The Google AdWords Keyword Planner is an amazing tool for research. Google provides all of its data about average monthly searches for keywords through this tool, which is completely free. This data can be used to judge whether or not an audience exists for what you want to write about. When you type in keywords, the tool doesn’t just give you data on the words you type in; it also generates related suggestions that are the subject of a reasonable amount of searches per month. These suggested keywords are a fantastic starting point for planning a list of blog posts that your audience will likely be interested in.
In order to use the Keyword Planner, you need to sign up for a free Google Adwords account if you don’t have one already.
Creating Your Keyword Lists
First, make a list of about ten subjects you’re interested in writing about or that you already do write about. Your subjects can be genres of writing, topics you like to write about or words related to a specific angle you like to take on these genres. Keep it loose, brainstorm and use this exercise to as a chance to experiment. The results are often unexpected.
- After signing into your Google AdWords account, go to Tools on the top menu and select Keyword Planner from the dropdown menu.
- Under ‘Find New Keywords and Get Search Volume Data’, select ‘Search for New Keywords Using a Phrase, Website or Category’.
- Under targeting, make sure the right location and language are selected. Then type your first two or three keywords in the box labeled ‘Your Product or Service’ and press ‘Get Ideas’.
- Make sure the tab labeled ‘Keyword Ideas’ is selected.
- In ‘Search Terms’, the box directly under ‘Keyword Ideas,’ you will see the exact keywords you typed in. If the keyword gets more than two or three hundred searches a month, it is worth adding it to a list.
- Under ‘Search Terms,’ the box labeled ‘Keywords’ contains an extensive list of keywords. This is the richest source for ideas about whether there is an audience for what you want to write about and what the audience wants to read about.
- If there are a lot of keywords with more than two or three hundred average monthly searches, then you should download the list. If not, adjust your keywords until you find a rich vein of interest.
Keep exploring keyword results until you’ve exhausted all the subjects you’re really interested in writing about. Choose your two or three of your best lists and save them so you can refer to them in future.
Creating Your Potential Blog Post List
Taking a look at your two or three best lists, what topics can you come up with that would fit neatly into a blog post?
Here’s a list I created by typing SFF, science fiction and science fiction writing tips into the Keyword Planner. I weeded out all the irrelevant keywords or keywords without many searches in order to produce this list. My ideas for blog posts based on them are in the third column.
Personally, I think this list looks a little soulless in the abstract. However, once you start bringing your personal touches to the topics, it can become a lot more interesting.
When I recently did a search like this for the Women Writers School blog, I kept finding that self-publishing was popular both in AdWords searches and Twitter searches, for example. There is so much out there on self publishing that I wasn’t really sure what I could offer that was new, but then I did a search on women and self-publishing. It turned out there is a whole discussion around women’s use of self-publishing as a way of resisting traditional publishing’s dominance. This topic definitely wasn’t beaten to death and for a while it was my most popular blog post.