It’s one of the hardest parts of blogging – finding and researching a blog topic people actually want to read.
The last part of that sentence is key. Finding what people will click on, consume, and share isn’t easy. You might have an inkling of what’s popular based on conversations happening on and offline, but how can you be sure? How do you know what you write will move your audience?
Building your tribe of people eager to hear from you is hard work. It starts slowly and gains momentum as you continue to write interesting and inspiring posts. Here’s how you can get your blog post research rolling to build momentum on your blog.
Start With Your Buyer Persona
Before you can decide what your audience wants to read, you need a solid understanding of who is in your audience.
Buyer personas are the foundation to any great blog post, campaign, and well, just about any type of marketing you’ll do in the future.
For many businesses, a buyer persona consists of broad demographics. When it comes down to it, you’re still unsure of how specifically to speak to the person within those demographics who will become your audience.
To help you create a template for your buyer personas, here’s a quick video from our co-founder, Trent Dyrsmid.
Go Where Your Buyers Go
Understanding who your buyers are is the first step. The next is to listen in on their conversations to hear them speak about their interests and concerns first-hand.
The Internet makes this easy. With social media and open comment sections, you get a front row seat to listen to the types of questions streaming through your customer’s head in the middle of the night.
One of the trickiest parts to this step is finding the best places to listen to these conversations. For this, we recommend the free tool, Social Crawlytics.
Social Crawlytics helps you find influencers in your field by sifting through the massive amounts of content and finding the stuff that gets the most shares. You’ll instantly see which blog posts and people are stirring the pot and sparking the interest of your target market.
Armed with an idea of what your customers want more of, you’re ready to start researching which terms they use to talk about these popular topics.
Keyword research isn’t about ranking high on search engines (although that’s a fantastic byproduct of your work). It’s about speaking your customer’s language.
There are many tools out there to help you find the keywords and understand how competitive each one is. At Groove, we use SECockpit as our go-to search tool. Many people also like using Google’s own tool – the Keyword Planner. This requires a Google Analytics account but it does not require it to be active.
Research Topic Ideas
Now you have an idea of what gets your audience excited and the terminology they’re using to reference these topics. The next step is to dig into the topic ideas and pull out the meatiest parts for your blog.
Researching your blog topic makes you sound authoritative. More importantly, it makes you sound helpful.
When you’ve clearly done the work to cover a topic, your reader will notice. She will appreciate the lengths you’ve gone to answer the tough questions. With all the noise online today, this one step can be the difference between your reader hitting the back button and becoming a loyal fan.
To start your research, go back to the comments sections of the blogs where your readers hang out.
- What questions are people asking?
- What’s sparking debate?
- What’s getting people excited?
The more you can dig into the trigger topics for conversation, the more you’ll attract a reader base interested in following your blog. Ultimately this is the key to building your audience.
Don’t let your only search effort stop with Google (or another large search engine). Go to each individual network and search there, too. Do customized searches on Quora, use search operators on Twitter, ask questions in LinkedIn groups…the places where people are sharing their knowledge is far more extensive than what you’ll find in a Google search. – Julie Neidlinger, CoSchedule
Take a deep breath. The template of a blank blog post doesn’t have to overwhelm you.
With a little bit of insight into who you’re trying to attract and a healthy “getting to know you” phase, you’ll have a solid blog post research game plan for how to build your list of blog topic ideas. Start answering your customer’s questions and addressing their interests and you’ll build your audience more effectively than if you played the guessing game.
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