social media how toDo you struggle coming up with content ideas for your blog?

Or maybe you create plenty of blog posts, but they get few views and even less engagement?

If you find that creating engaging content is challenging, keep reading.

This article will identify some of the best tips, tools and tactics for creating blog content that helps grow your business.

#1: Be the resource your customers really need

What’s your ideal customer’s biggest problem? Your blog is not about your business, it’s about your customers.

If you want to attract and engage your prospects and lead them down the sales funnel, you need to focus on them and their problems.

The more you create content that helps your prospects succeed, the more engaged they’ll become with your blog.

So how do you know what your audience is struggling with?


If you’ve been in business for a while, chances are you already know a lot of what your customers are struggling with.

But if you’re starting from scratch or you want to uncover more opportunities where you can help your customers, consider creating a survey using a free tool like Survey Monkey or Google Docs.

Extract the “keywords” that drive the questions.

Once you have a list of the problems your customers face, you’ll start to notice some recurring phrases.

Maybe it’s “public speaking,” or “college admissions” or “dating advice.” (If it’s all three, you may want to narrow your focus.)

Grab one of those phrases, brainstorm a few alternatives and head on over to Google’s Adword Keyword Tool.

Plug your phrases into the box, choose “exact match” and hit “search.”

Google will return your keyword phrases plus a number of related phrases. It will also show you how many people have searched for each phrase in the last 30 days, and how competitive those phrases are (at least in the pay-per-click arena; a good indicator of how difficult it may be to rank well for these phrases).

The Global and Local Monthly Searches columns will give you insight into how much interest there is in a specific keyword. Focus on phrases that have high search volume for your blog posts.

found keywords

Start creating posts around the history of videogames, game reviews, free games and cheap games.

Once you’ve identified your most promising keywords, go to Google Insights for Search. While there are some amazing reports you can generate from Insights, scroll right down to the bottom and look at Top Searches and Rising Searches.

Top Searches will give you a sense of what people are searching for now, while Rising Searches will give you a sense of what the next big search terms will be.

Creating valuable content before it becomes mainstream can give an incredible boost to your blog traffic. Other bloggers will tend to cite your work when they post related content (creating inbound links to your blog), and search engines will often reward your post because of its longevity.

gps insights

Rising Searches helps keep you ahead of the competition.

I’ve seen this on my blog and website when I’ve written on a topic before it’s really caught on. An article I wrote back in 2008 entitled How to Use Twitter for Business still attracts over 250 new prospects per month to our site more than four years after I wrote it!

Would your business benefit from getting in front of 3,000 new prospects a year who had never heard of your company before? 😉

You should also plug your best keywords into Google Alerts (that’s the last Google plug, I promise!).

Every day, Google will deliver news stories, blog posts and even tweets to your inbox about your best keywords. Those are all the seeds of great content posts your ideal customer is interested in.

gluten free

Get blog post ideas delivered to your inbox daily.

#2: Answer the unanswered questions

People often come to the web to seek answers and advice. Your audience is no different.

Answering their questions in your blog is a great way to attract and engage them.


It’s likely that you get emails from your current customer base looking for advice.

Stop answering them!

OK, that’s not exactly what I mean. But don’t answer them right away.

Instead, when someone asks you a question that you feel others are likely struggling with, that’s a perfect opportunity to create a “Dear Abby”–style post.

dear abby

Why help one when you can help one thousand?

Whether it’s “Why can’t I post to my Facebook page as myself?” or “How can a B2B company use Pinterest?“, you can create content that will help attract your ideal customer.

Think about it: If one person is asking you that question, how many other hundreds or thousands who don’t have a resource to turn to are using Google or Bing? And Google (usually) won’t answer the question, they’ll just refer the searcher to an authoritative source… like your blog.

Unless it was a question about bedwetting and you used their name, chances are they’ll be proud they asked such an intelligent question. Bonus: you’re (re)introducing them to your blog.

#3: Find the questions your customers are asking

Next, you need to figure out what your customers want to know now. Do some research to find the questions they’re asking.

Quora, Yahoo Answers and LinkedIn Answers.

These are just a few of the popular Q&A sites on the web today. People pose questions at these sites in all types of categories, from parenting to management, home repair to manufacturing.

But just because a question is asked (and even answered) doesn’t mean that the topic is closed. Chances are you have a better, more nuanced or just different answer to the question.

Take the question and make it your own on your blog.

li questions

Find a category that would interest your audience and plunder it for ideas.

Keyword Questions

This is one of my favorite tools for filling a blog with engaging questions, whether you’re a long-time blogger or just starting out.

