"What should I blog about?" This is a question that has been asked by each and every single person who owns a blog today. Even the now famous bloggers who make a living from doing what they love, all asked themselves this question at some point. It even happens when it comes to planning our content and we hit a wall - it's pretty frustrating when it seems like no ideas will ever enter our minds again.
Whether you apply this to coming up with ideas for blog posts, or you're starting a blog and don't know where to start - these scenarios apply to any person in any situation. It's annoying. But today, I'm going to talk with you about some tried and tested ways, so you won't ever have this problem again. By the time you've finished reading this, you'll be able to answer the question: "what the hell should I blog about?"
This post is for you if:
- You've got a blog and want to change your direction, but you don't know where to start
- You want to start a blog but you've got no idea what to blog about and you're sick of researching it
- You want all the information in one place that helps you figure out what to blog about
- You've use blogging in your career for different clients and industries, but you don't know where to start
I've also created a super-awesome, free workbook to take you through this and turn your thoughts into actions. Just click here to get it!
#1 What's Your Goal & Purpose?
The online world is now past the point where people blog for no reason. Even if you simply love to blog as a hobby - this means you still have a purpose for doing it. So many start out with good intentions. But because they have nothing driving them forward and nothing to work towards, they fizzle out. Becoming just another blog that publishes the same content we see everywhere. This may sound harsh. But I know you think it too.
Just look at your Bloglovin'feed or bookmarks list. How many 'summer wishlist' posts have you seen? Or '5 of the best summer hairstyles'? It gets boring. So if you're reading this and you've downloaded the worksheet, I know you don't want to be 'just another blogger.'
What do you want to do with your site? What do you want to achieve? This doesn't have to be a goal in the sense of something like world domination - (it could be if you want!) It could be something as simple as, "I want to inspire people." Or, "I want people to come and have a chat here." Or even "I want to practice my writing or creative project on a regular basis." If you want to think bigger, it could be "I want to be seen as an expert" or "I want people to come to me for help over anyone else."
These are all great. But you've got to figure out the goals and the purpose that is most suited to you.
And if your purpose for blogging and creating content is to document your life and do it for a hobby, that's great too! Just because other bloggers are trying to make businesses out of their blogs doesn't mean you have to.
A good trick for this first section of the workbook is to think long term. Close your eyes, clear your head, and imagine you're doing this for a living. What do you want to give back to your audience? How do you want them to feel when they come to your website? What do you want them to take away?
I know these might seem like hard questions, and I know some of you will be thinking, "This is pointless, I have no idea how to answer those."
That's exactly what I thought at first.
Then I thought about how I wanted my community to feel when they read my content and what I wanted to give to them. It opened my eyes to a whole new way of blogging.
#2 What Are You Interested In & Passionate About? What Do You Know?
It’s a simple point, but so important. It can be really tricky to figure out what to blog about. Unfortunately, the blogging world still consists of copycats and people who simply want to replicate what others are doing. We know this isn’t cool. It’s almost like a kick in the stomach when you’ve worked hard to create something and someone else just goes ahead and copies it.
But this can be difficult for some types of bloggers. Let’s take lifestyle bloggers as an example. There can be so much crossover in this industry. But I can name at least five unique ones off the top of my head. Ones who use their own voice and their own experiences to create.
So many people I admire online always create from a place of passion and intention. They work hard and power through the struggles, because they genuinely love what they’re creating. This shines through. They don’t hold back, they give away their secrets and they fulfill their purpose for being online.
Start with what you know and make learning a regular part of your life. Combine what you’re interested in with what you’re passionate about.
What lights you up?
I’ll use my own situation as an example to help you. I’m interested in teaching people. I’m passionate about helping others when they struggle or want to be better. I know about social media and being online.
What does that equal? My purpose – to help people build a strong online presence through social media and other digital tricks, when they don’t know where to start.
I used to worry about having a similar idea or blog to someone. But the fact that they’re already out there is a good thing – it means people want to read about it. It’s your unique voice, perspective and experience that makes it different.
#3 How Can You Solve A Problem?
Out of everything, this is a great tip I’ve taken on board that has once again transformed the way I approach blogging.
People say you should write what you want to read. This is true – to a certain extent. But you can put a spin on this, which means you create for you, but you also create for your audience too.
This point is something I’ve seen appearing a lot in various articles and I’m going to include it in this one too. When we’re online, we’re selfish. Some of you might disagree and think that’s too harsh. But it’s true. We’re always looking for what’s in something for us and how it’s going to benefit us. If we don’t find that benefit, we leave. It’s a vicious cycle. Unless you give your community those benefits all the time. And you do that by solving a problem.
That’s why it’s crucial to blog about what you know. If you create from a place of experience you’re already halfway there. You’re halfway there to solving the problems, because you’ve been in that position. You’ve been there with the same problems, and you’ve come up with a solution yourself.
I’ll be honest – this whole social media and blogging thing? I taught myself. Two years ago, before I started my Masters course, I taught myself about blogging, social media, creating content, SEO, everything. Going into my Masters, I found that I was the only one who A, had a blog. And B, knew how to build a social media presence and use it properly. I couldn’t believe it.
