If you are a guest blogger or contribute articles to different publications, you must have faced the dilemma of choosing the most effective topic to write about.
Just staring at a blank page, your deadline fast approaching, and not having a topic can be terrifying. The challenge is to have a topic you can write in detail about that’s also interesting enough to convince the webmasters and editors to approach you for publishing it on their websites.
1. Understanding your audience profile
To zero in on a perfect topic for a guest blog, you must be familiar with your target audience. Knowing them will give you an idea of the topics they prefer and allow you to make a strong case for your article to the editor at large.
It’s important to know the proficiency level of your reader on the platform you contribute for. Writing entry-level, basic content for a blog that will be read by industry experts serves no purpose, and the editor will expect you to provide some pro-level insights.
On the other hand, beginner-topics will give help your content index on Google, and it’s also easier to produce. Let’s not forget that blogs which include entry-level posts are generally subscribed to by enthusiasts and new readers alike who want to acquaint themselves with the topic for any number of reasons. Considering this large base will continue reading your blog in the long-term, and that there will always be new, inexperienced minds entering the field, why not focus on them?
The key to being a successful blogger is defining your audience and catering to their needs. It’ll be a cakewalk for you once you get into your reader’s head.
2. Explore niches
A cursory search might throw up common topics like content marketing, content creation, SEO optimization, social media marketing, etc. Digging deeper would give you an insight into subtopics that can be explored for your readers.
Instead of contributing yet-another-article on these broad topics, you can tunnel in further and write about action-based research for content marketing, measurement and ROI, latest trends in content creation and more.
3. Check your competitors
To avoid overlapping of topics, take time to read what your blogging competitors are writing about.
Research the posts that are already ranking on their homepages to get an idea, then think of how you can enrich this content or make a blog that will rank higher. The intention should be to shortlist a topic that will attract new readers and engage the existing ones.
There might be topics that rehash the same content that has been discussed before, but you can give them a new spin by adding your unique perspective or own data points that will make it personal.
Try not to forget the importance of multimedia in a post. Adding videos, infographics, and images will not only make your post more relevant but also more likely to be shared, making it socially viral.
4. Finding trending, relevant topics
When you are a guest blogger, you’re actually competing with other bloggers in whatever space you operate in. You don’t want to end up writing on a topic that gets a few readers and ends up buried inside a website somewhere.
The key is searching relevant, trending topics that readers are looking for. You can utilize content tools like BuzzSumo, AllTop.com, and Ubersuggest that allow you to see most trending topics among recently published blogs.
You can use these tools to find the most-read articles in your niche that received social virality. Exploring these may give you a blog topic that will get you top rankings and more shares on social media. You can also use the trending articles to backlink your own, adding credibility, or as an inspiration to write your own pieces.
5. Breaking a topic into subtopics
A good trick to help you come up with subtopics is analyzing and further breaking your main articles up by sub-headers. This might help you generate multiple ideas that you can explore later as individual articles. Who knows, you might end up with three more topics that can be explained in detail for your readers, in different formats and lengths.
There are many tools available online to flush out this content further. A platform like Mooz.com can help you find keywords that can help you increase traffic and visibility in search results.
Head to platforms like AnswerThePublic to find out the conversations readers are having around your topics. Tapping into social media platforms like LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, and Reddit forums could give you an insight into the pain points of customers. What are they curious about, what information are they seeking, can you provide your expert opinion on these topics? The web can be a rich source for these kind of ideas
Never ignore the comments section as it can throw some solid topics your way. You may want to read the discussions that readers engage in on your social media pages too. These sister topics below your main post can be a treasure trove for future articles.
6. Write for the long run
The goal of contributing to a blog shouldn’t be only about getting subscribers and traffic flow for that week. You must aim for something broader like t a several-year strategy.
Write on topics that might stay evergreen for a while. It’s important that your guest post matures overtime. You can make this decision by checking these four boxes:
- Will the article create discussion on the post or any other forum?
- Will it help establish my credibility in the niche?
- Will it rank well on Google for keyword search and send traffic to my site later?
- Will I be able to make more industry contacts?
Once you have a strong topic, you must aim to write an original, resource-rich that covers the theme and is a timeless resource for your readers. It could be a blog post on which future posts could be based on or linked back to for deeper understanding – even after several years.
7. Toss it to your support group
How often do you run the copy you write through a bunch of experts from the niche to get their opinion? If you haven’t been doing this already, it’s never too late to start.
Getting their honest opinion can help you better your outlook and maybe follow lines thinking you haven’t before. They might toss across research that you hadn’t read before and could use as a reference.
Geared with the tips above, it’s time to enter your desired topic on Google search to check its ranking. Research competitor blogs, or other writers and you can decide if you want to build on existing topics or spin it differently altogether. And remember to write for the long term. Never underestimate the power of communicating with your readers on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, discussion forums, via newsletters, and comment sections to understand what their pain points are. Writing for them will make them feel more valued and encouraged to share their opinions with you. After all, it is they who will make your blog viral.