The dishes are washed and put away. The kids are in bed. You finally have a few hours to sit down at your computer and pen the perfect blog post. And…
You can’t think of a single inspiring topic for your next post!
Creating a strong brand for your blog is super important, but if you don’t have anything interesting to write in your posts… well, it’s going to be really hard to generate traffic.
I’m so happy Miranda asked me to guest post on this topic, because writer’s block is pretty much the most annoying thing in the world, and it happens to the best of us! I don’t know about you, but I have a million and one ideas when I am nowhere near my computer, but my muse suddenly disappears when I have some precious uninterrupted time to write.
I’ve used just about every trick in the book to find blog post ideas, but I’m about to share with you one of the best-kept secrets for generating topic ideas. I’ve literally used this method to come up with thousands of blog post ideas over the years for myself and my freelance clients.
The title of this post may have tipped you off… my secret blog post idea generation tool is (drumroll please) Keyword Planner!
What Is Keyword Planner?
Keyword planner is a tool created by Google to help advertisers find the best opportunities for search engine advertising.
However, many bloggers also use Keyword Planner to assist with search engine optimization, since it shows valuable data about the terms people are searching on Google. Using Keyword Planner can help you bring in more search engine traffic, so I recommend that bloggers learn the basics.
I actually wrote a step-by-step guide on my own blog about how to use Keyword Planner, which is how Miranda and I connected in the first place. 🙂
So… What Does That Have to do with Blog Post Ideas?
Keyword Planner is awesome for topic generation, even though it was built for something completely different, because when you search for keywords, it also shows you related keywords.
Better yet, Keyword Planner sorts these related keywords into groups, so you can easily develop an entire blog post outline based on what people are searching. You can also enter multiple keywords to narrow your results, and you can view results for specific countries or regions if your readers are local instead of world-wide.
When you use Keyword Planner to generate blog post ideas, you’re pretty much guaranteeing that your posts will be optimized for search engine traffic. I’ve found that when my posts are optimized, they also do really well on social media, because I’m covering topics that my readers really want.
I know I’m not the only one who has spent 10+ hours writing the best blog post in the world only to see readers flock to another post I whipped up in 30 minutes when I was ranting about something not important. When you use Keyword Planner, you don’t run into this problem quite as often, because it’s like you’re doing a mini research session with your readers about what interests them most.
Using Keyword Planner for Blog Post Idea Generation, Step by Step
If you’re not already signed up to use Keyword Planner, all you need is a Google account. Make sure you follow the directions in my post (linked above) if you don’t want to have to enter credit card information. The key is to skip the guided setup. If you’ve already moved past this page, you can’t go back – you have to enter credit card information at that point. But the good news is… it’s free!
Next, you will need to enter some general ideas to begin the idea generation process. You don’t need to be thinking about SEO at this point. Just type in topics that might make sense for your readers. For example…
- General topics you cover on your blog
- Post topics you’ve seen other bloggers in your niche cover
- Ideas you’ve used for past posts
Let’s say that you blog about productivity. Here’s what you might enter:
On the next page, you will see your search results. You’ll see two tabs. The first have ideas grouped together, which I find more useful when I’m using Keyword Planner for blog post idea generation. The second tab will have keywords listed out individually, which can also help you find blog post ideas.
Not every group or individual result will be relevant to you, but with our example we can see that some of these “ad groups” look promising:
If I click on “Productive Work” for example, I see ideas such as:
- being more productive at work
- productive work hours
- most productive day of the work week
Already, your creative juices are flowing, and you probably don’t even blog about productivity! Replace those productivity keywords with keywords related to your blog niche, and watch the ideas start flowing.
Now, if you don’t get good results the first time around, do not get discouraged! Try entering broader keywords or getting rid of keywords that are skewing your results. For example, the first time I entered keywords about productivity, I tried “productivity on vacation” and most of the results were about going on vacation, which isn’t really relevant to someone writing about productivity. So, I replaced it with “productivity tricks and tips,” a more general keyword. The results were much better.
Capture that Muse for Next Time
Whenever I use Keyword Planner to generate blog post ideas, I always find more than one idea. Usually I find 5-10, minimum, but sometimes, I hit a gold mine and find 50+ ideas!
So, I now have a document that sits on my desktop purely to capture these ideas. Whenever I see something that might work, I write it in this doc, with a few thoughts about what it could become as a full-fledged post or any specific ideas that hit me at the time. Since doing this, I rarely run out of ideas.
I hope this post has motivated you to get out there and generate some ideas for your next blog post, instead of getting frustrated or feeling like you can’t write. I know writer’s block can be really annoying, but with the right tools, you can get back on track to make good use of whatever free time you have to blog, instead of just staring at a blank screen.
Allison Boyer is a writer, marketer, project manager, and lover of shenanigans. She shares blogging tips, such as how to set your sponsored post rates and what to do if your blog posts aren’t getting any traffic at AllisonBoyer.com. She also runs a food blog, The PinterTest Kitchen, with her mom and sister, which serves as a great excuse to “do research” on Pinterest, buy pretty kitchen gadgets, and eat way too many cupcakes.