02 Feb What Should I Blog About?
What Should I Blog About?
You are staring at the blank screen of a fresh google documents. Wondering…”What in God’s name should I blog about? How do I bring value to my readers?” I know the feeling… you’re screaming at your brain to just work!
Don’t fret. We have all hit that point. It happens when we have run out of fresh ideas, and you’ve metaphorically slammed into a wall. These are the moments when the concept of writing another 1,000-word blog post alludes you, and that Buzzfeed article calls your name.
You know what I’m talking about 😉
Here is an easy solution to find that next inspirational spark and keep those creative juices flowing.
Start With Your Passion.
Let’s be frank.
No… not that type of frank, and stop making me hungry.
It’s easy to research a topic and spit out the same concepts that other bloggers have on repeat. Don’t do it!
Those are the most boring articles to read. They get zero engagement because there is zero heart in the content. There is no passion. If you’re asking yourself, “What should I blog about?” you probably need to find your passion.
These are the topics that, for good or bad, have moved you.
Ask yourself these questions:
- What major breakthroughs did you have last week?
- What challenges did you overcome?
- What new projects did you start?
Chances are if you self-identify as an overachiever you have started a new project and overcome a bunch of challenges. This should give you plenty to pull on when trying to figure out what to blog about.
Start by writing every morning, about anything.
Many top writers spend the first few moments of the day writing. Be it in the form of journaling, word streaming, or anything.
Even if it doesn’t relate to your blog, write about it. It doesn’t mean you have to post it.
The act of starting is the most important part.
Writing about your passions will fuel and drive you. Plus it excites you. You never know what magical story will pop out of your heart that will consequently help your audience.
Define Your Target Market.
Define in very clear details who your buyer persona is. Everything we do must start with the audience in mind. In a recent meetup I attended—entrepreneur, Tim Ferriss said that his blog articles are not written for his entire audience.
Instead, he focuses on creating a piece of content specifically for a small niche, within his audience. Where 10,000 people will love it, and the rest may not be into it. The key for him was to focus on the 10,000 rather than the 1+ million followers he has.
Ferriss knows that not everyone is going to love all his articles.
The concept is, if you niche hard and deep you can create content that is share-worthy for a small segment. The result is having the article shared by those 10,000 people.
You can see this too if you visit thefourhourworkweek.com. Look at the plethora of people he interviews and the subjects he covers. I believe Tim has a deeper understanding of success than most people. Especially since he as claimed the #1 podcast in the iTunes business category.
Think About Your Audience.
Your audience is looking for answers to questions, advice, and resources that help them achieve a desired result.
Your audience creates your content strategy. What they want and need to hear—you create.
[bctt tweet=”Your audience creates your content strategy. What they want and need to hear—you create.”]
That being said, It would be a lie to say that we only write for our audience. While we do all serve our readers, much of the writing is for the author.
Writing is a form of expression, journaling and teaching.
It helps us (writers and the like) solidify our thoughts and encourages us to be more creative. That being said, there is no greater joy in producing a piece of content that serves your audience, and that you were happy writing.
Ask yourself these questions to create share-worthy content:
- What is the desired result of my audience?
- What is my audience looking to achieve?
- What challenge are they trying to solve?
- Can you solve those challenges or help them achieve a desired result?
If you have a small audience, and you’re just starting out—you may not know theses answers. In this case, ask yourself!
Our audiences are just like us. They have similar challenges, problems, and roadblocks. If you’re challenged by something, write about it and you’ll be consequently helping your audience.
Creating content becomes a breeze when you change your focus to: “What does my audience need to be successful?”
You bring to the table a unique set of experiences that an audience, somewhere is dying to hear about.
Define Your Nice.
This is easier said than done. But bear with me.
There are two ways to define your niche: pre-emptively or after you get started.
Ask yourself these questions if you are banging your head against a wall and can’t decide where to start.
- What would I like to write about?
- What has never been written about before by someone else?
- What type of blog would I like to read, and has never been made before? What is missing?
- What is your passion?
- What do you know inside and out—AND you can talk about it for hours?
- How can you be different than any other competitors? Can you add more content (rather than just writing) like videos, podcasts, gifs, infographics, etc.
- What blogs do I like to read the most? Why? What keeps me coming back?
- Where am I price insensitive? Look at your credit card statements, where do you spend the majority of your money? Chances are you know about that subject and care about it.
The other way to define your niche is to say “F-it” and just start writing about anything and everything. This may not be the best approach, but the only way to achieve success is to start.
Don’t let the fear of the unknown stop you from running in the dark.
Once you start writing listen to what your audience has to say.
Look at your past articles, and find out what get’s the most comments, shares, and clicks? What page gets the most hits after looking at your Google Analytics?
Teach What You Wish to Learn.
“We teach best what we most wish to learn” -Richard Bach
Bach is right. When we have to teach a subject, we have to break down the complex subjects into manageable bite size chunks. Then we must communicate the chunks to others in a way that is easily understood.
