19 Cool Tactics to Find Popular Blog Topics for Guest Blog Pitches
by Agnes Gaddis
Finding ideas for your website can be difficult, let alone for another blog. Here in this article, you’ll see 19 ways to never run out of blog topic ideas, no matter what niche you’re in.
The quality of the content you publish matters a lot especially when pitching blogs with solid editorial standards. You don’t want to put sweat and time into terrible ideas that are guaranteed to fail, repel your audience, and make you lose credibility with editors. That’s why you need content ideation techniques that work, whether you want to scale content creation for yourself or for clients.
You can use these 19 systems to generate dozens of potentially popular blog topics within a couple hours. The techniques discussed here can be used to come up with ideas for your own blog, podcast, infographic, YouTube videos, or even online seminars.
- What should I blog about in 2022?
- 1. Prove your subject matter expertise
- 2. Create a list of related keywords
- 3. Read other blogs, jot down questions you have.
- 4. Use Quora and FAQ pages
- 5. Use headline formulas and templates
- 6. Create super-targeted content on a common niche topic
- 7. Interview subject matter experts
- 8. Identify unicorn content, update or add a new twist to it
- How do you find trending topics in your niche?
- 9. Use Google trends
- 10. Use Google’s People Also Ask section
- 11. See competitors’ most shared content
- 12. Check out competitors’ Youtube content
- 13. Check out recent Twitter content with the most engagement
- 14. Check out their competitors’ most linked content
- 15. Assess their competitor’s new keywords
- 16. Check out popular Udemy courses
- 17. Check out popular podcasts on ListenNotes
- 18. Poll your audience
- 19. Find editorial calendars from trade publications in your niche
- No more humdrum blog topic ideas
What should I blog about in 2022?
1. Prove your subject matter expertise
When starting out, choosing a common topic can make it difficult to rank online. You’ll also find it difficult to drive targeted traffic. That’s because you will have to deal with a lot of competition. Hence you need a specialist approach rather than being a generalist.
You want to focus on a couple of topics that let you display your strengths. That means as a plumber, you might focus on heating, cooling and ventilation rather than general plumbing topics. As you consistently write on these specific topics, you build expertise.
The most efficient way to come up with unique blog ideas here would be brainstorming or mind mapping. You can use a scoring system to sort through your blog topics list.
Start by choosing a key topic, for example, HVAC. Now start brainstorming topic ideas around this broad subject matter. Come up with as many topic ideas as possible around your topic and then create new ideas around your sub ideas. You can do this with your team. You can then rank these topics based on their relevance to your business or any other criteria.
By noting down the questions and issues customers usually need assistance with, you can generate a wealth of targeted ideas. You can also put yourself in their shoes to get relevant content ideas.
2. Create a list of related keywords
There are many tools for keyword research. Use Google autocomplete to quickly see keywords that potential customers are searching for. You can also use the related searches section in Google to see terms your customers are searching for.
You want to build a long list of these terms and phrases. First, make a list of all the categories and terms that pertain to your business. Write down the terms that customers use to describe your products and services. Use Google Suggest to build a list. You can also check Google trends to compare the popularity of specific keywords over time.
Note down each keyword and MSV. Focus on long tail keywords as these are more specific. For example, people who search for “best real estate CRMs” would be much more qualified than those who search for “real estate CRM”. Even though using generic keywords with very high MSVs should mean increased reach, you’ll be dealing with more competition. And the majority of searchers for those terms won’t be relevant to your business.
For guest blogging, if you have a keyword that is both relevant to the target website and you have some expertise with, then extrapolate more keywords. Use Ahrefs’ keyword generator. It shows you the right keywords to target and the MSV for each keyword. Usually, I use this method for my own website. Here, I can see that guest blogging services is a worthwhile keyword to target.
3. Read other blogs, jot down questions you have.
When you’re looking to guest post on a high authority site, it is best practice to become familiar with their popular blog topics. Pay particular attention to their content relevant to your expertise. But don’t stop there. Consume industry news and authoritative blogs in your niche. It’s not uncommon to find a unique content idea or question when reading news relevant to your niche.
