In this article I have tried to to answer some fundamental questions about blogging. If you are not a blogger yet, you will understand how blogging can help you connect with like minded people, brand yourself, get new opportunities and become a thought leader in your field – and I bet you will be motivated to start blogging. If you already have a blog, you will find out ways with which you can find topics to blog about that are sure to succeed with your audience.
Verbal and Written Communication skill is the one thing that makes us human and sets us apart from other creatures on planet earth. While body language and verbal communication is about real time exchange of information, publishing transcends time and reaches people even centuries after it is created.
When you think about it, Information publishing is as old as man kind itself. We as cavemen used to draw and paint inside caves trying to communicate what we felt. From cave drawings, to rock tablets, to organic ink on dry leaves, to paper, to printed paper to Kindle and PDF e-books, we have come a long way!
While most of the technology improvements before 2000 AD was about the efficiency of printing and faster reproduction of the materials, there was not much change in the speed at which the published information was delivered, until the dawn of the internet age.
Why Blogging is Different from Other Forms of Publication?
What has changed in the past 2 decades is the speed of connectivity. Today you are reading this blog post, I started writing it just yesterday! That’s what separates blogging from every other kind of publishing technology we as humans have ever invented in our million years of existence!
While setting up a blog is as easy as creating an email ID, the real challenge with blogging mostly involves:
- Defining the purpose of the blog
- Choosing a topic to blog about
- Marketing the blog to reach readers and potential customers
What is the Purpose of Your Blog?
Some people write blogs so that they can sell advertising space and earn ad revenue from it. I used to do it with BikeAdvice.in. Some blogs help you or your company in Branding.
No matter what the purpose of your blog is, you always need to come up with interesting topics that will engage your audience and help you reach your goals.
The Ideal Way to Come Up With Blog Topics
There are only two ways to go about choosing the topics to write about:
- Write when you have something to say
- Write what people want to read about
Yes, that’s it. There is no other way to go about it!
There are thousands of people who have thousands of things to say to the world (including what they had for breakfast) and you can find such blogs all over the inter-webs. Every such blogger has at least 3 readers : The blogger himself, his grand mother and his cat! They just write about what they had to say but no one wants to read about it. I am sure you have come across blogs like that.
There are a lot of bloggers who write about what people want to read, but the problem is that they have nothing unique or original to say. So they end up rewriting other’s original content. Such blogs become dead over some time and never reaches the escape velocity to go from just another blog to a remarkable blog.
Magic happens when you have something original to say about what people want to read. (Hint: I have something to say about getting blog topic ideas and you wanted to read it!).
How to Have Something to Say?
Having something to say is the fundamental building block of blogging or publishing information. If you don’t have anything to say, please DO NOT write a blog post. PLEASE!
You will just be another page on the internet which will never spread. Write blog posts or books only when you something unique and original to say. If you ask me how, the answer lies below:
Having something original and unique to say comes from the following sources:
- Ideas from Other People +
- Other’s Experiences +
- Own Experiences +
- Thoughts about the topic.
When the above things mix, you get a original idea out of it.
Consider my case: I have been doing digital marketing for the past 6 years. I have read a lot of books about this topic. I have been with people who did digital marketing extensively.
While implementing what I learned, I discovered a thing or two myself which has never been published in other books. And every day I think about it a lot.
When all of this happens, I have something unique to tell you which is not available anywhere else in the world. I publish them in this blog from time to time.
Taking Ideas & Inspiration from Others’ Work
Some of the concepts I tell you will have the frame work or foundation of other people’s ideas. But they are like the same ingredients in different dishes. Adopting concepts from other thought leaders and building on top of it is what civilization and human development is all about. No one can have a 100% original idea.
Even the English language is something we copied from other people in our life… but once we got it, we are able to build on top of it. Like this article you are reading. 🙂
How to Find Out What People Want?
Unless you write about what people want to read, no one is going to visit your blog, let alone share it. That’s one of the nightmares of a blogger – a ghost blog with no one around.
But once you find out what people want to read about, you will be naturally motivated to write – because you know that people will read it, share it and bring more people to your humble blog in the corner of the internet.
