Writing came easy for you in school. The teacher would give you a list of topics to choose from. All you had to do was pick one and write about it.
Now you have a business and you’re well aware of how important content marketing is to generate interest in your products and services.
The question is what topics will you write about?
What’s In A Topic?
Let’s say you own a business that sells gardening supplies and plants. As an expert, you can easily fill out a spreadsheet of topics for your blog.
You decide to write about fertilizers because that’s what your business is focused on now – stocking up on organic fertilizers that help plants thrive when grown inside the home.
It only takes you an hour to finish the blog. After a thorough review, you upload the blog on your website and excitedly share it on social media.
Hours turned to days and your blog has only gotten 3 likes, no shares, and according to your page’s analytics, the post didn’t drive traffic to your website.
What could have gone wrong? You’re thinking:
“Indoor plants are grown in soil and don’t get the same nutrients as plants grown outdoors. They need to be fertilized to stay healthier and to live longer.”
While you’re correct, maybe your readers don’t find the information important because:
- Many grow their plants outdoors.
- Many are aware of the importance of organic fertilizer.
- Fertilizer is used sparingly; usually just once a month per year and only during the growing season.
Perhaps your followers are mostly growers of succulents – plants that are durable and can survive the worst soil conditions without the need for fertilizer.
The number one rule in creating content is to choose topics that interest your audience, not you.
Search remains one of the most popular activities on the Internet. Nearly 75% of Internet users are launching queries through search engines and social media. Only instant messaging and email are ahead of search.
Keep in mind that social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube are search engines.
No matter how well-written, professionally researched, and expertly explained your content is, it won’t be appreciated because the majority of your audience won’t get to read it.
Why? Because they’re not interested enough to search for it on the Internet.
As a corollary to rule #1, when creating online content, you are writing for your audience and not for yourself.
For your content to be searched, there must be interest in it. Thus, the first step in creating content is to find high-ranking topics that interest your audience.
How To Find High Ranking Topics For Your Content
To be clear, the tips we share in this article aren’t just for finding high-ranking topics to write about. You can apply these tips to all forms of content and not just blogs.
In fact, it’s better to have a diverse content marketing strategy – one that includes different channels such as videos, images, e-books, and infographics to deliver your content.
Now let’s begin with tip #1 which is often overlooked by content creators.
1. Have a Plan
The chicken had a purpose that made it want to cross the road and go to the other side. Perhaps the chicken wanted to reunite with its chicks, forage for food, or go back to the farm.
We’re lucky that we’re not chickens and don’t act on instinct. We’re rational and have been gifted with a thought process that allows us to articulate ideas and turn them into a course of action – a plan.
When you don’t have a plan, your content marketing strategy might end up like the chicken that didn’t see the car speeding from the right side of the road.
What’s the purpose of your content marketing strategy?
- To drive more website traffic?
- To build your reputation as an expert?
- To create awareness about your products and services?
- To generate more leads?
- To move up the search rankings?
- To strengthen your business brand?
Your purpose sets the direction of your content marketing strategy. Having a plan organizes the necessary steps you need to take in order to achieve your goals and objectives.
Yes, you can have multiple goals.
For example, it follows that if you’re successful in driving more traffic to your website, you improve your chances of climbing up the search rankings. Likewise, more website traffic creates greater opportunities to convert interest into sales.
Thus, you might want to create a blog post on a high-ranking topic that exceeds 2,000 words. According to an updated study by Hubspot, the ideal blog post length to drive traffic to your website is between 2,100 to 2,400 words.
You can complement the blog post with a strong Call-to-Action (CTA).
The types of content you create and the topics they’re about will help you attain these different goals.
2. Do Keyword Research
We recently wrote a blog on how to do Keyword Research on a budget. You can read it here.
As we mentioned throughout that article, it’s not enough to write good content. It must be optimized. Without optimizing your content, it can’t be found on the Internet.
Optimization makes good content great.
But keyword research is more than just an optimization tool. It can be used to find high-ranking topics on the Internet.
