It's midnight on a Wednesday. You're exhausted from a long day of work or school – maybe some holiday shopping. Still, you're determined to get a post ready for your blog tomorrow. The only problem is… You have no idea what to write about.
We have the answer. It's Google. Don't laugh – we're serious. To prove it, here are 4 ways you can use Google (and its tools) to get an idea for your next blog post. Why do we recommend this? Because whether you're looking to utilize SEO tactics or find out what your readers like best, Google is the easiest way to do it.
There are quite a few different ways you can use Google Trends to find a story idea. Google Hot Trends will show you what the hot (popular) searches for the day are, with links to related online coverage. For example, here's today's hottest search:
Kate Middleton! (She's pregnant, y'all!) The Princess / Duchess is a hot topic today, so why not write a post about her? Depending on what your niche is, there are many options that could fit with your normal content: get the (royal) look, pregnant style predictions… you get the idea. In order for this to work, use “Kate Middleton” in your headline, header and/or tags.
You can also use the “explore trends” feature to see how different topics and searches are fairing on the web over time, dating as far back as 2004. Perhaps you read that Alexander Wang was recently appointed the creative director at Balenciaga:
Clearly, Wang's search popularity skyrocketed after the announcement – so maybe now would be a time to put your favorite Alexander Wang piece in a gift guide or share your thoughts on his new position. Speaking of “gift guide,” look at the popularity of the term over the last 30 days:
Are you starting to get the idea? There are so many different ways to use this tool. Try cross-referencing two or three different searches to see how they compare – you may come up with the perfect post idea that fits with your content and aligns with current trends.
Hear me out on this one, I know the Google search autocomplete can be a little scary, depending on what you search for (like “how to”), but it can also help you complete an unusual idea or think of a topic in a new or more specific way. Let's use “gift guide” as an example again:
Okay, so I don't know what “gift guide dragon age origins” is, but take note of “2012” and ” for men.” Clearly, people are looking for the most recent gift guides with relevant items, and they're also looking for gifts for guys. (They are hard to shop for, aren't they?) Why not put together your best gifts for guys for this year? For a less seasonal example, how about “pea coats:”
Perhaps you were thinking about writing a post about pea coats, because you recently bought one or are shopping for one right now. If you're a menswear blogger – hoorah, this is a top search for you, and women aren't far behind. If you're a budget blogger or love to share good deals, note that people are looking for inexpensive pea coats from Forever 21. Could you do a round up? Could you find the best pea coat bargain online?
Obviously, this isn't the first time we've talked about how important your stats and demographics are to understanding the health of your blog. (If you don't yet have Google Analytics installed on your blog – do so immediately!) So how can your stats inspire new posts? Perhaps look at your highest traffic-yielding posts to see what content has historically been the most successful with your audience. (Learn all about how, right here.)
Another idea? Look at your demographics. Where are your readers located? Consider localized content that appeals to specific cities, states or countries where your readership is high. For example, outside the United States, my largest readerships are in Canada, Germany and Australia. How much fun could I have with that?
Keywords are the search terms and words that people are using in Google to find your blog content. Recently this has become a main source for content ideas here at IFB, and for me personally as well. Let's look at the 11th through 20th terms people have used to find my blog over the past month (the top 10 are mostly variations on my name and my blog's name):
First of all, looking at your keywords can be as hilarious as it is helpful. If you go back far enough, you'll be surprised the ways people have found your content. Now, as you can see, a lot of my search terms are related to my blog name, which is “shut up, i love that shirt on you” so I leave those out of my research. As it appears, people are finding my blog based on things I've worn repeatedly in personal style and shopping posts: LL Bean boots, a Michael Kors watch, and a clutch for which I did a giveaway some months ago. Perhaps some content I might consider based on these stats would be a post on “how to style LL Bean boots” or a post about why I love my MK boyfriend watch so much (I really do).
Important note: If your bounce rate for that keyword is around 100 percent, people weren't finding what they wanted on your site. The lower the bounce rate, the more relevant your content was to the search term.
Have you used Google for post ideas before? Share your tips and tricks in the comments!