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How to Research for a Blog Post (Step-by-Step)


Conducting research for a blog post is more challenging than you think. 

Identifying topics your target audience will like is just the first step. You also need to ensure you use the latest data and fact-checked information in your content. 

Allow me to share my personal content research workflow, tools, and best practices to help you conduct blog content research like a pro.

Later in this post, we’ll discuss tools and tips to help you find reliable and updated information for your blog post. But for now, let’s start with the basics of content research for new articles.

Below are the steps to conduct successful blog post research:

Step 1: Start with a Focus Keyword

First things first, you need to identify the focus keyword of your blog post. 

Use keyword research tools to find focus keyword ideas that strike the perfect balance between search volume and keyword difficulty. After all, you don’t want to compete against big-name brands for keywords, but you shouldn’t target keywords that get little to no search volume, either. 

In my experience, the Keyword Magic Tool by Semrush provides the best keyword ideas for blog content. All it takes is a single seed keyword to unveil hundreds of potential keywords that garner thousands of traffic.

NOTE

Semrush is a paid tool, but because you’re a MasterBlogging reader, you can sign up for Semrush’s trial and use the Keyword Magic Tool free for 14 days – don’t miss out!

So, go grab your free trial account, start using the Keyword Magic Tool, and collect hundreds of potential keywords for your blog posts.

Semrush Keyword Magic Tool main interface

Let’s say you want to create content about remote working tips. 

Go ahead and use “remote work tips” as your seed keyword—enter it into Keyword Magic Tool, set your location, and click ‘Search.’ 

It only takes seconds for Semrush to produce truckloads of potential focus keyword ideas for your blog post. 

Semrush Keyword Magic Tool showing keyword suggestions.

Semrush Keyword Magic Tool showing keyword suggestions.

Naturally, picking the right focus keyword improves your chances of getting higher rankings in search engines. But the benefits don’t stop there. 


Step 2: Identify Subtopics and Related Keywords

Apart from focus keywords, using a keyword research tool also helps you find related topics to beef up your content.

On Semrush’s Keyword Magic Tool, click on the focus keyword you want to use to access the Keyword Overview report. From there, check the “Keyword ideas” section for potential secondary keywords. 

Semrush showing secondary keyword ideasSemrush showing secondary keyword ideas

Keep going further by clicking a secondary keyword idea you like. This brings up another keyword overview report with even more related keywords for your blog post. 

Alternatively, just click ‘View all keywords’ at the bottom of the keyword ideas list. 

Within seconds, Semrush will generate a fresh batch of secondary keywords for your blog post. 

Semrush full keyword ideas listSemrush full keyword ideas list

Secondary keywords help optimize your blog post for different search engine queries. This allows you to combine the total traffic potential of multiple, low-competition keywords rather than struggling with a very competitive keyword. 

More importantly, secondary keywords help you identify additional subtopics you can include in your blog post. 

For example, you can use the following secondary keyword ideas to write a more comprehensive post about “remote work tips.” 

  • Tools for working remotely
  • Remote working tips for employees
  • Security tips for working remotely

TIP

In some cases, secondary keyword ideas can be turned into their own full-length blog posts—particularly question-based keywords. 


Step 3: Check Question-Based Keywords

On Keyword Magic Tool, click the ‘Questions’ tab to find question-based keywords. These keywords relate to questions your target audience asks regarding your blog topic. 

Here’s an example:

If your focus keyword on Semrush is “book self-publishing.” 

On the Keyword Magic Tool results page, go to the ‘Questions’ tab to reveal the following question-based keyword ideas:

Semrush Keyword Magic Tool Questions tab results.Semrush Keyword Magic Tool Questions tab results.

In the example above, some of the interesting question-based keywords you can use are: 

  • How much does it cost to self-publish a book?
  • How to self-publish a book on Amazon?
  • How to self-publish a children’s book?

These questions can be incorporated into a blog post or discussed in an entirely different article. 


Step 4: Look for Related Keywords

If you need to make your post even more comprehensive, check the Keyword Magic Tool’s ‘Related’ tab. 

This provides you with a wealth of related keywords or topics that you can include in your post. 

Let’s say you’re writing a blog post about “indoor sports.” 

Here are some of the related keyword ideas you’ll get from the Keyword Magic Tool: 

Semrush Keyword Magic Tool Related tab results.Semrush Keyword Magic Tool Related tab results.

Similar to question-based keywords, searching for related keywords is a great way to find additional subtopic ideas for a blog post. In some cases, related keywords can also be used as focus keywords for brand-new articles. 


Step 5: Spy on the Top Google Results 

Looking for keyword ideas is just the beginning of the blog research process. 

After looking for keywords and potential subtopics to include, you need to plan an outline that consolidates all your ideas into a single, cohesive piece. 

