Today we’re going to focus on choosing a blog post topic and why it’s important to put some real thought into it if you want to get the most bang for the time you spend writing.
So, don’t even think about an attention-grabbing headline yet.
First you need to focus on choosing your topic.
Why It’s Important To Choose The Right Topic
Choosing the right topic is important for three reasons:
- Reader engagement: If the topic isn’t interesting to your readers, all your work is for nothing. An interesting topic engages your reader, and an engaged reader leaves comments and shares your link.
- Value: Rushing off a blog post without giving any thought to your topic or direction often results in posts that meander around a point but never actually get to it. If the reader doesn’t get your point, or your message, he gets no value from your post.
- Purpose: Every post you publish should have a purpose. It should lead the reader deeper into your blog or send him to a squeeze page or encourage him to subscribe to your newsletter or encourage him to share your link or just provide information that builds your credibility and makes you look like an expert. Before you zero in on a topic you need to decide what you want to accomplish with every post.
How To Choose A Topic For Your Next Blog Post
Many bloggers keep an ongoing idea journal by their side so they can jot down ideas anytime they pop into their heads.
This is a good idea because no matter how many times you repeat it to yourself, if you don’t write it down you’re going to forget it.
Don’t worry about being specific or narrowing down the topic, just jot down whatever pops into your head.
When you’re ready to write your next blog post, read through your list of ideas to find one that strikes your fancy for the day, and then follow these steps:
Identify a need
Maybe the idea you jotted down is something simple like “business plans.”
That’s a very broad topic but it’s just a starting point.
Identify your readers’ needs.
For example, maybe your readers need to know how to create a business plan, or the benefits of having a business plan, or how to write a business plan when you’re applying for a grant.
Now you have a narrower topic that’s relevant for your readers.
Picture a friend
When I’m writing a post I always picture one of my friends and I imagine I’m speaking to him directly, across the kitchen table, while we’re sharing a pot of coffee.
I imagine all the questions he might ask and this helps me to cover all the bases so my readers understand my message, no matter their skill level or knowledge base.
Don’t be a copycat
There are only so many ways you can state a fact or idea and with all the competition out there there’s bound to be some overlap.
But don’t simply regurgitate the same information you see on all those other blogs.
Find a new angle, give it a twist to make it unique, interesting and relevant for your readers.
Choose a topic that matters to you
There are times when I look around the other blogs in my niche and I see they’re all talking about the same thing – Google’s latest update or Facebook’s recent privacy violation.
I know these topics are relevant for my readers, too, but if they don’t matter to me that day I already know I won’t do a good job covering them.
Better to either choose a topic that resonates with me or let a topic choose me, instead of the other way around.
But if I want it to be interesting for my readers then it has to be interesting to me, too.
Stay On Top Of The Trends
Don’t ignore those trending topics, though, because if they’re popular on other blogs your readers probably want to know about them, too.
If you don’t give your readers what they’re looking for they’ll go somewhere else to find it.
If you just can’t bear to follow a trend today, them make plans to follow it tomorrow.
Planning ahead also helps you come up with new ideas and angles to make your content unique and interesting, and sometimes that’s all you need to get you back in the groove.
One post, one topic
Remember, your posts must provide value for your readers.
But it’s also important to remember that online readers are always impatient to move on to the next blog.
They don’t read your post word-for-word, they only scan it.
And because they only scan your post you need to make sure they’re able to get your message, otherwise they don’t get any value from your content.
Having too many topics in one post makes it difficult for the reader to find, read and absorb your message.
It helps to use an editorial calendar to plan your blog posts in advance.
Not only can you plan your topics better but you can also plan the types of posts you want to create, such as list posts or How-To posts.
It’s especially helpful for planning series posts.
You can also map out the purpose for each post.
With an overall weekly or monthly view you’re able to clearly see where you need to make changes to fill in holes.