How I Come Up With Topics To Write About

writingI’ve been blogging for over 3 years now, and writing pretty consistently across all my sites (2-3 times per week). So, how do I continue to come up with topics to write about?

It can be a real challenge, but there are easy ways to build motivation to write.  In fact, Girl Meets Debt shared her story last week which encouraged me to write this post today.  There are plenty of motivating factors and ways to come up with a topic, so here are some of my favorite strategies.

 

Solve a Problem

We all encounter problems in our daily lives.  It could be something as basic as how to balance a checkbook, or something much more complex like how to trade option spreads.  Regardless, when you have a problem, you look for a solution.  This is a great post topic!  Share your solution.

A common solution that I’ve recently written about include Comparing TurboTax and H&R Block Online.  The bottom line is that I was looking for the best software for my own taxes, and thought I would share my opinions of each.  Look at the social shares on that post!  It was one of my few posts to go semi-viral on Facebook!

Another way to solve a problem is to identify a reader’s problem and help come up with a solution.  I’ve done a “Reader Question” series on The College Investor several times, and the posts have been well received by the audience, and I gain a very appreciative reader.

 

Comment on Recent Events

Depending on your writing schedule, you may be able to take advantage of recent events.  This is a great strategy to share an opinion while at the same time possibly being able to take advantage of search traffic or social media traffic on a subject.

A good example of commenting on recent events was Flex at Consumerism Commentary this week.  The day after the State of the Union he put out a post on Raising the Minimum Wage to $9.  Given all the buzz around the President’s speech, I bet he received great traffic because of his timing.  At The College Investor, I wrote a commentary on Robert Kiyosaki after his company declared bankruptcy, and that post still ranks very high in Google.

When writing about recent events, don’t just repeat the news!  If you’re blogging, you need to share an opinion!

 

I Need to Rant

Sometimes I just need a good rant.  I try to keep these posts few and far between, but sometimes things just irritate me to the point that I need to share it with my audience.

Rant posts can work well for you though on several fronts.  First, they can help you actually solve your problem with the company you’re dealing with.  Andrea at So Over This has been blogging about her Comcast woes for a long time.  Finally, she got someone to listen because the Consumerist picked up her post.  Now her Comcast service is working like it should!

Even if you don’t get a resolution, you can get even.  When I wrote about My Awful Best Buy Customer Service Experience, the post ended up #3 on Google right behind Best Buy’s company website.  For about 4 months, my post was getting 1,000 visitors per day.  However, as I wrote in How to Get a Company’s Attention on Social Media, Best Buy then used negative SEO tactics to bury my site by creating a bunch of fake 301 redirect domains and link juicing them…  Regardless, I got even, and Best Buy has to spend money to bury my complaint.

 

Find Out What People Are Talking About

If you still don’t know what to write about, see what people are talking about on the Internet.  There are a few key ways I do this, and I’m sure there are many other ways as well.

First, you can see what’s hot on Google by going to Google Hot Trends.  This is where you can see what the most popular searches are on a given day.  If people are searching Google for it, there’s a good chance you can capitalize on it.

Second, you could look at question and answer sites like Quora and Yahoo Answers.  Both of these sites have questions and answers posted by readers, and you can sort by recent, most popular, and more.  You can also dig into the subcategories that may align with your website (i.e. Personal Finance) and see more specific questions for your niche.

 

It’s My Blog, Deal With It

At the end of the day, while I try to really focus on what my readers want, I still reserve the right to post random things – LOL CATZ, etc.  While I never do, I just want you to know in advance that I can do whatever I want with my website – and you can do whatever you want with your website too!

Hey, sometimes readers want to see some personality from the guy or gal their reading on a regular basis.  So don’t be afraid to share your pet, your room, something funny, etc.  While I don’t do it on my website, I will post fun photos or other information on social media like Facebook or Twitter.  It keeps things interesting!

How do you come up with topics to write about?

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Comments

  1. I do all those things too. The bottom line for me is it has to be interesting.

  2. Same here! I’m constantly coming across things in the news, in my life, or in our relationship that I want to write about. I do have a notebook where I jot down blog post ideas… otherwise I’d forget them!

    • I use Evernote to keep track of ideas because I’m the same way. I also save “Drafts” in WordPress with potential ideas and use Editorial Calendar to shuffle them around to make sense.

  3. This is something I am still working on myself. While I have a decent and growing lost of topic I plan to write about I always worried about what to do next as I am still learning about and developing my own blog.

  4. Great tips! I usually based my topic on what is trending these days. I usually search on social media sites what are the latest issue and what have been drawing people in.

  5. Some of my articles grow out of my own ignorance or curiosity. There’s some concept that I want to know more about so I do some research and then write about it.

    Other articles are just my own personal editorial opinion on something that I think my readers might enjoy or find insightful.

  6. These are my favorites too. I don’t like always trying to work the SEO filters because I think it makes for boring content. Writing what I like keeps me on my toes.

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