Once you have compiled a list of high-ranking keywords with Google Keywords Planner, the next step is to run a Google search. Type in one of the keywords and run a search query.
Within seconds, Google will present its Search Engine Results Page (SERP) that organizes the most viewed URLs for that specific keyword. Remember that 75% of Internet users never scroll past the first page.
Also, 25% of Internet users will click on the first URL that appears on the SERP. Does it mean that it’s the best resource? No, it might only mean that it meets the criteria of Google’s search algorithm.
The important takeaway is that its topic is specifically what your audience is looking for.
At the very least, by reviewing the top 5 URLs that appear on the SERP, you’ll have good ideas on what topics are of interest to your audience.
3. Use Answer the Public
Have you ever wondered what your audience is thinking about? Wonder no longer and visit AnswerThePublic.
AnswerThePublic is an online tool that aggregates the most popular searches on Google and the other search engines. It goes through more than 3 billion daily searches and compiles the topics that Internet users are looking for every day.
The results are phrased as how, why, when, who, and what which makes it easier for you to create a spreadsheet of possible topics. You might say that AnswerThePublic is the answer to writer’s block!
4. Engage Your Followers
If you want to know what topics your audience wants to read about or view, why not just go straight to them and ask?
Engaging your followers has many benefits:
- Humanizes your business; gives it a personality that your followers can interact with.
- Boosts your customer support service by addressing complaints and issues right away.
- Helps establish long-term and sustainable relationships with your followers and customers because engagement done at the personal level makes them feel important and a crucial part of your value chain.
There are different ways you can engage with your followers and find out which topics interest them.
- Post the question on your page, “What do you guys want to read about? Please let us know.” A post as simple and direct as that will get your comment section active.
- Review the comments section and respond to as many followers as possible. Take note of which articles or posts generated the highest levels of engagement and what most of the questions and inquiries were about.
- Create a survey. This is a more formal approach compared to just simply posting a question on your page. You can create a survey and present it with a link to a Google Sheet file or as a link to a form on your website.
Always mention the purpose of the survey. Add a CTA to encourage more followers to participate.
5. Consult Your Analytics
If you’ve been posting content but aren’t getting the desired results, the clues to why your strategy has been underperforming can be found in your social media and website analytics.
- Find out which types of content have the highest levels of engagement.
- Find out the types of content that have the lowest levels of engagement.
- Find out which pages have the lowest bounce rate.
- Create an Audience Profile by identifying the demographics of your followers.
- Check which social media posts resulted in website visits.
Analytics gives you a guide on how to approach content creation. You’ll have an idea of the topics that appear to interest your audience the most. It doesn’t mean that you’ll focus on those types of topics but at the very least, you’ll have an idea of where to start.
6. Check Your Competitors
Your competitors are also a good source of high-ranking topics for your content. For sure, they’ve done their research on which topics to write about. Visit their social media pages and review the types of content that have been posted.
- What topics are covered by their posts?
- What are their videos about?
- What is the length of the top-performing blogs?
- Which topics are generating the highest level of engagement?
- How are the followers commenting?
- How does your competitor respond to the comments?
- What social media platforms are your competitors using?
If you have a SEMRush account, you can extract the keywords your competitors used to create their content.
Don’t just review one competitor. Try to visit the social media pages and websites of your top 5 competitors to get a more comprehensive view of the topics they’re writing about.
When we create content for our clients, our team does the following types of research:
- Topic Research
- Keyword Research
- Title Research
- Market/Industry Research
All of these types of research contribute to creating high-quality content for your audience. Chances are your competitors are conducting topic research. The attention shifts to which one can deliver content with the highest quality. As long as you cover all the bases, you’ll be able to achieve your marketing goals.
If you enjoyed this article, feel free to share it with your friends and colleagues. And if you’re interested, we can create content for you. By delegating content creation to Mountaintop Web Design, you can spend more time managing the core functions of your business.
Leave content creation to us! Let’s book time to talk and we’ll get you started right away.