Content marketing at its core is a simple concept. You write high-quality, valuable resources that your audience wants to read with the goal of increasing site traffic, brand awareness, leads, and sales.
You start a blog. You get excited thinking about lead magnets and email newsletters. And then when you go to put pen to paper, you only think of a few topics, and none end up yielding results.
So what gives?
If you want to attract clients, it’s important to know what to write about, and you can’t just fall back on the first idea that you had or what you’d like to read.
In this post, we’re going to talk about what to write about to attract the clients you’re looking for and how to develop strong content ideas that will drive results.
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Table of Contents
The biggest mistakes brands make when choosing what to write about
Before we take a close look at what you should write about, I want to address a few mistakes that you’ll want to avoid when selecting topics.
Here are the biggest mistakes I’ve seen people make time and time again when generating topic ideas:
- They write a blog post similar to what their competitor has. There is nothing wrong with offering similar resources, but it doesn’t make sense to write something just because a competitor has. You need to make sure that it works for your audience, your products, and your sales funnel, too.
Here’s an example. I’m an an ad agency that’s targeting higher education organizations as clients, it wouldn’t make sense to write a post geared towards real estate agents just because another marketing agency did so. That does nothing for me and for my audience.
- They write posts based on product keywords. Blogs are insanely valuable selling tools, but posts should not exclusively be used as a long-form salespitch unless you want to see your bouncerates skyrocket.
So many of my clients want to target high-value product keywords, some of which won’t belong in blog posts and would do better on product pages.
While you can optimize for some product-related keywords, remember that it’s important to look at keywords that can help you capture user intent more effectively and present your products as a solution.
- They write on a topic because it has a high keyword search volume, even if the keyword isn’t 100% relevant to their brand. Let’s say that I’ve cut a cut flower business. I see that “how to grow flowers” is a top-performing keyword. Great! That’s still not one I should try to rank for just because it’s got a high search volume, however, because it really doesn’t have anything to do with my business.
If the topic and keyword don’t align with your products, service, or audience needs, it’s not a good fit.
When choosing what to write about, remember that you should be finding ways to connect with your target audience authentically and organically. You don’t want to try to be forcing unnatural connections, including trying to shoehorn a predetermined topic into a keyword that only kind of fits.
What you should write about
Ready to think about what you should write about?
You’ll want to consider the following:
- What offers value to my target audience?
Your specific audience niches must find a post valuable, actionable, and interesting (or at least some combination of two out of those three).
- What information is my audience likely seeking, especially when they’re in the research and consideration stages of the digital sales funnel?
If a user is researching a new air conditioning unit, they might be searching for content discussing the pros and cons of different types of units.
- What resources can make my product more useful or valuable? Here at Wordable, we create resources and blog posts designed to help you get more out of your content marketing. This is partially because we really love content marketing (it’s our jam!), but also because we know that when our customers see better results with their marketing, they’ll stick around longer, too.
- What resources can speed up the client onboarding process? When clients come to me, they may not know about exactly how a content strategy even works. I have a short ebook I wrote about the basics of content that I’ll send them before initial calls. This gets everyone on the same page and often simplifies the process, which is a win-win for both parties.
- How can I move users through the digital sales funnel?
Say you run a kickboxing studio, and you write a blog post about different combos to increase agility. That’s great for users who are already interested in kickboxing, but it might not bring in cold traffic. A post like “# Reasons to Get Started with Boxing” could be a good first step that could push users to those other posts later on.
How to get ideas for what to write about
Having basic guidelines that can help us decide what’s worth writing about is a great start, but even better is a list of ways to come up with topics that will help you create the types of resources discussed above.
When you need more topics to write about to attract customers, these are the go-to strategies I personally use and heavily recommend.
1. Take a Look at the News
What’s timely and relevant right now in your industry? What’s happening in the world that could impact your industry?
I write a great deal about social media marketing, for example, and there is never any lack of new features rolling onto the market. If I’m ever short a topic, doing a quick look at future updates gives me plenty of ideas to work with.
Industry-related news is excellent, because it’s timely and you may be able to beat other competitors to the punch. This is information your audience may need right now and it’s your chance to provide it to them.
Someone running a nutrition blog can comment about latest fads and self-proclaimed “superfods” as the new trends pick up steam on social media, establishing themselves as a trusted resource.
And last year, there was no shortage of B2B blogs that discussed how COVID impacted everything from shipping to online management practices that saw higher-than-average engagement.
Follow industry publications to stay up to date on the latest and greatest (TechCrunch is great for tech news, for example), and keep an eye on the general news in general. You’d be surprised what you can come up with.
