Ever get all fired up to write a blog post—and then get completely stuck on what in the world to write about?

Deciding what to write about is more than half the battle. For some reason, there is nothing more intimidating than a blank sheet of paper (er, screen). One of the top questions we get from our clients’ content marketing teams is ‘What should I write about?’ The reality is, we don’t give ourselves enough credit for what we know. After all, your customers are coming to you for your product or service offerings because you know this stuff. So why not write about it?

In this post, our goal is to get your creative juices flowing. We’ll cover a few content idea starters and then talk about how to narrow down topics that will attract your audience and compel them to engage with your brand. Let’s get started.

Coming Up With White Paper, Ebook, and Blog Post Ideas

To help a bit with writer’s block, we’ve compiled a list of 20 idea starters for blog posts, white papers, or ebooks. In fact, you can use this list to create any great content (video, infographics, etc.) for your brand. Insert your own numbers and relevant industry information as necessary.

1. How to guide
2. 9 ways
3. 13 helpful tips
4. 6 things you must avoid
5. 4 habits
6. 2 rules
7. Compare and contrast
8. List of
9. Best practices
10. Customer case study
11. FAQ
12. Never, ever xyz
13. Industry 101 (for example, Marketing 101)
14. Have you ever?
15. 7 things you’ll love about [product/ company here]
16. How to avoid
17. 3 things to never
18. Don’t miss!
19. The complete guide to
20. The secret to

If this doesn’t do the trick, sit down with someone who knows a little bit about what you do and have them help you pinpoint what’s important to communicate to your customers and prospects. This could be your customer service team, account executives, or even your users.

Know Your Intended Audience

Understanding your audience and who you’re targeting is one of the most vital steps in beginning to write down your white paper or blog ideas. Using tools to find your customers, learn what they search for, and uncover what they’re interested in will help you produce content your audience will actually appreciate. And while customer research and interviews are extremely helpful, they’re not always available. The tools listed below will help you understand your audience and give you the data to create strategic content.

Buzzsumo

If you’re looking for one tool to help you create a great resource that is sure to engage your audience, Buzzsumo is the one you’re looking for. The platform allows you to find the most engaging content over a variety of channels, uncover trending topics, and dive into your competitors’ most successful resources. The tool isn’t free, but it will help your content creators out. A lot.

Google Analytics

The free, go-to marketing tool for understanding your audience is Google Analytics. Google Analytics allows you to track and monitor traffic hitting your site. Under the Audience tab, there’s a host of data sets to gauge your users such as Demographics, Geo Location and Language, Behavior, Technology, Mobile (Devices) and Interests. This data allows you to understand the granular details of your audience—how old they are, where they’re located, and what devices they’re viewing your content on, to name a few.

Search Console

Another great Google tool that can boost your content marketing efforts is Google Search Console. The platform allows you to access a lot of good data, including the performance of specific pages. Search Console measures performance through impressions, clicks, click-through rate, and keyword ranking position. This tool also allows you to understand how Google is crawling and indexing your site and how that may be impacting performance on your pages. This tool integrates easily within Google Analytics underneath the “Acquisition” tab.

If you’re new to Search Console and you’re managing a content team (or are, in fact, the content writer), Search Console is a great place to brew new content ideas based on past success. It’s also key for repurposing content. Using Google Analytics and Search Console together, you can determine topics that perform well and create new resources within those topic realms. You could also take a popular blog post topic and repurpose it into, say, an ebook and vice versa.

SEM Rush

Moving away from Google, SEM Rush is the jackpot of all things data, with features that include competitive research, keyword research, link building, rank tracking, on-page and technical SEO, and much more. The tool gives you insight into competitors’ sites, your keyword positions on all of your pages, organic traffic metrics, and a backlink analysis. The platform is a blogger’s dream, with tools to help find relevant audience questions, assess keywords, dive into topic research, and even manage content.

Now Get Writing!

In the end, content creation is important for improving search ranking, building thought leadership, and driving consistent traffic to your website. And while we often feel paralyzed when we’re tasked with creating new content, it’s not a flashy headline or innovative graphics that will get you to the top (although those can certainly help). It’s creating useful, helpful, entertaining, or engaging content for your specific audience. Simply answering the questions you’re most suited to answer goes a long, long way.

So craft your plan, ditch the writing rules, and get to work. You have content to create!

h

Mollie Kuramoto

From competing with her brothers while growing up to captaining Purdue’s soccer team, Mollie seeks out challenges wherever they may lie. That’s why she’s perfectly suited for content marketing – building content, measuring results, and trying to top your previous performance is what it’s all about, and Mollie knocks it out of the park every time. When she’s not creating killer content, Mollie’s usually playing soccer, traveling, or drawing, and she hopes to become a part-time cheesemonger someday because “the title is funny.”