Since content is the pillar I’m in charge of writing about, it’s only natural that we begin by looking at the first question every potential blogger must be able to answer:
What should I blog about?
I think that the answer to the question of what to blog about lies in the answer to another question:
What do you love?
In my estimation, choosing what to blog about is as simple as identifying what you love to learn about and write about.
Do that and you set yourself up for long-term blogging success.
Here is a small smattering of what I came across from other bloggers offering advice on this topic:
What to Blog About — (Jon Greer, Catching Flack blog at BNet.com)
The most obvious answer is to blog about things you are passionate about and interested in.
Starting a Blog Part I: What to Blog About — (Duncan, The Blog Herald)
I knew from the first time I read a blog that I wanted to write one, but I couldn’t figure out on what, so eventually one day in 2002 it dawned on my that I liked blogs so much I’d write a blog about blogging
What Should You Blog About? — (Blogging Blog)
Q.1 What kinds of topics/subject should I write about?
Ans: Its good to start a blog about something that interests you. Its always easier to write about something that you are passionate about.
What Topic Should You Blog About? — (Yaro at Entrepreneurs-Journey.com)
The holy grail of blogging is a mix of what you love and what you can get paid for – and paid really well.
We’ll get to the money and getting paid issue at a later date, but the first part of Yaro’s statement is especially apt for our discussion in this post. Any “blogging holy grail” most certainly involves blogging about something that you love.
If you will indulge me for a moment, I will use myself as an example.
When I started with Orangecast back in June of 2008, I barely could have explained to you the difference between WordPress and a bench press. However, because our business was evolving to include blog development and strategy as an offering, I knew that I needed to get my hands dirty and really understand the intricacies of blogging.
For me, there is no better way to do that than to do that, meaning in this case that I needed to start my own blog. Once I made the decision to start a blog as my own personal sandbox, the question of what to blog about stared me in the face, requiring an answer before I could do anything else.
As I started to think about it more and more, I realized that if I was going to be successful with this little side project, I needed to make it something that I was excited about sinking my teeth into on a daily basis. Thus, from the myriad potential choices, I chose something that I knew I would always be excited to write about: sports; and more specifically, sports stories from the Midwest where I grew up.
Thus, Midwest Sports Fans was created from nothing at the beginning of August 2008. As of November 21, 2009, my little side project had generated almost 1.4 million visits and, among many unforeseen but exciting impacts, led to me appearing on ESPN’s Outside the Lines.
Why was I able to create a sports website out of thin air and achieve what I think has a been pretty decent modicum of success? I think it’s pretty simple: when it came time to choose what to blog about, I chose something that I love.
You see, there is nothing more important to the long-term success of a blog than consistent content. There just isn’t. Whether you are looking at it from a quality standpoint, from a reader interaction standpoint, from a revenue standpoint, from any standpoint, consistent and informative content truly is king.
If your choice for what to blog about is something you love, creating content will be natural and enjoyable. Not only with you look forward to the process of developing your content, but there is a good chance that you hold some level of expertise on the topic if it is truly something your are passionate about.
While blogging successfully is hard and sometimes arduous work no matter what your topic is, the work becomes a labor of love when you love your topic.
If your choice for what to blog about is something you do not love, then creating content might not always be so “easy” for you. Take note: I put the word “easy” in quotes to re-emphasize that blogging successfully about any topic requires hard work; you just have to decide if it will be a labor of love…or just labor.
As part of my daytime responsibilities at Orangecast, I manage a number of blogs and I would be lying if I said that I loved creating content for each of them. I do it, and I’m excited to do it as a part-owner of the company, and I think that I do it relatively well; however, the most successful blog I manage is the one about the topic I’m the most excited to learn about and write about.
That is not a coincidence.
Now, you may be thinking to yourself, what if I am blogging for my business? Do I really have a choice as to what I am blogging about? Obviously a blog for your business has to be about your business, and my response to you would be that you should love blogging about your business because you should love your business. If you don’t, then why is it your business?
In reality, I know that sometimes people are in businesses or careers that they do not necessarily love. If you are tasked with blogging about such a topic, then answering the what to blog about question might not be as simple as identifying what you love.
In that case, identify what the goal for your blog is and determine what content strategy will help you best achieve that goal. You can:
- Use keyword search tools to find out which of your potential topics is searched the most.
- Identify networks that you are targeting with your blog and strategize content that will be appealing to those networks.
- If other people are going to be involved with contributing content for the blog, find out what their passions and core areas of expertise are and weave this into your overall content strategy.
As with everything that we discuss in each of the four pillars of blogging, topics are intertwined with each other. If you are trying to determine what your content strategy will be for a business blog, you will want to read Derick’s advice in the business pillar to make a more well-rounded decision.
Though it may seem complicated, ultimately your decision for what to blog about needs to come as close as possible to fitting with your answer for what you love to research, learn about, and write about.
If you can find an answer to the question what should I blog about? that genuinely gets you excited to sit down and start writing, you’ve laid the first brick in the foundation of a successful blog.