Every blogger needs to spend time coming up with valuable blog topics – the topics most likely to attract new people and increase the chances of conversion. But how can you generate new ideas reliably? And how can you tell which ideas are best?

What Makes a Blog Topic Valuable?

Let’s start by understanding what makes a blog topic valuable in the first place. It’s clear that some topics are better than others, but what exactly makes them this way?

That’s going to depend on the nature of your business and how your blog generates revenue. For example, a blog topic may be valuable to one organization if it generates a lot of controversy and attracts lots of new people who are experiencing strong emotions. A topic may be valuable to a different organization if it is very well polished and capable of garnering respect from the top experts in the industry.

No matter what, you’ll have to think about the following.

Relevance/suitability. The blog topic needs to be relevant to your brand and your business. It also needs to be suitable for your way of creating blogs; for example, if your brand is well known for its in-depth research, you need a topic that can be explained and explored in sufficient depth.

Originality. You also need to have some degree of originality. If you’re simply copying what other people have done or if people have seen this blog topic millions of times already, it’s not going to make much of an impact.

Market appeal. Is this the type of thing that your demographics want to read about? Don’t make assumptions here; prove that this topic is of interest to your target audience.

Competitive advantages. Are there any distinctive competitive advantages to covering this topic? For example, if your rivals tend to be slow, could you cover a news development faster than they do?

Brainstorming and Research

More to the point, how do you start generating and verifying valuable blog topics?

Loose idea generation. Everything starts with your initial brainstorming. You should work with the entire team to loosely generate as many ideas as possible. Use whatever brainstorming techniques are most useful to you and start exploring potential topics relevant to your brand. You’ll be weeding out the list eventually.

Competitive research. Next, we’re going to do some competitive research. To start, simply take a look at the blogs of all your biggest competitors; what types of topics are they covering and how are they covering them? Do certain blog topics seem more popular than others? Later on, you’ll also want to cross-reference your list of potential blog topics and see which topics have already been covered sufficiently by your competitors.

Keyword research. With the help of the right keyword research tool, you can quickly and easily analyze the keywords present in the blog topics you’ve generated. It will also be able to research potential keyword targets that you haven’t yet considered. This way, you’ll be able to analyze both the search volume and relative competition related to each keyword relevant to your brand. As long as you have a good SEO strategy in place, you can leverage these keywords to create better blog titles and have much higher chances of ranking highly in search engine results pages (SERPs).

Market surveys. If you want to go the extra mile, conduct some surveys to get direct feedback from your customers and figure out what they want to see in your content. How satisfied are they with your blog to date? Are there any types of topics that they’ve never seen before that they would like to see in the future? Do they have ideas for how you can improve your blog?

Live Testing

Once you have a handful of potentially powerful blog topic ideas, it’s a good idea to test some of those ideas in a live environment. For example:

More surveys. Use subsequent market surveys to determine how your customers feel about the content you’re about to produce. Do they like the idea of heading in a new direction? Are they excited to read about the topics here teasing? And if you’ve already published some of the blogs, what do readers really think about them?

AB testing titles. It’s not a bad idea to AB test some of your titles. If you have alternate headlines for similar articles, or if you’re torn between pairs of blogs that cover similar topics, run tests on both alternatives and see which one performs better.

Real data on completed articles. Don’t forget to monitor blog performance once published! How much traffic is each article generating? What does this tell you about your audience? What can you learn from this and how can you leverage those insights in your content marketing strategy?

The more data you gather, the easier it will be to generate top-performing content ideas in the future.

Repeating the Process

Blog topic research and brainstorming aren’t things that serve you as a one-time investment. Instead, you’ll need to research and brainstorm new blog topics on a regular basis. The more time and effort you spend coming up with the best possible topics for your blog, the more your content is going to resonate with your audience, the more traffic you’re going to get, and ultimately, the more money you’ll make.