July 11, 2011
Deciding what to blog about isn't easy.
Most people want to start a blog that will become popular, but without any blogging experience, how are you supposed to know what to write about?
It's much easier once you've been blogging for a while. You learn how to write blog posts, and what kinds of posts people like to read. You also learn other things like what it's like to write for an audience, and how to get more traffic.
But again, before learning those lessons, how are you supposed to know what to write about?
Here are five helpful tips that will help a beginning blogger to choose the best blog topic.
The first thing you want to do is write for a large audience. The bigger the audience is, the more demand there will be for your posts.
A good example is sports. It's not the most meaningful topic, but there is a high demand for sports content. Think about it this way:
Approximately 50 percent of the U.S. population is male. Of that 50 percent, it can be estimated that 80 percent or so are sports fans.
Based on those numbers and with a population estimate of three hundred million, that leaves 120 million people in the US alone as sports fans. That's a lot of people who like sports. And that's a lot of potential fans for a blog.
If you decide to write about sports, you're guaranteed that before you start writing, there are a lot of people already looking for good sports content.
The bigger an audience there is for a topic, the bigger the potential audience there is for a blog. If you want to start a popular blog, the best place to start is with a large audience.
The last post in this series was about The Critical Intersection of Great Blog Post Writing and emphasized that you need to be interested in whatever you blog about. If you're not interested in what you're writing, then you won't be able to keep writing.
Marketing professionals shouldn't try to write about cooking, and cooks shouldn't write about marketing. If they do, they'll be bored after the first month. It's as simple as that.
But you also don't want to make the mistake of just writing about your "passion." You might be really passionate about pygmy hedgehogs, but that won't make for in-demand blog content. The audience for blogs about pygmy hedgehogs is very, very small.
Yet you definitely need to be interested in what you're writing about. It needs to be something that you think about while walking around town or while brushing your teeth. That's how you come up with new blog post ideas—by thinking about the topic all the time.
So what is something that interests you and that other people want to read? Finding a topic like this is step number two in choosing the best blog topic for you.
It's really important to keep a blog focused on one subject. The more you wander around from topic to topic, the less likely you are to have consistent readers.
A common mistake people make is to write about anything that pops into their head. Today it's cooking, tomorrow it's fashion, and the next day it's technology.
It's great to have that many interests, but it's not good if you're looking to have consistent readers. And it's really not good if you're looking to get e-mail subscribers. People subscribe to blogs that they know will give them consistent content.
Think about it this way: is a marketing person more likely to subscribe to a blog that's 100% about marketing or a blog with some posts about marketing some posts about sports and some posts about pets.
The answer is pretty obvious.
If you're looking to build up a consistent readership and especially if you're looking to build up subscribers (which you should be), then blogging about a consistent topic is the way to go. People subscribe to blogs they know are going to give consistent information about something they're interested in.
So instead of writing about whatever pops into your head, it's best to use tips one and two to come up a consistent topic to write about.
There are two great ways to learn something: one is to teach and the other is to write. In blogging, you do both.
One of the biggest side benefits of blogging is that you learn a lot about whatever you write about. If you write about marketing, you first have to learn about marketing before you can write about it and teach it to someone else. Whether you write about technology or being a mom, it's the same.
Not only will you be writing and teaching a topic, but due to the fact that you're blogging something, you'll pay attention to it even more. You'll think about it when reading the newspaper and when taking out the trash. You'll think about it while surfing the internet and reading blogs.
In blogging, you write about a topic, you teach the topic, and you think about it all the time. So instead of just picking something that other people want to read, you can also pick something that you want to learn more about.
In the end, Even if you don't become a professional blogger, you'll still know a lot more about whatever you decide to write about.
If you think eventually you might want to make some money from your blog, it's a good idea to consider an audience that you'll be able to sell something to. This is because the best way to make money from a blog is to sell something to your audience.
Brian Clark of Copyblogger Media puts it this way:
"It's easier to make money selling something to a smaller audience than it is to make money selling access to a larger audience"
This is means that if you're trying to make all of your money off of Google ads, you'll need thousands of people to read your blog daily. Not that it can't be done, it's just not easy to get that kind of traffic.
It's easier to build a reader base, and then sell something to that base. You can sell an ebook, a service, or consulting. You can sell whatever you want. The point to keep in mind is that if you ever want to make money off of your blog, it's easier to make money selling a product or a service than it is to just sell advertising.
These are five tips to help choose the best blog topic for a beginning blogger.
What do you think? Are there some tips for choosing a blog topic that you'd like to share? Feel free to leave a comment and become part of the conversation.
This post is the third in a series of ten posts on the best way to start a blog.