Whether you’re just starting a blog or have gotten stuck in a rut recently, finding ideas is important. Nobody wants to read content that’s too much like all the other bloggers in your topic. Fortunately, if you know what to blog about then it’s much easier to differentiate your blog. Before you know it, your blog can become a “go to” destination.
Find Your Niche as a Blogger
If you started a blog already but don’t have a niche, you need one fast. In my experience, one of the biggest reasons blogs fail is that they are without a niche. People need a reason to keep up with your blog, and in most cases, this is their interest in your niche. Here are some ideas to help you pick the right niche.
What do you do in real life?
Depending on your industry and professional position, this cold be the ultimate factor on what to blog about. For instance, if you are an executive then you may choose to share your professional experience. Being known as a subject matter expert can open up lots of opportunities. Or, if something happens to your company, being an SME can help you get a new job sooner. This approach is especially effective if you share some of your thoughts on LinkedIn.
What is it that you love to do or are passionate about?
Another solution to what to blog about is talking about your passions. This topic could be a hobby: there are lots of blogs out there dedicated to crafts, music releases, travel, and other leisure activities. Some people even talk about the latest family picnic and how they made it perfect.
Here’s the thing: if you don’t love your niche, then it will be hard to keep blogging. This is true whether your topic is work, pleasure, or some mixture of the two. Another reason that your being passionate about the topic is important? To some extent, it shows in your writing. It’s less obvious with a business blog, but many other topics make it difficult to hide disinterest.
What are you good at?
While many of us find things interesting which we can’t do ourselves, these usually make a poor blog niche. For instance, the return of manned spaceflight to US soil has renewed a lot of people’s interest in rocketry. Older Americans, who once watched man land on the moon, are again glued to their televisions. Younger Americans, too, remember the awe from Shuttle launches. However, if they can’t explain the science behind the rockets then it probably isn’t their answer to what to blog about.
Of course, there are complex topics outside of someone’s field of study or work, but that they can explain easily. If this person also loves to talk about that topic, it may be a great choice. Sometimes the perspective which people like this make to a topic is especially valuable. The key here is to pick something which you can keep writing about for years.
What other content do you consume?
Deciding what to blog about should also include a consideration of your overall content consumption. This means looking beyond the bloggers who inspire you. For instance, someone who loves travel to other countries will likely read a travel blog, have a few travel-related Instagram accounts they follow, and watch travel logs on YouTube. Offline, they might also read a travel magazine. Or two. Interests that you pursue in multiple forums are great options when you wish to become a content creator.
What do you teach others that reach out to you?
Regardless of what walk of life you come from, there may be people who are inspired by you. These can be family members, part of your faith community, friends, coworkers, students, or employees. Sometimes they’re people you barely know. But either way, most of us have pieces of wisdom which can be shared with people who reach out. Wisdom can be work-related, personal, or something else depending on the context.
If you are particularly valued for your opinions and wisdom, then this can be a great choice of what to blog about. Many business leaders, for instance, have blogs where they talk about their lessons learned in business. Lifestyle blogs, too, often have a few posts where the author shares wisdom with their readers. When you think about it, the possibilities are endless.
10 Places to Find Your Inspiration for Blog Post Ideas
Once you’ve decided what to blog about, it’s time to start working on your blog content calendar. This is a specific plan to cover certain topics over (typically) a one-year period. And while it might seem like a daunting task to make one of these, it’s much easier if you know where to get ideas. Typically, you’ll want to develop ideas based on other people’s questions, strategic keywords, and other SEO-related factors. Here are some of my favorite tools.
1. Google Suggest
If you aren’t familiar with Google Suggest, it’s that autocomplete feature within the search engine. When you go to Google and start typing a query, Google Suggest tries to guess the rest of your search. While most internet users take this “convenience” for granted, we bloggers see an opportunity. Suggested searches are based on what people are looking for, so these are great cues on what to blog about.
2. Blog topics from keyword research tools
Another way of choosing what to blog about is by researching keywords. You can use any number of keyword research tools, each of which tell you what’s trending in your niche. Many of these tools, such as SEMrush, have multiple uses within the world of marketing. And remember, part of being a successful blogger is making it visible to others. In turn, proper search engine marketing of your blog will make it easier (and more rewarding) to monetize.
3. Ideas from social shares
One of the best ways to find out what people are interested in is watching social media. Whether it’s LinkedIn for business topics, Instagram for the latest craft ideas, or Facebook celebrations of family, social media’s where the action is. Besides watching your favorite social media personalities, it’s best to use a social media content tool. For instance, BuzzSumo was developed to find great content in any niche. Using it to decide what to blog about should help your blog grow.