2. Look at What Your Customers are Searching For
This is always an excellent option when you want to generate new content: Answer questions that your customers are already asking.
Plenty of customers will ask the same questions over and over.
I’m 100% positive that when I got started with my retirement accounts, for example, that I was not the only freelancer who was confused out of their minds about what accounts could work for me and how much I could contribute each year. A large number of other freelancers have certainly found themselves in the same boat, which is why it’s such a great topic:
I actually made similar searches, found a resource I loved, and ended up hiring a financial advisor who wrote an outstanding post. This is the goal.
How to Know What Customers are Asking & Searching For
When you want to know what questions your customers are have and what they’re already searching for, there are a few different options to consider:
- Think about what questions you’re asking most frequently. I’m often asked “what results can I expect from content marketing,” so that would be an outstanding whitepaper to create. They may also ask about the safety of ingredients in the shampoo you create, or wonder why it matters if cloth baby diapers are organic.
If you’re asked the question more than once, it could be a great fit for a blog post.
- Look at social media, product pages, and the comment sections of blogs online. What questions are people asking you or your competitors?
I love taking a look at a competitor’s blog post comment section and looking for people who feel that their questions still weren’t answered; that’s an opportunity for me to create a more thorough resource that does address their needs.
- Use keyword research. Keyword research tools can give you a ton of insight into what people are searching for, and help you generate a huge list of ideas that can then rank well in search engines.
Search for general topic and see what comes up. You can also use tools like SEMRush’s keyword research tool to look exclusively for question-based keywords, which is a great starting place.
3. Think About What Problems Your Products or Services Solve
Understanding what problems your products of services solve and the pain points that they address for your customers. If you’re thinking about a customer’s pain points, problems, and motivations intentionally, that can give you new ideas.
Let’s say that I sell organic herb, vegetable, and fruit plans to customers. My customers come to me for the following reasons
- They have trouble growing plants from seeds on their own
- They don’t have access to organic produce near them
- They want to live eco-friendly and sustainable lives
- They feel this will be a fun, immersive way to teach their children about healthy eating
All of these pain points can be used to create individual blog posts that will help attract and convert your target audience:
- They have trouble growing plants from seeds on their own -> “# Reasons You Should Skip Seedlings & Go Straight to Plants” and “How to Keep Your Organic Herbs Alive & Thriving”
- They don’t have access to organic produce near them -> “Why You Should Grow Your Own Produce to Combat Food Deserts”
- They want to live eco-friendly and sustainable lives -> “# Tips for Living an Eco-Friendly Lifestyle” and “How to Have a Garden That’s Good for You & The Environment”
- They feel this will be a fun, immersive way to teach their children about healthy eating -> “# Things Children Learn When They Grow Their Own Food”
This strategy works so well when you’re determining what to write about because it focuses on your specific audience segments and their needs.
4. Share Insider Knowledge That Seems Obvious to You
If you’re successfully working in an industry, you have expert knowledge that you may not even realize you possess.
Within about two weeks of working at a jewelry store, for example, I learned:
- Which stones were hardest and more durable, and how stronger stones made for better engagement rings
- The difference between natural and man-made stones
- The 4 C’s in diamonds and how they impact pricing
- The pros and cons of different kinds of chains and clasps
- How scratch-resistant different types of metals were
This is information that the vast majority of the public does not have, but your customers absolutely would take value from it. Someone buying an engagement ring needs all of this information.
In this case, each individual fun fact could become its own 1,000-1,500 word blog post, which could then all be compiled into “The Ultimate Guide to Choosing An Engagement Ring” as a pillar post.
5. Check Out Your Competition (Within Reason)
This is going to be a short section because it’s a simple tip.
Are you really hurting for ideas? If so, go check out what your competition is writing about. You should never play the copy-cat game where you take a competitor’s blog post, rewrite it just enough that plagiarism checkers won’t catch it, and slap in a few new images.
Instead, you can get inspiration for new ideas. Maybe if they’re writing about “How to Use Facebook Ads to Attract Leads,” you think of “# Lead Magnets That Can Drive Results with Facebook Ads.” There’s overlap, but these are two different topics and you’ve got a new idea to write about that’s all your own.
In many ways, determining what to write about for your branded blog and lead magnets is sometimes much more difficult than actually sitting down and doing the writing itself. You need strong, strategic ideas that will resonate with your audience, and while this seems easy at first, many people start to run out of ideas before they know it.
By prioritizing the right things and using the topic generating strategies about, we know that you’ll always have ideas for what to write about that will actually bring high-quality clients to your site.
Have some new ideas and looking to ramp up the content production and publishing process? See how we can help here.