You’ve decided to start writing a blog. Gaining credibility, reaching a wide number of new people and having a platform to promote your brand/opinions/thought leadership/ideas/experience and so on has finally got the better of you. But what to write about?
In fact this is one of the most common objections to starting a blog:” I’m not sure what I could write about”. Well, I’m not saying that what follows is definitive but I do read a lot of blogs and I have been writing a blog myself for a couple of years so I’m going to put it out there and see what happens.
Anything current that you feel your readers would be interested in. Obviously if you are writing for a specific audience this is easier but even if you aren’t if you find it interesting you have to believe your readers will too. Remember if its news it’s usually interesting.
Coming off the fence and putting your opinion out there is usually quite compelling. Too many people play it safe which is, well, safe but if you want to stand out from the crowd be prepared to stand up and be counted. My advice is to avoid politics, religion, race, sex and sport. Nothing to be gained there, but anything else is fair game.
Let’s face it most people are reading your blog because they respect what you have done as much as anything else. Feel free to share your experience with your readers especially if you can draw conclusions or a lesson or two that people can take away. The best lessons are learned on the playing field not in the classroom.
Everybody loves a story. If you can spin a yarn that people can relate to, especially if it’s true, you can engage your readers like nothing else. Follow this up with a message or lesson and you will have delivered a great blog post to your readers. It doesn’t even have to be your story although “true” is good.
Aim to summarise a book, paper, article, video clip, presentation or seminar without plagiarism but in a way that informs and enlightens your readership. Many people don’t have time to experience the source themselves so you will be providing a valuable service if you can do it on their behalf.
You know loads of stuff (if you didn’t you wouldn’t be thinking of writing a blog now would you) and what better place to share it than a well-crafted blog post. You can write this as a structured argument but a more popular approach is the “10 ways to ….” which is proven to attract readers.
Every now and then it is nice to toss in a left-fielder: something that is nothing to do with your normal material. This could be a personal reflection on a subject that you think your audience would be interested in or maybe just a personal rant. So long as you don’t break the rules of decency and you don’t do it very often it will make a welcome change to your blog roll.
8 Ideas and thought leadership
This is your big chance to demonstrate how different you are and how you a leader not a follower in your chosen field. New ideas, challenging stances and provocative opinions are all very compelling. Obviously if you aren’t big on original thought you should probably steer clear of this one.
If you have conducted a credible research project or perhaps run an on-line survey provided they are on a subject that your readers are interested in and you have been rigorous in your preparation you could have a blogging goldmine on your hands. Everybody loves information gathered from the masses and insightfully analysed. Also not many bloggers regularly publish research they have conducted themselves so it’s worth doing it for that reason alone.
If you attend any kind of event that you can draw some useful information or messages from then this has to be a rich source of posts. If you attend the right kind of events there are bound to be some interesting speakers with some juicy messages of their own. You are just the conduit.
Of course we all know the benefit of asking another blogger if you can swap posts but I really like inviting people who have a skill or experience that my readers would like to hear about but do not blog themselves. I have had some great posts by doing this as well as adding a little value to my guest blogger – deep down everybody likes to have their message heard.
12 How to….
If you can write a post that explains how to do something that your readers would value this has to be a powerful piece. Again, the old “10 steps to be able to…” format works but in truth anything that helps people to achieve an outcome will work.
Occasionally it’s OK to write a blog post that promotes what you do. Broadly speaking the blogging community frowns upon those who blatantly sell their wares but I think if you selflessly write post after post every now and then it’s OK to bang on about what you do – don’t make it too often though eh?
If you can ask your readers for help answer a relevant question or for their opinions on one subject or another you will not only engage your readers but will get a fresh source of ideas as well. I don’t do this enough, unfortunately, but when done properly it will create a great post so and generate some “noise” to boot!