4. Questions that people ask
Not everything that people want to know is easily discoverable from the blogging tools I’ve discussed so far. Rather, some questions either go unanswered or are under treated. At least, it might be that way in the blogosphere. Fortunately, it’s relatively easy to discover these missing questions with the “People Also Ask” box on Google, or by using sites like Quora. For the first tool you’re benefitting from Google’s AI capabilities. With Quora, you’ll find there are SMEs who answer questions but don’t blog.
In fact, anticipating questions is among the more valuable options. That’s because you have the potential to be the first person (or one of the first few) to answer these questions. When you do this, you have a real chance to pick up new regular readers.
5. Competitors’ Blog Content and Popular Posts
You can use tools like SEMrush to find out what other bloggers are discussing. Often, the best advice on what to blog about is to follow the lead of successful bloggers. Want to see this principle in action? Take a look at how many other blog posts there are on this topic if you plug it into Google. The same will be true with any other competitive keyword. Seeing a topic get covered regularly is a good indicator that people deeply care about it.
6. Calendar / Holidays
For blogs specializing in hobbies or other lifestyle niches, publishing holiday-related posts is important. Cooking blogs can talk about the best holiday meal, while crafting blogs might discuss the latest spring décor. Just remember that depending on your specific niche the calendar-related content may need to come out ahead of the actual holiday.
7. What You Rank For
Google Search Console is a tool that you can use to measure your overall performance on Google. It will tell you which keywords you’re performing the best on, and this helps build your content calendar. At the same time, you can get tips on site health and related topics.
8. What People Search For On Your Website
Similarly to the search console, Google Analytics can help you decide what to blog about. However, it attacks the topic differently. In this case, you’ll find out what your site visitors are already looking for. When studying this information, you need to find “holes” and other opportunities within your content. Then, you can write posts which answer those questions.
9. Answer Questions from People in Your Audience
Have you ever noticed how masters at livestreaming or radio shows take questions/calls from their audience? This is one of the oldest tricks for audience engagement, but it also helps bloggers decide what to blog about. If an audience member asks a great question in blog comments or through content engagement you should take notice. By being responsive to your audience you can make your blog a popular destination.
10. Revise and Republish Older Posts
Finally, it’s important to refresh existing content. No matter how interested you are in your niche, sometimes you need a break. Plus, it’s hard to justify starting from scratch on something when a revision and re-optimization will do.
Types of Blog Posts
Once you’ve decided what to blog about, it’s time to put your plans into motion. Depending on your niche and overall strategy, there are several types of blog posts to consider. Of course, you can always use more than one post type. This is true of my site, which you’ll see after browsing long enough.
Regardless of your niche, there’s a good chance part of your purpose is to educate people about it. This is true even of bloggers in travel or hobbies. To that end, most bloggers should do some educational content. These post types include how-to guides, tutorials, and other resources. Travel bloggers can, for instance, do a post on travel health insurance. Knitters can talk about how to make a short row, and so on.
Inspirational posts will often draw on your expertise in the niche to lift people up. An inspirational post on a “mommy blog” might discuss how one child overcame difficulties at school. Someone in a faith-based niche might tell the audience how that faith helped someone through. Or, an inspirational post can give an uplifting point of view regarding current events.
With lifestyle content, you’re sharing your life with others. This is technically a blogging niche in its own right. However, even bloggers with other niches can write on themselves every so often. For instance, if you follow me closely enough you’ll know that I speak Japanese fluently and love their culture. I’ve also talked about lessons learned living over there.
Income Generating Content
For our purposes here, income generating content is that which is directly related to your income-generating activities. One example on my site is a page where I discuss which influencer marketing services I provide. A more common one for many bloggers is a sponsored product review or launch announcements. Finally, you can talk about your affiliate agreements and why you have the ones you’ve chosen.
SEO Content to Rank for Strategic Keywords
Finally, as a blogger there are few things which are more important than getting decent SEO rankings. Although you don’t need to SEO optimize every post, you definitely should be doing it for enough of them to increase traffic. To do this, choose strategic keywords which reflect your core mission. Then, write a post around one keyword at a time. Typically, this keyword will be incorporated into your topic.
Whether you’re a beginning blogger or old hand, it can sometimes be hard to know what to blog about. This is especially true in situations where participating in normal activities is more difficult. It’s also hard when you lose sight of what questions people are asking. Fortunately following my tips should help you keep any blog up to date with the latest trends in your niche.
Photo by Ryan Snaadt on Unsplash