can’t confidently answer all three of those questions with a “yes,” this content shouldn’t go behind a form.

Don’t ask for too much.

There are definitely people who would be willing to download content that only asks for an email address, but will balk if you ask for their email, title, business size, industry, date of birth, name of their firstborn…you get the idea. The more time it takes someone to fill out the form and the more they feel like they have to give up, the harder you’re making it for them to say “yes” and complete the task to reach your content.

Think about starting small – just ask for a little information the first time a prospect encounters your gated content. If they come back for more later (a different piece of gated content, that is), you can ask for more.

Promote it like a product.

If you’re putting the time in to create content that’s of a high enough value to put behind a form, then you should commit time to getting it in front of people. Promote your gated content on social media. Plan other relevant content pieces you can use to help promote your gated content and work CTAs into them. Consider pitching relevant guest posts to other blogs that will include links to your gated content, to help get it in front of a new audience. You might even consider paid promotion if you want to make sure you get that much more out of it.

If you simply create it and sit around hoping people will notice and care, you’ll have done all that work for nothing. Help people find the content you worked so hard on.

A/B test forms and CTAs.

If you’d really like to ask for extra information in your form, but aren’t sure you can get away with it without losing leads, do some testing. Figure out different wording to put on the landing page, different fields to include on the form, and different language and designs for the CTAs you use to direct people to your gated content. It’s hard to predict what people will respond to and what wording or design elements will make a difference. You won’t know for sure what matters most unless you test it out.

Make sure you follow up with relevant messaging.

Once a person takes the step of providing their information to download your content, you have an opportunity to keep the relationship going. Don’t bombard them with email marketing, but do work up some follow-up emails that are relevant to the content they downloaded. Use those emails to see about getting them to sign up for your email list or urge them to take further action, like starting a trial or checking out relevant product pages.

Someone who goes so far as to provide you information in order to access your content is usually going to be a valuable lead, so figure out the best strategy for nurturing those leads once you have them.

 

Gated content may not be right for every brand, and no brand should make it 100% of their content strategy. But if you do decide it’s right for you, it may be a good way to bring in new, relevant leads that are likely to turn into customers. You just have to make sure you do it right.

 

 

6 Great Content Writing Examples

Anyone who works in content marketing is used to encountering bad examples. You get better at noticing the stuff that doesn’t work when it’s your job to make stuff that does. Because we’re so used to seeing bad examples, it feels really good to encounter examples of content writing done right.

It can give is some inspiration in our work and, if we’re the target audience, be directly useful to us as well. To provide some of you with that feeling today, I’ve collected a few examples of great content writing I’ve encountered. Enjoy.

Great Business Blogging Examples

For most companies that do content marketing, blogging is the biggest part of the job. Blogs give you the opportunity to provide fresh, useful content to your audience on a regular basis and they’re one of the best tools you’ve got for SEO.

But they’re also hungry beasts that demand lots of work and never let you take a break. That’s caused far too many businesses to try to settle for lazy, cheap content on their blogs – or give up on them entirely within a few months of not seeing immediate results.

The brands that stick with it and provide consistently helpful and high-quality content are therefore in the minority.

HomeAdvisor

Homeowners tend to have a lot of ideas for projects they want to try and questions about how to handle everyday fixes. The Home Advisor blog HomeSource is packed full of answers and tips. The blog is a mix of practical tips like how to hire a good contractor or pack for a move, along with more fun topics like decorating your home and yard.

Probably the most common questions homeowners have are those about cost. Many people – especially new homeowners – simply don’t know what’s normal to expect a home repair or update to cost. In addition to the blog itself, HomeAdvisor therefore offers a True Cost guide to give you an idea of what your budget should be before you start a project, and help you rule out any contractors that charge outside of the norm. And since the company’s business model is based on matching homeowners with the people who do those sorts of projects, they of course offer a handy CTA on the same page to help you find relevant professionals in your area.

content marketing example

Rover

Rover’s got a bit of advantage over most businesses when it comes to their content. The company is all about pets (mostly dogs) – and we all know pet pictures are one of the most popular things on the internet. But in addition to taking advantage of the love people have for pictures of cute animals, the Rover blog Daily Treat also provides a lot of useful information on topics important to pet owners, such as training and safety tips and answers to pressing questions like “do dogs recognize us on a phone screen?” (if you have a dog, you’ve probably wondered).

blogging example
They’re one of the companies that can most successfully get me to click on a link in an email, because they do a great job of figuring out the things pet owners really do want to know.

