Whenever you start the process of creating a new blog post, one of the biggest challenges is finding a topic to write about that’s relevant to your defined subject matter, is likely to appeal to your target audience, and stands out from the crowd. According to UpContent, marketers spend some 700 million hours each year trying to find interesting and relevant content to engage with their audiences. You need to know what’s already out there, what’s resonating and being shared, and what your competitors are up to. But how can you spend less time searching, and more time creating so you can add value? Fortunately, there are a plethora of tools available that can help you find blog post topics that will strike a chord.
Here’s a selection to take a look at as a starting point – just have a play and see which ones work for you. Some a completely free, whilst others have a free plans or trails, and then premium options for added usage and /or users.
BuzzSumo – Analyse what content performs best for any topic or competitor with keyword / phrase searches to find the most shared content across all main social networks. You can filter by social platform to discover the content that is resonating most on Facebook, LinkedIn, or Twitter, etc. Also, see trending content by looking at popularity over time. BuzzSumo offers a basic free version; they then have ‘Pro’ ($79 /month or $948 annual), ‘Plus’ ($139 /month or $1,668 annual), or ‘Large’ ($239 /month or $2,868 annual) versions which vary by the number of searches and alerts offered. They also have a ‘Custom’ version for Enterprises ($499+ /month).
UpContent – A content discovery tool that helps you drive new, more meaningful conversations. Create topics to find and sort content based on filters including influence and shareability. Offers a free ‘Personal’ version with one topic per month. A ‘Professional’ version is also available for community managers and business professionals (1 user and 5 reviewers) with unlimited topics at $10 /month; whilst ‘Team’ accounts are for agencies and marketing teams (3-10 users, 15-50 reviewers) with unlimited topics for $50 /month. ‘Enterprise / Custom’ versions are available for larger teams and custom needs.
EpicBeat – Content research tool offering keyword / phrase search to find content, influencers, and trends. A basic keyword search provides related content that can be refined by date-range, channel, formats, geography, and other filters. Custom insights can be viewed to look at popular days to publish, ideal word-count, best content formats, and top domains to publish content for a selected topic or industry. EpicBeat Plus provides saved searches, real-time alerts, downloadable data, and multiple users for $49 /month ($490 annual).
Content Studio – Discover topic-relevant content filtered by social shares, different media types, and virality. Create your own topic feeds using relevant search terms and domains to monitor content from Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, Dailymotion, Imgur, Giphy, Flickr, and Pixabay. Not limited to articles, you can also find videos, images and GIFs. Content can be sorted by engagement, shares, time of publication, length, region, or language. A free version is available covering 2 social accounts; they then have ‘Pro’ ($15 /month) for 10 accounts, ‘Small’ business or agency ($47 /month) for 25 accounts, ‘Medium’ ($97 /month) for 50 accounts, and ‘Large’ ($197 /month) for 150 accounts.
Social Mention – Free search and analysis platform that aggregates user-generated content from across the social media landscape into a single stream allowing you to easily track and measure what people are saying about you, your company, your product, or any topic of interest. It monitors 100+ social media properties for mentions providing a point-in-time keyword / phrase search and analysis service with daily alerts and an API.
ContentGems – Content discovery engine that scans hundreds of thousands of news articles, blogs, and Twitter daily to find and present relevant and timely content. Use keywords, social signals, media type, and other advanced filter settings to dial in on your preferred content. A free monthly plan comes with 1 content search and 10 keywords per search; the ‘Business’ plan is $99 /month ($899 annual) with 20 content searches and 50 keywords per search; or the ‘Agencies’ plan is $199 /month ($1,699 annual) with 60 content searches and 50 keywords per search.
Samplify – Content automation tool that monitors and alerts you with relevant content via Slack. Input which topics you’re interested in and it will then monitor social channels and alert you when any posts out-perform other posts. The free version gives you 3 keywords per month and 1 Slack channel; the ‘Personal’ version is $19 /month with 20 keywords and 1 Slack channel; whilst the ‘Business’ version covers 50 keywords and 25 Slack channels.
Right Relevance – Real-time searchable content with over 500 thousand new articles indexed daily covering some 50 thousand structured topics. You can explore or search topics to add articles to your stream, or drill in to find topics based on your existing social followers. You’re also able to see influencers in the areas that you’re interested in and monitor the content that they’re sharing. The tool is free to use online, or an API is available at $500 /month.
Impactana – Helps you find content based on two metric sets: ‘Buzz’ – an aggregate of social media signals divided into shares and likes across platforms including Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Google+, Xing, and LinkedIn; and ‘Impact’ – measuring long-term engagement through comments, clicks, views, downloads, and links. Impactana works as part of the free Link Research SEO Toolbar to provide insights within search engine results for Google, Bing, or Yandex.
