Blogging Ideas: Select The Best Topic for Your Business Blog

Welcome to part 2(b) of our practical, real-life, down-in-the-weeds Getting Started Guide to building your own business blog!

The Guide is broken down into four parts:

  1. Understanding Your Business and Your Customers
  2. Picking A Topic for Your Blog (A Good One!)
  3. Creating (and Maintaining) A Publishing Schedule
  4. Creating A Promotion Plan

Part 2(a) was back here.

We’re going to pick up where we left off on Wednesday — at this point, you should have completed your homework, and have a reasonably long list of potentially good blog concepts. Now, the hard part — filtering the list down to those that are likely to actually work in the real world.

The blog-o-sphere is an extraordinarily crowded space. The most recent stats I can easily find are from late 2013. At that point in time, there were over 150 million blogs on the Internet, and a new one was created every 0.5 seconds — 172,800 new blogs per day. This is why selecting good blogging ideas is so challenging. Now, the good news is that 99.999% of those blogs are quickly abandoned, and even of the ones that aren’t, few are high quality. Still, it takes some effort to cut through that amount of noise, and good, up-front planning is going to be critical to your success.

Pick A Topic

Step 2b: Filter The List of Blogging Ideas

Filter on Preference and Media Friendliness

Once you have your list of potential topics, there are two criteria you should use to go back and filter the list.

The first filter is, are you interested in the topic? This is absolutely critical. If you’re not interested in the topic, then there’s no way you’re going to be motivated to keep up with the production schedule required to make your blog a success. Instead of being a fun part of growing your business, maintaining your blog will become a chore. And once it’s a chore, it will quickly fall by the wayside. This will be a sad state of affairs, because content marketing is one of the most effective ways that exist to drive business. So, make sure you pick a topic in which you (or better, multiple people on your team) can maintain long-term interest.

The second filter isn’t strictly speaking a requirement, but it is highly recommended — is the blog topic multi-media friendly? Is this something where you’re going to consistently be able to generate both images, videos, or at least audio? Again, think to the Betty Crocker cookbook. Did you know that Betty Crocker started off as a radio program? So, audio clearly worked. Video of making the recipes would be a natural extension, and it would be trivial to include photos of the finished products. This multi-media support for your blog is going to go a very long way in helping its growth (again, more on this, later).

Do Keyword Research

Here’s where we get to the reason that you needed a list of potential topics. Unless you get very, very lucky, you’re going to find that most items on your list are not really suitable for creating a blog. In order to be suitable for a blog, you really want two things to happen:

  • you want it to be a topic that a large number of people are actively investigating, and
  • you want it to be a topic for which there’s minimal competition.

This is where Google AdWords is your friend. Even if you’re not actively advertising on Google, go get an account. It will be unbelievably valuable to you as a research tool, both now and as you go forward with your blog.

When using the tool, your goal is to get one of the topics from your list to be generating “enough” volume to drive a meaningful amount of traffic to your site and to have the Competition ranking as low.

First, a word on the Competition ranking. What this measures is the number of advertisers for each keyword, relative to all keywords across Google. Now, we’re not talking about advertising (yet), but this is still very important for you. The reason is, it’s a good proxy for how difficult it will be to achieve a high, natural (organic) search ranking for the keyword. If the Competition is high, then there are lots of businesses advertising for that keyword in your specified location, and presumably some of them are also writing a blog; and maybe their blogs are good and already rank highly. Remember that discussion about cutting through the noise? Finding a low-competition family of keywords is going to be important in achieving that goal.

Second, how many searches is “enough”?

This isn’t an exact science, for lots of different reasons. For some searches, you’ll have multiple blog posts show up on the first page, and for some searches, you won’t have any blog posts show up until page 10. But, let’s make some assumptions. You’re going to do a good job of creating content that is interesting to potential readers of your blog, and you’re going to do a good job promoting the blog. Over time, you’ll create many blog posts. Over time, people will search for you with many different phrases. For different searches, different blog posts will appear in different positions. And let’s just say that for your chosen package of keywords, your average result nets out to being the equivalent of always showing up as the 10th result. For that position, across all types of searches on all devices, the average click-through rate is 3.53%. If you want to delve more deeply into CTR by position, check out this post by Moz.

So, back to the question at hand. What search volume is sufficient? Well, now you can guess at how many visitors will get to your website from organic search (you’ll get more than this if you’re doing social media promotion, advertising, or other things to generate traffic, but we’ll use this as a baseline). Ten thousand searches per month would average 353 visits per month, whereas 50 searches would average just under 2 visits per month. It almost doesn’t matter what your business is, we can say that 353 visits per month is worth your blogging time, and 2 per month isn’t. Bu the reality is, for almost all of you, your best case scenario is going to be somewhere between the 50 and 10,000 searches per month.

To really analyze this, you’d need to then make some guesses as to how many visitors become customers, how often they’re repeat customers, and what your profit margin on your average sale is. If you’re a scrap metal dealer and almost no one searches for you online, but 80% of the people who visit your website ultimately become customers, then maybe you can get by with a lot fewer searches. If you’re a craftsman that makes custom tables, and you can only make 10 per year, then maybe you only need a few buyers, but you want a lot more visitors because you want to build your brand so you can charge more for each of those 10 tables. Further, if you’re really target a local niche with your blog, then maybe you can get much higher than an average rank of 10th. If you can get to 7th, the CTR goes to 5.59%, and if you can get to 5th it jumps to 7.82%. This should be possible for a sufficiently local blog. Maybe even better. But all of that is significantly beyond the scope of this article. So, let’s put some stakes in the ground.

For local businesses, you want at least a few hundred, and the closer you can get to 1,000 the better. For national or global businesses, you should be aiming for at least 3,000, and the closer you can get to 10,000, the better.

If you’re unfamiliar with how to use AdWords to do this research, come back on Monday, and we’ll cover it in depth. If you already know how, then go do it! Then come back on Wednesday, and we’ll cover creating a publishing schedule you will actually follow. Either way, don’t forget to subscribe below to make sure you get notified of your future posts!

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