How the HubSpot Blog Team Comes Up with High Performing Post Ideas

When I worked at a marketing agency, I read specialized industry blogs, such as HubSpot, Marketing Brew, and Backlinko (to name a few).

One of my main questions every day was, “How are these brands doing? How do they consistently come up with brilliant blogging ideas?”

Now obviously I work at HubSpot and know what a blogging strategy looks like in a large company with a recognizable brand.

By taking the time to do solid research and brainstorm ideas, you can come up with blog topics that attract thousands of readers like me while increasing traffic, authority, and credibility.

Today I want to draw the curtain for you. We’ll discuss how the HubSpot blog consistently delivers great blogging ideas.

How the HubSpot blog offers ideas

Before you begin, it’s important to know that when the HubSpot team comes up with blog ideas, multiple teams are involved (SEO, blogging, and lead generation). For this reason, we divide our brainstorming process into two parts: finding trends and researching SEO topics. We then combine these efforts in our Insights Report on a quarterly basis (a copy of which you can download below).

Featured Resource: Search Insights report template

Search Insights report template by HubSpot.

Let’s dive into these two processes below.

How the HubSpot Blog Generates Trend-Fit Blog Post Ideas

Blog topics related to trending, research, or thought leadership generate surges of non-organic traffic that can help you gain visitors while waiting for SEO-focused posts to rank. Because they often include proprietary data, quotes, or other information, these posts may also backlinks earrings, which indirectly strengthens your search authority.

However, finding trendy non-organic post topics isn’t always straightforward and often requires brainstorming.

Pamela Bump, Head of Audience Growth at HubSpot, leads our team’s thinking efforts while managing the blog’s non-organic content strategy.

She says, “While our SEO team uses specialized tools to identify blog posts that will attract organic traffic, I use a number of trend research tactics to identify post ideas that will attract non-organic traffic. from sources such as emails, social media, and referrals. “

Here is the process she asks bloggers to use during our virtual idea brainstormings.

1. Focus on the categories of your blog.

Before you begin, it’s important to have some sort of road map in mind. Choose the most important bunches, or blog categories, that you want to focus on for the quarter and develop ideas around them.

Right away, just knowing which clusters you want to focus on might spark some thought leadership ideas or data-driven research publications.

Each quarter, the HubSpot acquisition team chooses seven to ten clusters for each blog property – for us, it’s marketing, sales, service, and website. Usually, clusters are tied to things like business goals or industry trends.

Additionally, we include other categories besides these clusters, such as audience growth, lead acquisition, and user acquisition to help us think through topics related to our. lead generation goals.

2. Review the content you have already written to inspire new topics.

Now that you’ve done a quick brainstorm of a few new ideas, let’s see what has already been written in each cluster you focus on.

To do this, find the cluster on your site. We search the site on HubSpot, but just typing “site: customer experience service” into Google. With this formatting, you can change the link and change the keyword to be the one you are looking for. Then Google will find articles on that keyword on that site specifically.

When coming up with blog ideas, it is very important to research the site to see if the topic has been covered. The reason you will want to do this is that you can find high performing articles that inspire you for new angles or you can find articles that you want to update with more quotes, data, or new research. In addition, it will help you avoid keyword cannibalization.

Caroline Forsey, real estate manager for the HubSpot Marketing blog, says. “Think about different angles for popular topics you’ve already covered. For example, let’s say you have a lot of content on LinkedIn – but you don’t have it from a thought leader in the field. could you conduct an interview with a LinkedIn employee for a thought leadership angle, like “Top X Tips from a LinkedIn Marketer.”

3. See what the competition is doing.

While you never want to copy your competition, it’s important to see what topics they’re writing about. This will help you fill in the gaps that your competition is lacking and possibly improve the blog topics they are discussing.

It also lets you know what’s going on in your industry. What’s the latest news and should you talk about it?

Moreover, you can also browse social media for this reason. Social media can let you know your audience’s weak spots and check out what’s going on with your target audience.

Staying on top of industry news is one of the best ways to brainstorm blog ideas.

Forsey adds, “When new functionality becomes available for a social media platform or tool, there are often plenty of opportunities to explore new angles. Recently, LinkedIn released its own version of Stories, then maybe you’re thinking about a topic like “X Best LinkedIn Stories We’ve Seen,” or “LinkedIn, Instagram, or Facebook Stories: Which Is Better?” “

4. Have a blog topic idea criteria checklist.

Once you’ve created blog ideas, you need to check and make sure that each blog post topic aligns with your general blogging criteria. If you don’t have blog criteria yet, maybe it’s time to set some standards on what each blog topic should cover.

For example, at HubSpot all of our blog posts should deliver value to your blog audience, align with a cluster or lead generation goal, deliver non-organic opportunities, be responsive to trends, or always topical, and have keyword opportunities.

5. Stay organized.

You need to follow your blog ideas in an organized manner. At HubSpot, we use an idea generation spreadsheet where writers and editors can brainstorm ideas for quarterly clusters, or just write ideas in progress.

Ultimately, this process helps us stay organized when it comes to generating cohesive blog post ideas.

Jay Fuchs, blog writer at HubSpot, describes his process. He says, “I try to find topics that balance interesting topic with practicality when I come up with trend-based research or blog topics. It means finding a lively, intriguing topic that lends itself to an article with a compelling title, interesting material. , and – perhaps most important – actionable advice. “

Fuchs explains, “It could mean something on something like avoiding common pricing mistakes or selling strategies that will become important in the near future. Either way, you have to pick topics that hook and help – those that grab your reader’s attention and allow you to get the most out of them with an insight they can apply for, in the future. “

Now that you know the HubSpot process when it comes to generating non-organic blog ideas, let’s dive into the SEO side of things.

Brainstorming of ideas optimized for SEO

While Bump and the blog writers brainstorm non-organic ideas, our SEO team works hard to create blog topics that have an organic goal in mind. Here is their process:

1. Examine the products, goals, and customers of your business.

To get started, the HubSpot SEO team will review our products, goals, and customer base.

Amanda Kopen, SEO Strategist at HubSpot, says, “When coming up with blog post ideas, you first need to look at your company’s products, goals, and customer base. At HubSpot, we think about blog posts related to our different products. (marketing, sales, service, etc.). Then, we limit ourselves to subjects in which we have expertise but which are potential weak points for our clients (social media marketing). “

During this phase, our SEO team reviews our personas, prioritizes blog clusters (decided by the SEO and lead-gen teams), and thinks about what would be useful to our audience.

Additionally, the SEO team will identify big topics, underperforming topics, and old but high performing topics.

2. Perform keyword research and run a content gap analysis.

After the initial brainstorming, it’s time to do your keyword research and content gap analysis.

Kopen explains, “Once we have a potential problem in mind, we use SEO best practices – like keyword research and content gap analysis – to see exactly what people want to know (at how often should I post on LinkedIn), and we start writing from there. “

During this part of the process, our SEO team will bring together domains with similar audiences and perform a content gap analysis (find out what these sites rank for what HubSpot isn’t).

We’ll also be looking at related searches on Google to see what people are looking for. Next, we will identify opportunities where we can update old blog posts or recycle the URL (so as not to lose the SEO juice, but to have updated content for this topic).

3. Check if there are linkage opportunities.

Finally, the SEO team will also be communicating with HubSpot’s product and academic teams to see if there are any linking opportunities such as courses or products of ours that we should be establishing.

Create ideas that generate traffic

And that’s how the HubSpot blog delivers great performing blog post ideas consistently. To learn more about our process, you can learn how SEO works for the HubSpot blog with our Insights Report courses on HubSpot Academy.

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