Blog Post Ideas (Here’s the Step by Step Guide to Generating Hundreds of Them)

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I know it’s not always easy to generate new content ideas for your inbound marketing,…

We’ve done the hard yards to put together a guide on our internal content idea generation process, including links to the various tools that we use.

If you follow the instructions and use the tools listed below, you’ll be able to generate hundreds of blog post ideas or content asset ideas around your topic of interest that (most importantly!) are what your customers want to hear about, rather than simply what your internal business units/HiPPOs want to talk about.

We’ll give you a couple of examples as we walk through the various tactics.

Whilst going through and finding content ideas, at the same time you should be building your list of influencers. The people releasing popular, shareable, linkable content within your niche are the perfect people to then reach out to when you’re ready to release your own high-quality content to pump up your lead generation and lead nurturing.

BuzzSumo

Plug in your topic keywords and BuzzSumo will spit out the most popularly shared articles (amongst other content types such as infographics) over any time in the last year. One thing to be aware of is that some publications/sites will get a huge amount of shares based solely on the fact that they’re well known (an example in the business world might be Forbes). What you want to be looking for is the articles that have gone viral for their content rather than where they’re housed.

Overall, this is a brilliant tool, and a great place to start. Follow these simple steps:

1. Sign-up/log-in to BuzzSumo. You can sign-up to a free account to trial the tool, which gives you access to the first page of results, but for any serious research you need to sign up for the paid version.

2. Type in the keyword that you’re interested in, which for our example is “BYOD”. Many of the usual search operators apply, such as quotation marks, plus signs and minus signs. There is also an advanced search option which explains the search engine operators available in more detail.

3. Another option is to type in a domain name, such as “cnn.com”. This is a great way to keep track of the popular content being created by industry leaders and/or competitors in your niche. One feature here is that you can search by category folder, for example “cnn.com/blog/”, which is very helpful for narrowing your focus, especially on larger websites.

4. If you’re going to be using the same searches often (helpful if you’re producing a lot of content around a keyword, and also helpful if you’re reposting popular articles to your social media accounts), use the “Save Search” feature. It’s pretty straightforward – just make sure that all the parameters (types of posts, timeframe, search operators) are as you want them, hit the “Save Search” button and use a detailed descriptor of the search.

5. Although it may be tempting to always look back 6 or 12 months, we find it better to determine your look-back time based on what your objectives are. If you’re trying to find high-value content assets and more evergreen stuff, then looking back over 6-12 months is best. If you’re doing monthly brainstorming sessions for upcoming blog posts or content for your content calendar, choosing 1 month is the best option. If you’re looking for newly released information to post to your social media accounts, 1 week or 24 hours is best. If you’re looking for breaking news to comment on, then choose 24 hours.

6. Depending on how popular your niche/keyword is, you may end up with a lot of results and a high volume of social actions, or a small number of results with a low volume of social actions. There’s no hard and fast rule here, but if you’re getting a lot of results you may wish to narrow the look-back time or keyword focus, and with small results you may wish to expand the look-back time and broaden your focus. Remember, if people aren’t reading and sharing the topic/keyword you’re looking for, then chances are they won’t share your posts or content assets if you speak about the same topic – it’s just not interesting enough. You may need to go back and do more keyword research and brainstorming around the topic/keyword you’re looking to cover.

7. Make sure you click through and actually view the most popular results/the ones that you’re going to include on your worksheet. If comments are allowed, take a look at these as they can provide valuable information, contrary points of view, facts that the author may have missed, etc. Take note of the total number of comments, as well as any useful points raised in any of the comments.

8. Export your results and add to a content brainstorming spreadsheet.

BuzzSumo really comes into its own as an outreach tool – it allows you to not only see how many times a piece of content has been shared, but also who the top people sharing it on Twitter were. Alternatively, you can use the “Top Influencers” tab at the top to see who the most influential people are around any topic you choose as well as a number of important stats, such as their followers and retweet ratio. Everything can be exported too, making BuzzSumo one of the most valuable content creation and promotion tools there is.

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