Breakthrough blog post topics

Presented live on Tuesday, Nov 19, 2019

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“I’m out of ideas.”

It’s a line most creative and marketing types never think we’ll say.

But when it comes to dreaming up ideas for unboring blog posts –

you’re tapped out.

Nuthin left.

Ze well of ze ideas has run dry!

Is there ANYTHING you could POSSIBLY write that hasn’t been written a thousand times over already?


Let Joanna show you.

She’ll walk you through how to take really basic, potentially dull AF ideas, like “myths about A/B testing,” and turn them into blog posts that actually say something different.


Wiebe: Today,
we are talking about something that we don’t often talk about at
Copyhackers, which is weird because we are a content business.
Everything we’ve done, the reason that you’re here, what you’re
consuming right now is content. We do content all the time. We just
happened to teach about copywriting, so we are today talking about
content because we have something very, very cool coming out very
soon. Today’s tutorial is probably brought to you by Content School,
which is launching soon. You shall hear more about that in the next
couple of weeks. So yeah, today we’re going to talk about something
that comes up a lot. So we put together a training program recently
for content school and one of the things that kept coming up in it
was this challenge of finding a blog post topic.

what do you actually write about and how do you make it work in a
time when it feels like the interwebs are completely overrun with
content, which they are. The web is built with it. We all know that
content is everything. Content is basically at the core of most
inbound marketing strategies. Most funnels depend on content. So what
do we actually do to kind of cut through? The thing about the web
being completely full of content is most of it is absolute crap. I’ve
actually been pretty annoyed lately with Google and this is the like
kind of a tangent, but I’ve been searching… When you search for
almost anything in Google and you’ve done the same search repeatedly
with different keywords, you still keep getting the same kind of
crappy answers. Like there’s not like this depth of content that’s
you’re looking for.

I really want to dig in on a single subject, the same summary blog
posts and articles keep coming up, which I find annoying and ideally
in the future search engines will get better at serving up content,
but part of the question is, is there just not really good content
that goes deeper on a subject that really takes somebody who is read
the overviews of something to a point of deeper understanding?

I have all these questions about content and I know a lot of people
who are trying to build their business, trying to grow their
authority. Whether you’re a marketer in house at a software company
or an eCommerce company, or you’re like a service based business and
you’re trying to drive local or other people to come and actually
hire your services, or you’re a freelancer and you have to build your
authority in order to make sure that you are not getting really
crappy leads reaching out to you, which is so, so, so tragically

people who are like, I’ve never heard of you, but you showed up on my
search results. So I’m just going to ask you if you can write this
page for 50 bucks, versus people who actually recognize you as an
authority because you’ve writing stuff. Some freelance copywriters in
particular, marketers know that you have to get out there and get
really good content out there, whether on your site or on someone
else’s. But the challenge continues to be, well, how do I actually
come up with a really good topic? Like there’s so much crap. I don’t
want to be white noise and I feel like all I’m doing is adding to the

I want to take some time to talk through how we find “breakthrough”
blog post topics. Not every blog post is going to be a winner but you
have to keep going at it and trying to get to a place of really
digging into these better topics.

when I was putting together this topic and had it posted on the
calendar page for tutorial Tuesdays where you can see upcoming
tutorials. I had it as like a simple way to find a breakthrough blog
post topic, I think is what I called it. But when it comes down to
it, there’s a couple simple ways. So I’m going to walk through three
simple ways that we use and again we get a lot of guest post pitches
that we then have to go in and edit to get on the Copyhackers blog.
We have written countless posts for our site as well as for other
people’s sites like blog posts that are all over the place. So how do
we actually find that topic? Let’s talk through three really simple
ways. So let me start out with this. So this is a blog post that was
published in 2014 on by Jen Havice.

worked with us on all of these button tests this one summer. And the
blog post that she wrote at the end of that was a listicle. It was
basically called three things to avoid with A/B testing. By the time
I was done with it, it turned into, I spent all summer running A/B
tests and what I learned made me question the whole idea. And then we
get into the story of it, this became our most popular posts of 2014
like far and ahead of anything else that we published that year. And
it continues to be a good post that ranks really high, but it was our
most popular posts and we were posting all lot. At the time we were
just building up the Copyhackers blog. We’re writing blog posts all
over the place, so this is a key moment for us.

turned this listicle into something that ended up being really well
read. What people have read three things to avoid with A/B testing,
will never know because we would never publish that and a lot of
blogs would never publish something like that. Today it’s a really
basic thing, but what’s going on here? What I think is going on is
the first tip, your topic is actually good. Your topic is good. The
topic of things to avoid with A/B testing is actually good. The
problem is you’re not finding the story, so you have to go out and
find that story. So technique number one in identifying a
“breakthrough blog posts” is finding the story. So your
topic, cut it a break it might actually be a really good topic. Now,
you have to find the story. So how do we do that? One technique and
we insist, everybody who pitches the Copyhackers blog and writes for
us, we ask them to put it in the first person.

