Your blog or news section is an important part of your website. It’s a part of your website where you can tell the world about new products and services, share good news, give advice or provide some other interesting take on issues affecting your business. It’s also an effective way of promoting your website and boosting web traffic.
While writing a good blog post is no small undertaking (allow 1 to 2 hours for something original) getting inspiration for new topics is sometimes hard. We may find our own businesses endlessly fascinating but you also might not immediately consider it worthy to consider writing a blog article about some aspect of the business.
Getting more creative
Being more creative has general benefits in business and life and there’s a myriad of business gurus out there offering advice on the subject.
One classic title is “A Whack on the Side of the Head: How You Can Be More Creative” by Roger von Oech. It uses mental games and fun scenarios to show how anyone can be more creative, think differently and come up with new ideas and solutions to problems.
Another favourite of mine is record producer Brian Eno’s oblique strategies. These are a card-based method for jogging creativity jointly created by Brian Eno and Peter Schmidt and first published in 1975.
Physically, it takes the form of a deck 7-by-9-centimetre (2.8 in × 3.5 in) printed cards in a black box. Each card offers a challenging constraint intended to help artists (particularly musicians) break creative blocks by encouraging lateral thinking.
Some examples include the following:
- Use an old idea.
- State the problem in words as clearly as possible.
- Only one element of each kind.
- What would your closest friend do?
- What to increase? What to reduce?
- Are there sections? Consider transitions.
- Try faking it!
- Honour thy error as a hidden intention.
- Ask your body.
- Work at a different speed
There are several website that display these at random and they often provide a bit of much needed inspiration.
See this website for a randomised selection: http://www.oblicard.com/
Finally one of the best ways of cultivating creativity is simply to show up and get to work.
“Inspiration exists, but it has to find you working.” ― Pablo Picasso
Getting back to the specific web based resources here are some tools and methods that you can use to discover new topics for blogging.
Check your web traffic data, enquiries and website search keywords
You can use your website traffic to help deduce how people find your website and what they like to click on when they are there. This can give you a feel for your most popular pages and typical path through your website:
Google analytics can provide data on the following:
- Most popular landing pages
- Path through your website
- Top exit pages
- Devices used
- Overall and individual
- Keywords used to find your website
- Top referring pages
This tells you about who is currently visiting your website, however there are other tools that can help you find out what the wider world is thinking.
Google Trends is a public web facility of Google Inc., based on Google Search, that shows how often a particular search-term is entered relative to the total search-volume across various regions of the world, and in various languages.
Visit the website here: https://trends.google.com/trends/
You can select a country and enter a keyword to see the volume of searches, related terms and regions.
Google Alerts is a content change detection and notification service, offered by the search engine company Google. It sends emails to the user when Google finds new results—such as web pages, newspaper articles, blogs, or scientific research—that match the user’s search term(s).
You can use it to see what people are publishing and what is ranking well.
You can sign up for free at https://www.google.co.uk/alerts
Keyword research gives an indication of the popularity of a topic and alternative versions of a keyword.
There are various excellent free and premium tools.
A good place to start keyword research is Google autosuggest. Go to the main Google site for your country and start typing your keyword. Google will give you a list of keywords that are drawn from what they consider to be related keywords. This is based on their records of what people are actually typing into the search engine.
Once you see the search results, at the bottom you will see the searches related to links.
What you do with this information is down to you. Hopefully it gives you an insight into what people are searching for and what might be a suitable topic for blogging about.
You can also use Google Keyword Planner tool to find actual search volumes and related keywords for a list of keywords.
This is designed to be used to find keywords for Google AdWords campaigns so you will need a Google account to use it.
You can also find popular content in your niche with Buzzsumo. This is a tool that shows the most shared content across all social networks and run detailed analysis reports.
All you have to do is input keywords related to your niche in the search bar, and Buzzsumo will provide you with popular content and how often it is shared across different platforms.
Once you see what is trending for shares you can do one of the following to carve your own niche or improve on what is already popular.
- Add more specific detail.
- Get insights from practitioners, experts or users.
- Perform an experiment or provide your own data or real-world experience.
- Make it easily digestible or more relevant to your audience.
Buzzsumo has a free and premium pricing models. Visit the website here: https://app.buzzsumo.com/research/most-shared
Premium SEO tools
Most premium SEO services will have some sort of trend spotting facility where you type in keywords and they provide trends and search volumes.
While these tools are very useful, it’s wise to balance a number of issues:
- What people are searching for.
- News on products and services.
- Your own ideas for providing useful content for clients and potential customers such as ‘how to guide’, tips and opinion pieces.
Once you have written a good informative blog post it doesn’t just stop there. You can share it frequently on social media, send it to influencers and rework the content for other content sites such as Medium, Posts on Google places, Facebook notes, Linked In etc.