Use Buzzsumo to find content that is getting the most shares on a topic. On the other hand, you can use Sharedcount to see the most shared content links from Google’s first page and Google news. Make a note of things you want to know more about as you read. Odds are that other people want to learn more about these too.
Read other posts on your own blog too. You will likely get a blog idea or two from your own blog posts. Use this internally (preferred) or as a guest post on another blog.
4. Use Quora and FAQ pages
Quora’s curated questions and answers make for intriguing topic ideas. These are questions that your audience is asking directly.
On Quora, you want to follow the spaces that are related to your business to see what questions are being asked. You could also find relevant questions via Quora search. Don’t look at questions alone, glean topic ideas from the answers provided. Pay attention to the most upvoted answers as they reveal what people want to know.
You could also search FAQs around your main theme. These FAQs could be from your direct competitors. They reveal what your audience is interested in directly.
You can use the search query:
“(keyword) FAQ frequently asked questions”
For example when I searched for “real estate marketing FAQ frequently asked questions”, I came across a post on IxactContact. I could rephrase that as
“How to automate your real estate marketing”
This makes for a unique blog idea.
5. Use headline formulas and templates
The time we live in is one of information overload. There are a ton of stories at our fingertips, so it is crucial that you stand out to create interest in your readers. But it’s not every time that a clever idea will jump out at you.
There are times when you face writer’s block. You’ll need a boost to get you started during those times. Although some headline formulas sound too clickbait-y and lame, there are still lots of reliable ones you can use. Even clickbait headlines are allowed when your content delivers useful value.
These three headline generators can be invaluable whenever you’re dealing with writer’s block. You can also use them when you want to put a creative twist on successful blog topics.
You can use Aminstitute to see how empathetic each headline sounds. Aim for an EMV score of 30%.
6. Create super-targeted content on a common niche topic
Finding your target audience is the first step to content marketing success. That is you want to draw in readers that over time can become customers. Even though not everything you write will be super-targeted, most of your content should be written for a specific audience. So when you’re guest blogging, you should pick out the audience you both serve and direct your article to them.
Here are some questions to ask when doing audience research for your own blog or your target website. Conduct research if you want to create blog topics that make money.
1. What problems do we solve? That is, why do we exist? Replace “we” with “they” when researching for another website. As a business owner, you know the problems you want to solve for your own customers. You should have a solid why. For other websites, check out their about page or browse some of their content to get a glimpse of their why?
2. Who are our current customers? Whom do we solve these problems for? Create customer segments at this stage. Most companies reveal their target customers in their content, testimonials and about page.
3. Who are our competitors? Tools like Ahrefs and Spyfu make it easy to do competitive research. Check their about pages to see if your audiences are aligned.
Now that you have this information, here’s how to use it in your content marketing. Instead of proposing an overdone topic like “A guide to guest blogging in 20##”. If both my target website and my own blog produce content for freelance writers, I would change my headline to, “A guide to guest blogging for freelance writers in 2022”.
7. Interview subject matter experts
There are times when you need to reach out to specialists in your niche. Instead of trying hard with content that falls off the mark, you give the readers more value by approaching thought leaders in the industry. Editors do this all the time on platforms like HARO (Help a reporter out). These kinds of outreaches in your niche do not just help you amass thought leadership content, they also facilitate valuable connections with industry influencers. The influencers get free promotion and backlinks to their website.
Keep these two things in mind when interviewing subject matter experts:
1. You want to ask popular questions that haven’t been covered a lot in your niche. These types of questions are so interesting that an influencer would want to answer them. For example, this article on JoeFairless asks the question should you invest for appreciation or cash flow? It’s a common question but the answers that already existed weren’t as satisfying as I’d like.
2. Define criteria for the people you would interview. For example, for the above I only interviewed real estate investors that were creating real estate investing content or that had an active real estate investing firm – commercial or residential.
How do you find the right influencers for your round up?
- Use LinkedIn. This is the best place to find professionals in your niche.
- If they’re active on Twitter, Twitter is also a great place for connecting with experts
- Leverage existing connections or reach out to customers. Sometimes your customers may be experts on a particular subject. And they may be able to connect you with other experts.
- Find them through Google. Check out people creating content about a particular topic; view top 20 or top 50 lists, etc.