one needs you to tell them three tips or two things to avoid with A/B
testing. They need to hear your story. People are interested and then
everybody knows it’s an increasingly lonely world. People are
interested in getting that first person perspective that they can
kind of see themselves in and align with rather than you attacking
them with tips for what to do and things to avoid. Walk me through
your story. So try rewriting your topic, your blog posts with a first
person experience to carry that post instead.

tip is something that we’re actually going to talk about next week.
So I’m being a little bit tricky here, but next week we’re going to
dig into this and in particular it is how to cut out those boring
introductions that can bring you closer then to actually hooking your
readers. I’m going to walk you through some really tactical stuff for
finding your story then.

first things first, you don’t need 7,000 techniques on how to find
your story. Start by taking that blog post topic you have and
rewriting it with your first person experience. What did you go
through? What did you experience and then what did you do to solve
it? It’s a way better way to pull people in and have something that’s
a bit more breakthrough than a typical listicle would be. Okay, that
brings us to the second one, and this is one without fail. This is in
like if you pitch Copyhackers on the pitch us page, we ask you to
tell us what you are picking a fight with because conflict is at the
heart of every story. You take any basic storytelling class, go on
masterclass, take Aaron Sorkin screenwriting masterclass. He talks
about conflict.

any buddies class or read any blog posts on really good storytelling.
And conflict is always at the heart of that. So you have to find the
conflict. You have to identify the conflict with the topic. So how do
we do that? And what does that really mean when we’re talking
about… What really don’t like it when people talk about
storytelling in business, but never get down into like, but how?
Because I’m not a storytelling sounds like this grand narrative with
lots of room to build up a story and when it comes down to it, you
have to still cut to the chase. So the challenge is we need to then
say, how do we find conflict that we can actually use to write a blog
post? Here’s what we do. Okay, so as I already said, we asked the
thing of everyone, what is your post picking a fight with?

an example of a post that picks a fight. It’s picking a fight with
the idea that Facebook ads are all about images. This is something
that we’ve written about on the Copyhackers website that the face
that better performing Facebook ads consistently have a lot to do
with the images. You test different images and hear an expert
Facebook ad copywriter wrote a post that totally picked that apart
and said, that’s not right. That’s actually wrong. And that makes for
a very interesting post.

doesn’t mean the whole world will respond to it, but it’s actually
saying something different and that’s where we’re getting to a place
of like a breakthrough. So the conflict itself, where do you find the
conflict? It’s hidden inside the things that your ideal audience,
which we’ll call X, believes to be true, which we’ll call Y. And this
includes best practices and of course that typically comes out as
like myths.

I really want you to think about what are those so called best
practices that your ideal audience actually believes to be true. And
that may in part not be true where there may be evidence to the
contrary and you can find the conflict in that. So here’s what it
looks like, really basic three part process, screenshot this, but
that’s really straight forward and then I’m going to walk you
through. Okay. You start with X, that is your ideal audience are
getting disappointing results with Y and that is that thing that
better practice that they’ve heard about. Then you move on to what X
believes about Y and then you identify in that list which beliefs are
not true. Which can you actually tear apart? Where is there actually
a conflict sitting, people X believe something and it’s not true.
Okay, so we start with what they’re getting disappointed results with
because that’s the thing that’s going on in their head.

getting disappointing results with something that they thought was
supposed to get them great results. Such as if you were writing let’s
say a freelance copywriter or you work for a software company that’s
targeting other B2B marketers. Let’s say that. So you’re trying to X
for you your ideal audience is SAS marketers. Let’s say that we’re
going to show some other examples too in case this isn’t true for
you. But SAS marketers are getting disappointing results with in-app

you sit down and you think, well, what are they getting disappointing
results with? Great. That’s where we start. So why is in-app
messaging now we need to say what X believes about Y. So what do SAS
marketers believe about in-app messaging? They believe then you just
list those crap out. In-app messaging is the only way to engage your
software users. It’s the easiest way. They believe it’s the fastest
way. They also believe it’s the cheapest way.

believe in-app messaging has to be short. They believe in-app
messaging has to be dry. They believe it’s best when it includes
videos and they believe it is best when it includes gifts. Okay, so
you make a big ass list of all the things they believe in-app
messaging is all about. Cool, so that’s step two. It’s really
straight forward. We’re just filling in the blanks at this point and
then we go through and we identify based on what you know, which
beliefs are actually not true. Some will be true, some are like,
yeah, okay absolutely, but some are not. In-app messaging is not the
only way to engage your software users if that’s what you’re
thinking. It’s not the easiest way either. It’s not the cheapest way.