Keyword Questions queries WordTracker’s search engine partners to find questions that have been posed with your keywords in them.

I’ve found that using broad terms for this tool provides the best results. In other words, use “golf” rather than “golf tips.”

keyword questions

Each one of these results represents another blog post.

Competitors’ FAQs

You remember FAQs, right? Those pages on a website that are covered in dust bunnies, having not been updated since 1997?

Your competition has left some great questions up on their site with out-of-date answers on them. Your job is to find those musty old questions, shake them off and breathe new life into them.

In no way am I suggesting stealing from your competitors! Frequently asked questions are by definition frequently asked. Tweak the question and answer it from your own perspective, based on your experience, in your own voice.

Comment Sections

Comments on a blog post often ask follow-up questions to the original post. Unfortunately, many of these questions go unanswered. Even when they do garner a response, that answer is buried in the comments, difficult to find and share with others.

If someone asks a good follow-up question in the comment section of your own blog, consider creating a new blog post as a response and linking to it in your reply.

Also, popular industry blogs will often generate more comments than the blogger can keep up with. Check out the comment section on popular blog posts and see if there are some great questions being asked that you can answer on your own blog.

copyblogger comment

Popular blogs' comment sections are often filled with great unanswered questions.

Whether you’re pulling questions from emails, Q&A sites, Keyword Questions, competitors’ FAQs or a comments section, you’re providing a service to your audience as long as you’re creating a fresh perspective on their challenges.

Plus, your blog posts will make the answers easier to find, read and share than if they were buried in a Q&A site or hidden in an email exchange.


If you want to attract and engage a loyal audience to your blog, you need to be continually creating content that is of interest to them, not necessarily of interest to you.

By researching your keywords, digging a little deeper and uncovering the questions your ideal customer is asking, you can build a blog that builds your business.

Your Turn

What do you think?

What tips, tactics or techniques have you used to create content that engages your audience? Let us know in the comments box below. Who knows? Maybe it will inspire you or another reader to create even more compelling content for a future blog post!

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  • Nicely done Rich! To this I will add – and don’t stop because the same questions and problems never go away, especially if the community is growing.

  • Jeff,

    That’s especially true when there are new people being introduce to our industry. They’re looking for experts to learn from and to do business with!

  • Well apart from this I think posting on a timely basis would help. I mean if we maintain a schedule then the blog readers would find it easy to discover it.

  • I think some of the trick is to be innovative. Proactive versus reactive. There are plenty of people who are generating content based on what they’ve read. Maybe some of it is innovative, maybe some of it is just a rehash that will reach their community. I’ve done both. I’ll get an idea sparked from what I’ve read and blog, especially if it has been a little while since my last post, but I try to be innovative. You mentioned this in #1, creating the content before it becomes mainstream. I feel like that is the goal we all should strive for as marketers; to be innovative and create content before anyone else does. Easier said that done, but it’s a goal. 

  • Nice post Rich! Good reminders for stepping back from an industry perspective and getting inside the head of consumers, customers, or clients. I always get good notes from your content.

  • Will Hasler

    The key is to post something that people want to read, and better yet, have already asked. Mining for blog posts by questions that your audience has already asked is a great way to create engaging and useful content for your readers. This also helps you become the expert, gain trust, and become the source to look to. Great post!

  • Fashionandbloom

    Great article… Thanks for the insights

  • Great post.  As always, I’d qualify your statement about prioritizing traffic based upon search volumes.  In the first place, both traffic and competition matter, and blogging on a high volume topic that is highly competitive may be an exercise in futility.  As a result, you may be better off blogging on a lower volume topic if it’s significantly less competitive, simply because you have a higher chance of ranking.  Also, long-tail keyword phrases tend to be lower volume, but generally have higher conversion rates.  Since web traffic by itself doesn’t generate leads, you may be better served by using lower volume, long tail phrases.  After all, our goal in marketing is to generate an ROI.

  • Beth Jackson

    Great article!  I am sending this out to any of my clients interested in blogging. You did a great job explaining these points!!

  • C. Christina Davis

    Thank you for this post.  It has fresh points on how to generate content, and I had not considered that you could create content that is relevant before it is relevant.  Your ability and willingness to communicate that which you’ve learned is appreciated.  Very nice job.

  • Thomaslnudd

    This is a great source for someone making a career change into the ever-changing world of PR and social media influence–or vice-versa. Thanks for sharing.

  • G,

    Agreed. Having an editorial (or content) calendar can definitely keep you on track to create quality content on a regular basis.

  • Well said, plus you can reimagine this type of content in multiple ways: checklists, tweets, building case-studies around the questions & answers…the list goes on. Sending this to a client who was talking about this exact topic with me today. Thanks again!

