I really want to call this “How to Start a Blog That Stands out Like George Clooney at a Coffee Morning,” because that’s what you want your blog post to do!

With over 600 million blogs available on the internet, making your blog stand out is incredibly difficult.

That’s why, when you start your blog, you want to ensure you are choosing blog post topics that are trending and that will resonate with your customer’s problems.

That means putting in some research and finding out the best keywords, best topics and checking on what the competitors are doing.

This post is NOT about how to choose a blog post title or launch your online blog, but how to find the right topics to write about and create a blogging strategy for your business.

In this blog post, I’m going to cover:

  • Why you should add yet another blog into the mix

  • What the benefits are of having a blog for your business

  • How you get started

  • The importance of having content pillars

  • How to research blog post topics

  • Collating your blog post topic ideas and social media copy in a content planner

If you’ve already got your topics – you can just get your free copy of my free Annual & Monthly Content Planner in Google Sheets here. Just go to file and copy for your own version.

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There are so many blogs out there already, why should I bother?

Starting a blog can seem daunting. Even more so when there are so many blog posts out there already vying for attention. 

They say the best time to plant a tree was 10 years ago and the second-best time is now. It’s the same with blogging.

Yes, it would have been better to have started your blog 10 years ago, but the next best time is now!!

Even with the MASSIVE quantity of blogs out there – there may not be a GREAT blog in your niche or in your industry that addresses customers’ problems as well as yours could.

Even if there is, your voice is unique. Your stories are unique. Your blog can be unique too and help you stand out in the crowd.

I’m the only sci-fi loving, gardening, half-Panamanian content writer who’s been a tour guide and a double glazing salesman with a crush on George Clooney- so my blog is going to be unique. It may not be on a unique topic, but it’s definitely from a unique position and with a passion for helping small businesses create epic blog posts. 

What are the benefits of blogging for my business?

Blogs are a powerful content marketing tool for your business because:

  • Blogs signal to Google that your website is updated regularly is valuable and keeps users on your site for longer (and don’t bounce away) so they hopefully spend more time and consume more content. These are all great signals to Google that your content is valuable.

  • Blogs demonstrate your credibility, authority, and knowledge to your customer. Every blog you write should hopefully convince prospects to like you and eventually trust you. It also demonstrates to your customer that you understand their problem and that you have the solution. The BEST solution!

  • Blogs can help you stand out from the competition by answering unique questions. For example, when I search for “How to Throw a Zero Waste Party,” only a few businesses have a blog post on this topic with links to their products. Only one will have answered the question in a way that appeals to me and has the best answer, convincing me to buy their products over the bigger company. 

How do I get started? 

Don’t just start writing.

Unfortunately, it’s not just about your voice and your passion.  You need to lay some groundwork first. 

If you don’t, your blog is likely to remain hidden in obscurity.

Unfortunately, It’s no longer just about great writing. You need to make sure you have done your research and that your blog is targeted to your customer personas and optimized to be found by search engines.

If you haven’t yet created a customer persona template for your core customers – check out this blog post on How to Create a Buyer Persona to Boost Your Business

Step 1 – Make sure you know what your customer wants

Don’t spend hours scouring the web for ideas. Chances are you’ll just depress yourself with how many other blog posts have already been written on your topic.

Instead, go to your customer persona templates and review what problems your customers have. 

Now brainstorm some ideas of questions they might want to be answered or issues they may need help or education on. 

By starting your research this way, you can be sure that whatever blog you produce, will be firmly rooted in what your ideal customer wants to read. 

Step 2 – Create your content pillars or content categories

What are you going to talk about?

You could start by just jotting down things that pop into your head, but you are likely to come up with a jumble of ideas. 

Instead, why not try picking 3-4 wide categories also known as content pillars,  that will form the basis of all your blogs.

So for example, if you were an eCommerce business selling second-hand clothing you might pick

  • 2nd Hand Clothing

  • Clothing trends 

  • Alternative fashion

…as your three main content pillars, because they all relate directly to your core product and business.

The pillars should be broad enough that they provide a never-ending source of ideas. 

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Once you have your pillars, you can research topics that fall under each pillar. 

This will form the basis of your Editorial Content Calendar.

Step 3 – Do your keyword research

A keyword is a word or phrase people type into search engines to find information. 

When it comes to writing a blog, you want to make sure you are using the keywords that customers ‘actually’ type into a search engine.

So where I might start writing a blog on thrift clothes, I discover people are searching for the words ‘second hand’ or preloved.

I want to make sure that my blog post reflects what buyers are looking for and that I have those keywords spread about in my blog title and headers.

There are three ways you can do keyword research

  1. Guess and go on gut instinct.
    This strategy is risky as whereas you might call it ‘second-hand’ your customers may be calling it pre-loved. What you think may be very different from what is actually being used. 

  2. Research using observation.
    You could just look at what blog posts are talking about, what people discuss in forums and in reviews, but you won’t be able to determine what are the most popular keywords very easily that way.  If you type into YouTube, you do get a list of suggested topics as you type, which is a good and quick way of seeing what other people are interested in.

  3. Use a keyword research tool. Now there are LOTS to choose from. There are some super-high-tech and paid versions. The biggest being, MOZ, AHRefs, SemRush, and Ubersuggest.  But there are some SemRush free alternatives you can use too.

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4. Use Google preview and related search

This is a really neat trick from Neil Patel.

Type in your search term into Google. Then go to the bottom of the page where you’ll see “Searches related to <keywords>”

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All the related keywords will be highlighted.

Now, if I use the words online thrift, online, and perhaps best websites online in my blog post sub-headers, I’ll attract anyone looking for these related keywords as well.

