How do I find a topic to blog about? If I had a dollar every time someone asked me that question, I'd have enough money to fund a 5 star month-long vacation to the Bahamas.... first class tickets, 5-star accommodation, the whole 9 yards.....
Maybe I should start charging people every time they ask me that question ;-)
But because I love you, my reader, so very much, I'm going to share this information with you absolutely free..... and find another way to fund my holiday to the Bahamas. :-)
This post is a step-by-step guide to choosing a topic that not only has profit potential, but one that you enjoy writing about as well. I call this intersection of passion and profit potential your blogging sweet-spot and in this post I'll show you exactly how to hit that sweet-spot for blogging bliss.
NOTE: This post is extracted from my Blogging Blueprint Program which shows you how to generate a full-time income by blogging in your spare time.
This lesson is for those of you who have a hard time coming up with potential topics to blog about.
If you already have a some potential topic ideas, then feel free to skip this section.
So grab a notebook or clean sheet of paper and answer the following questions:
Answering these simple questions should give you several potential blogging topics to choose from. Which one should you actually choose to start a blog around? That's what we're going to dive into next.
Choosing a topic to start your blog around can be challenging at best and absolutely nerve-wrecking at worst.
It's not always easy to come up with a topic that is at once both something you're passionate about and something that has money-making potential as well. I call this intersection between passion and money-making potential your blogging sweet-spot.
One of the easiest ways to hit your blogging sweet-spot is to start off with the proven money making niches and then see if you can find something you're passionate about within those niches.
There are certain blogging niches, or categories, that are proven money makers. Within these broad categories are dozens, even hundreds, of sub-topics that you can start a blog on.
You'll be hard-pressed to find a successful, profitable blog that doesn't fit into one of these sub-topics.
There are 12 broad niches that are proven money-makers:
Let's look at some sub-category topic examples within each broad topic.
Cooking, crafts, gardening, DIY, Decorating, Arts, recreational sports etc.
Copywriting, Graphic Design, Writing, etc.
Computers, technology blogs etc.
Now that you've got your initial list of topics, the first step is to eliminate the topics that do not have any money-making potential. Unless, of course, you are doing this purely as a hobby, which I assume you're not.
So how do we know if a chosen topic has money-making potential?
Criteria 1: Does it fit into one of the 12 broad money-making topics?
First, it's got to fit within one of those broad money-making niche topics I spoke about earlier. If there are any topics on your list that don't meet these criteria, cross them off.
Let's say we chose the topic of knitting. Does it fit into one of the 12 broad money-making topics? Yes, it does. It's a creative endeavor.
Criteria 2: Are there any paid advertisers on Google?
Second, are there Google AdWords ads on the topic? So type in your broad keywords and see if there are any advertisers.
So let's say your topic is knitting. Type knitting into Google and see what comes up.
These three listings are all ads. Do you see the green AD next to the url of the website? That shows you that this is an ad. So our topic of knitting passed the second test.
Criteria 3: Are there any magazines on the topic?
Go to www.magazines.com and see if there are any magazines on the topic. The presence of a magazine indicates that there are paid advertisers and this means that there is money to be made in this niche.
If a topic passes at least two out of three of these tests, it's usually a safe bet to say it has money making potential.
Take each of the topics you've chosen and run them through these tests, eliminating all those that don't meet at least two of the three criteria.
Then move on to the next step.
Now that you've chosen a topic that we're going to refine the topic even further. This is also known as niching down. Here's how to do it.
Step 1: Niche Down
A sub-niche is a niche within a larger niche. Let's use myself as an example. The niche I chose was Internet Marketing, which fell within both the Business & Entrepreneurship category and the Internet & Technology category of our money-making topics.
But it's not specific enough. Search Internet Marketing and you'll find hundreds and hundreds of blogs on the topic. There was no way I could possibly stand out from the competition.
So what's the solution?
You're going to niche down even further. There are two ways to do this:
Option 1: Choosing a sub-sub niche, another smaller niche within that larger niche.
Option 2: Choose an audience you want to work with
The important thing to keep in mind when choosing a sub-topic is to choose one that you will be able to write about week after week. If you choose a sub-topic that's too small, you're going to run out of things to write about very quickly.
So, using my own example of Internet Marketing, what is one smaller sub-niche within the broader niche of Internet Marketing that I could focus on? I chose to focus on blogging.
But that's still not narrow enough. There are thousands of blogs on the topic of blogging. So my next step was to choose an audience that I would like to teach and I chose Muslim women.
So my eventual blog topic was Blogging For Muslim Women. Now my competition is much less and it's far easier for me to stand out in the marketplace.
Do you see how that works?
General blogging topic + Sub-Niche + Specific Audience = Highly Specific Blogging Topic.
