Figuring out what to blog about / picking a good topic for your blog can be challenging.
Most people find it difficult.
First, there’s the challenge of simply coming up with new stuff that you want to write about, which isn’t always the most straightforward thing in itself. But then there’s also something else lurking in the dark … self-doubt. 🤷♂️
And so on.
Well, first off, do you need to be a great writer to start a blog?
The answer is no.
We have something big cooking in the oven… Over the last couple of months we’ve been working on an in-depth, “no punches held” guide on how to build, grow and promote a blog.
This is all based on ~7 years of experience growing our own blogs in the WordPress space. The guide packs a ton of examples, data, and case studies. It’s well over 10,000 words, and a truly complete resource.
We hope you’ll enjoy it. The post you’re about to read here comes directly from this upcoming guide.
People read blogs for a number of reasons, and while being a skilled writer can help, it’s no requirement.
Albeit some bloggers do indeed get read because of their unique writing style, it’s only a fraction of the market. We just hear about those bloggers more often.
But the iceberg of blogging is much more massive than that. There are people of all different paths of life there and with varying degrees of writing skill.
To an extent, writing skill doesn’t matter in blogging.
If you can talk, you can blog.
Also, you don’t need to be THE expert in the field (of your topic matter). It helps, but, again, it’s not a requirement. Think cooking blogs. You don’t need to be Gordon Ramsay to run a successful one. What you do need most of all is some tasty recipes that people enjoy and are able to replicate.
Now, with that said, let me share with you the most important rule of picking a topic for your blog…
Here’s what to blog about:
The only things worth blogging about are the things people are already searching for.
Let me say this another way, you won’t “carve out” a fresh new niche all for yourself. Looking for an untapped, completely original topic is a dead end, contrary to popular belief.
It really is simple once you get down to the basic math:
The only things worth #blogging about are things people already search for
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But there’s also the other side of the coin:
If there is an audience, but you don’t feel confident at all blogging for that audience, you will fail anyway.
Therefore, the first order of business:
Going after untapped niches = failure in #blogging
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The key rule when figuring out what to blog about is to focus on something that you are interested in. And “interested” is the keyword here.
You don’t need to be an expert, you don’t need to have any special skill regarding the topic, and you don’t need to be extremely passionate about it from day one.
What you do need is an honest interest in something. That interest is going to fuel you through the initial months as you write your first posts and get more and more educated about your field.
So do some brainstorming and come up with a list of topics that are interesting to you and that you’d like to learn more about. The author’s own curiosity is often enough to carry a blog through its first months of existence.
The benefits of picking a blog topic that fits you:
- 📛 You can make a name for yourself in a field that you care about.
- 🤼 Connect with likeminded people.
- 👨⚕️ Learn or improve your skills.
- 💰 Potentially make money and start a career.
- ⏲ It’s going to be easier to create content regularly.
However, be specific here. Don’t make your topic something like “cooking” or “cars” or anything similarly broad. The more niche, the better. Although it seems counterintuitive (“broader means more readers, right?”), starting in a narrow niche is often better. Narrow niches give you specialization and possibly instant audience from day one. Which brings me to:
Challenge #2: How to find out if there’s audience for your future blog
Picking something that you’re comfortable blogging about is just one side of the coin. The other is making sure that there’s going to be people interested in reading it.
This is where some good ‘ol market research comes into the picture. In simple terms, this is where you need to check what else is out there on the web on the topic you’ve chosen.
Wondering what to blog about? First, focus on the following:
- Are there any blogs in the niche that already cater to similar audiences?
- Are any of those blogs popular enough – with more than 10,000 subscribers?
- Are there any popular Facebook pages on this or similar topics?
- Can you point out at least a handful of influencers in the niche?
- Does anyone advertise in Google when you search for the niche’s main buyer keywords?
- Are there any books on Amazon that cover the topic in some capacity and have more than a dozen reviews?
- Are there any people asking questions about it on Quora?
If that’s a “yes” on all of the above then you’ve probably found yourself a good blog topic. But if at least one of them is a “no” then it’s back to the drawing board.
“Why?” Well, it’s a counterintuitive thing, but in the blogging space, the more blogs there are on a given topic, the easier it is to start another one.
The existence of other blogs is only proof that there are people passionate about the topic. Don’t be the sole blogger writing about underwater basketball or something.
