When I used to work at a marketing agency, I would read blogs from industry experts such as HubSpot, Marketing Brew, and Backlinko (to name a few). One of my main questions every day was, “How do these brands do it? How do they constantly come up with brilliant blog ideas?” Now obviously I work at HubSpot and I know what a blog strategy looks like in a large company with a recognizable brand. By taking the time to do solid research and brainstorm, you can create blog topics that will attract thousands of readers, like me, while increasing traffic, authority, and credibility. Today, I want to draw the curtain for you. We’ll look at how the HubSpot blog continually features high-performing blogging ideas.
How ideas come up on the HubSpot blog
Before we begin, it is important to know that when the HubSpot team comes up with blogging ideas, multiple teams are involved (SEO, blogging, and lead generation). Because of this, we divide our brainstorming process into two parts: trend research and SEO topic research. We then combine these efforts in our Statistics report quarterly (you can download a copy below).
Featured resource: Search statistics report template
Let’s discuss both processes below.
How the HubSpot Blog Generates Ideas for Trending Blog Posts
Blogging topics that relate to trends, research, or thought leadership generate non-organic traffic bursts that can help you gain visitors while you wait for SEO-driven posts to rank. Because they often include unique facts, quotes, or other information, these posts can also include backlinks, indirectly increasing your search authority. However, finding trendy non-organic post topics is not always straightforward and often requires brainstorming. Pamela Bump, HubSpot’s audience growth manager, leads our team’s brainstorming efforts while managing the blog’s non-organic content strategy. She says, “While our SEO team uses specialized tools to identify blog posts that will attract organic traffic, I take advantage of a number of trend research tactics to identify post ideas that will attract non-organic traffic from sources such as email, social networks. social, and references “. Below is the process you ask bloggers to use during our virtual brainstorming.
1. Focus on the categories of your blog.
Before we begin, it is important to have some kind of roadmap in mind. Pick the top blog groups or categories you want to focus on during the quarter and brainstorm around them. Right away, just knowing the groups you want to focus on could spark some ideas for data-driven research or thought leadership publications. Each quarter, the HubSpot acquisition team chooses seven to ten groups for each blog property; for us, that’s marketing, sales, service, and website. Clusters typically relate to things like business goals or industry trends. Additionally, we include other categories in addition to those clusters, such as Audience Growth, Lead Acquisition, and User Acquisition to help us think through topics related to our lead generation goals.
2. Review the content you have already written to inspire new topics.
Now that you have done a quick brainstorming of some new ideas, let’s look at what has already been written in each group that you are focusing on. To do this, find the cluster on your site. We do site searches on HubSpot, but only type “site: blog.hubspot.com/service customer experience” into Google. With this format, you can change the link and change the keyword to be what you are looking for. Then Google will find posts about that keyword on that site specifically. When you come up with ideas for a blog, it is very important to search the site to see if the topic has been covered. The reason you’ll want to do this is that you may find high-performing posts that give you inspiration for new angles, or you may find posts that you want to update with more quotes, data, or new research. Also, this will help you avoid keyword cannibalization. Caroline Forsey, property manager for HubSpot’s Marketing Blog, says. “Think in different angles for the popular topics you’ve already covered. For example, let’s say you have a lot of content on LinkedIn, but you don’t have any from a thought leader in the space. Maybe you could do an interview with a LinkedIn employee for an angle. leadership skills, such as ‘Top X Tips from a LinkedIn Marketer’ “.
3. See what the competition is doing.
While you never want to copy your competitors, it is important to see what topics they are writing about. This will help you fill in the gaps your competitors are missing and perhaps improve the blog topics they are discussing. This also lets you know what’s going on in your industry. What is the latest news and should I write about it? Furthermore, you can also browse social media for this reason. Social media can allow you to know the pain points of your audience and verify what is happening with your target audience. Staying on top of industry news is one of the best ways to generate blog ideas. Adds Forsey: “When new features are available for a social media platform or tool, there are often plenty of opportunities to explore new angles as well – recently, LinkedIn launched its own version of StoriesSo maybe you think of a topic like ‘X best LinkedIn stories we’ve seen’ or ‘LinkedIn, Instagram or Facebook stories – which is the best?’ ”
4. Have a blog topic idea criteria checklist.
Once you have created a few blog ideas, you need to check and make sure that each blog post topic is aligned with the general criteria of your blog. If you don’t have the blog criteria yet, maybe it’s time to set some standards for what each blog topic should cover. For example, in HubSpot, all our blog posts must provide value to your blog audience, align with a lead generation target or cluster, provide non-organic leads, respond to trends, or be timeless and have some keyword opportunities.
5. Stay organized.
You should keep track of your blog ideas in an organized manner. At HubSpot, we use an Idea Generation Spreadsheet where writers and editors can brainstorm ideas for quarterly groups or simply write in-progress ideas. Ultimately, this process helps us stay organized when it comes to generating consistent ideas for blog posts. Jay Fuchs, a blog writer for HubSpot, describes his process. It says: “I try to find topics that reconcile attractive topic with practicality when I come up with blog topics based on research or trends. That means finding interesting and dynamic topics that lend themselves to an article with an attractive title. , interesting support materials and, perhaps most importantly, practical advice. ” Fuchs explains: “That could mean an article on something like avoiding common pricing mistakes or sales strategies that will become prominent in the near future. One way or another, you need to choose topics that attract and help, those that will attract the attention of the customer. reader and allow you to make the most of it with the prospect that they may apply in the future. ” Now that you know the HubSpot process when it comes to generating non-organic blog ideas, let’s dive into the SEO side.
Brainstorming ideas optimized for SEO
While Bump and the blog writers brainstorm non-organic ideas, our SEO team is working hard to create blog topics that have an organic goal in mind. This is your process:
1. Look at your company’s products, goals, and customer base.
To get started, the HubSpot SEO team will review our products, goals, and customer base. Amanda Kopen, an SEO Strategist at HubSpot, says, “When you come up with ideas for blog posts, you should first look at your company’s products, goals, and customer base. At HubSpot, we brainstorm ideas about blog posts related to our different products (marketing, sales, service, etc.). Then we narrow it down to topics that we have experience in, but which are potential pain points for our customers (social media marketing). ” During this phase, our SEO team is reviewing our people, prioritizing blogging groups (decided by the SEO and lead generation teams), and brainstorming what would be useful to our audience. Additionally, the SEO team will identify large topics, underperforming topics, and old but high performing topics.
2. Conduct keyword research and content gap analysis.
After the initial brainstorming, it’s time to do your keyword research and content gap analysis. Kopen explains: “Once we have a potential weak point in mind, we use SEO best practices, such as doing keyword research and content gap analysis, to see exactly what people want to learn (how often I should post on LinkedIn) and we started writing from there. ” During this part of the process, our SEO team will collect domains with similar audiences and perform a content gap analysis (find out what the ranking of these sites is for which HubSpot is not). We’ll also look at related searches on Google to see what people are looking for. Then we’ll identify opportunities where we can update old blog posts or recycle the URL (so we don’t lose the SEO juice, but have up-to-date content for that topic).
3. See if there are bonding opportunities.
Finally, the SEO team will also contact the HubSpot academy and product teams to see if there are linking opportunities, such as courses or our products that we should link to.
Creating traffic generating ideas
And this is how the HubSpot blog constantly features high-performing blog post ideas. To learn more about our process, you can learn how SEO for the HubSpot Blog works with our Statistics report course at HubSpot Academy.