If you struggle with finding content ideas for your blog, you’re not alone.
OrbitMedia surveyed more than 1200 professional bloggers and found that consistently coming up with unique blog post ideas is one of their five biggest challenges.
But is it really that hard?
It is — but only when you don’t have a system to generate new ideas.
With the right systems, you’ll have more topics to write about than you can handle.
In this detailed guide, I’ll share different ways you can discover proven content ideas for your business blog and create an idea generation system to keep your content calendar full.
Let’s dive in!
Understand the Needs of Your Audience First
Content fuels your site’s organic search traffic and helps you build a loyal community around your brand.
Still, does that mean you can pull random content ideas from the top of your mind or fill your blog with your company updates? Not really.
According to a study by Ahrefs, almost 91% of all online content gets no traffic from Google Search.
You know why?
Because most of it is written without researching audience needs or considering search demand.
Don’t make that mistake.
Company updates and product releases have their place in business blogging, but they should never make up more than 10% of your overall content.
The majority of your content should focus on addressing the needs and wants of your target audience and linking them with your product features.
Plus, you need to perform detailed keyword research to ensure that your ideas can generate search traffic as well.
I can’t go into the details of keyword research in this post, but you can read more about it here.
Just remember that any content ideas you finalize for your blog should
- be linked to the problems of your audience
- focus on the solutions and the benefits that your product offers
- strengthen your relationship with your readers and bring them closer to conversion.
Let’s now look at the techniques you can use to find blog post ideas.
How to Find Blog Post Ideas That Bring Traffic and Engagement
Unlike most other articles on this topic, I won’t give you ready-to-use headline templates or focus on certain blog post types.
Instead, I’ll teach you how to think about your topic from different angles to come up with amazingly engaging article ideas.
Let’s get started.
1. Learn From Your Competitors
Why reinvent the wheel when your competitors have already done the hard work for you?
One of the easiest ways to find proven topic ideas is by analyzing the best performing content of your competitors.
It’s already getting traffic, so you know that it will work.
You only need to find gaps in it and create an even better piece of content on the same topic.
Let’s say you’re looking to generate blog post ideas for your email marketing automation software.
Start with a simple Google search for your topic.
Open each of the first 20 search results in separate tabs.
Your goal here is to find other marketing automation companies with active blogs. For example, in this screenshot, Mailchimp, Hubspot, CampignMonitor, Optinmonster are all marketing automation companies you can follow.
Go to their blogs and find their most popular articles.
Most blogs have a “Popular Articles” section like the one on Hubspot.
You can also plug a competitor’s URL in SEMRush, Ahrefs, or a free tool like Ubersuggest to find their top-ranking content and the keywords that are driving the most traffic to their sites.
Or you could use a free tool like BuzzSumo that shows you the most widely shared content of any site you want.
Dive into the best performing content of your top competitors and see if you can find any new ideas or unique angles for your blog.
No need to copy everything they’re doing.
Use the competing content for inspiration and generate new unique ideas consistent with your brand.
Even if you decided to write about the same topics, make sure you create a MUCH better version than your competitors.
2. Cover the Basics of Your Niche First
Before you start researching unique content angles and share-worthy ideas, make sure you’ve covered all the basic questions that interest your audience.
For example, if you’re an employee management startup, some of the questions or topics you should target first are
- What is employee management?
- Why is employee management important?
- What are the qualities of a good manager?
- What are the biggest challenges in managing employees?
- Types of employees managers should know about
- Common employee management mistakes
- How to motivate employees?
- What to do about the troublemakers in your company?
- How to increase employee productivity?
Do you get the idea?
These are the fundamental questions your target audience wants to know about.
In content marketing terms, such content is called cornerstone content.
Answer those questions in detail and create comprehensive resources about them.
Because they cover the primary questions that interest your audience, they will help you build authority in this niche and drive traffic for high traffic terms.
How do you generate more ideas like this?
Just Google them and look for the questions in the “People Also Ask” section.
See the screenshot? All these questions are potential article ideas.
You can use this technique in any niche.
Let’s use SEO as an example.
You can also head over to a site like AnswerThePublic and search for your topic to get all kinds of questions your audience is asking.
Let’s see what ideas we can generate for an app/software in the productivity niche with this tool.
That’s more ideas than you need, really.
You can export these questions in a CSV file, filter them for relevant ideas, and get to work.
3. Focus on The Benefits of Your Product
In an ideal world, you’d only publish content about your brand and its features.
The problem is that no one is searching for your product.
Nevertheless, thousands (or even millions) of people might be searching for the benefits that your product offers.
If you want to drive traffic and engagement with content, focus on your audience’s desires and the benefits of your products.
