With your list of passions in hand from How to Find (or Refind) Your Passion, it's time to zoom in on a blog topic. This is an important step; just because you're passionate about something doesn't mean it'll make for a good blog topic.
How to drill down to the right topic
After going through the questions in the last post, it seems most people come up with 4-7 topics about which they have some passion. So here's my plan for the next two posts…
In this post we'll talk about what works for readers. By the end, I'm hoping you will have narrowed your list down to 2 or 3.
In the next post, we'll talk about what works for you. We'll aim to find the perfect intersection of the two and come up with your blog topic.
Ready? Here we go…
What do readers want?
Unless your blog is strictly for your own enjoyment, you're probably hoping to gain readers. So, it's important to consider what others might want to read.
After observing blogs for years, below are five overarching blogging categories that seem to attract the most readers. As you read through them, decide which passions on your list will fit. Some passions may fall in two or more categories.
1. Readers want to solve a problem.
What do people get frustrated about? Do you have a solution?
This is how BloggingWithAmy.com started. I talked to a lot of bloggers who loved to write but got frustrated with the techy side of blogging. I knew I could help solve this problem by sharing blogging tips, tools and tutorials in a non-techy way.
2. Readers want to relieve their fears.
What are people afraid of? How can you help ease those fears?
Maybe you're a parent who has lost a child. It's a real and valid fear for a lot of parents. While no one would ever choose that path, sharing your story of hope and healing could be very helpful for many people.
Other common fears I hear about are blowing up their blog, speaking in public, not doing relationships "right," wondering about the financial stability of the future, etc.
3. Readers want to learn something new.
What would people love to do if only they knew how? What do you know that you could teach them?
Maybe you're a whiz at crocheting, you have a knack for writing or you have a unique way of teaching math that makes it easy to understand. A lot of people have projects around the house they would gladly tackle but aren't sure where to start. Teach them.
Other things people might like to learn are how to write an ebook, alternative education solutions, becoming more self-sustaining, new and interesting hobbies, etc.
4. Readers want to reach a goal.
What are common goals people have? Have you set and reached some significant goals? Can you spell out how you did it and inspire others on their journey?
Fitness and weight loss come to mind here, as well as getting out of debt. Pursuing big goals can be disheartening and lonely. Knowing someone else has been there and is cheering you on does wonders.
Other examples of goals people have are saving for retirement, completing a marathon, travelling the world, etc.
5. Readers want to be entertained.
Do you have a fascinating story? Do you lead a wildly interesting life? Are you outrageously funny?
Everyone needs down time and plenty of blogs exist purely to entertain. I'd say this is a trickier path to pursue since there's no shortage of entertainment to be had on the internet, in magazines and on TV, but it's doable. I'd say the key is providing something totally unique.
Of course as a bonus, you could be entertaining and helpful at the same time. For example, if your family raises llamas, talk about how you raise llamas not just that you raise llamas. Entertaining + helpful = a great combination.
A blogging newbie mistake
A lot of new bloggers fail to think beyond their own interests when starting a blog. My advice is to keep your eyes and ears open to what others are saying around you. Your blog should undoubtedly be an extension of you, but if you're not writing for the benefit of others at the same time, you might as well just keep a diary.
Other posts in this series
- How to Start a Blog or Website: Intro & FAQ
- How to Start a Blog or Website: Cheat Sheet
- How to Find (or Refind) Your Passion
- How to Decide What to Blog About: What Works for Readers?
- How to Decide What to Blog About: What Works for You?
- Understand Branding: 4 Tips
- Understand Keywords: Increase the Odds of Getting Found
- Writing Great Content: 3 Tips
- How to Write a Killer About Page
- 12 Blog Organization Tips
- How to Choose a Domain Name: 12 Tips
- How to Register a Domain Name
- How to Set Up Hosting and WordPress
- How to Change Your Nameservers
- How to Add a New User in WordPress
- How to Optimize Your WordPress Settings
- How to Install a Plugin
- My Favorite Plugins
- How to Get & Optimize a Feedburner Feed
- How to Choose a WordPress Theme
- How to Install a WordPress Theme
- Elegant Themes for WordPress
- How to Install Google Analytics
- How to Use WordPress: Tips & Tricks
- How to Start a Blog or Website: 10 Tips for New Bloggers