social media how toAre you struggling to come up with blog posts that attract the right type of visitors?

Are you unsure where to turn for new article ideas?

In this article I’ll show you how to make sure your future articles are the ones your audience is really interested in.

Here’s a hint how: your social connections can help you discover the topics that will perform well on your business blog.

hot topic

Invest in writing about the topics that are most likely to appeal to your target audience. Image source: iStockPhoto.

Follow these 4 easy steps to get you on your way to finding great topics that resonate with your audience simply by looking within your social networks for inspiration.

#1: Monitor Influencer Social Channels

Not all blog post topics are created equal. A great topic immediately catches readers’ attention with a snappy headline that speaks to their needs and conveys an obvious value proposition to them.

One of the easiest ways to find out which topics have this type of impact is to find articles that are performing at a high level for the big brands and leaders in your industry.

To do this, identify influencers within your industry and monitor their Facebook and Twitter feeds to find posts and updates that garner an unusually high level of engagement.

For example, the following Zappos Facebook update garnered a stunning 4,157 likes, while other entries on the page averaged between 300-1,100 likes.

lacoste on zappos facebook page

Lacoste brand posts are especially popular on the Zappos Facebook page.

While it isn’t exactly surprising that one of the web’s top retailers would amass so many likes, what’s interesting is that of the other posts on the page, this Lacoste brand post received an above-average number of likes—even beating out always-popular contest-related posts.

If you’re an online retailer of luxury goods, this trend could demonstrate consistent interest in the Lacoste brand name, providing you with perfect fodder for a future blog post.

And if you’re in a different type of business, remember to look for similar spikes of interest from within your industry to discover great blog topics.

#2: Take a Hint From Your Community

The topics that are popular for influencers might not resonate with your readers. Instead of following in big-brand footsteps, ask your followers what they’d like to read about on your blog.

Remember that questions like, “What do you want me to write about next?” are too broad. Instead ask a specific question to help readers give you an answer you can work with, like, “Which of these do you struggle with most on Facebook—creating ads, using Insights or creating custom tabs?”

Darren Rowse posted a question to his Google+ audience in July.

The high engagement the question received led him to write a blog post titled, “Don’t Quit Your Job to Chase Your Dreams… Until You’ve Read This.”

darren rowse article

Darren Rowse published a crowdsourced article to Facebook.

To ensure your topic is tailored to the needs and interests of your target customers, create blog posts based on your readers’ feedback.

#3: Check Your Top Posts on Facebook

One way to determine whether a topic is of interest to your target audience is to research your top posts on Facebook.

The Facebook Insights program compiles data on how well your individual Facebook posts are performing based on their overall reach, the number of users who have engaged with the post, the number of people talking about it and the post’s overall virality.

As an example, check out the following screenshot from the Facebook Marketing Solutions Insights page:

facebook insights

Facebook Insights can provide data on the posts your followers have engaged with most.

The top two entries in the list both include the word “tip”. This demonstrated interest could be used to develop a series of blog post topics based on helpful, actionable tips on an industry topic.

Find common factors in different entries in your top post list on Facebook and use them as inspiration for a single blog post topic or a series of articles on your blog. Remember, you can also use this data to identify topics that don’t resonate well with your audience, and remove them from your content plan.

#4: Measure Your Tweet Impact

If your marketing efforts are geared more toward Twitter, you’ll want to use a tool like Sprout Social to find out which of your tweets have had the biggest impact on your target audience.

sprout social

Sprout Social measures the clicks, response rate and reach of each tweet you send.

It’s clear that the tweet titled, “Why Social Media Managers Should Be Integrated With Sales and Support” received a substantially larger number of clicks than any other tweet released by the company in the time range selected.

Sprout Social’s bloggers could use this information to conclude that the topic of integrating social media into sales is of particular interest to their company’s followers. This insight could then be spun off into a series of blog post tutorials that are practically guaranteed to capture the attention of their readers.


Certainly, these aren’t the only ways that your business can use information derived from social channels in order to develop successful blog posts, but they do represent a great place to start.

First pay attention to what the influencers in your industry are saying and consider asking your followers for feedback on what topics your blog should cover.

Then as you share posts generated using these techniques on your social channels, use Facebook Insights, Sprout Social or similar social media monitoring programs to see which topics stick and which ones fail to attract interest.

