About a quarter of adults report that they’re constantly online, which makes digital marketing necessary to any business. Google and Facebook ads are expensive, so creating an online blog can be a cheaper and more effective way to reach consumers. But how do you know what to blog about?

In this article, we provide a brief overview of what content marketing is and then dig into how to come up with blog topics that generate traffic and leads.

What is content marketing?

Content marketing focuses on creating and distributing valuable and relevant content to attract your target audience to your business. This could entail anything from instructional videos to blog posts and infographics. This content provides value to your consumer without explicitly promoting your brand, and at the same time, it stimulates interest in your product/service.

Even with just a blog, it was found that small businesses got 126% greater lead growth than small businesses without a blog. Starting your content marketing strategy doesn’t have to be a complicated process with an army of writers and expensive technologies. It can be as simple as posting a few times a week.

Defining your goal and customer personas

Before you start writing or even coming up with topics to write about, it’s important to think of your blog’s goal and who your target consumer is. Do you want to drive traffic to your website? Do you want to brand yourself as an expert? These are all different goals that require different types of content. For example, if you want to drive traffic to your website, blog posts published on your business’ website would be more effective than videos published on Instagram.

Next, outline who your consumers are. Are they middle-aged, working females with higher education? Are they millennial males who are fluent with technology? Defining these details allows you to figure out what is important to the demographic patroning your business. And if you know what’s important to them, then you can figure out how to provide value to them via content.

Brainstorming on top of a mountain is twice as effective as brainstorming at sea level.

So, what should I write about…?

Now that you have an idea of what you want and what your consumer wants, it’s time to brainstorm topics to write about.

Think of any frequently asked questions you get. If a few of your customers or clients have been curious about something, it’s likely others are too. An in-depth post about this question could make a great blog post to attract new consumers and/or help existing ones.

You should also see what your competition is writing about. If you’re running a dental office, look at what other dental offices are blogging about on their website. But don’t just copy their topic. You need to find a way to approach your posts in a unique way. If all you do is rewrite topics that have been overwritten about in your industry, your blog won’t get you the results you want.

Compounding versus decaying posts

It’s tempting to create blog posts about hot news or leading industry trends. These topics are not widely covered, and, due to its relevance, posts based on trending news can create an initial surge of traffic. Articles on trending news are labelled as decaying posts because they have a lot of traffic when they’re first posted, but over time, become less relevant.

In contrast, there are compounding posts, where the content is evergreen. HubSpot found that one compounding post is as effective as six decaying posts. But at the same time, HubSpot also found that only 1 in 10 blog posts were considered compounding.

By writing about broader topics that will remain relevant in the future—for example, how to know when you have a cavity—you can attract more traffic over time than a decaying post that’s only relevant for its initial month. The hardest part is finding compounding blog topics that aren’t already part of every blog in your industry. Straddling this line is the key to your content marketing strategy.

Coming up with content ideas is tough. You have to be able to find topics that aren’t overdone but at the same time, make sure it’s a topic that will be relevant for the days to come. If you can master this, it’ll result in some killer blog posts that can generate your business the leads that it deserves.