Ehrlich

If you’re thinking “sure, their content’s good, but Rover has it so much easier than those of us doing marketing in areas less compelling than the cute dog industry,” here’s an example for you. The pest control company Ehrlich has a great blog, deBugged that provides lots of useful information about bugs and other creepy crawly-adjacent subjects.

Bugs aren’t a subject most of us go out of our way to do some reading on each day, but when you need to know how concerned you should really be about Zika virus or what to do about bed bugs, those posts will come in handy. And the rest of the time, you may find posts on topics like how long wasps live to be interesting as well. Like Home Advisor, they include CTAs at the end of their content where relevant so that person trying to figure out what to do about bed bugs knows who to call to help.

blogging example

 Great Examples of Longform Content

As content marketing is adopted by more and more businesses in all sorts of industries, finding a way to stand out is a challenge. One route many businesses are taking is creating content that goes more in depth. It takes more work, but if you can pack more of the information your prospects need into one longform piece rather than spreading it over a number of shorter pieces, many people will find that more helpful.

Freshbooks

Freshbooks’ target audience for their accounting software is small businesses and freelancers. That’s a group of people that thinks a lot about pricing – figuring out how to charge for your services in a way that works for you and your customers is a fraught subject.

In order to provide them information so useful it could stand out in the marketing crowd, they put together an ebook that tackled the subject of how to switch from charging hourly to project-based pricing. The 70-page book is structured like a conversation between two relatable professionals and lays out the case for a different approach to pricing that can help service-based small business owners make more.

The book got reviewed around the web and collected positive testimonials from a number of key influencers. Not bad in our world of content saturation.

longform content writing example

Moz

I mentioned content saturation before, but arguably the industry that has it the worst is marketing. Many of the earliest adopters of content marketing were marketing agencies and marketing software companies. Producing content about marketing that doesn’t repeat what’s been said before and manages to provide something truly useful is a huge challenge businesses face. But Moz is consistently good at it.

Any time I encounter someone looking to learn the basics of SEO, I send them over to the The Beginner’s Guide to SEO by Moz. It’s thorough, but manageable. It’s written in a way to be accessible to people new to the concept and it’s organized to make it easy to focus in on specific sections when you just need a refresher on, say, keyword research.

The guide was produced several years ago, but is updated regularly to make sure the information stays accurate. It’s been read over 3 million times and continues to generate new traffic for the site.

longform content writing example

Rodale’s

For people just getting started, gardening is both exciting and overwhelming. There’s a lot you need to know and figuring out both the answers to your questions and even what questions you should have can be challenging.

In addition to their usual helpful blog content, Rodale’s also provides some longform guides that help the people in their target audience – gardeners that care about the environment – learn all the most important basics to start out with.

Their Beginner’s Guide to Organic Gardening covers using seeds, using transplants, weeds, pest control, and basic gardening vocabulary. It ensures readers can go into their local nursery with all the 101-information covered.

longform content writing example

Content marketing is hard to do well, but seeing how other brands are pulling it off can help you to revisit your own strategy to consider ways to do better.

Hopefully these examples will provide some inspiration for your own content. And if you could use some extra help with content writing for your business, that’s what I do. Get in touch to see if we might be a good fit.

Want more examples of great content writing to check out? I collected 7 great examples of business blogs in a recent post and I’ve got a whole page of content writing links by me over on my writing samples page.

7 Tricks to Always Have a Blog Topic Handy

blog topic ideas

If you have a blog, at some point you’ve hit up against the challenge of coming up with topics to write about. While you know that there’s no way you’ve covered every subject possible that’s related to your industry, sometimes you just can’t seem to think of anything new.

A successful blog strategy requires staying on top of this issue. Your aim should be to always have a list of topics you can turn to when it’s time to update the content calendar. And you definitely never want to find yourself scrambling for a topic with no good ideas right before it’s time for a new post to go up.

