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6 unusual ways to research blog ideas for your business

7.5 million posts. That’s roughly how many articles are published each day on the internet.

It’s difficult to make your content stand out, much less resonate enough for your audience to take action. If you’ve had enough of pouring over Semrush, Moz, Ahrefs or any of the other keyword research tools out there, it might be a good idea to try different research methods for blog ideas. 

In this blog, we outline some unusual ways you can research blog topics for your website to help your content resonate and convert.

First of all, make sure you know your audience

This should go without saying, but knowing your audience is key to ensuring that your content works.

Businesses who are starting out may feel like they have to be on every single social media platform, all while blogging, dealing with customer queries, and everything else that comes with running a business. But the truth of the matter is that if you don’t have a dedicated marketing agency, producing content for each platform will quickly become too time-consuming. When starting out, it’s often best to focus on one or two platforms. You should choose these based on where you’re most likely to connect with your audience.

Ask yourself what your audience is hoping to gain from your content and whether a blog is even the right tool to help fulfil their needs. You might even find that short, focused content on social media works best. If you think a blog is still the most effective option, read where you can find blog ideas below.

Searching for Amazon books that are relevant to your area of business can be a good idea to help you understand the different topics you should cover. Of course, the idea here is not to steal other people’s content, but just to get an understanding of the sort of content your audience might be interested in.

Simply type keywords for your business’s industry into Amazon and select the ‘Books’ category. If you’re a business creating AI solutions for healthcare, for instance, typing just “AI healthcare” into Amazon will show you a number of relevant results. Selecting books with the “Look Inside” feature will often allow you to view the contents page.

Looking at highly rated books in particular will help you understand the sorts of topics that people are interested in. This can, in turn, allow you to create a more well-rounded content strategy.

2. Find out what people are asking on social media platforms like Quora and Reddit

It can be quite easy to forget that your audience is made up of individuals, especially if you’re spending a lot of time looking at Analytics data. When you’ve exhausted all topic ideas found with typical research tools, it’s a good idea to explore Quora, Reddit and other social media platforms to see what people are talking about.

Reddit research example

For instance, if you were a used car dealer in the UK looking to create content that will be seen by those thinking about buying a used car, you might take a look at the subreddit /r/CarTalkUK/ to see if people have any questions about buying pre-owned cars. Below are some examples of posts relating to used cars. Looking at the number of upvotes and comments on each post will tell you how effective it was at driving interest and engagement.

For instance, the first post tells us that aspirational content is also important even in the used car market, so generating blogs around higher-end used cars or even just creating a post on social media asking users what their second-hand dream car is might gain quite a bit of traction.

As you can see from the posts below, a number of people appear to ask about the risks of buying second hand and things to look out for when you’re viewing a second-hand car, so it might be a good idea to address these concerns in your content.

You’ll also see that in the first post, the poster mentions Honest John, which is a competitor in the industry. It might be a good idea to take a look at their website and see what they have to offer that makes them so well known!

Quora research example

You can use the search bar at the top to look for specific questions about a topic. For instance, if your product helps people with mental health issues, you might type “mental health” into the search bar. Questions like the one in the screenshot below could give you direction about what kind of content you should produce.

Many companies actually interact with customers directly using Quora by answering their queries on the platform. If you’re able to provide users with valuable information, this can be a powerful platform.

As your bio will link to your website and qualifications for answering the question, doing so can help improve brand awareness and drive traffic to your site. It should be noted that Quora is available worldwide, so if you’re a local business, it might not be the best option.

3. Ask your audience directly

If you’ve already built up a following and you’re not sure what kind of content to create, a good idea could be to ask your customers directly. You can do this by sending out a survey or responding to customers on social media and interacting with them directly.

Your audience might not know exactly what they want or how to put this into words, but asking them about the pain points they experience and any concerns they have with your product could help you address these issues head-on through your content.

Google Search Trends is a great tool for you to understand what people are searching for, and how searches have changed over time. This is a good way of finding topical content ideas, but you might have to turn a blog around and promote it quickly to gain the full benefits of this sort of content.

You can type relevant search terms into the Google Search Trends search bar and also find a section on Related Queries, which could help you understand what kind of supporting keywords or content should be created.

For instance, searching for “dog groomers” allows you to see the interest of the search term over time. Viewing the Related Queries section shows you that people are interested in knowing if dog groomers are open during the lockdown.

5. Turn to Google

Google (and Bing) can actually offer a lot of information about search terms for free. Start by typing in the main search terms and see what else people are searching for by looking at the autocompleted searches listed underneath. You can also turn to the ‘People Also Ask’ section for more insights into the type of information people are seeking.

Nowadays, search engines are becoming more clever about understanding the user’s intent behind each search term. Not only is this a major plus for users, but it’s also a great advantage for business owners. The reason for this is because you can gain a lot of understanding about your customers and what they’re looking for simply by looking at the sort of content offered up by Google or your search engine of choice.

6. Competitor research

Unfortunately, no business works in a vacuum, so it’s important to understand: what your competitors offer, how this differs from your own offerings, and what kind of content they create.

Understanding the content types that work best with their audience (e.g. podcasts, white papers, e-books, videos, blogs, etc.) can help give you an idea of what might work with your own. Evaluating the quantity and quality of this work can also help you understand if producing a similar amount of content would be manageable given the number of people on your team or your budget for content marketing.

Lastly, it’s a good idea to analyse the topics competitors cover. This allows you to understand which topics they cover in-depth and if there are any topic gaps you might be able to fill with your own content. Seeing where there are content gaps allows you to understand where you might be able to get the competitor’s edge.

Before you start: a note on content marketing

Now that we’ve outlined some unusual ways to go about research blog ideas, it’s important to note that randomly creating blogs based on your research might not be the best idea. Instead, it’s a good idea to create in-depth content about a specific topic before moving on to another. This could be in the form of a number of blogs, YouTube videos or podcasts depending on what you think would work best for your clients as well as your budget.

If you have any questions, feel free to reach out to us via social media and we’d be happy to help!