The saying ‘if you build it, they will come’ can apply to content marketing and blogging…for the most part. But before you publish even one piece of content, you want to make sure that your blog or website is optimized from a foundational SEO perspective. Once you are ready to start posting content, you’ll need to brainstorm on relevant topics that people are actually interested in. Of course, you can go the traditional route of doing keyword research on topics that are related to your industry, but it is important to utilize as many data sources as possible when going through this process. Consider utilizing the following tools to help identify data-driven blog topic ideas for your next content marketing piece.
Google Search Console: Search Analytics
Google Search Console (formerly Google Webmaster Tools) is probably the most obvious source of keyword data after Google Analytics began blocking the referring keywords and putting them into the (not provided) bucket. You may not completely trust the impression or click data from this source, but you can at least use the keywords as a guide to see what type of keywords visitors are using to get to your site. From a high level perspective, you can simply export a list of top keywords (by impressions, clicks or click-through-rates), plug those into the Google Adwords Keyword tool to get an idea of the search demand. The neat thing about this new Search Analytics tool is that you can filter and change the views of the data. For example, you can filter by landing pages and look at the keyword data just for that URL. This narrows the scope of information and helps you identify keyword gaps: you may be getting a lot of keyword impressions for a specific landing page, but users aren’t clicking on that result. This could be an opportunity to publish a blog post that focuses around that phrase.
Organic Keywords by External Tools
SEMrush and SpyFu allows you to input any domain and pull a wide variety of organic keyword data instantly. Both tools provide a lot more data with a paid subscription. Similar to the Search Analytics data, you can just sift through the long list of organic keywords to pick and choose which ones would be good terms to target and create a blog post around. You can take it a step forward and export the data and using a filter, only display keywords ranking beyond the 1st page. It is much easier to push the ranking of a listing that is on page 2-3, rather than page 1 (which probably needs a lot more off-page, linking support to accomplish). Since broad, fat-head terms are not the best keywords or topics to blog about, you can use the following Excel formula to get the word count of all queries from your export:
Now you can filter by long-tail queries that have at least 3 or more words. These keywords will be a lot easier to rank for than those fat head terms.
BuzzSumo is such a robust content marketing tool, I wrote a whole blog post about it! But this is another great source for content marketing and blog post ideas. An example of how you can use this to come up with blog post ideas is to simply search for other relevant blog posts that have been published in the past. BuzzSumo automatically sorts the results by social shares. So if one piece of content went ‘viral’, why not create another piece that is just like it, or better yet, improve on that article with more research and data! Another neat feature of BuzzSumo is the ability to search for articles by date. This will provide the most shared results so you can sort shared content by month or around a certain holiday or event. By understanding what was popular during a certain time of year, you can create new content around something similar (if it’s still relevant this year).
Users of Reddit can be very critical of the content that is shared on that platform. If there is any sign of self-promotion, that piece of content is immediately ‘down-voted’ to prevent any type of visibility (or viral-ness) in the future. But because of the open, user-voted nature of the community, it is possible to find very interesting information to repurpose for your own blog content. Reddit allows you to create almost any sub-reddit that you can think of. Or you can simply visit any of the many existing sub-reddits that already have an established audience to utilize for content ideation. The best example would be the aptly named Ask Reddit sub-reddit. Here you can ask the most random questions you can think of and let subscribers of that sub-reddit begin to answer your initial question within moments. Other readers can then up-vote or down-vote each response. In time, you will see the most up-voted responses (which usually means they agree with or like that specific comment). You can then use this information to create some type of list blog post. You want to be careful to provide attribution when necessary. Otherwise, you may get called out like Buzzfeed has been many times before.
Although going the traditional route of doing keyword research to identify potential keywords and blog topics to write about can be successful, it is almost always better to utilize as many sources of data as possible. The following tools can be a great way to identify opportunities to create relevant, compelling content that users are already searching for, or are interested in but just looking for the right place that has that information. Why not make that source of information your own blog?
Want to learn more?
For a better understanding of measuring Content Marketing success, you can download our eBook The Art & Science of Measuring ROI: Content Marketing, which provides a useful guide to defining company goals, matching those objectives to specific performance indicators and recommends tools that can assist you in evaluating and optimizing the performance.