8. Identify unicorn content, update or add a new twist to it
Take the time to review the content on your blog and website, as well as any other assets you own. There would definitely be two types of content: donkey content and unicorn content as Larry Kim calls them.
Not every post you write is going to be a unicorn but when you have unicorn content, you need to squeeze traffic out of them periodically. These have been proven to drive traffic to your website. Odds are that when updated with more examples and data or just redone with a new twist, they’ll drive more traffic. But how do you find unicorn content?
Use Ahrefs’ “top pages” report to find your best performing content. This is far easier to track than assessing by social count. You can also use Google analytics’ “behavior flow” report to see pages that drove the most traffic within a particular period. Usually, you should go back at least 3 years to get a list of relevant ideas to work on. You can also use the rank tracker feature in Ahrefs to see which of your pages rank high on Google, then update these with new information.
How do you find trending topics in your niche?
9. Use Google trends
To get context behind your keywords, you want to search them in Google trends. For example, when trying to update content, you could analyze seasonality to determine the right time to update your post. So if I wanted to update a post on branding, I would probably not do that between December 19 – January 1.
You can also use Google trends to find related breakout terms in your niche. You want to make sure your seed terms are as broad as possible. Then take a look at the related queries. Filter by either “top” or “rising” to see some of the hottest keywords and popular blog topics within a particular time period.
I also like to use the comparison tool to see what keyword would drive more traffic to my post. For example, “content ideas” seems to be a better keyword than “blog topics”
10. Use Google’s People Also Ask section
Here’s a quick way to find topic ideas, instead of searching for keywords – short tail and long tail, use the people also ask section.
This shows you what people are actually searching for on the topic. Then using the questions, see what competitors have created.
Let’s say the post with the most views on my target website is a post on 3D printed homes. I want to see what questions people are asking about the topic.
I could also read the article, then pick out a term in one of its sub-headlines. I’ll use this to generate new topics.
Picking any of these questions (the most relevant one), I get these ideas:
Next, I will put my own twist on any of them. This is a quick way to find cool topic ideas for your guest post.
Use Searchresponse’s people also ask tool if you want a longer list of questions.
11. See competitors’ most shared content
You can see a competitor’s most shared content in Ahrefs using the content explorer’s advanced search strings.
Using the string “guest blogging site:neilpatel.com” gave me the result below.
I could sort by Twitter shares to see the most shared content pieces on Twitter. I could also use Pinterest.
If you want to see a full breakdown of social media shares, including Facebook shares, you should use Buzzsumo. However, I prefer viewing my competitor’s most popular blog topics on Twitter with Ahrefs.
Another way to use this is to do a quick search for a keyword. Use the link gopher chrome extension to compile a list of first page links and put these in Sharedcount. You can see the best performing topic ideas and then create your own version.
According to the results, Ahrefs has the most shared article on guest blogging. I would check out that article for some ideas. This is a reliable way to determine whether an idea will end up being a donkey or a unicorn. The only problem with Sharedcount’s tool is that it doesn’t display Twitter shares.
12. Check out competitors’ Youtube content
Youtube isn’t just for watching fail videos. You can find some cool blog post ideas on Youtube without doing much research.
If a competitor gets lots of views on Youtube. At least 1000 views per video. This shows that their content ideation game is on point. You should probably steal a couple of their content ideas and repurpose these into blog posts. Since these already did well on Youtube, with the right content marketing strategy, they’ll drive traffic to your website.
First, make a list of your competitors and their Youtube channels. Which of your competitors consistently gets 1000+ views?
Use the “sort by” option to view their most popular or their latest videos. Then reformat one or two of these to create popular or sometimes, funny blog topics.
13. Check out recent Twitter content with the most engagement
Checking out engagement and impression rates on Twitter tweets are a smart way to find interesting content angles.
I like to look for tweets with up to 10 likes and at least 5 comments within the past year. I conduct my searches via Twitter advanced search.
You want to make the search as broad as possible. So guest blogging or guest posting is broad enough. Real estate marketing isn’t a suitable search term for Twitter. “Property marketing” is a better search term.