As the famous marketing saying goes:
“Don’t sell mattresses, sell a good night’s sleep, a productive day, a healthy mind, or a beautiful relationship.”
For example, people don’t care if your invoice app has auto-reminders or recurring invoices.
However, they do care about getting paid without following up a dozen times with their clients, or missing a payment just because they forgot to send an invoice on time.
How to Do This in Practice
Ask yourself, why are your customers using your invoice app?
To get paid, right?
But what if they:
- have no clients to bill?
- don’t know how to brand themselves or price their services?
- lack the skill to find new clients?
- don’t know how to make money online?
- are struggling to get things done?
None of these topics are directly related to your product features, but as the primary goals of your audience, they will drive your business growth as well.
The more clients they have, the more productive they are, the more money they make…
And the more invoices they’ll process using your app.
This is exactly why Freshbooks, a leading invoice app, has published detailed guides for freelancers and solopreneurs covering all aspects of online business and sales.
The same approach shows in their blog content.
None of those titles are directly related to invoicing, but they enable their target audience to thrive in their businesses and, as a result, use Freshbooks even more.
To apply this to your business, ask yourself:
- Why do people use your product?
- What transformation are they seeking by using your product?
- How can you help them grow their business?
- What does success look like for them?
- What value is your product adding to their business?
Create content that not only addresses the needs and desires of your audience but also links them to your product so that ultimately they turn to you when they need help.
4. Highlight the Fears of Your Audience
Fear is a strong motivator, so it’s a good idea to address it.
What does your audience fear? What’s a scenario they never want to be in? What drives them to keep going when they don’t have the energy to continue?
The content that addresses the fears of your audience often performs well because people are always curious about what scares them.
For example, if you’re marketing an ed-tech company or a startup in the online learning niche, do you think the following titles would interest your audience?
I’d certainly read it.
What about this one:
No one wants to go out of work because of obsolete skills, right?
Save your jobs, the robots are coming!
I’m assuming most of us would click on these titles.
This gives you the perfect opportunity to market your education startup and motivate people to enroll in new skill development programs.
Apply the same approach to a startup that connects medical experts with emergency patients online.
Would the following titles capture your attention?
- “11 Life-Threatening Conditions That Can Be Avoided With Timely Medical Advice”
- “7 Strong Indications You’re Getting Closer to a Cardiac Arrest”
- “9 Everyday Food Items That Are Silently Killing You”
Do you see the pattern?
All these titles use the fear of death to drive traffic to your healthcare app, where users can connect with a consultant.
You can find dozens of ideas using this angle in your niche.
5. Show How to Achieve Goals With Your Product
This angle is similar to the one in which we focused on the desires of your audience and the core benefits of your product.
But here, you’ll take it a step further and show your audience how to achieve different goals (benefits/desires) using your product.
This serves two main goals.
- Helps you drive traffic from benefit-focused keywords
- Binds your product with the benefits and helps in generating leads.
The Ahrefs content team does this brilliantly.
For example, here’s one of their articles about link building (a popular SEO topic).
The title doesn’t mention Ahrefs, but throughout the post, they’ve used different Ahrefs features to find link-building opportunities.
Even if the readers aren’t Ahrefs customers, they become familiar with the product while learning about the topic they’re interested in.
GetResponse is another company that regularly publishes benefit-driven content using its product features.
Throughout the article, they’ve used different landing page templates in GetReponse and demonstrated how you use them in combination with other GetReponse features.
How do you find such ideas for your software?
List down all the things users can do with your product and combine them with your brand name.
Let’s take the example of an invoice tool again.
- “How to Send Recurring Invoices With Freshbooks”
- “What Is an Invoice? How to Use Freshbooks to Get Paid Faster”
- “How to Create a Contract for Your Freelance Clients Using Freshbooks.”
Getting ideas? Good.
Just make sure that your content stays focused on the goals, and your product never takes center stage throughout the article. Otherwise, you start sounding too salesy.
6. Share Case Studies and Customer Success Stories
Case studies and customer success stories are among the most powerful content types for SaaS blogs.
They not only get massive audience engagement but also drive leads and customers.
This is why Shopify, one of the best practitioners of content marketing, regularly publish customer success stories.
Oberlo, a popular dropshipping tool for Shopify stores, also makes great use of case studies to attract new leads and customers.
However, there’s a common pitfall in case studies.
Most people think they’re easy to create, but then end up writing case studies that sound more like product advertisements.
Avoid making that mistake.
Always write case studies and success stories from your customer’s perspective: let them take center stage and keep your product in the background.
Because this way, your readers will get to hear their full stories. They’ll stay engaged and read till the end.
