It hurts… a lot.
You want to write a new post for your blog or a guest post, but nothing comes to mind.
You don't know what to write about.
You even fear you came up with the wrong topic, spent countless hours writing the most epic post out there, but then nothing happens.
Worse, you could hurt your brand if you consistently come up with the wrong topic.
So, if you're wasting your time and hurting your brand, it's better not to write, right?
On the other hand, you see bloggers who always get it. Every post they publish is exactly what their audience wants to read. Every post is a hit and it goes viral.
You see raving comments, a lot of shares and tweets, and most of all, a lot of traffic and clients.
So how do they know that their audience will love this topic? How do they pick the right topic that saves them time and is always a hit?
You don't need to come up with a new topic
A lot of bloggers are blogging about your main topic for years now. It's hard to come up with a working topic that has not been written about before.
If it were to be a great hit, they would not have done it themselves.
And it will take you a lot of time to come up with a gap in a big topic that thousands of bloggers are blogging about for a decade or so.
It's better to save your time and not to risk anything.
Even if you spot a gap, maybe the topic you will write about won't resonate with your readers, so you're wasting your time.
The best thing you could do… find out what worked for others and emulate it.
SERIOUSLY… this is how you succeed.
John Lee Dumas saw how podcasting was effective for Pat Flynn. He did what works and guess what…
It's all about finding what works and doing a lot of it.
It's the same here.
Find out what topics are popular in your main subject, and then write the most epic post about it.
With the right promotion, I'm sure your blog will take less time to be popular than most of the popular blogs in your industry took to build their brand.
And you know what… it's easier than ever to know these popular topics.
There are a lot of tools to make this job easier for you.
I'll show you 3 in this post. Hope you like them.
Social Crawlytics is a tool that helps you find the popular posts on a certain blog.
It's one of my secret weapons to come up with great topics every time I write a post.
I check the popular posts in the industry. I then find out the posts that made them popular and which posts drove more traffic than others.
And then, I write a better post than others did.
- It's free
- You could sort posts either by pins, tweets, likes, +1s, stumbles and so on.
- You could leave it to create the report without you opening it.
- You could schedule crawl time.
You need to try this one.
Here is what you need to do:
First: Go to the site Social Crawlytics and signup using Twitter.
Second: After you log in, put the URL of the popular blog you want the tool to crawl and set the depth to 2. You could go deeper, but you don't need to, and it'll take more time.
Third: Wait for the report and analyze the results. See the top posts and open them.
Now, you know the popular posts in your industry. Here is another tool to help you in this process.
This is one of the great tools that Ahrefs provides to its users.
It has a lot of great features that you need, so give it a try.
It's better than Social Crawlytics because it can search for the most popular content on your topic, but not in a particular site.
You can filter results by searching for a specific language, or even on certain blogs (but Social Crawlytics may be better here.)
And you can also sort results by tweets or likes or pins or +1 or overall. It's up to you.
If you see that traffic from one social network is better for your business, then see what works there.
Here is how to use it:
- Go to Ahrefs Content Explorer
- Type in your keyword and limit the results as you want from the sidebar. Choose a language or set a date range.
- Wait for the results and start digging
It's that simple.
In this example, I use Facebook ads.
Yep, you heard it right.
Google is still the best place to find popular content in your topic.
If a site could make it to the top of the keyword search, that is a good indicator that the post did well.
On-page optimization and all this stuff matter, but in Google's updated algorithm, it is considered one of the 200+ ranking factors.
Actually, social signals are more important these days than on-page optimization. It shows Google that people love this content because it's shared by more people so that more people would be interested in it.
So don't undervalue the results you get from Google.
A simple strategy you could apply to find the top performing content in your niche without doing all the research is finding content resources.
Content resources are posts where people link to others' great content.
Here is an example from Kristi Hines of Kikolani, The Top 100 Content Marketing Articles of 2014
To save you some time, you could use some phrases like:
- “your topic” top 2014 articles
- “your topic” top 2013 articles
- best “your topic” articles
You get the idea. Mix and repeat and you'll get a huge list of popular content to give you an idea of what gets popular.
The Harsh Truth About Writing Popular Posts
It takes time to know what resonates with your audience the most.
Popular bloggers always have popular posts because it took them a lot of time before to know what works best for their audience.
Your job is easier. With all the tools available nowadays.
They took the risk to test things out, but you don't need to.
All you need is some time to do the research and dig into these posts.
Try to find different angles to approach these topics and write an even better post. After that, promote the heck out of that post.
Doing the above steps, I guarantee you, you can write popular posts.
You can do the research once, so spend some time on it.
Don't skip it.
It's the difference between succeeding and building a profitable business after years or succeeding after a few months.
You've got to decide.