A great strategy is to spy on the top 10 search results on Google. This will reveal valuable information for planning your post, like the title tag, main headers, subheaders, and content types to use. 

Just enter your focus keyword into Google and inspect the top 10 organic results: 

Google Top 10 results for the keyword "remote work tips"Google Top 10 results for the keyword "remote work tips"

TIP

Use Semrush’s Domain Overview tool to investigate the top 10 Google results. This lets you dig deeper and reveal the content’s organic keywords, link sources, and top backlink anchor texts.


Step 6: Check Google Features

Aside from the results themselves, Google’s Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs) also contain additional details that can help your blog research process. 

For example, the “People also ask” section contains a handful of follow-up questions you can address in your blog post. 

Google "People also ask" suggestions for "remote work tips."Google "People also ask" suggestions for "remote work tips."

Below the top 10 search results, Google also shows related search queries. This may include specific products and search phrases related to your keyword. 

Google related searches for the keyword "remote work tips." Google related searches for the keyword "remote work tips."

Certain search queries also produce additional rich snippets, which are supplementary Google features. 

Rich snippets provide additional information about the search keyword. This, in turn, may lead you to additional subtopics to cover in your blog post. 

Some examples of rich snippets are: 

  • Knowledge Panels
  • Maps
  • Recipes
  • Carousels
  • Reviews

Step 7: Get the Online Community’s Input 

When it comes to blogging, it’s important to make sure your content offers unique value that your audience can’t find anywhere else. 

A great way to find this value is by tapping into social media and online communities. 

Reddit, for example, is a goldmine of insights from community members. 

To use Reddit for blog research, start by searching for a relevant “subreddit” or community that discusses everything about your topic. 

Just enter a keyword into Reddit’s built-in search bar. The automatic search suggestions should lead you straight to the subreddit you need. 

Reddit communities for the topic "remote work"."Reddit communities for the topic "remote work"."

Once you find a relevant subreddit, enter your focus keyword and watch Reddit compile the internet’s wisdom for your research. 

Reddit search results in the subreddit "r/remotework." Reddit search results in the subreddit "r/remotework."

It’s important to read the posts thoroughly, along with user comments, to sieve out valuable information you can use in your blog post. 

In some cases, comments include way more useful information than the original post. Use them to provide unique value through your blog. 

A comment on Reddit by the user "Good_Profession366." A comment on Reddit by the user "Good_Profession366."

Step 8: Google Data-Driven Resources

If you need verifiable data to enforce your points, Google is all you need. 

The trick is to use “search footprints” or additional keywords in your query.

Some examples are: 

  • “Statistics”
  • “Case study”
  • “Survey”
  • “Data”
  • “Report” 

For example, if you want to look for stats on remote working, just use the Google search query below (or something similar):

Google search query on "remote working statistics." Google search query on "remote working statistics."

You should be able to find relevant data you can mention in your blog post. By reading each resource, data points will help you discover fresh perspectives that your readers will enjoy. 

Google search results for the keyword "remote working statistics." Google search results for the keyword "remote working statistics."

Other Resources You Can Use for Content Research

Still need more information sources for blog content research? 

Here’s a quick list of places on the internet that provide a great deal of information for potential blog posts:

  • Social media groups: Just like subreddits, social media groups on Facebook and LinkedIn also offer insights driven by the community. But in my experience, it’s much easier to look for meaningful conversations on Reddit than most social media groups. 
  • Q&A websites: Quora, Ask.com, and other Q&A websites provide crowdsourced information about specific topics. They offer additional question-based keywords along with answers supplied by the online community. 
  • General media websites: Industry news websites and other blogs also provide a steady supply of new information on most topics. A more efficient way to track new data from these websites is to use content curation software like Flipboard and Scoop.it.
  • Presentation sharing platforms: Services like SlideShare and PowerShow can provide you with unique data to enrich your blog post. Just be careful since it can be challenging to find up-to-date insights from these presentation-sharing sites. 
  • Video sharing platforms. YouTube, along with other video streaming websites, gives you access to in-depth content that can fuel your blog content plans. You can find product reviews, interviews, surveys, tutorials, in-depth explainer videos, and more.

How to Organize Your Blog Topic Ideas

At this point, you can prepare more than enough keywords, subtopics, and data to create a stellar blog post. 

The next order of business is to blend everything into your outline. 

Productivity tools like Notion provide bloggers with a feature-rich workspace to organize blogging tasks—from all your ideas to your marketing strategies. It is designed for teams, schools, and individuals who need complete control over their productivity. 

Notion landing pageNotion landing page

Notion lets you organize your future blog topics, current drafts, and more. You can cut up these areas into pages in your workspace, which can contain lists, timelines, images, file uploads, calendars—virtually anything that will help you plan and track all blogging-related tasks. 