If you email me a question about digital marketing, I would get curious to find out an answer not just for you but for myself too. I would start researching, experimenting and thinking about it. Once I have something to say, I will blog about it. If I don’t have something to say, I will just point you to the right link where you can find your answer.
When deciding on a blog topic, you have to make sure that it is something that most people in your audience want to read about. This way, you can reach more people and help more people.
A few proven methods to find out what people want:
- Talk with your blog readers. Ask them what they want to learn more about. You can have conversations with your audience/followers in your blog comments, a webinar, a real seminar or you can put a box in your blog where people can enter topics which they want to read about. You can use survey tools like UserReport.com to find out more about what your audience wants.
- Get insights from your Facebook page. Your social media channels are your focus groups. If you know where to look, you will get a lot of insights about your audience. You can see which posts perform well and which one doesn’t – that reveals the interest level on each topic by your audience.
- Hang out in online forums in your niche, look at the questions people ask. Look for reviews and comments on other’s blog posts which are in the same niche. Book reviews of books in the same topic can also give interesting insights.
- Keep track of trends and guess what people would want to read about. Guess the topics even before people start asking about it – this makes you an authority in your niche!
- The most powerful one: Look at what people are searching for in the search engines! (Duh!)
One of the easiest ways to know what many people want to read about is look at the search queries that people are typing into the search engines. This data is available for you in Google Webmaster Tools.
Google webmaster tools displays the search queries that people have typed in to the Google search engine. The data will be available to you only when your website either showed up in the search engine results or if someone clicked on it.
It will also show you the number of clicks you have got and the CTR (Click-through ratio). If you have not setup Google Webmaster Tools for your website yet, set it up now. Once you have setup, go to Search Traffic > Search Queries and in that click the Tab: Top Pages.
Here you will be able to see the top pages in your website, their impressions and the clicks. If you click on the small icon > next to it, it will show you the search queries that people have used to land up on your website.
For example, this article: “Why You Should Use a Premium DNS Service for Your Website + Amazon Route 53 Review” has performed quite well in my website. It is the 3rd most read article in my blog. Now I can find out how people landed up on this article:
The search terms ‘amazon route 53 review’ and ‘premium dns service’ are obvious and there is nothing to be surprised about. The article is about that and hence people who have searched for that term have clicked on it. But you can also noticed that people have searched for ‘GoDaddy Premium DNS Review’ and have landed up on my article. That’s because there are no prominent reviews for GoDaddy Premium DNS yet. If I publish an article about that, I can be pretty confident that there will be a lot of interest in that article.
You may ask: Why does Google display my Amazon article when the search query is about GoDaddy DNS? That’s because that is the closest possible result that search term – though it is not the answer to the question or search query. This happens because Google never limits their search results to a few links. There will always be plenty of results even if the relevancy goes down exponentially.
There is so much data in Google Webmaster Tools and Google Analytics that it can sometimes become overwhelming. There will be more article ideas than you can write about. Now the problem (a good problem to have) is to find out which articles will be read by most of the people. We need to go after the low hanging fruits first. Minimum effort, maximum impact. A few articles, maximum circulation. That’s where some advanced tools like HitTail.com can help us.
How HitTail Helps You Find the Best Keywords / Topic Ideas
Actually it is a misleading headline! I really do not know how HitTail helps you find good article ideas. I just know that it helps and it works. HitTail claims to have analyzed more than 1.4 Billion keywords so far and its algorithm can pick keywords for you which are sure to perform well for your blog / content channel.
Once you sign up for HitTail.com, you will be able to import data from Google webmaster tools. Their system will immediately start giving you keyword suggestions. There is a star rating which tells you which keywords to go after first. The data is refreshed every week and depending on your website’s traffic you will get good to great suggestions consistently.
HitTail.com is not the only solution in the market which will give you long tail keyword suggestions. There are other tools which I am yet to review. But as of now I am more than happy with the kind of help that it provides with my content marketing efforts.
I hope you got a good idea about blogging, how to grow an audience and serve them to their satisfaction. If you liked the article, please share it. If you have any questions, leave them in the comments below.