One thing you’ll probably find out is that even though there’s a seemingly infinite number of possible blog topics, it turns out that only a handful of them make sense and are actually of interest to online audiences.
Here’s what to blog about – some popular categories of topics:
This is based on data from Google plus factoring in various research done by third parties. You can do a similar experiment, just google something like:
With the main topic of your blog figured out, we can now narrow things down to the level of individual blog posts.
The art (or science) of coming up with blog post ideas
So, how do you actually come up with good blog post ideas and on a regular basis?
Do you have to turn yourself into an unnaturally creative person who always has a stream of never-ending ideas up their sleeve? Do you gain these superpowers by getting bitten by a radioactive blogger?
No. Far from it.
The only real skill that you must train yourself in is the skill of paying attention.
As in, paying attention will tell you what to blog about.
Coming up with good blog post ideas isn’t really about sitting locked in a cave somewhere and writing pages upon pages of headline ideas, relying only on your own creativity. To the contrary.
To come up with stellar blog post ideas, you need to pay attention to what’s going on in your niche, and then act accordingly whenever you notice a “content hole” that needs to be filled.
In other words (and it may sound brutal, sorry), it doesn’t matter what you want to write about. What matters is what your audience wants to read about.
Why is that the case?
Well, new blogs have a big obstacle to overcome.
It doesn’t matter what you want to #blog about. What matters is what your audience wants to read
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That obstacle is the fact that on day 1 nobody knows that your blog exists. Hence, nobody is going to read it.
So with that, if you decide to only write about your unique, never-before-contemplated ideas, people will never discover your blog.
With #blogs, if you build it they won’t come
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On the other hand, if you decide to go the other way, and instead do your research right – finding out what actual challenges people face in your niche – and then describe your solutions to those challenges, you’re effectively 10x-ing your likelihood of getting found.
These days, Google is how most blogs get their traffic (then Facebook, data says). So for you to ever have a chance of getting discovered, your content needs to tackle the problems that people are googling actively. As simple as that.
Now, the best part:
📕 How to find out what your audience wants to read
There are two distinct schools of thought here:
- Going competition-first
- Going audience-first
The former is about sniffing around and trying to discover what your competition is doing and what sort of content works best for them.
In other words, what your competition blogs about = what to blog about.
The way you’re going to discover this is via keywords.
Keywords are what fuels Google searches. People search using keywords. Your competition creates content that tackles given keywords in hope that their content will be displayed whenever someone searches for those keywords.
What you need to do is insert yourself in the middle of that picture.
Find what specific keywords your competitors use, examine their posts, and then write something better.
Here are the tools you can use to discover what those keywords are:
Look for your competitors’ best content and make a list of those posts. Think on how you can write something that tackles the same keywords but is even better. Those are the topics worth writing about in the competition-first approach.
Going audience-first is an entirely different animal.
My favorite tool to use for that is Quora.
Quora is a questions and answers website. As in, people ask questions (there are no limitations; if someone has a question, they can ask it), and other people submit their best answers. Then the community votes on who answered best.
But setting this core purpose of Quora’s aside, it’s also one of the very few places where you can find out what people really want to learn.
Every question you see there that is related to your niche and the topic of your blog is a great opportunity to write a new blog post about.
- Those are actual real people asking those questions, which means that whatever the topic of the question is, it is something that someone needs help with but hasn’t been able to find a solution to yet.
- You can take that exact question, and write a blog post that’s all about providing an answer. Then, you can publish an excerpt of that post as your answer directly on Quora and link back to your post for more (great tool for promotion).
To get started, start following all the topics on Quora that are relevant to your niche. Whenever some interesting question pops up, note it down and add it to your list of blog post ideas.
Another thing you can do apart from binging Quora is go back to your competitors’ blogs, but now for an entirely different reason:
Go back to those popular posts of theirs again, but this time scroll down to the comments section and note down any interesting questions that people ask in those comments. You will likely find a couple of gems that way as well.
In the end, your list of possible blog post ideas doesn’t have to be huge. In fact, it’s probably better to keep it short, just not to let any interesting idea slip by. I’d say 10 ideas is a good start.
This about sums up our take on picking a good blog topic and then coming up with great blog post ideas. I hope you’ll find these strategies helpful!
What’s next? Well, time to blog, I guess!
Lastly, if you’d like to have the full guide delivered to you once it’s ready, just leave your email below. Also, you’ll get access to our free crash course on speeding up your WordPress site:
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