I was talking to a friend who is excited about the idea of starting a blog. He said: “I have not blogged before so I just need a topic! This is the hard part!”. Many beginners might get stuck at this same stage so let’s take a look at things you should consider when finding a perfect topic to cover on your blog.
My first website topic
First website I started was about my favorite music band Metallica. This was back in late 1990′s. I loved the band, listened to them daily, spent a lot of time (and money) on their music, reading about them, collecting their discography, going to the concerts and interacting with other fans. To get even closer and more involved with the band a natural step for me was to start a website.
By starting a website about them, I continued spending a lot of my time on the band but now it was more creative and I become a producer of the content about the band. I curated the news stories, put together all the historical information, collected all the multimedia I could find, followed their tour dates and started connecting fans to each other by creating a community with help of an email newsletter and an online forum. Having a website helped me step-up from spending my time consuming the content about the band, to spend my time on producing the content about the band.
My own story has clues to what you can do when finding your own topic. We live in the information age, where people rely on information and use Internet to research. The idea is to blog about a topic that you are passionate about, that you know a lot about, and that people want to know about. Here is my 3-step method to finding a perfect topic for your online project.
1. Find your passion
To find your topic look inside and see where the raw energy comes from. Some questions to think about:
- Who are you?
- What gets you up in the morning?
- What do you do for a living?
- What do you love to do?
- What are your hobbies?
- What do you have passion for?
- What do you dream about?
Running a blog means that you need to create regular content about this topic so you don’t want to run out of things to say or lose the interest shortly after starting. You should be in for the long haul. Think in what topic do you have the experience, knowledge and passion needed to spend day after day on? Have a look at your calendar, your emails, sites you subscribe to or people you follow on Twitter. Get a sense of on what you are spending your time on when you are not busy. How you spend your free time reveals to you what your true passions and interests are. Blogging about your passion and the knowledge you possess makes you enjoy what you do, and turns blogging work into play. Now come up with a list of topics you care about.
2. Find your assets
Passion about a topic is not everything that you need though. The second thing you need to look at are your assets. You need to find your unique selling point. This is a marketing concept I got repeatedly pushed onto me in my business college days. The concept basically means finding what differentiates you from others, something that’s special about you, a reason why people should listen to you and not to someone else.
Finding your USP means looking at what you do best and what you do better than other people. In words of Mark Twain: “Write what you know”. If you are passionate about something but not very good at it, you won’t be able to attract much of an audience. It is what you know best that counts. Some questions to think about:
- What do you know a lot about?
- What do you have a talent for?
- What skills and abilities do you have?
- What do you know that’s hard to come by?
- What do you know that’s both rare and valuable?
- What are you experienced in?
- In what topics are you better than other people?
Sometimes you will discover challenges that other people find difficult but you find them easy. These challenges for example could be that valuable skill and a valuable asset that differentiates you from others. Discover and write down these key points. Compare them to your passion list from the step above.
3. Find the audience
Having a topic that you are passionate about and the key skills that differentiate you from the rest doesn’t automatically make your topic a potential hit. Just because you are good at something and you are passionate about it doesn’t mean that there is an audience for it. To find the perfect topic you also must consider the reality in the market. How popular id the topic, is there a demand for it.
In other words your blog topic should be something that you are really good at, that you love and that there is an interest for. Now that you have a list of topics that you love and a list of topics that you are really good at, you need to figure out if there is a demand and interest in those topics. Do a bit of research on each. What kind of sites are in Google rankings around the topic? Have a search on Twitter and see what people are saying about the topic? Is there a Reddit subreddit about the topic? This research will help you decide which of the topics that you love and that you are really good at also have an interest and a demand from the audience.
Starting your site
To summarize it all a perfect blog topic, your sweet blogging spot, is found by interlinking the 3-steps described above:
- Your passion – topic that you really love and care about
- Your asset – topic that you are really good at
- Market reality – topic there is interest and demand for
Do you have a good topic in mind? Great! The process of actually starting your site is pretty simple. I recommend Bluehost as they offer a free domain name and feature a simple start-up process. The whole process takes 5 minutes. Watch my step-by-step guide below.