You can do a similar thing with Keywords Everywhere, which is a Chrome extension. All this means is that when have downloaded it to your Chrome browser, every time you search, Keywords Everywhere will show you a list of related keywords and what people also asked.

I could add sub-headings into my post about editing second hand, or perhaps a review of Reselfridges and Hewi websites could also boost my ranking potential.

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If you use WordPress for blogging, I highly recommend YOAST SEO plug-in. That will guide you through improving your SEO for your web pages and your blog posts and keep you on the right track.

With all that – don’t stress too much about keywords, you can find yourself down a very big rabbit hole.

Just write with that customer persona screaming at you in the background.

Step 4 – Find out what topics customers are interested in

If you need help finding what customers are actually searching for, then a good starting place is with Answer the Public.

“AnswerThePublic listens into autocomplete data from search engines like Google then quickly cranks out every useful phrase and question people are asking around your keyword.

It’s a goldmine of consumer insight you can use to create fresh, ultra-useful content, products and services. The kind your customers really want.”

Answer the Public

This site gives me a visual representation of the common questions people ask related to my search term. 

The mind maps give you lots of ideas for headlines.

Plus there’s a helpful “Clooney-esque” man on the site watching you type!!!

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However, we don’t get a sense of how popular these titles are – so let’s dig a little deeper.

Next, let’s try Ubersuggest. This site, set up by marketing guru Neil Patel, will give you a list of content suggestions on the free version and even questions related to your keyword.

Just go to Keyword Overview and scroll to Keyword Ideas.

In the left-hand menu, you also have the option to view Content ideas. What’s great about this is you can see how popular each topic was by its engagement on social media.

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You can get a similar view using Buzzsumo, but with more detail about an article’s engagement scores on all the platforms. bet you’re glad so many people accepted cookies now – without it, you would never have this level of data.

Buzzsumo even gives it an Evergreen ranking. So how popular it has been after 30 days. 

I can see that finding designer bargains for £2 has got a good evergreen score and good Facebook engagement too.

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Next let’s see what Buzzsumo says about my keyword in YouTube.

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Again, Buzzsumo is giving me some really good information about engagement, length of the video, likes and dislikes.

However, if I do the same search in YouTube, I get a better breadth of topics – albeit without the engagement data.

Remember, YouTube is the 2nd largest search engine, so you should always check out what people are posting in video on your topic area before you start your blog too.

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The video “How to look amazing in 2nd hand clothes and how to find the best things” has 88k views and is 3 years old. So there’s definitely mileage in doing an updated take on that topic.

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Now, if I delve into the comments on this video, I find EVEN MORE useful content and ideas for blog posts.

Someone has mentioned that they love sharing second-hand clothes between family members that it’s like having 5 closets.

There are other comments talking about how to clean and care for second-hand clothing, and how to shop for designer bargains. All great ideas!!

I wish I had a second-hand clothing store now, as I’ve got some great headlines buzzing around now.

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Step 5 – Check out what your competitors are posting

Checking out your competitor’s blog posts is a good idea – not to steal their content – but to see if you could do a better job.

Have a read and ask yourself

  • Could I have added a LOT more detail to this?

  • Could I have provided a different perspective?

  • Do I think the opposite?

  • Are there better content upgrades I could create for this topic?

  • Is there a better way to tell this story?

  • Is this lacking multimedia elements?

  • Could the content be updated?

If the answer is yes to any of these, then it may be worthwhile having a go at writing a version of a competitor’s blog post – in your own words with your own research.

So, from Buzzsumo, there was a popular post called “Buy the Latest Trends Second Hand – Here’s How” from My Ex Wardrobe.

But on closer inspection, the graphics are a bit lacklustre, and it’s hard to scan. Also, the font is very small. We could definitely do better.

Step 6 – Create your Editorial Content Planner

You’re ready.

You’ve researched your content pillars.

You’ve got some great ideas for titles.

You know what’s popular.

You know what works.

You know what’s not been covered.

Now start writing all those headlines and a few bullet points of details into your content planner.

Ideally, you want to have ten or more ideas per content pillar to get you going.

It’s a good idea to have a high-level Yearly Content Planner and a more detailed Monthly Planner.

In your Yearly Content Planner, you want to have the month, date, content type, assets needed (e.g. Social Media Graphics, Videos, Infographics, etc), an outline of the content, and who is writing it. It’s also a good idea to include who is going to be responsible for publishing it as well if you have a larger company.

In your Monthly Planner, you can write out your social media copy in advance.

I’ve included a free 2021 Annual Content Planner and a Monthly Social Media Copy Planner for you in Google Sheets here. Just go to File > Make a copy. (Google Sheets is a free spreadsheet tool that operates very similar to Microsoft Excel. You can also download this file into an Excel Spreadsheet if you prefer).

It’s a version of one I use to plan clients’ content and helps you keep your content aligned with your core pillars.

By having a planner, you can easily find evergreen copy that you can reuse, track your best performers, and repurpose old copy into other content.


Blog posts are an EXCELLENT way to put your business on the map.

They can help you connect with customers in a way that your web copy cannot.

They showcase your knowledge, build authority and establish credibility.

So what’s stopping you? Just remember to follow these steps:

  1. Make sure you know what your customer’s want and need
  2. Decide on your content pillars/content categories
  3. Do some keyword research
  4. Research some topics and blog post titles
  5. Check out what your competitors are writing about
  6. Write out your content calendar for the entire year!

If you need help creating a content planner or generating and writing blog posts for your business then get in touch. No topic is too difficult. I can write on anything from Astrophysics to Zoology!!