Good business blogging is all about flexibility and commitment. Make it a priority to invest in writing about the topics most likely to appeal to your target audience and you’ll see sustained growth and increased profits.

Over to You

What do you think? Have you tried any of these strategies for developing great blog post topics? What other strategies have you had success with? Share your suggestions in the comments section below!

Image from iStockPhoto.
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  • Hi Eric

    Great article, one thing that is definitely emerging from creating great content is the monitoring aspect. Certainly if one is to create great content, then research and social listening is required.

    I would love to hear more about the mechanisms and tools used to help content produces pick topics that perform great and do well consistently.

  • Great article. For me, its very important that you know the audience you wish to attract and hopefully you also know what will interest them.We should try to present them with that information in a way which is authentic and which communicates the passion that we have for the subject.

  • Hi Eric! Great tips here, thank you! I especially like your advice on asking your community what they want to read about. After all, they are the ones you’re writing for!

  • AmandahBlackwell

    Hi Eric,

    I’ll ask readers what they want to see on my blog and read comments on blog posts, articles, and social media websites.

    Other tips to finding great topics that resonate with your audience tips include:

    1. Reading comments on blog posts, social media websites, and articles. (see above)
    2. Setting up Google Alerts and paying attention to what is hot, right now.

    3. Your conversations with clients/customers.
    4. Your competitors.
    5. The latest new headlines.

  • Some good suggestions. Another good source of topics is from trade and association conference agendas.

  • Brilliant article to increase fan base of website. Before this I have followed many social media influencer on twitter and Facebook where I got inspiration and ideas about how they are doing on social media. Thanks for sharing your invaluable thoughts in an open community. Appreciated 🙂

  • Hey Geoffrey,
    Certainly a good idea for a next post 🙂

  • Audience is super important. If you don’t target the right people then you’re missing the boat and wasting a lot of time and energy. Thanks Barbara!

  • Thanks Kate! I love EOF by the way!

  • Thanks for the tips Amandah!

  • Thanks Doug!

  • 🙂

  • AmandahBlackwell

    You’re welcome!

  • I’m just now getting the hang of using these tools to write better material. Great read!

  • RGBSocial

    Hey Eric – These are some great suggestions for how to maximize readership of blog post content.

    Recognizing your article is about post popularity, the only caveat that I’d add to this is that there may be occasions when producing content that will maximize readership might not necessarily be the most strategically relevant to achieving business goals.

    For instance, taking inspiration from big brands and leaders in your industry and writing posts on similar topics is undoubtedly great for ensuring your blog content will be relevant to a large number of readers, but it may not necessarily be relevant or reflective of your businesses core value proposition. In a case like this, it may be more advantageous to write about topics that deviate from what is popular in your industry to separate yourself from the competition, even if it means smaller readership.



  • I can’t agree more Eric.Looking forward to read more posts from you.

  • Great suggestions Eric. Listening and monitoring the topics our potential clients as well as influencer sites are sharing can indeed provide us some great ideas. Your point is taken.

  • Ann

    Thanks for a great article. I am about to start blogging ( after resisting initially) and your tips certainly make sense.

  • This is a cool tip we often forget. Thanks for sharing, Doug!

  • Thanks Adam!

  • Hey Matt,
    Agreed that maximizing readership isn’t always directly related to business goals. I do think that it’s wise to test all different types of content because you never know what will really stick. And things that don’t work sometimes do deserve revisiting.

    Key takeaway = test 🙂

  • Thanks Orland 🙂

  • Hey Ann,
    Congrats on starting with blogging. The key is to stay consistent with it. It takes a long time to see traction and a lot of people give up easily. It’s the ones that stick with it that succeed!

  • Very clear and to the point article. Research is just a best way before writing a new post. But my question is by checking facebook analytic. If want to get good traffic to blog

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  • These are really great tips, Eric! I think sometimes the most straightforward signs (like what your audience likes and responds to) is easy to overlook. There’s no point in reaching by associating every post with current events or trends, when the key to what will be successful is right in front of you, you just need to do the research!

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  • Svens Michael

    Thanks for a great article!

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  • Great article with very helpful content. I think to watch the responses on posts on facebook, is a great way to gain an idea for your next blog. I guess…go straight into where the traffic is.