I remember when one of my classmates was sat next to me on Twitter. He turned to me and said, “A tweet from you has just appeared but I’ve been sat next to you and you’ve not been on Twitter. How are you doing that?!”
I was like, “Er, Buffer.”
“It lets you schedule all your tweets throughout the day.”
“What? You can actually schedule tweets?”
And that was what happened all the time.
This made me realise that what I had taught myself, and what I was continuing to teach myself was really valuable.
My original problem was that I had no resources available that helped me. None of them understood my problems. I didn’t know where to look and there was nothing that told me how I should be using social media, or what I should be doing with my blog. So now, I solve those problems through my own content, because I solved my own problem. I understand that we’re all unique and individual. It’s not as simple as one solution fitting everyone.
You can apply this to anything. Let’s say you suffer from really bad breakouts. You’ve suffered with them for years and you’re pretty sure they’re going to be a regular part of your life. But over time, maybe without even knowing it, you’ve found ways to manage this. Now, you know how to handle your breakouts and take care of your skin in different seasons. There will be so many people out there who have this problem and are looking for a solution. Why not solve it for them?
The thing to remember is that you’ve probably solved many of your own problems in life without realising them. People say to me, “Holly, how are you so organised? Seriously, how do you get everything done? Do a blog post about it!” That right there is how you solve a problem.
#4 Create a Mind Map
It’s all well and good thinking about different topics for your blog. But it’s even better to get your thoughts onto paper. That’s what your mind map is for. Whenever I plan anything, I use a mind map. This is where you put all your ideas onto paper.
Again, I’ll use my blog as an example. Let’s say you’ve narrowed down your main blog topics to social media, blogging, marketing and creating content. You’d print off the mind map part of the worksheet four times. On each separate page, you’d put the title of your topic in the middle. Then, the branches would include all the other subtopics you can think of that relate to your main topic. Let’s take social media.
For this, I can think of the following subtopics from the top of my head:
- Social media promotion
- Social media voice
- Social media scheduling
- Different platforms
- Using social media for your job
- Using social media for your career
And you go on and on until you’ve filled the page.
Some of these might work as blog post ideas. But just think how deep you could go into each of these subtopics. The possibilities are endless.
#5 Look At The Competition
A competitor is someone who blogs about the same or a similar topic to you. I wrote a whole post recently about Why It’s Good To Have Competitors, where you can find out all the information you need. But looking to see what others are doing, gives you the chance to do something better. Sometimes, I could be reading a blog post and I feel like I could expand on every point they make.
That’s identifying where you can make an improvement.
You could give the post a different title, use your own words, and make it so much more detailed.
Another scenario might be that you feel some blogs within your industry don’t seem to explain things enough. Or maybe you think they could add tutorials into some of their posts. Well, why not do that on your own blog?
For this section of the workbook it’s time to get picky. Pick five bloggers you look up to that blog about similar topics to you. Look through their five latest posts and write down one main thing that you could do to make each post better or different. Remember, these will be based on what you think is missing from the post. If it provides value to you, it’ll provide value for your audience too.
#6 Join Communities
We spoke about the importance of communities in Tuesday’s post on the Benefits of Social Media. They’re places where like-minded people can connect, share ideas and be inspirations to one another. You can find tips on everything and there’ll always be people there to give you advice. But that’s not all. Communities also provide you with an endless source of ideas.
I’m part of the Being Boss Facebook group and I love it. From simply just having a quick look through the latest posts, here are some ideas I’ve come up with for future blog post ideas:
- Resources for setting up an e-course
- The System I Use To Track My Clients
- How To Find The Confidence To Make The Leap
- How To Build Your Brand’s Online Community Through Social Media
And I could come up with loads more. Where did I get these ideas?
From people asking questions.
Yep. One person asked, "Does anyone have any resources for setting up an e-course?”
Another person asked, “Does anyone have a system that really works for tracking clients?”
And another person asked, “How did you find the confidence to go full-time with your business idea?”
I may not know the answer to these questions, but I’m hoping I will in the future. When I do, I’ll be writing a blog post about them.
Be aware, be active and interact. You’ll only benefit yourself in the long run.
If in doubt, ask. There’s one value I take with me everywhere and that’s to always ask questions, even if you think they’re stupid – you’re usually not the only one who wants an answer to them.
This will be a short section, because all you’ve got to do is ask. Go to your social media platforms and ask people what they’d like to know about a certain topic. If you’re not on every social media platform yet, don’t worry – why not ask your friends on Facebook instead? Or create survey and share the link with people so they can fill it in. If you don’t ask, you don’t get.
#8 Just Start
Sometimes all you've got to do is start. We've all got to get past the research barrier at some point. I could spend years reading about the best ways to set up and run a business. But I know I'll get there sooner if I actually start doing the work.
The sooner we actually start creating, the easier it will be to figure out what you love to create about.
Don't worry about not getting it right first time. So many bloggers change their direction along the way. The most important thing is that you enjoy it. That's how you know what to blog about.
I'd love to know, how did you figure out what to start a blog about? What are your fail-safe ways for coming up with content ideas? Leave a comment and let me know!
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