There are many reasons why people choose to write. Some write because it is their job, passion or hobby, while others might do it for the therapeutic benefits. I rarely publish what I write, but in this case, it might help those struggling to get started – especially when blogging or writing articles in a professional setting.
1. What you want to say + what they want to learn = true
You know when you Google something and then find that one article (usually in the top 3 results), that’s just spot on?
You can tell by the headline that it will provide you with the exact information you’re looking for.
Now imagine that you open that link and the page turn out to be one of those spammy-looking sales pitches that may as well say:
“3 Really Obvious and Useless Tips – Pay Me For More Info”
…you don’t want to be that person. Not only will every website visitor get frustrated, but they will also immediately bounce off your site and maybe even report you as spam.
Start by thinking about what you want to say, and then stop for a minute and consider what people actually want to read.
What’s your purpose? What is it that you want people to associate you with? What would you like to work with or what kind of people are you looking to connect with? What value can you provide for others?
These are important questions to ask yourself – and are great “ideas starters” when you are looking for a topic to write about.
2. Categorise and sub-categorise your thoughts
Having a thousand ideas is almost as bad as having no ideas if you don’t take the time to sort them out.
Start by writing down 5 topics that you know a lot about (or are very interested in). These should be wide and overarching topics, such as ‘Travel’, ‘Politics’, ‘Fashion’, ‘Food’ or ‘Social media’.
Once you have your 5 topics, narrow it down by scratching any topics that are irrelevant to your purpose, audience or what you want to be ‘known for’ (depending on what your goals are).
For example: If you are a music producer and you want to be known for criticising the digitisation of music, you might need to scratch “Food” off your list, as it is irrelevant to your goal and industry.
At this point, you should have a few topics of interest that are all relevant to what you want to achieve as a professional (or personally).
Looking at your chosen topics, try to break them down further into a few sub-categories. Try to make at least 5 sub-categories from each major topic.
For example: If you’re a chef and your topic of choice is “Food”, your 5 sub-categories could be: Desserts, Japanese street food, Pasta, Food & Wine Pairing, Slow Cooking and Organic produce.
The final step is to review each sub-category and write up as many blog titles as you can.
Don’t overthink it, just write whatever comes to mind. You can always refine the ideas later.
For example: If you’re were an emerging fashion designer, and you chose “Sustainable fashion” as your sub-topic, your blog titles could then be:
- Does organic clothing last longer?
- A New York guide to secondhand shopping
- How to tell what brands are ethical
- Do you know who made your clothes?
- Every ethical brand showing at Paris Fashion Week
- Where to find affordable organic clothes for kids
Result: If you choose 3 topics and a total of 15 sub-topics, you’ll be looking at approximately 75 blog ideas at this stage.
This next phase is my favourite. Going over all the ideas, I like to check in with myself and see where I’m at, how I’m feeling and what ideas speak to me that day. And then you just write.