Answer The Public – Uses Google’s autocomplete database which predicts what people are going to ask based on the information that they’ve already entered; this is then reverse engineered to figure out the most commonly searched topics around specific keywords / phrases. For example, if you entered “content marketing for B2B”, you could get: “content marketing trends for B2B”, “content marketing B2B statistics”, “content marketing for B2B vs B2C”, and so forth. Variations can be played with to find more ideas for content which we can be confident that there is search volume behind because the queries are all generated from questions which are actually being asked. Answer The Public is essentially an automated autocomplete tool to identify potential topics for content by trying out these different variations of keywords. It’s currently offered as a free service, with a Pro Plan on the way (sign-up here for early access).
SEMRush Topic Research – Tool to find popular articles related to a seed topic and then review top headlines, questions, subtopics, and related searches. When you type a seed keyword, you receive the most popular articles about the topic from the websites that rank the highest on the search engine results page for that keyword. The results are presented as headlines, questions, and related searches; there’s also a ‘mind map’ view covering a broader set of topics. During an initial open beta testing period, the Topic Research tool is available to all SEMRush paid users without any limitations; however, in the future, access to the tool may be restricted or there may be some limitations regarding the number of available searches.
Social Animal – Discover influencers and content inspiration by searching keywords. Find content for any keyword sorted by popularity based on shares across social platforms. Dig deeper with detailed analysis of how content performs once published. The ‘InspireMe’ tool uncovers unseen connections and offers content writing ideas. A ‘Lite’ version starts at $49 /month ($490 /year with annual billing) for up to 5 team members. An ‘Agency’ version covers 10 team members at $99 /month ($990 annual), and ‘Enterprise’ to 100 team members at $299 /month ($2,990 annual).
Facebook Viral Posts Finder – Windows application to discover viral videos, photos, gifs and links popular on Facebook, showing the post creation date, number of likes, comments, and shares. An annual license is $17 per year.
BuzzSumo Question Analyzer – Find the most popular questions asked across hundreds of thousands of forums, Amazon, Reddit, Quora, and Q&A sites for any keyword. Enter a topic or brand name and instantly see the questions that real people are asking; results are automatically filtered to clearly display the most frequently asked questions first. You’re then able to write answers via your content with confidence, knowing they will resonate with your audience. Question Analyzer is offered as part of BuzzSumo’s ‘Pro’, ‘Plus’, ‘Large’, and ‘Custom’ plans as outlined above.
Scoop.it Content Director – Research popular content based on keywords or recommended keywords. Scoop.it’s smart suggestion engine crawls more than 35 million web pages daily which can be filtered on specific keywords, and then further by format, source, or date. You can also rank by popularity, freshness or relevance. Scoop.it uses algorithms that learn from your actions to prioritize content that meets your needs. Scoop.it offer three tiers for the Content Director tool: ‘Starter’, ‘Performer’, and ‘Optimizer’ – all of which you need to contact them about a trial and pricing.
Content Explorer (by Ahrefs) – Research tool for discovering the most popular content for any topic based on backlinks, organic traffic, and social shares. Input any keyword or site into the tool and you’re provided with a list of the most popular articles based on: social shares from Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Pinterest; visits generated from search each month; and, how many unique websites are linking to that article. Content Explorer has over 2 billion articles in its index, with new ones added daily. Filters and sorts can be applied for: language, social shares, domain rating, backlinks, traffic, and word count. An initial 7 day trial costs $7, after which they have a ‘Lite’ version for $99 /month (1 user, 3 reports per day), ‘Standard’ for $179 /month (1 user, 100 reports), ‘Advanced’ for $399 /month (3 users, 500 reports), and ‘Agency’ for $999 /month (5 users, 2,500 reports). Annual billing for all packages includes 2 months for free.
GraphyStories – Content discovery and social media monitoring tool that finds the most engaging pre-viral stories by analysing big data from hundreds of international media publishers, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram, Pinterest, and LinkedIn, and Google Trends. GraphyStories monitors the social media performance of all web articles and Facebook posts from leading media publishers to provide insights on factors such as frequency of publication and average number of interactions per post. Their predictive algorithm also suggests news that’s about to become popular. You have a 14 day free trial to start, after which pricing is tailored based on your usage and business.
StartupFlux – Data is curated from news, Twitter, Facebook, Google+, blogs, company websites, SEC filings, and over 4,000+ other sources. This is then fed into their machine learning models after undergoing a cycle of cleansing, tagging, and human filtering. The results can be accessed through a web app, mobile app, integrations, and an API. The tool enables you to discover the most shared content over time by keyword, type, social channel, location, industry, or influencer. StartupFlux offers a free trial period and then customised pricing from $25 /month.
Add a comment with any other tools that you find useful for discovering great blog post topics?