  • Jeff,

    That is a challenge. I have to admit…the few times I’ve been “ahead of the curve” it’s been dumb luck. And keep in mind what the other Jeff said earlier…many times we forget that some people are just coming into our industry now.

    I think it’s ProBlogger that has a 101 section on their blog for “newbies.”

  • Thanks, Tobin!

    Dan & Chip Heath talk about the Curse of Knowledge; the fact that we often forget how much we actually know compared to our customers and others outside our industry.

    Just sharing what we think is “common knowledge” can bring in new customers.

  • Thanks, Will.

    I also find that just by answering and reanswering some “common” questions, I clarify my own thinking and am better able to help others overcome their problems.

  • Good points, Trevor. However, you shouldn’t shy away from popular topics, just manage your expectations that if that material has been well covered, it’s going to be an uphill battle.

  • Perhaps we could call it “pre-relevance.” Dibs on that!

  • Great examples for creating new content. I think we all wish that Google still had Wonder Wheel. I used that often for ideas. I wonder why they did away with it. I also look at current news — you can turn almost any story into content that is appropriate for your audience. A blogging coach once asked her class to write about Michael Jackson’s death. I was in it and for the life of me couldn’t think of why my audience would be interested. And then it dawned on me that he was one of the great communicators (my business). I loved writing the post and it generated a lot of comments.

  • I use to see what’s trending for ideas. 

  • So often I think blogs designed for businesses lose touch with their customer base. I know I am guilty of that sometimes- relating law to life can be an interesting thing. These are great tips though. Thanks as always

  • Great tools Rich! Love Google Docs and Google Insights ideas….

    Thanks for sharing!

  • freshaes

    So much gold in this post! I’ve been struggling to plan past a week for my blog. Everything you’ve said feeds into the principle of getting a deep understanding of your customer aka blog readers aka target audience.

    – Raj @freshaesthetics

  • Rachel

    Great post. I particularly appreciate the explanation on how to find what questions people are asking, because that’s something I’m not very good at yet (and my customers don’t ask many questions…I’m hoping that’s because I’ve already covered the query for them!)

  • These are really good points. Thanks for that, Rich. In my opinion, if some blogger will do that, not only will the content be great, but from the SEO point of view, it will mean a great boost of traffic and increase in the number of returning visitors.

  • Great post Rich, really good.

    I totally agree – I find that if you look at your analytics to see what type of blog post your audience has responded well to in the past, it’s a great way to shape how you continue to communicate with your audience going forward. Using the right language and keywords is crucial.
    Another great tip is to include other bloggers in your posts as points of reference. It adds authenticity and also provides a brilliant means of out reach – sometimes you get links and re-tweets etc from those you reference and that alone dramatically boosts the numbers. 

    The best example I’ve ever seem of this is by Jeff Bullas. Check this post out, the way it’s constructed is  technically brilliant as well as being a very useful resource:

  • Just asking is an important step many people (and brands) seem to overlook. Great post Rich.

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  • Although not specifically in the same world as you guys (I run a B&B in Mid Wales in the UK), and am finding writing about things a struggle – although I could talk for hours! (Ask my husband!) 
    However, this article has helped me to focus on what I am trying to achieve; given me some great insights to what I can use online to help write better blogs; but more importanty also demystified some of the terminology I come across regularly when reading stuff to try and get better at using social media for our business. So, thanks. 

  • Absolutely…this is much a content strategy as a blog strategy. I just happen to love the blog platform–the perfect combination of search and social–to grow your business online.

  • Ah, Wonder Wheel. I created a how-to video on that and not two weeks later they killed it. 

    I was afraid to create how-to videos for months after that!

  • I just tried it but couldn’t get past the fact that they had a Mucinex ad on auto play w/the volume on by default!

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  • Erick Kinuthia

    Best piece Rich.Advice for doctors who want to succeed in marketing of their services online.

    Erick Kinuthia

  • Nice Article brooks… Just wanted to say this blog is almost amazing.

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  • Rich,

    Nice article!  Post Penguin/Panda writing good content to become a customer resource is even more pertinent.  I also think answering the unanswered questions is a great way to build customer loyalty.

  • Enjoyed the video about the survey.  I may think up some questions around my nitch of premarriage coaching and give it a try. 


    Or perhaps you should just accept that posting on popular
    topics helps to maintain a well balanced blog and prevents your readers from
    having to go elsewhere to read about those popular subjects. Always a risk they
    won’t come back.