sure most of the in-app messaging platforms are quite expensive. It
doesn’t have to be dry, it doesn’t have to be short. Why do you think
it has to be those things? And maybe it is best when it includes
videos and it is best when includes gifts. Okay, so we’ve gone
through and now we have anything that has an X on it is potentially
where there’s some conflict and conflict is we’re story is and that’s
where the best topics are.

what could that turn into? Well we could list out a dozen different
topics at this point, but here are three things that that could turn
into. The only reason to use in that messaging is to message users
fast. So you could write a blog post called, the only reason for sass
marketers to use in-app messaging is to message users quickly. There
is no other reason that could be your whole topic. You make a really
interesting argument for that.

that somewhere, pitch that to people who want to publish interesting
stuff and suddenly they’re more interested. That’s like, okay, that’s
an interesting topic, convince me of it. You’re in-app messaging
isn’t working because you aren’t using videos and gifs. So we saw
like, okay, well maybe videos and gifts are huge for it. Maybe we can
go through and do an analysis of in-app messages that use videos and
gifs versus those that don’t and actually make a compelling argument
for that. Cool. SAS marketers are now learning something from you
that reinforces what they believed, so it’s not a conflict anymore,
but it’s really helping them eliminate the other things that are
conflicting with their success and focus on the thing that’s going to
get them there. And number like six easy cheap ways to connect with
your users without using in-app messaging.

the conflict there again is, hey, you thought in-app messaging was
everything. It’s not getting you results. Here are six other easy,
cheap ways since you thought in-app messaging was easy, you kind of
knew it wasn’t cheap, but you thought it was. So we’re going to base
ourselves in that conflict. Really quickly we go from having this
simple list that we cut things out of to this. Great, we’re feeling
good about these topics, find that conflict. Other things that you
could do, and I’m not going to walk through every one of these
because we have 20 minute tutorials and we’ve got a couple of minutes
left. Course creators are getting disappointing results with launch
webinars. So if your audience is course creators, you find out what
they’re getting disappointed results with and there might be multiple
things. So there might be seven different whys for them with it’s own
bullet list underneath, which means you’ve now got a huge content
calendar, so find out who your X is, find out what their Y is.

this case, new moms, if you’re trying to target new moms are getting
disappointing results with diaper delivery services with organic
fruit shopping with whatever those other things are with their
mothers in law, which there probably won’t be too surprised by.
Professional photographers are getting disappointing results with
DSLR lenses, with iPhones, with whatever that other thing is but
you’re just going to go through and find the core of the topic there
and then unpack it with those three steps.

so let’s look first three ways. The first one is the last one and
that is just simply be direct response about it. Use those copy
skills. You’re on here, I teach copywriting skills on countless
tutorial Tuesdays and in all of our training as well. So be a
copywriter with what’s your writing. And that really does say like,
okay, take the topic you have and just rewrite the headline.

it will make, you can make a seemingly and actually like kind of
listicle come off as so much more interesting if you write a better
headline for it. So for example, this is now on but it
was originally on Kissmetrics. It’s where it brought us tons of good
traffic over the years. It’s nine ways to make your expensive product
look like a total steal. Some people might say like, here are nine
pricing strategies for eCommerce businesses, won’t want, boring.
That’s boring. Nobody gives a crap about that. They can read that
anywhere. That’s a really easy Google search to serve up a bunch of
listicles, typical listicles all over the place. We decided instead
to rewrite that into something that’s going to be more interesting.
So be a copywriter with your headlines and take what’s there as the
topic and turn it into something that’s far more interesting as a

headline is going to show up all over the place. Compare it against
the really boring headlines that are out there that might be SEO
friendly. Not that this one isn’t, this one’s still ranks really well
too for pricing strategies because Google’s smarter than that.
They’re not that smart, but they’re smarter than that. So don’t
overthink SEO in your headlines when you’re trying to write a blog
post that is going to actually break through and either bring traffic
to your site or get that guest post pitch that you have, get that
more likely to be approved. So be a copywriter with your headline.
Those are the three ways to go about finding a breakthrough blog post
topic. Don’t overthink all the other ways you can go about doing it.
Start with these if you’re like, I am stuck for topics. Do you find
your story? Pick a fight or simply write the thing you were going to
write anyway, and rewrite the headline to be more copy writerly.

right. I hope that is helpful to you as you start coming up with your
topics. That is our tutorial or today. Yeah, make sure you go forward
and put those blog posts topics together and don’t let a worry about
my blog post topic isn’t good enough keep you from moving forward
with actually writing dope blog posts.

next Tuesday. Awesome. Thank you everybody was chatting over nice
stuff. Next Tuesday we were also talking more about blog posts as
well, so really digging in to what’s going on too with the writing of
your blog posts. So I want to share with you next week some really
essential editing techniques that you need to use on your blog posts
in order to make them, as Juan just said, dope ass blog posts. All
right, so we will see you next week. Thank you everybody for
participating. Thanks Carrie for helping out and I’m looking forward
to seeing you on the next tutorial Tuesday. Bye you all.

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