Perhaps one of the less-talked-about challenges of managing a content calendar is constantly coming up with new blog post ideas. If you’ve got a business to run and/or ambitions to publish several blogs a week, finding the time to research ideas can be difficult.
And despite pouring hours into keyword research and sifting through the newsletters that flood your inbox, finding inspiration can be draining.
Fortunately, there are plenty of resources still at your disposal. Here are 10 for you to consider as you build out your blog.
1. Redo old blog topics
Not all blogs need to be built on brand new topics. In fact, it’s always a good idea to revisit blogs from a year ago or longer. Refreshing old content can have great SEO (and other) benefits, including:
- The opportunity to improve rankings if your content is stagnant in the SERPs
- Increase engagement by optimizing the user experience
- Avoid outdated information, or information that no longer represents your brand accurately
As a first step, use Google Analytics and Google Search Console to identify blogs that are underperforming in terms of traffic and click-through-rate from SERPs. Keyword research tools, like ContentEdge’s Domain Explorer, can additionally highlight blogs that have the potential to rank but have yet to reach first-page status.
If you see a blog that has both ranking and strategic power, jot down ways to improve the writing. It’s possible for some blogs to just need minor expansion, while others will need much larger revisions—in which case, you should schedule time to re-research, rewrite, and re-publish the content as a new blog. Take care to redirect any old URLs to their updated versions.
2. Answer an FAQ
Customer forums and conversations can offer a plethora of content ideas. Marcus Sheridan is one of the most well-known success stories regarding this: during the recession in 2008, Sheridan’s pool company found itself in deep waters. Sales were drying up, and his team needed a way to turn things around—fast.
Sheridan cut down his usual ad budget (roughly $250,000 a year in TV, radio, and PPC ads) down to a tenth of it, and decided to give blogging a shot.
“The problem in my industry, and a lot of industries, is you don’t get a lot of great search results because most businesses don’t want to give answers; they want to talk about their company,” Sheridan told the New York Times. “So I realized that if I was willing to answer all these questions that people have about fiberglass pools, we might have a chance to pull this out…[the first question I answered was the] question I was always asked within the first two minutes of talking to customers…How much does a fiberglass pool cost?”
In the same vein, gather customer FAQs and see what would make sense to touch on via a blog. Aside from serving as a highly sought-after blog, the resulting article could benefit your team in sales communications.
3. Interview a subject matter expert (SME)
Be it a business partner, customer, or someone on your team—an expert interview offers great fodder for articles that meet Google’s E-A-T criteria. There are various types of blogs that you could produce from this strategy:
- An interview transcript, which is quick and easy to create
- An expert roundup, which features quotes and perspectives from multiple SMEs
- A series of posts, each touching on a different subtopic that was discussed in your interview
A secondary benefit of involving an industry expert is that your interviewees will be incentivized to share your posts. You can organically boost the virality of your content, which, in turn, may earn you more backlinks.
4. Participate in blog exchanges
Similarly, a blog exchange (aka “blog swap”) can help you to create original content, featuring the work and opinions of a strategic partner. By offering to host a blog written by a marketing partner—and to write a post for their site in return—both you and your partner can benefit from getting your content in front of a new audience.
As a word of caution: make sure that any posts you create or receive are written to inform, not similar to pitch your brand. Check that your partner shares a similar audience as you but doesn’t sell the same (or too close of) products. And work with your partner to find a topic that aligns with his or her expertise.
Your partners should also be able to advise you on the types of topics that would resonate well with their audience while shining light on your expertise.
5. Expand upon a social media thread
Conversations are happening all day, every day. This means that you don’t always have to reinvent the wheel or start a new conversation with your blogs. Instead, hop onto Twitter or Reddit and track some of the trending topics in your space.
Follow a few influencers and monitor their activity. Chances are, you’ll find a handful of interesting posts that have gained attention online. Research these topics, follow the chatter around them, and form your own opinion, which you can then present in a blog.
You could even cite a few social media posts within your blog. When you promote your blog online, make sure to tag the people whom you cited in order to earn a few shares and likes.
6. Recap (or promote) an event
Whether you’re hosting, participating, or simply attending an event—give a recap in a blog. This helps to stretch the ROI of your event, ensuring that folks who weren’t able to participate can catch the highlights.
Pro tip: be creative. The average headline of an event recap looks something like this: “[Event Name] Recap: Here’s What You Missed.” The problem with this headline is that it doesn’t tell the reader what he or she will gain out of reading your post-event report.
Instead, try leading with the number one takeaway or the most memorable soundbite from your event. Let the reader know what he or she missed right off the bat. Provide value and present your content in a way that’s unmistakably relevant to your target reader.
7. Break down an ebook
If you have an existing ebook (or other longform content) lying around, consider splitting up each chapter into an individual blog. Elaborate on those subtopics within your blog, providing additional facts, examples, and perspectives to boost its value.
While visitors have the option to download your ebook in its entirety, your individual blogs will help to get your content in front of more people by making it more digestible and easier to find via search engines.
8. Take Inspiration from podcasts
In the spirit of repurposing existing content—explore podcasts that are related to your industry. Keep an ear out for hot takes, trends, or other topics that could be interesting to your blog audience.
You could (and should) quote from highly relevant podcasts and/or include a link to the podcast itself from within your blog. While podcasts are a wildly popular type of media, your article could appeal to those who are better visual learners.
9. Conduct a survey or study
Surveys often attract lots of backlinks, plus attention, if done well. As a bonus, they also help you to establish your topical authority by providing more tangible, proprietary facts.
You can conduct a survey via social media, emails, or tools like Typeform. Ask thought-provoking questions in your surveys and collect information that’ll benefit your blog audience. Present your findings in both written and visual form, providing as much context and explanation as you can.
Some popular types of surveys include:
- Polls that ask your audience for their preference or opinion on a trending topic
- Surveys that shed light on certain habits, behaviors, device usage, demographic breakdown, and more
- Questionnaires that help professionals learn from other professionals, or that help businesses learn more about what their consumers are thinking
10. Discuss company learnings
As salesmen or marketers, we’re wired to always put our best foot forward. But good can come out of admitting to our mistakes every once in a while, and many people tend to gravitate towards brands that have a human side to them.
“We found that consumers who perceive your brand as human are 2.1 times more likely to love the brand and 1.9 times more likely to be satisfied by it,” reported vice president and principal analyst at Forrester Research, Dipanjan Chatterjee. “Similarly, consumers who perceive a brand as human are 1.6 times more likely to purchase from that brand and 1.8 times more likely to recommend it.”
To that end, think about the assumptions that your company has made in the past (only to be proven wrong) or the mistakes you’ve made along the way as you’ve grown. Share your tips for other businesses or professionals who might find themselves in a similar situation. Doing so can help you to craft unique content, while connecting with readers on a more personal level.
The bottom line
Blog post ideas are endless—if you just remember where to look. Make sure to tap into the resources, tools, and experiences at your disposal as you think of new ideas. It’s always a good idea to keep a running list of blog ideas, inspired by the people and sources that you interact with every day.
If you need help exploring trending keywords or crafting your content, ContentEdge has the tools to help. Give it a spin for free today and easily fill up your content calendar with high-quality posts.