  • Robert Brooks

    Excellent article, Rich.  You provided me with some new ideas, especially about publicizing a new book.  Bob Brooks

  • Michaelccampbell

    great article… really enjoyed reading it!

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  • Great post. I think I’ve seen the Keyword Questions tool before but forgot about it. I just tried it with one of the topics I write about and got some pretty great ideas.

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  • Valuable information and excellent ideas Rich.

  • Great ideas Rich! I’d also suggest going through some topic-related forums and see what questions users post on there to get blog post ideas.

  • Viral content is the future…

    Good post!

  • Good post, Rich.  When do you think it makes sense to post a blog on your own site versus writing a guest post?  It seems that one of the challenges people face is getting their content seen, especially when the topic has been well covered and the keywords are competitive. 

  • Google Docs?  That’s so mid 2012.

  • Great post mate..!! Absolutely a rich source of ideas on How to Create Awesome Content for your Blog  

    Sides, I would like to add a source of creating content here, and it is the reason I read this blog today.

    SEOMOz has something called The Moz Top 10 which I believe is a bi-monthly newsletter they send out to their fans. The email consists of nothing but the top 10 news from the world of SEO (A great help for people like me who otherwise do not have time to digest the large chunk of information people create over the web on a daily basis).

    So, the idea is to not only share and spread the content you created, but to share all the content that your customers are looking for, once again the same theory what you mention Rich, but with a Mexican twist 😉

    I think this is a good idea, would you agree ?

    Cheers from India..!!

  • I think these are 2 different school of thoughts David. When you create some awesome piece of content, you want to put that on to your own blog to invite maximum no. of backlinks.

    Guest posting is a good idea majorly to reach out to a new audience, who otherwise wouldn’t have come to your blog.

    Hope this helps 🙂

    BTW, as Rich mentions, your question makes a great title for a blog post over at my blog, thanks again.!!

  • Whether you want links on your site or visibility with a new audience, via someone else’s site, the content still needs to be awesome.  Therefore, I don’t see how it’s two schools of thought.  I appreciate your comments though and look forward to your blog post!

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  • Wow, excellent article- lots of good outside the box tips that anyone can use right away.  Mad proprs 🙂

  • Jeremy Kaiser

    Another good technique to find your audience questions is simply by analyzing your website traffic through your web analytic tool:

    Check your search keywords or queries report and apply a segment that includes only questions words (what,why, how…)

    =>   If you see a high bounce rate for those segmented search keywords that already bring you some traffic, it means your current content landing page is not good enough for those keywords – you need
    to create a better content (update the landing page or create a new one)

    =>   If you see high impressions for those segmented queries, it generally means you have a potential to rank better and get traffic if you develop optimized content for those queries

    Note: Apply also geographic filters or segments such as country/city according to your audience

  • thanks for the tips. 🙂

  • Agreed, Oleksi! That’s a wonderful strategy. 🙂

  • Wow, this was an extremely helpful article! I always find it a bit intimidating and at times frustrating, to find good blog topics to write about. Who knew there were so many valuable tools available to make the process easier. Thank you for introducing these to me!

  • As usual, Social Media Examiner provide really good technique for non specialists. Thx for sharing.

  • Very worth readable post here Rich. Creating valuable content are significantly great for a blog that needs to have an good marketing campaign for business. This can be truly amazing, considering this post of yours are simply helpful for the market readers. 

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  • designrjc

    Quite comprehensive tips your offering focused on three items only. I love the simplicity of it and focus as well. These are almost common sense tips these days for better blog content but its usually much harder in practice than theory. Thanks.

  • Great post Rich, I particularly liked the tip about taking the email questions you get
    and turning them into a post. Rather than replying direct referring them to my “new”
    blog post! You never know they might buy something on there visit too!!    

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  • Success to any blog does not comes overnight, it is an on-going process which needs the blogger to be highly informative and good command over the language. 

  • RahulKuntala

    Creating top notch contents totally depend on what your audience have to say. Instead of rehashing the content with the readers, it’s always a great idea to knowing their problems. And doing more of it. That’s what keep them loyal to any blog.  Great insights!

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  • It is essential to engagement with the right people, as opposed to random conversation with whoever happens by.

  • i really thankfull to the author as he is very knowledgeable and share his knowledge with others.

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  • great insights mate . . . 

  • Alisha Houston

    Good examples. I especially like how you went in details. Very well explained in general.

  • Sandy Joyce

    Contrary to many other articles that offer some generic and washed up tips this one is giving out valuable information. I will definitely recommend it.

  • Do you find “Google’s Adword Keyword Tool.” actually gives sufficiently accurate information? My experience with it has been very varied!

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