Content ideation is the process of coming up with the topics you are going to write for your blog. Every blog article should have a reason that it is being created, and each post needs to have a target audience before you begin production.
Blog articles are an effective and valuable way to generate targeted traffic from search terms that relate to your product or service. Successful business content solves problems, so you need to think about what your customer’s problems are, find out exactly what they search for to solve that problem, and then make sure you and your content appears in those searches.
Where to begin?
The first step is to complete a process called content ideation, also known as topic ideation. This is a very important yet easy to follow process that, if implemented correctly, will deliver strong month-on-month increases in organic traffic from the relevant target audience for your product/service.
Another benefit from quality topic ideation is that the topics found are generally made up of long tail (SEO talk for multiple keywords strung together), evergreen terms. This means there are people searching for them now, and people will likely be searching the same questions in the years to come.
How to conduct topic ideation
A simple way to conduct topic ideation is via one of my favorite SEO / content marketing tools called SEMrush. Via this tool you can punch in the terms you feel your customers might be searching for, and it will tell you how many people are actually searching per month. In addition, it provides other key information such as: what your competitors are paying Google to appear in those searches, the level of ‘Keyword Difficulty’ – how hard it is to compete for that keyword, and who is currently appearing as Search Engine Reports Page (SERP).
SEMrush can be used for free, but you really need to plan out what you are going to search for as you only get 10 searches a day, so you need to make them count. If you are finding the tool to be valuable and require more than 10 searches, you can get a paid account and go to town with it (like I do!).
Here is the process
To show an example, I have decided to do this for a hypothetical plumbing business as I thought it would be harder. From people I know and have worked with that are plumbers, I know unblocking drains is their bread and butter – so off the top of my head, I thought people would probably search for ‘How to clear out blocked drains’. I was wrong but, thanks to my trusty tool SEMrush, it informed me that people were in fact searching for ‘How to clear a blocked drain’.
I clicked on ‘how to clear a blocked drain’, and found out that actually in Australia 390 people a month are searching for that term, and Google are charging $4 – $5 a click for businesses (presumably plumbers) to appear in the sponsored section of the search results page.
This is a clear sign that this search term is a valuable target.
Now that we know this is a valuable target, we need to work out who are the other businesses competing for the organic real estate. So, I take the ‘long tail search term’ (as content marketers call them) and paste it into Google to see who we are going to be competing with.
By doing this, I found two plumbing companies who we need to beat if we want to rank for this search term. They are Fluid Plumbing Solutions and Fallon Solutions.
The next step is to open each of the pages we found to check out their title tag, page title, and word count (for the more advanced users out there, it is also worth checking out the site authority with a tool like Ahrefs).
This is what I found:
Title Tag: 7 Tips for Clearing a Blocked Drain
Page Title: How to Clear a Blocked Drain
Word count: 798
Title Tag: Unblock a Drain – Six Ways to Success
Page Title: Unblock a Drain – Six Ways to Success
Word count: 675
From this I now know that if I want to compete (on a basic level) with these posts, I would need to do the following.
Title Tag: How to Clear a Blocked Drain – [business name]
Page Title: How to Clear a Blocked Drain – X simple methods
Word count: Minimum 1,000 words
Looking at page structure of each competitor, which is the way they have created the copy for their article, I can see that they have both written their articles as listicles. A listicle is where the information is broken down into a list – this is a very popular way to write articles that are focused on answering a question.
Structuring the article
Once you have the topic, and you’ve reviewed the competitors, you need to structure the article for writing. You will need to consider how easy the article should be to read, what information should be provided, and ensuring you have enough information to reach the necessary minimum word count.
Below is an example of how this article should be structured:
- Page Title – H1 tag
- Article Intro – 150 words
- 5 x sub headings which should be created with the H2 tag and contain 150 words each to ensure the 1,000 target is hit:
- Simple method 1
- Simple method 2
- Simple method 3
- Simple method 4
- Simple method 5
- Conclusion – 100 words
Once the structure has been completed, it’s then generally very easy to go through and flesh out each area with the written content that will be used as the final article.
Remember, once the article has been written you should always review the content to ensure the relevant long tail keywords identified through your SEMrush research are included naturally throughout the content. This will provide positive ranking factors and a larger potential search volume through to your article.
After the article has been written
The final step is to get some original images from work you have actually done yourself to add to the article. Make sure these have not been online before, and when you upload them to your website name them via the alt text to be exactly what they are – for example, ‘>Your Business Name< Clearing a Blocked Drain’.
If you follow this process, you can create blog copy will that strengthen your site and deliver high quality targeted organic traffic for years to come, as it is based on data-driven results.
I know this process can be difficult the first few times, so please feel free leave any questions you have in the comments and I will be sure to send through a response.