If they do, they’ll hear about the role your product played as well.
If you write an in-your-face kind of case study where your product name comes up after every sentence, you’ll find it hard to keep readers till the end.
7. Make Predictions and Share Industry Insights
Struggling to find new ideas? Why not predict the future and tell your readers how to prepare for it?
Customers love reading about future predictions in the hope of taking advantage of a potential opportunity.
This article by Outbrain, a leading advertising company, is a good example.
You’ll find this content type in almost every marketing and sales niche.
Here’s an example from the email marketing industry.
Even outside the traditional marketing niches, brands are using this content angle to generate audience engagement.
For example, Ladders, a leading HR and job search site, recently published their predictions on the future of work in the post-COVID world.
See the trend?
Search for these “predictions” titles in your niche, and you’ll be surprised to find how many of your competitors are already using them.
You can do this before the end of every year or after a significant event, either in your industry or globally — like the COVID-19 pandemic.
Similarly, you can do quarterly or bi-annual posts assessing the current state of your industry.
For example, Salesforce recently published a comprehensive report on the state of marketing in 2020.
Litmus, an email marketing company, also published a similar report on the state of email marketing.
If you currently lack the resources to publish a detailed report like this, you can still write an article sharing your thoughts on the topic using the insights from third-party reports.
Such articles not only strengthen your image as a leading industry voice but also help you get backlinks from other high-authority sites in your niche.
8. Capitalize on Seasonal Trends and Events
Seasonal articles have a short life, but publishing them at the right times can drive thousands of visitors to your site.
If your site is optimized for conversions, you can turn a significant percentage of these visitors into leads and customers.
In any case, make sure there’s a real connection between your product and the seasonal event you’re talking about.
Here’s a good example from the Hostgator Blog.
Marketers lose millions of dollars worth of sales every year because of website crashes during holiday traffic hikes.
So, this is a pretty useful title to write about close to the holiday season.
Due, a popular invoicing tool, used the same angle with their product.
If you choose to go with such articles, target recurring events and seasonal trends unless a one-time event is too significant to ignore.
Optimize such content for trending keywords and focus on social media promotion to generate immediate buzz because their lives are relatively short.
9. Give Advice and Share Best Practices
Sharing tips and best practices is one of the easiest ways to create high engagement blog content.
After all, learning new things is the number one reason why people read online content.
Focus on the problems that your product tackles.
For example, look at this article by SurveyMonkey.
They provide online survey solutions, right? So it’s natural for them to share tips on how users can create better surveys.
You can also take the alternate approach and share things users should NOT do.
Here’s a good example.
RecruiterBox is a SaaS product for recruiters, which is why this article is a perfect fit for their target audience.
Along with “How-To” posts, articles with tips and best practices should constitute the majority of your blog content.
10. Publish Expert Round-ups and Interviews
Who doesn’t like to get expert advice for free?
Especially when you publish the opinions of multiple experts in one article, it becomes an irresistible resource for your readers.
Plus, it helps you get lots of social shares and backlinks because the experts featured in your article also share it with their audiences.
That’s why expert round-ups are among the most popular article types marketers use to drive traffic and engagement on their SaaS blogs.
This is a good example.
CourseMethod is a free tool for course creators, and I’m sure this article must’ve generated a lot of buzz on their site.
Here’s another good example of a round-up post that you can learn from.
If you want lots of experts to participate in your round-up post, focus on one very specific question.
For example, instead of saying “what’s your best marketing tip”, ask them about their “best tips for Facebook Ads retargeting” or “the best way to increase email subscribers.”
11. Publish Original Studies and Statistical Roundups
Do you have a large customer base, or thousands of people on your email list and social media profiles?
Why not send them a survey and compile the results in an article?
Publishing original data and survey results is a proven way to attract readers to your blog and acquire backlinks from high authority sites.
For example, this article by GrowthBadger has hundreds of backlinks from some of the highest-authority sites in the marketing niche.
If you don’t have the means to conduct an original study, simply hunt for the most relevant statistics on your topic from around the web and compile it in a statistical round-up post.
Like this article on HubSpot.
Make sure you link back to the sources of all the statistics to maintain the credibility of your content.
Do You Need More Blog Post Ideas?
I’m sure your mind is already full of new blog post ideas, and you can’t wait to start writing them.
Using the methods I’ve listed in this article, you can easily come up with dozens of new ideas in a single brainstorming session with your content team.
I recommend that you list down these methods in a separate sheet, hand over its copies to each of your team members, and ask them to come up with 5-10 titles for each method.
After that, go through their lists, and shortlist the best titles that align with your long-term content strategy.