Notion main navigation menuNotion main navigation menu

Follow these tips when organizing your blog content ideas: 

  • Include a list of your target keywords
  • Insert links to reference articles and other resources (YouTube videos, PDFs, infographics, etc.)
  • Set a target word count (check the top Google results for the minimum word count)
  • Identify your section headers and subheaders
  • Add a link to your Google Docs or Microsoft OneDrive document

Here’s a bonus tip: Notion features a built-in AI assistant for various content tasks, including brainstorming topics. Just hit your spacebar, select ‘Brainstorm ideas,’ and enter a keyword. 

Notion editor AI toolsNotion editor AI tools

Within seconds, Notion’s AI assistant will generate a list of ideas or talking points you can cover in your blog post. 

Notion AI assistant outputNotion AI assistant output

Top 5 Tools for Blog Content Research

We already covered a nice selection of tools for blog post research, like Semrush, Notion, and Flipboard. 

To give you more options, here’s a list of five additional tools you can use to fuel your blog content ideation: 

1. ChatGPT 

ChatGPT generating an outline for the title: "Mastering Remote Work: Essential Tips for Success." ChatGPT generating an outline for the title: "Mastering Remote Work: Essential Tips for Success."

ChatGPT is currently the internet’s favorite AI app. This advanced AI works directly through prompts—performing tasks like finding statistics, creating lists, generating topic ideas, or even writing an entire article by itself. 

I’m personally not a fan of AI-generated content, especially if you want to preserve your unique writing voice. But when it comes to tedious tasks like topic research, ChatGPT works like a charm. 


2. Surfer 

Surfer keyword and content ideas.Surfer keyword and content ideas.

Surfer is a versatile SEO tool designed for content optimization. Its key feature is a Google Docs sidebar that provides real-time optimization suggestions to boost your content’s SEO performance. 

The Surfer browser interface also grants access to the keyword research tool. This provides a list of potential topic ideas—sorted into keyword clusters and user intent classifications.


3. Mangools

Mangools main landing page.Mangools main landing page.

Mangools is an SEO software suite with two particular tools that can be used in blog content research: KWFinder and SERPChecker

KWFinder lets you identify keyword and topic ideas for your blog. SERPChecker, on the other hand, analyzes the top search results to show you what it takes to get high rankings. 


4. AnswerThePublic

AnswerThePublic main landing page.AnswerThePublic main landing page.

If you’re after question-based keywords, AnswerThePublic is one of the best free tools in the business. Just enter your focus keyword (ideally just two words) and let the tool supply you with dozens of questions you can discuss in your blog post. 


5. Google Trends

Google Trends remote work topics. Google Trends remote work topics.

Google Trends is a popular (free) trend-watching tool for businesses, marketers, and bloggers. It proactively tracks user search patterns for topics and queries, allowing you to produce relevant content that will pique your target audience’s interests.

Must Read: How to use Google Trends for Blogging?


6. FactCheck.org

FactCheck.org homepageFactCheck.org homepage

FactCheck.org is a website dedicated to proving or debunking information circulating around the internet. You can browse existing fact-checking articles on the site or use the “Ask FactCheck” feature to request the community’s verification of specific stories. 


5 Blog Post Research Best Practices

1. Create Topic Clusters

The best way to research blog post ideas is to build a topic cluster. 

In simple terms, a topic cluster is a network of blog articles connected by a “pillar” post. 

The pillar content briefly covers the main topic, whereas subtopics are discussed in-depth by “cluster posts.” Every cluster post is accessible from the pillar page via internal links. 

2. Come Up With Multiple Title Ideas

Blog post titles directly affect the number of users who will click on your post from content distribution channels. 

Sometimes, you can only determine the best content title idea after you finish writing. In the meantime, come up with different title variations and pick the best one later. 

3. Check Hashtags

Social media and blogging go hand-in-hand for blogging success. 

Not only is social media useful for promoting content, but it’s also helpful in the early content research process. X (formerly Twitter), for example, updates you on the latest trends via its hashtag search functionality. 

Alternatively, use hashtag research tools like All-Hashtag to scoop up the latest trends and topics in your niche. 

4. Pay Attention to User Intent 

Be sure your content matches your readers’ intent when searching for specific topics. 

For example, if they want a “what is” article, your audience’s intention is probably just to do research. As such, plugging a ton of paid products into your post might hurt the user experience. 

Read my guide on how to improve your keywords ranking to find out more. 

5. Always Use the Latest Stats

When including statistics and other data-driven information in your blog post, ensure you use the latest available data. 

As a rule of thumb, anything posted over 12 months ago may have been replaced by new data. Use Google’s search filters (Tools > Any time > Past year) to make sure you always get the latest information. 


Final Words

Nice—you’re now ready to conduct content research and produce top-notch blog posts like a seasoned pro. 

Content research may be considered one of the more tedious aspects of blogging. But with the right approach, it can be the key to ensuring your post’s high performance.



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