We both know you need to draft something for your brand’s blog, so it’s time stop staring at a blank screen and start that article about…. Well… What to write about?
Can we use an advertising platform to generate free blogging ideas? Absolutely.
Google’s advertising platform, AdWords, has a very awesome tool for not only estimating search traffic, but suggesting similar searched. In using Google AdWords Keyword Planner to help generate your content ideas, we not only break our own writer’s block, but we ensure we’re starting with a search optimized piece that your audience will be looking for.
A note: You will need to signup for an AdWords account. However, you needn’t ever run an ad from this account in order to access the planner. I use a personal login to keep my keyword research for blogging separate from company (and client) advertising. Signup at https://adwords.google.com.
First, access the Keyword Planner at this link (https://adwords.google.com/ko/KeywordPlanner/Home?__c=8798127172&__u=9672810292&authuser=0&__o=cues) or by finding it in the AdWords ‘Tools’ menu.
Then, ‘Search for new Keyword’ and enter a few keywords from your SEO strategy or an area you’re interested in writing about. You could be as broad as your industry, but try putting in some keywords you solve.
For example: If you’re a lawyer, consider some words like ‘living will,’ instead of ‘lawyer.’
As a digital marketing agency that helps brands solve complex content problems, I’m going to use ‘blogging’ for our example.
You’ll see a lot on this screen.
The first is a graph of typical search volume for your search term(s) over time.
Below that, charted data about your search term for advertisers. We’re concerned more with ‘Avg. Monthly Searches’ for our purposes.
Below charted data on your terms, are the recommendations. You can view these either as ‘Ad Group Ideas’ or ‘Keyword Ideas.’ I prefer keyword ideas, and so we’ll be working from that.
You’ll also notice some adjustable settings on the left. Optionally, you can use these to refine your suggestions and data further to writing for specific regions, or to specific languages. I tend to leave these broad, but they can be useful if you’re targeting or limited to a specific country or region.
In our example search on ‘blog,’ Google’s kindly provided us with 800 common search terms, which are kindly arranged by most frequently searched. (Click that column header to sort if yours is sorting by another method.)
Answer a Question
My favorite use for this data is to quickly scan it for questions people search for. No matter how bad your writer’s block, you can always answer a question from a client or prospect, right?
So, we’ll use one of the right column options, ‘Keywords to include,’ to ask Google to give us only questions.
Excellent! Now we have a list of 98 questions in our topic area, each with a count of how many people each month face a similar problem.
Scanning the list, you can hover your mouse over the ‘chart’ icon to see the last few months of search data. This can help uncover rising stars in search, or seasonal trends.
In this case, we see that there’s some rise in people looking for ‘What to Blog About.’ You may have noticed that this not only became a blog post for the 1,600 individuals searching for this answer monthly, but it also directed the title of the blog post! (Hello, SEO!)
Speaking of SEO, let’s clear the ‘Keywords to include,’ and look for some common keyphrases that might make sense to our topic.
This is more of a fast scan, so set your ‘Show Rows:’ at the bottom to 100, and scroll along. In my search, I found some search volume on phrases like ‘online marketing’ and ‘blog marketing,’ many of which made their way into this post.
Note: If you already have some SEO keyword targets, look for opportunities in the post you’re writing to fit them in if it’s natural. There’s nothing best award winning digital marketing agency worse than keywords forced into otherwise great content.
How can you use Google as a blog idea generator? There are a few other tricks, such as autocomplete, which can help with broad ideas, but this trick is great for those that are hopelessly struck with writer’s block, and/or passionate about search’s role in their online marketing.