You can do better than that. Developing a few good habits can ensure you’re always prepared with an ongoing list of relevant topic ideas. These seven tips are a good start.

  1. Have a central place to keep a list of ideas and resources.

For every other step on this list to pay off, you have to take a second to jot down all the ideas you have as you go. And at least as importantly, you have to get them down somewhere that you’ll think to return to at the moment when you’re planning out your content calendar.

The place you choose to do that is up to you, but make sure you find somewhere consistent to regularly record your ideas where it’s easy to add to the list and make notes in the moment while the idea is fresh in your memory. This could be something as simple as a Word or Google document, or your list could live in a tool more designed for the purpose like Evernote or Trello.

Treat this as your central repository for ideas. Don’t be particular about what goes in. As with a brainstorming session, there are no bad ideas. An idea that you’re not sure is strong enough on its own for a blog post could later inspire you to think of a related topic that makes for great content. Any idea you have, throw in there. You can refine the ideas later when it comes time to put actual topics on the calendar.

  1. Always be researching.

This is good advice for life in general – we should all strive to be learning more as we go. When it comes to keeping your blog running smoothly though, research can play a key role in helping you generate topic ideas regularly.

Most good ideas in history have been built off of other ideas. What you read in another industry blog (or maybe even in the news or a magazine) can be the seed to a great blog post you write later.

Make research a part of your daily to-do list and always be on the lookout for ideas buried in the articles you read, videos you watch, and podcasts you listen to that you can build off of in your own content. You can save articles you see shared on social media for later with an app like Pocket, and you can add blogs and publications that consistently provide information you find valuable to an app like Feedly so discovering good articles on the regular is simplified.

The tools we have available should make it easy for you to always find new research materials to consume, which will in turn help you keep your list of ideas growing.

  1. Use keyword research to see what people are interested in learning.

Keyword research is one of the early steps in any SEO strategy, but it’s also an important resource for figuring out what people are talking and thinking about. A number of keyword research tools exist, including Google’s free Keyword Planner.

All of them can help you grow your list of topic ideas with the confidence that every idea you add to the list is something your audience cares about.

  1. Subscribe to relevant email lists.

Seek out every important and successful blog in your industry and sign up for their email list. The emails they send out will point you toward their content, which will keep you abreast of what your competitors are doing. Seeing what topics they focus on can serve as inspiration to help you come up with (different, but related) topics for your blog.

  1. Pay attention to Google Trends.

Wonder what people around the world are thinking about right now? Google doesn’t have to wonder, they know. Every search someone does in the search engine turns into data that they share with Screen Shot 2017-02-07 at 4.29.02 PMmarketers in a number of different forms. One of those is Google Trends.

You can see generally what people are thinking about. You can see the subjects that are most popular in different categories. And you can search specific terms to narrow down the data and see how popular that particular term is, along with a list of related terms people are searching for.

The more you explore in Google Trends, the more you gain a snapshot into what people are thinking about and looking for more information on. Not every trending topic will be relevant to your own blog, but finding those that are can give you great ideas that you know people are interested in.

  1. Hang out in relevant forums and social media groups.

The best way to find out what your audience cares about to is to hear it from them. That means hanging out wherever they are online. Look for forums, LinkedIn Groups, Twitter chats, and Facebook communities your audience is a part of. Follow relevant topics in Quora and pay attention to the questions people commonly ask.

Visit popular blogs with comment sections and read through them. When discussions get going, you’ll often find hidden gems of questions and comments that point you toward topics people want to know more about. The internet provides you with different opportunities and ways to listen, find and take advantage of them.

  1. Look for examples.

Is there something you’ve written about before that can be demonstrated with examples? For a lot of topics, it’s easy to find general advice and harder to find specific examples or case studies of how that advice plays out in real life. If you can fill in that gap, a lot of people will find it valuable.

Examples lend weight to what you’re saying and thus provide real, tangible value to your readers. It takes some work to put together blog posts that highlight specific examples of good advice in practice, but it’s a worthy topic category to tackle.

 

This list should keep the topics coming over time and ensure you consistently have a steady store of them to turn to whenever needed. When you have a long list of topic ideas to work with, your blog planning will run more efficiently and you’ll be able to consistently publish content that people are actually interested in.