Instead of asking “What should I blog about?” ask, “What do I wish to learn and master?”
Take the subject you wish to learn the most, and begin to teach it.
When I was 15 I wanted to learn how to snowboard. I became a snowboard instructor. When I wanted to learn how to give a fantastic massage, I went to massage therapy school.
“While we teach, we learn” – Roman philosopher Seneca.
Break down the overall content topic into smaller chunks. Create the blogging equivalent of a lesson plan, and build out the content one article at a time. That’s a content strategy (goal setting for your blog and planning the most relevant content ahead).
Steal Ideas from Others.
I call this inspiration appropriation. While it is 100% wrong to take someone else’s work and claim it is your own—what you can take, is inspiration.
Heck, it is necessary to stay inspired while you work. That is why I listen to motivational videos… all day!
Let’s assume your new goal this year is to master a new social media like Instagram or Snapchat. I would listen to what the experts are saying. Read articles like how to grow your Instagram audience, and read Snapchat strategies.
You would then go out and execute on the information. Learn what works for you and what doesn’t by doing. When you feel confident about your results, start teaching others.
This will give you real world experience when you are discussing the subject. You will see what works well and what doesn’t before you even begin. You can also steal the really good headlines.
If you have no idea what to write about—you are probably not consuming enough inspiring content. Stop watching Peaky Blinders on Netflix and start listening to a new entrepreneur podcast.
Low on inspiration? Here’s where you can fuel up!
- 12 Motivational Videos Guaranteed to Inspire
- 6 Beliefs of a Successful Entrepreneur
- Watch Motivational Videos on Youtube
- Listen to Podcasts. I love these: Tim Ferriss, Patt Flynn, Lewis Howes.
Ask Your Audience for What They Desire.
Asking your audience what they want more info about, is a great way of finding content to add to the blog. For instance, if I get an email from someone that says “What should I post on Instagram?” I answer the question in a video, and post it.
This has two effects. It gives me a new piece of content to write about, and it gives me a relevant topic to share with my audience.
Additionally, it allows my audience to feel more engaged with the content being produced. It is specific and catered to them. This is an easy way to encourage your audience to be invested in and excited about your content.
Simply, ask your audience: “Hey guys, what should I blog about? What do you want to know?”
Asking your audience doesn’t have to be hard.
Here are some examples of how you can do it.
In Welcome Email.
When people opt-in to your list, send them a welcome to the community email. Make a quick video and say hi. Ask them what inspired them to join your list and what they wish to learn.
Survey Your Audience
Create a survey on SurveyMonkey or Typeform and send it to your audience. A quick 10 question poll can gain you loads of information. Make sure to incentivize your audience too. This can be in the form of money, free goodies, or free services.
In Blog Comments.
Whenever someone leaves a blog comment, they are showing a deep investment into your tribe. They want to build a relationship. If they ask a question, or state a problem they are having—it becomes a great opportunity to create a new piece of content.
Have Guest Contributors.
Guest contributors are awesome for helping you keep your blog full of content. It takes a lot of time and energy to create content (especially if it is more than 300 words). Those amazing people can help you keep your content schedule full and give you a unique insight.
Additionally, guest contributors also have an audience all of their own. When they post, they share it with their audience driving traffic to your blog. You also give them loads of exposure and send them targeted traffic by having them write on your website too. It becomes a win-win.
Ask Yourself: “How can I solve a problem?”
The best way to answer the question “What should I blog about?” is to ask yourself “What problem can I solve?” I recommend reading this amazing post by Neil Patel on 11 things I wish I knew before I started my first blog.
Neil says, “money is a side effect of solving problems and helping people…With your blog, don’t just focus on traffic and revenue. Focus on helping people too as the rest will come once you help out enough people.”
Neil makes hundreds of thousands of dollars from blogging, and he has been doing it for a long time. Again, I bow to the experts.
Write about a Saturated Subject.
This goes against what every expert says, I know. Hear me out.
A saturated subject means two things: one there is a high demand for that subject, and two there is a lot of material to pull on when creating your content.
Writing exclusively about a saturated subject isn’t a great long-term strategy. But, if you are passionate about a subject, have an interesting spin, and are entertaining you can make it work!
Kevin Kelly of 1000 True Fans explains that you only need 1000 people who are raving fans. These are the people that will read every article, share every article, and buy everything you ask them to purchase. By having 1000 true fans, you can make a living doing anything.
Even in a saturated market, you can create 1000 true fans.
If you create content better* than any of the competitors and focus on a deep relationship with your audience, you’ll thrive in a saturated market.
*Better content should be defined as speaking more intimately to a smaller subset of people.
Don’t worry about market saturation, when answering the question “What should I blog about?”
Ask the question:
“Can I write a piece of content for just 10 people?” 10 people who will absolutely love it and share it?” -David Sherry of Death to the Stock Photo
My final suggestion is to write every day.
It doesn’t have to be for a blog. It doesn’t even have to make sense.
The key is to make it a habit, and to never give it up.