Say you have an amazing new website. It’s modern, it’s sleek, and it’s well organized. And to help visitors understand that you know your stuff, you’ve decided your new website will also showcase a blog.
But you have absolutely ZERO ideas on what to blog about. Or you feel like whatever you talk about will just be a rehash of all the experts that have come before you.
Don’t worry; you are not alone! It’s a problem all bloggers have. Here are four questions to ask yourself when starting a blog, to help you figure out what you should be writing about.
1. Who is your blog audience?
While my site is intended for potential clients, I envision my blog being for fellow communicators just starting out, and small business owners who need a little help with communications.
The possibilities for blog topics are endless, and that can become overwhelming really fast. Keeping your audience in mind will help you narrow your focus.
2. What’s the purpose of your blog?
The purpose of my blog is two-fold: 1) to help new communicators or people who want to take on their own communications, and 2) to show potential clients I know my stuff by building up a body of content.
Let your intent drive the topics of your posts. For example, I hand out ideas for newbies — like how to wrangle content — or do shallow dives into important topics, like using Google Analytics to better understand your audience (future post!).
3. What do you want to tell readers?
This is the Internet. So yes, every topic has been done to death. But it hasn’t been done from your perspective. What do you know that other experts in your field don’t? What tricks do you have that you’re willing to share? Helpful tips, advice, insights, theories, philosophies…all of it is new, because it’s coming from you. Trust that you have something useful to say.
And even if someone else has said it, so what? When you’re searching for an answer, or ideas, do you just go with the first thing you find? I know when I’m researching, or have a question, I might read 3-5 articles or blog posts.
4. Where can you find inspiration?
Look up some blogs that are specifically about the art of blogging for a living. Follow them. They’ll keep you inspired, give you ideas, and hand out best practices. Lots of them even hand out blogging tools (editorial calendars, planning worksheets) for free or for a small premium. Or follow blogs of people who write about other things you’re personally interested in. That can help generate ideas, too.
But you should probably steer away from the blogs by folks in your field, at least as far as inspiration goes. If they’ve been in the game for a good while, you’ll feel like everything you do is like “Baby’s First Blog” in comparison, and get discouraged.
One last thing…
One of the best ways to avoid the soul-crushing panic of not knowing what to write about is to make a huge list of potential topics to choose from. That way you’re not scrambling at the last-minute to think of something every week…or however often you intend to post. Just pick one, write, and publish!
Is it still hard to write some weeks? Absolutely. There have been weeks that I’m really not motivated, and I feel like what I’m writing is awful. But I’ve had blogs from those weeks go on to generate way more feedback than I expected. Lesson: You never know when what you post is going to resonate with people.
So just press “publish” already!
P.S. Many thanks to fellow entrepreneur and talented web designer Ben Ryan for inspiring this post!