We've gone over the things you can do to drive traffic to your blog posts after you’ve hit publish. Now let's look at the ways you can identify the topics your readers will want to read.
I'm going to go ahead and assume that you are using Google Analytics on your website and blog.
There are a few ways to find which content resonates with your readers:
- Look at what pages/posts have the highest average time spent on them
- Look at what pages have the lowest bounce rate
- Find which pages are your top landing pages
On the flip side, you should also look at the pages that have the lowest average time spent, highest bounce rate and highest exit rates. Those pages can provide you with an opportunity to improve your content and keep people engaged with your site.
If you aren't using dashboards in your Google Analytics, I highly recommend you start. They provide you with a quick glance of your key metrics, all in one place.
If you're not sure how to get started with dashboards, have a look through the library at the Google Analytics Solutions Gallery. There you'll find pre-built dashboards you can start using today.
Look at the comments people are leaving on blog posts, both on your own and other (similar) blogs. Can you spot any common themes? Is there a particular pain point your readers are experiencing?
After doing your research, write a blog post (or a series of posts) that address the questions and issues your audience is looking for help with.
Be sure to include the terms and phrases your readers are using in their comments. If they are leaving comments with that terminology, it is likely they are doing searches on those terms as well.
Once your post is live, leave a comment letting people know you've shared your thoughts on the topic.
A great tool for helping stay on top of blog comments is Disqus. It's a free WordPress plugin that provides a bit more information on your commenters than the default comments system.
With Disqus, you can log in and see the commenting activity on all of the blogs you've left a comment on. You can quickly see who has responded to you and who has commented after you.
What I love about Disqus is that it allows people to login using their social profiles. If someone signs in using their Twitter handle, it makes it that much easier for you to look them up on Twitter, follow them and engage with them.
I've mentioned Twitter chats before as a great tool for promoting your content. They can also be a handy resource for discovering what topics people are asking questions about.
With the chats identified, start participating in a few. Look for what questions garner the most feedback. Also look for side conversations that may start during the initial chat. It often happens that a group of users will continue on a particular topic even after the chat has moved on to other questions.
With Twitter chats, it's easiest to participate via a dashboard like Tweetdeck or Hootsuite. That way, you can have the chat in one stream and not have to worry about missing any notifications.
Wouldn't it be great to know what the level of interest is in a topic before you write a blog post on it? Google Trends gives you those insights.
With Google Trends you can get a sense of what the search volume and interest is in a particular term (or series of terms). Here's an example of what the search volume has been for “live streaming video” in Canada in the last 12 months.
If you don't have a particular topic in mind that you want to write about, look through the Google Trends home page. There you'll see a list of what's trending. If any of those topics relate to what your audience would like, you can take advantage of the topic’s popularity by writing about it.
When all else fails and you’re stuck wondering what to write about, think about the conversations you have in real life. What are some of the common questions you get asked when you meet with a potential client? What were the hot topics at the last conference you attended? It’s likely that those questions people are asking online are also being used as searches.
What tools do you use to find content for your readers? Share them below.
About the Author:
Liz Da Ponte is a Digital Strategist hanging out where marketing, social media and technology meet to play. Liz loves writing, coffee, and finding the perfect font. Follow her on Twitter: @lizdaponte