B2B Articles - May 10, 2017

5 Data-Driven Ways to Find Successful Blog Post Ideas

You can find tons of techniques in a Google search for blog post ideas. But usually, these include a list of topics that someone else already brainstormed. They may or may not be relevant to your business.

So what good are someone else's ideas if they don't relate to your audience — and, of course, move your own audience to action?

The majority (60%) of B2B marketers report that their biggest challenge in 2016 will be producing engaging content. – Content Marketing Institute

Thankfully, data never lies. And data-driven decisions are our forte at Ironpaper, and they can be yours, too. Here are five ways to find blog post ideas based on measurable audience data.

1. View top clicks and shares on your social posts

If you're using social media for lead generation, you're probably posting a mix of your own content and other users'.

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Therefore, social media can be a great "audience survey" of sorts to see what's resonating with your audience, and find blog posts ideas that they already want to read.

Using your social tool, sort posts by the number of click-throughs they received. This will show you which topics are buzz-worthy and grabbing the attention of your audience.

The more you curate content, the bigger pool you will have to analyze.

blog post idea - social media analytics

In this example, I may identify a need to write more about #nonprofit and #bigdata topics.

2. View blog analytics for previous posts

You probably have dozens or even hundreds of posts in your content archive. So if you're not looking back to see what's resonating, you're ignoring a huge data point.

But what metrics should you look for? You could measure things like bounce rate, time on page, social shares, and more. Yet if you want a blog that generates leads, you should focus on post that received the most conversions. That is, visitor-to-contact conversions. And not only new contacts (which might include spam or low-quality submissions), but new contacts that are actually qualified leads.

This metric will point you to blog post ideas that resonate with your target prospects, not just anyone.

blog post ideas – blog analytics

Tip: Install Google Page Analytics extension for Chrome to see sessions with conversions on page.

3. Track keyword performance

By tracking keyword performance, you can also get your finger on the pulse of what people are searching for.

We use a keyword tracker like HubSpot to see how a term performs over time. If you notice searches are increasing, it may be time to strike on a particular topic. And if your own content is improving in ranking, it may be the momentum you need to create more content on the topic.

As an SEO tip, don't focus all your efforts around one keyword, though. Spread out your keywords semantically around one core topic.

blog post ideas – keyword ranking

Tip: If you use HubSpot's keyword tool, you can see insights like this above on if the keyword target is a sound one.

The right organically ranking posts can often bring in the best, most qualified leads, because they come into your website with intent.

4. Make social monitoring streams and follow them

Reading one Tweet is anecdotal. But reading dozens or hundreds of Tweets can become research.

Therefore, you should set up social monitoring streams to track the topics that matter to your personas.

You can do this in several ways. First, create lists of users that are relevant targets of yours. For example, if you're targeting CIOs, track top IT professionals in their personal profiles. Then, watch which hashtags they use, the questions they ask, and the discussions they have.

Second, you can monitor hashtags, such as #bigdata or #IoT, to follow buzz on those topics.

social monitoring for blog post ideas You can use a tool like HubSpot to monitor social media streams for keywords, hashtags, or users.

Not only will this help you identify topics for blog post ideas; It will also show you insider hashtags to use that influence your audience.

Even better, supplement your research on Twitter and LinkedIn with a quick search on Quora or Reddit, to see if people are truly asking those questions.

 5. Survey your customers for which questions they have

Don't forget your best resource — your existing customers! You should be interviewing your customers for several reasons, such as to create case studies, but also to get a sense of their buying journey.

For example, you should ask:

  • What were you struggling with internally before our partnership/product/service?
  • Which questions were your researching online to help?
  • What were hesitations you had to investing in our partnership/product/service?
  • Which kinds of content did you read, if any?
  • How did those influence your decisions?

Naturally, you should ask more specific questions to your industry. And like any good interview, you should dig deep into the answers to understand motivations.

When you get answers to these questions, you will have a new source of blog post ideas that is driven by actual customer problems, and how they move through the buying journey.

With these five methods, not only will you fill your content calendar, but you'll spend your time wisely on blog post ideas that generate great leads.

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