Do you struggle to come up with topic ideas that strike a chord with your audience? Do you know what problems your audience is having but aren’t quite sure of how to turn that into content?
This post takes a major pillar of blogging—understanding audience pain points—and expands on it by teaching you how to utilize what you learn.
Why audience pain points are important
Audience pain points are important for one chief reason: they represent what your audience cares about the most. Sure, you can create content willy nilly on whatever topics come to mind, and you may even have a few hits here and there.
However, without knowing exactly what problems your audience is having or where they’re at in your niche, you have no way of knowing which topics or pieces of content have the most potential to succeed.
By asking your audience what they struggle with the most and listening to them, you can unlock a sea of information that’ll help you come up with topic ideas they’re most likely to be interested in.
Breaking audience pain points down into blog post ideas
We have a post on how to find your audience’s biggest pain points. It walks you through a few different methods you can use to discover what the audience you’ve built is struggling with as well as what problems members of your target audience are having.
This post is designed to take the pain points you discover in that post and break them down well enough to come up with topic ideas for your blog. The purpose of this is to find targeted content ideas that’ll lead to more conversions and an audience that’s more engaged with your brand as a whole.
You can do this by coming up with solutions for each pain point, seeing how your competitors handle each topic and discovering which topics are most popular in search.
Coming up with solutions to your audience’s biggest pain points
The easiest and most effective way to break down your audience pain points into topic ideas is to come up with solutions for them. Start with the biggest issue referenced by your audience in multiple ways and on multiple platforms.
Use your own knowledge of the subject as well as any outside research you need to come up with an effective solution to the problem. Jot down multiple solutions if applicable.
For instance, if my niche is blogging, one of the biggest problems inexperienced bloggers have is earning money from their blogs. This is an ambiguous problem with multiple possibilities when it comes to solving it.
No matter how many solutions you come up with for your problem, write down the steps it takes to reach them. The way you approach those solutions in your content strategy is up to you.
Determine if each step can be turned into a blog post, and dedicate one blog post per solution if not. You should also consider ideas related to your solution even if they can’t fit into the constraints of the steps you came up with.
If a solution has enough potential in search engines, such as a search volume of a few thousand a month or more, consider dedicating a longform (3,000+ word) article that covers everything related to that solution to give yourself a chance at ranking for that keyword at some point down the line.
You should promote this article thoroughly and use strong link building strategies for it.
My example pain point, making money blogging, has multiple solutions that come in the form of affiliate marketing, creating products, providing services and running ads on your site.
In the brainstorming stage, reaching the first solution, affiliate marketing, would include the following steps:
- Learn more about what affiliate marketing is and isn’t
- Research stores, products and services related to your niche
- Discover affiliate programs in your niche
- Choose stores, products and services to promote on your blog
- Develop an affiliate marketing strategy
- Use a plugin like Thirsty Affiliates to create vanity affiliate links
- Create content for affiliate products
- Create content related to affiliate products
- Publish a Resources page
The first bullet point can be broken down into a few blog post ideas. A mega post on affiliate marketing, such as “The Ultimate Guide to Affiliate Marketing,” should absolutely be considered since “affiliate marketing” is a high search volume keyword with tens of thousands of searches per month. A post that ranks for this keyword would be a game changer.
Other topics I could write for that first bullet point include “Affiliate Marketing vs Sponsorships,” “X Affiliate Marketing Terms You Should Know” and “Why Your Blog Needs to Utilize Affiliate Marketing.”
I can then go down the list and come up with topic ideas for each step in this solution, then repeat it all for every solution I came up with for the “making money blogging” pain point.
Finding what works for your competitors
Designing your content marketing strategy around audience pain points is a great way to ensure your content aligns more with what your audience is looking for. Even so, you should do more research to ensure the topic ideas you come up with will actually benefit your blog.
One way to do this is to see how your competitors tackled the topic and what has and hasn’t worked for them. You can research your competitors with tools like SEMrush, SE Ranking, Moz Link Explorer and Ubersuggest.
Input their domains into these tools to see if any of their best-performing content relates to the pain points you found.
You can also search through their blogs using the pain points as keywords. While some sites have a search function, it’s usually more effective to search using Google.
You can do this by typing site:domain.com “keyword” into Google Search.
Once you find blog posts related to your pain points, run those through the tools mentioned above. You’ll receive data on how each post is performing in terms of organic search, backlinks, the keywords it ranks for and more.
Don’t be discouraged if you come across a topic a competitor isn’t ranking for. If the topic has a decent keyword (meaning a few hundred searches per month), it just means the post isn’t thorough enough or your competitor doesn’t do enough content promotion and outreach.
Finding ideas through keyword research
This one works similarly to the previous step except you’ll use keyword research tools and seed keywords instead. Turn your pain points into high-search volume seed keywords, and run them through tools like SEMrush, Ahrefs, Ubersuggest, and KWFinder or whichever keyword research tool you prefer.
You may need to run a few searches to find the right way to phrase certain keywords, such as “fly fishing” as opposed to “fishing with flies.”
Once you find the right term, use the tool’s export feature to single out keywords that have a few hundred searches per month. You’re not necessarily looking for keywords to target here. You’re simply looking for topics related to your pain points that have enough interest in search engines to justify creating content for them.
Export the data, then come up with topic ideas for each keyword you found. Refer to the tool again or run the keyword through Google to see how each term’s top-ranking sites tackled it.
Brainstorming blog post ideas
This may seem like the most obvious method to use, but it’s still worth mentioning. You can even incorporate the first section of this post by using the solutions and steps it takes to achieve them as references.
If I reference one of the examples I listed toward the beginning of this post, making money blogging, I can come up with a few different topic ideas without even going through any of the methods listed above.
They would include such ideas as:
- “X Ways to Make Money Blogging in [Year]”
- “How Do Top Bloggers Make Money Blogging”
- “Why Focusing On People Over Profit Can Help You Make Money Blogging.”
Use your knowledge of each pain point to come up with as many blog post ideas as you can.
Don’t be afraid to write down ideas you feel wouldn’t have much search value or popularity on social media. Some posts are meant to provide value to your audience even if they won’t provide much value in SEO.
With your pain points identified and these four methods at your disposal, you have a surefire way to come up with a long list of blog post ideas on topics you know your audience cares about. Now, it’s just a matter of working those ideas into your overall content marketing strategy.
The longform articles you write for competitive keywords with high search volumes won’t rank overnight. They’ll need a much longer time to cook, especially if your blog is relatively new. You’ll also need to do a lot more promotion and link building for them.
Plus, you’ll need them to build your internal link structure with smaller articles you publish on the topic, so it’s best to get them out of the way as soon as possible.
The order in which you tackle the rest of the topics you come up with will be a never-ending battle between what’s best for the blog, what’s best for your audience and what’s best for you.
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