While some tweets may not offer much value but still see a lot of engagement, pay more attention to tweets from small accounts that performed well. You should also periodically check your own analytics to see which tweets perform best. If you have an audience predominantly made up of your target customers, your analytics will show you what to blog about ideas.
14. Check out their competitors’ most linked content
Use Ahrefs’ content explorer to determine your competitors’ top linked pages. Alternatively, you can use the best by links report. But content explorer allows you to view the top linked pages for specific keywords. So, get a list of competitors via Spyfu, Ahrefs, or any other competitor research tool or strategy and check through their most-linked-to pages.
Note that this might not be the most accurate reflection of the quality of content since your competitor could actually be directing links towards that page manually. But, generally, you might get one or two ideas for your own content.
To use the best by links report:
1. Go to site explorer and enter the competing domain.
2. Use the Best By links report, adding an HTTP 200 filter
3. Note the blogs that have provided a do-follow link to this page for your own outreach efforts.
To use Ahref’s content explorer, enter an advanced search string such as “guest blogging site:adamenfroy.com”, and check out pages with the most domains linking to them.
15. Assess their competitor’s new keywords
You can do a content gap or keyword gap analysis. Check out your competitor’s new keywords. You can do this easily using Spyfu’s combat tool, Ahrefs’ content gap tool or SEmrush’s keyword gap tool. You’ll get a big list of keywords your competitors target which you aren’t. Most times, though, these keywords are too broad.
My preferred way to do this is to pick out two closest competitors. I will check out their recent blog topics list, scrape the links using link gopher.
Then I’ll go to Google’s keyword planner tool to see what terms they’re targeting with each page. Note the top 5 most relevant keywords per page. You can also glean their main keyword from the headline sometimes. To see if you already have content on these keyword, use “site:abc.com (keyword)”.
16. Check out popular Udemy courses
Udemy courses aren’t free. People won’t pay for or review courses that don’t actually help them improve. Your goal is to find these successful udemy courses and steal them for your blog or any website you’re writing for.
All you need to do is go to Udemy and check out well reviewed courses on your subject matter. You want to use a broad search keyword when making your search. If the course has up to 50 reviews, you can either use its headline or check out the course content to generate your own ideas.
To see each course content, click on the course, and see the “curriculum” section. Pay attention to the reviews section as the questions or complaints could give you some insights into what people want. Udemy will help you generate many successful blog topics for your blog with little effort.
17. Check out popular podcasts on ListenNotes
Unlike video and blog content, finding the best podcasts on a topic is still a problem. Listennotes is currently the leading podcast search engine out there. It allows you to search for podcast episodes with specific guests or keywords. You can filter results by duration, language, category, and publication date. Premium users can use the advanced search filters.
35% of Americans listen to about 10 different podcast shows per month. On ListenNotes, you can see each podcast show’s rankings using the metrics, LS (listen score) and Global rank. The higher the listen score, the better. Also, podcasts in the top 2% globally likely get a lot of listens because they consistently create engaging content. You can reverse-engineer some of their successful topics for your own audience or the blog you’re writing for. Podcasts are a good way to generate fun blog ideas.
18. Poll your audience
If you have an engaged social media audience, then you should be creating polls consistently asking your audience what type of content they’d like to see. This is if you want to create content that will generate sales. You could also interact with existing customers, asking questions that an actual sales rep would. For example, “Why is ABC a priority for you now?”
Twitter makes it easy to poll your audience. Ask a question on your Twitter either as a poll or an open-ended question about what type of content they’d like to see from you. Open-ended questions would offer you more context and deliver some personal blog topics that people connect with. But you might want to try both approaches. The open ended questions will give you a wealth of blog topic ideas to select from (if you have a large, engaged following).
19. Find editorial calendars from trade publications in your niche
Many big publications publish their editorial calendar for the year online. This will give you insights into what new trends to focus on.
Use search query: (publication name) editorial calendar (year)
No more humdrum blog topic ideas
Now you’ve seen 19 ways to create blog ideas for 2022. Ability to generate successful blog topics quickly will make you an editor’s favorite guest blogger. It’s time to start using any of these to create blog posts and guest posts that are guaranteed to be successful. Learn the right way to do guest blogging in 2022.
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