I find the hardest part about writing blogs is deciding what to write about. But first a confession: I am not a regular blogger because I would rather not blog than write something for the sake of it, and sometimes other things, such as paid work, take priority.
How do you decide what to blog about?
Once I have the idea, I let it simmer for a while to see if it has enough substance to write about. If I have a number of ideas in my head, some will rise to the surface. I used to just mull them over, but now I write them down so I don’t forget them.
I recently started keeping a Word document with three columns:
- Possible blog topics
- Blogs currently writing
- Completed blogs
It was interesting to see what topics I’d chosen to write about in the past, and note that I had written about one topic twice because I’d forgotten I’d covered it! This exercise also identified some potential ‘how to’ gaps.
Types of blogs
What you write about will depend on the subject matter of your blog, but I have two basic types of blogs:
- Opinion pieces: The topic must interest me and that means I try to find an angle that is slightly different from what others are writing about the topic. I often use these blogs to refine and clarify my thinking about a topic.For instance, I wrote a topic for my board paper site about why I hate purpose statements in board papers. I also wrote a blog for this site in defence of the passive voice because I get sick of people dishing it and it has a place in the language, and one on the changing role of the exclamation mark.
- How to: When I think about my readers, I will sometimes write ‘how to’ blogs. For instance, looking at my page views, I know that one of my most popular blogs was on how to punctuate therefore, moreover and however!
When I am writing ‘how to’ blogs, I can often use material I have used in another format, such as an e-book or training manual. These blogs are easier to write than the ones that require finding a fresh angle.
Do you prefer blogs that are opinion pieces or how to blogs?
What to do if you run out of ideas for your blogs
Darren Rowse, ProBlogger, has a comprehensive list of ideas for when you’re stuck.
A couple that appealed to me are:
- Answer a question: If you can’t think of questions to answer, you can ask people for some.
- Mindmapping: You can mindmap a new topic or take a blog you have previously written and see if you can expand on it.
If you blog, how do you get your ideas? And find the time?
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