Today’s question is all about content creation. It’s one that’s asked a lot by people just starting out, but it’s actually relevant for all experience levels, and that is, “How do I come up with article ideas to blog about?”
Before you invest the time it takes to write a good piece of content, you need to make sure that it’s something that people are going to want to read. There are several excellent ways to do this, and that’s what we’re going to be talking about today.
Hello, and welcome to episode three of the podcast! This is really exciting. I’ve been having a really good time doing this. I’m really glad I started it. Today’s topic is one that I’m really interested in. I said I was going to be talking about how to choose topics for blog posts, but really what this boils down to is, this is actually going to be about search engine optimization. A lot of you already know what search engine optimization, or SEO, is. For those who don’t, I’ll just give you a quick, basic description of what it is.
SEO involves a lot of different things, but when you boil it all down, basically what you’re trying to do is help Google and other search engines find information that people are already looking for. Now, if you imagine your website as a real physical store, you would probably want to, say if you were selling red gloves, for example, you would probably want to put those gloves in the window so that people could see them as they walk by. You probably would also want to put a sign up that says, “Hey, we have red gloves for sale.”
It’s the same with a website. You want to make it clear that you are selling red gloves or that you have red gloves or whatever it is that you have on your site that people are looking for. You also want to write the words “red gloves,” or whatever that word or phrase is that you have on your site that people are looking for. One really important thing that is actually directly related to what we’re talking about is maybe people don’t want red gloves. Maybe they want blue gloves, and if you go through all this trouble to make red gloves or to sell red gloves and get a bunch of them in stock, and no one wants them, it’s kind of a waste.
In that same sense, if you go to all the trouble to write this really long article about whatever your topic that you’re interested in, and it’s something that no one really cares about, or at least maybe they’re not asking it in that way, then it’s a waste of your time because no one is really going to be able to … well, you’re basically wasting a lot of potential, when you could go out and find out exactly what it is that people are looking for and write about that.
That’s basically what SEO is in a nutshell. It’s finding out what people want, finding out the questions people are asking, and then it is creating content that answers those questions and gives the people searching what they want. Not only that, it’s using the right words or phrases or questions, actually writing them out completely in your content, because if you don’t use the right words, then Google is not going to be able to find your content as easily. Again, we’re trying to make this very easy for Google and make them not have to work so hard, so you want to use those specific phrases and questions, and you want to put those in your content.
Now, the part of that that we’re going to be talking about today is the first part, which is making sure that you find the right questions to write about or the right things that people are looking for. Okay, so where can you go to find questions that people are asking? There are several really good places, and we’ll start with Quora. Quora is a website that you probably may have heard of, where people ask questions, and then other people can answer the questions.
If you find a question that’s popular on there, say about a topic they’re interested in, then you can know that at least one person was very interested in it. If it’s popular, then you know that a lot of people are interested in that. That’s a good place to find a question to write about. Another one that’s similar is Yahoo Answers. It works the same way.
Another one that’s good is Reddit. Reddit has a huge variety of content. I mean any topic you can possibly think of, they’ve got a section of the site dedicated to that. For example, if you’re interested in trees, you can go to Reddit and find questions people are asking about trees. Because that’s what a lot of people do on Reddit. They ask questions. In a lot of the more popular sections, people just post funny pictures or whatever it is. But when you get down into the more granular areas of Reddit, it’s more people asking questions and kind of helping each other.
BuzzSumo is a really good place. They kind of keep a log of articles that have gone viral. You can see them ordered by the number of likes on Facebook, Twitter, and things like that. These are topics that you know are very popular. They’re not necessarily in a question format, but they are still good places to find specific ideas for articles. Now, BuzzSumo is not free, but I believe you can use it a few times a day for free.
Another good resource is answerthepublic.com. It’s actually pretty hilarious. There’s a guy, like kind of an older guy with a beard, who looks at you and makes kind of weird faces at you while you’re asking questions. You can kind of type a word, say “camping in” or “cooking outdoors” or something like that, and it will actually give you a lot of different question ideas around that topic. These are popular things that people are actually asking. You can say, for example, see questions like how to make an outdoor camping tripod or how to build an outdoor cooking oven. I just did a search for that, for cooking outdoors. That’s a really good source. Again, that’s answerthepublic.com.
The last one I’m going to talk about is Google. You can actually just go to Google, and there’s a feature called Suggest. That is when you start typing, and Google tries to finish your sentence for you. Not only do they finish the one sentence, they actually give you a lot of … I think up to 10 or up to nine more additional endings to what you’re typing down below what you’re typing. That is the most popular things that people are searching for that begin with what you’re already searching. You can use something, a topic that you’re already looking for, like camping or whatever it is, like maybe start to ask a question like, “What’s the best camping …” and then see what they finish it with.
That’s actually a really good way to get ideas, and I’ve used that a lot to find things to write about that have gotten a lot of traffic. If you’re interested in learning more about this, this topic basically is called keyword research. It, again, boils down to just finding words that a lot of people are searching for. The other half of it is that you want things that don’t have that much competition. If it’s something that a lot of people are searching for and also a lot of people are writing about it, it’s going to be pretty difficult for you to write something that will be able to compete. If you can find something that people are searching for and not a lot of people have written about yet, then that’s kind of the sweet spot.
That’s going to do it for this third episode. I really appreciate you joining me again. I hope that you will subscribe if you haven’t already. Also, if you have a moment, head over and give a review or give us some stars or whatever it is. That would be pretty helpful to help others find this podcast. I hope you’ll join me next time for All Things Blogging. This is Badi Jones, and I’ll talk you next time.