The key to remember when choosing an audience is that the audience must be large enough to sustain your business, yet small enough for you to stand out among the competition.
So if I had chosen blogging for single Muslim women living in South Africa, for example, the niche would have been too narrow to sustain a business.
Here are some other criteria to keep in mind when choosing a blogging topic:
1. It must be an audience that you enjoy working with.
2. They must have money to spend and be willing to spend it.
You can choose your audience by gender, age, religion, interest, level of expertise on the topic, by geographic location etc.
Some examples would be:
So why is it so important to choose a specific audience? Why can't you just aim the topic at everyone?
The problem with trying to appeal to everyone is that you appeal to no one. A generic blog doesn't stand out. This approach may have worked 10 or 20 years back, when there were far fewer blogs, but now if you want to have any hope of standing out in the blogosphere, you have to choose a very specific audience to focus on.
You want your ideal prospect to come to your blog and think "Hey, this is for me." and you'll never get this reaction if you're trying to reach everyone.
So the simple rule is one blog must serve only one audience.
1. List as many sub-topics within your broad topic. Choose the sub-topic that appeals to you the most, but one that is also broad enough to write lots of content on.
2. Write down all the potential audiences that would be interested in your topic.
Now that you have a list of people who would potentially be interested in your topic, it's time to narrow down.
Step 1: Eliminate Any Groups Of People You Don't Like Working With.
It's far better to focus on serving an audience that you love and one that you will resonate with, rather than trying to serve an audience you have no affinity for.
Step 2: Eliminate Any Groups Of People Who Are Not Tech Savvy Or Who Don't Read Blogs.
Targeting these groups of people would be a waste of time.
Step 3: Eliminate Any Audiences That Don't Have At Least One Million People
As I said earlier, your potential target audience has to have at least one million people. Example: Accountants living in Bali - There are certainly not one million accountants living in Bali, so this wouldn't be an appropriate audience to target.
Step 5: Eliminate Any Audiences That Don't Have An Ongoing Interest In The Topic.
So in my case, one of the potential audiences for blogging would be business opportunity seekers. But as a rule, this group of people are looking for a way to make money quickly, they often move onto the next get-rich-quick scheme very quickly, and they are not interested in putting forth the effort required to build a solid and sustainable blog.
3. Now that you've eliminated all the audiences that are not worth your time and effort, it's time to evaluate the remaining audiences and choose the best one.
You're going to rank each of the remaining niches on the following two factors:
Factor 1: Affinity: Are you part of this group?
So on a scale of 1-10, rate each remaining audience for affinity.
1= you don't consider yourself a member of this audience and 10 means that you are a one hundred percent member of your audience.
Factor 2: The second is audience size. Which target market has the biggest audience?
The one with the biggest niche size gets the most points. The one with the smallest one gets the least points. Now choose the target audience with the highest score.
By now you should have made your final choice of blog topic by narrowing down both your sub-niche and your audience.
Most blogging courses will move on to setting up your blog once you've chosen a topic. And they will miss one vital step and that is refining your topic by getting to know exactly what your target audience wants. And it's this step that makes the difference between being another "me-too" blogger and really standing out from the competition and dominating your niche.
In order to have a successful blog, you're going to need to know your target market better than they know themselves.
You're going to need to know their dreams, desires, fears and problems, all as it pertains or relates to your topic.
So think about what your audience would like to do and what outcome they would like to achieve.
Fill in the blanks in the sentence below.
I want to ________ and ________, so that I can ________ & __________.
Example: I want to build an online business and quit my job so that I can travel and spend more time with my family.
When you become really clear about your audience's greatest need and address that in your content, then when your prospective client comes to your website they will feel that this is the exact solution they have been looking for all along.
I want you to get to know your audience so well that you're able to step into their shoes and really become one of them. That's why it's always a plus if you're already part of the target market.
When your prospect reads your blog, they need to almost feel as if you're bugging their homes or spying on them. It boils down to developing empathy for your target market.
Step 1: Understand Your Target Audience's Motivation
In order to write posts that really resonate with your target audience, you need to understand why people are reading your blog in the first place.
Here's a powerful exercise to help you to develop that empathy. Grab a fresh sheet of paper and on it, answer the following question:
Why would [your audience] be interested in [your blog topic]?
List up to 10 positive reasons why someone would be interested in your topic. What are 10 benefits they will gain or what desires and goals does your information help them to achieve.
So going back to my blogging topic example here are 10 benefits they gain or problems they solve by learning about blogging and starting their own blog:
1. Make money
2. Replace a day job
3. Supplement their income
4. Share their passion, knowledge or expertise on a topic
5. Use blogging as a platform to build an audience that they can sell information products to
6. Use blogging as a platform to promote their existing business
7. Learn blogging as a skill so that they can blog for their company
Now it's your turn. Come up with a list of reasons why someone should be interested in your topic and what benefits they would gain from this as well as what pains or problems your product solves.
