If you are an active blogger then you have doubtless come across the problem of finding topics to write about.
This is more of an issue to some than others – for instance, the likes of Derek Halpern and Glen Allsopp publish only when they are inspired by a topic that strikes them as particularly relevant to their audience. This is a particularly powerful method for a couple of reasons: it promotes scarcity, and it allows the writer to put great time and effort into their posts.
On the flipside, you have the likes of Pat Flynn and Marcus Sheridan – those who post multiple times a week. They have tasked themselves with crafting a regular and consistent production line of quality content.
I am not here to pick a side and tell you which method I think is surperior. The four names mentioned above are all people I respect greatly, and they are amongst the very few bloggers whose every article I read without fail.
I personally produce three articles a week and will continue to do so for the foreseeable future. So what I am here to do is reveal what I do to keep the topics I write about fresh and engaging.
Communicate With Your Audience
Although this blog is still very much in its infancy, I have already drawn inspiration from my audience in writing about topics that I know will interest you. How do I know this? Because you have told me what you want! In fact, this article was inspired by an email I received from a reader, wanting to know how I was able to continue producing three new articles every week without fail.
So, communicate with your audience and find out what they are interested in. This can be deliberate or inadvertent – you can poll your readers, or you can simply have an ongoing dialogue with them. It will soon become clear what they want from you.
Investigate Your Competition
First up, a caveat – I am absolutely not saying that you should plagiarise your competition’s content. Nor am I suggesting that you should essentially write your own article on exactly the same topic. But there is value in taking a look at what your competition is writing about in order to seek inspiration.
It is important to note that your competition writing about a topic does not necessarily make it compelling to your audience. But it should be a good marker, especially if you are investigating reputable sources.
There are multiple sources you can tap into to see what might be popular in your particular niche.
- Search for trending terms amongst your Twitter followers
- Search for your keyword in Google and check out the related searches at the bottom
- Check out questions in your niche being asked on sites such as Yahoo! Answers
What sources can you think of?
Write About What Interests YOU
Ultimately, your blog should be a reflection of your unique style. As such, there should be a healthy dose of content that interests you. This may be directly related to your niche, or it may not. The point is, your audience are there to read your content, and as such should have an attachment to your voice.
It is open-ended as to how far you should take this, but I would refer you again to Pat Flynn and Marcus Sheridan as great exponents of off-topic articles. If you are at all familiar with Pat then you will have read his regular updates on fitness programs he has tried. And Marcus often updates his readers on his personal life and wonderful family.
Don’t Be Afraid To Be Yourself!
Finally, try not to get too caught up in producing articles based upon laser-targeted topic research. There should be a natural flow to what your produce. And ultimately, you will need to rely upon your natural subjective feel as to what to produce – that talent will develop in time. Everyone writes dud articles – it is not the end of the world – just push onto the next one!
How about you? What sources of inspiration do you draw from when it comes to writing content for your blog?
Photo courtesy of IAB UK