Step 2: Now take what you've written down and make it specific and measurable.
If you want to have a blog that people come to again and again, one that develops a loyal following of readers who share your content, then your blog needs to share actionable strategies and content.
People want more than just theory. They want to know how to actually achieve something. Show people how to achieve the results they want.
In order to do that, you need away for them to measure whether they have achieved their objective or not.
You need to talk about goals and outcomes that are measurable and quantifiable. For example, reaching or achieving peak health is not quantifiable. Reaching your goal weight is quantifiable.
So again, let's look at at the goals and pain points we wrote down earlier and if they are vague try and make them more specific. If you're not sure, ask yourself "Is there a way I can measure or quantify whether this goal has been achieved or not?"
Step 3: Choose The Goals You Want To Focus On
Now, not all of these outcomes or goals that you listed are suitable for you to focus on.
The outcomes you choose to focus on for your blog should meet the following three criteria:
1. Outcomes that appeal to at least 80% of your audience.
2. Outcomes that are challenging and require some time to accomplish. Try to choose outcomes that your reader will need ongoing help with.
If you choose only outcomes that are easily accomplished within a few weeks or months, then why should they continue to read your blog? So focus on big achievements that take sustained effort over a long period of time and eliminate any that are quick and easy to accomplish.
3. Outcomes that you can actually deliver on.
You'll lose readers and credibility if you make promises that you can't deliver on. Not to mention that it's downright unethical and immoral.
Keeping these 3 criteria in mind, choose the main focus of your blog. You can have several different elements you focus on, but there should be one primary overriding one that the others tie into.
This focus will serve as your guiding star when choosing an outcome for your blog.
Step 4: Do Market Research To Validate Your Goals
Now you're going to evaluate the remaining outcomes based on how desirable they are to your target audience.
If you, yourself, are part of this audience, then you probably have a good idea about this already.
But let's verify your suspicions with some solid market research.
There are three places you can look:
1. Comments on other blogs in your niche
2. Book reviews on your topic on Amazon.com
3. Direct feedback from your readers (if you already have an audience)
Let's take a look at each one in more detail.
Search for the top 5-10 most popular blogs in your niche.
How do you know that a blog is popular? The blog should have an average of 20+ comments per post.
Then find the top 10-20 posts that most closely relate to your blog topic and start reading the comments and make notes of the recurring themes that you see.
Do they validate what you suspected your target market wants?
Amazon.com Book Reviews
Search for the top 5-10 books on your topic on Amazon. Start reading the reviews and pay attention to what results people mention that they've achieved, want to achieve or failed to achieve.
For example "I thought this book was going to help me to _______" or "I achieved ______"
Your Own Audience
If you already have a blog, ask your existing audience. You can send them an email asking them what their biggest challenge is regarding your blog topic.
So if you have a blog on parenting toddlers, for example, you can ask them What's your biggest question you have about parenting toddlers?
As you're going through this, remember to keep things broad and not get too specific.
What you're looking for are broad recurring themes and you'll soon see them start to emerge.
1. Evaluate the outcomes in order from the most important to the least important.
2. Then do market research in order to validate those outcomes.
3. Now make your final choice. What outcomes were mentioned the most from your research?
Now look for one that's mentioned frequently, but it's also something you can help readers to achieve.
Now that you know what you help readers to achieve, the next step is to communicate it clearly to your readers.
In order to do that, you need to create a USP. A USP is a unique selling proposition and in your case as a blogger, it should tell people what's different and unique about your blog and why they should read your blog instead of the thousands of other blogs on the subject.
In other words, what do you provide that no other blogger does?
You can feature your USP as a tagline on your blog header or in some other prominent spot on your blog.
Here are two "formulas" that you can use.
"I help [target audience] to get [what specific result]."
You may have to brainstorm 5-10 options and then choose the one that is the clearest and most succinct.
So let's quickly recap the 5-step process:
Now that you've chosen your blogging topic, the next step is to find a domain name (that's what people type into the search engine to find your blog).
But before you hop on over to read The Ultimate Guide To Finding The Perfect Domain Name, please share what topic you'd love to blog about in the comments section below.
If you have any questions about choosing the perfect topic, then please ask in the comments section below and I will be happy to answer them for you.
I also have a free one-hour training on the 5 Steps To Starting a Profitable Blog.
Join the Wealthy Muslimah Online Community to learn things like "How to Start a Money-Making Blog", "How to get coaching clients," "How to Create Your Own Course" and more.....
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