Let me start by telling you that this post isn’t about trending topics or what your readers might want. This post is all about figuring out what works for you and your blog. Readers want authenticity and that can only come from being you and writing about the things you know and love. I’m going to share the steps I have used several times to figure out what topics I should be covering on my blog. This is also the process I used when my husband and I were creating The Coastie Couple blog. It’s much easier to figure out your topics when you start your blog but there’s nothing that says you can’t figure them out after years of blogging. Take my word for it – this blog started out with a different name and topics all over the place. Over the years, it has become more coherent and focused in ways I never could have predicted. More on that in a different post though!
These steps can be used to determine individual blog posts or even general categories for your blog. I’m simply sharing what works for me – it’s up to you to make it work for you and your blog!
Write down everything you love.
Grab a sheet of paper and write down everything you love. Write down the big things in your life. Write down the small things in your life. Write down the things that make sense and the things that don’t. There is no right or wrong for what you write. Simply dump everything onto the sheet of paper in front of you. It doesn’t even have to be pretty – it can be a doodled mess all over the paper. After all, this paper is for your eyes only. (Unless you choose to share it of course.)
Organize your list.
Create groups or categories for the things you wrote down. There is no right or wrong here. Simply group them in a way that makes sense to you. You may find that you have topics that don’t fit in anywhere. You might notice a trend of topics that you like better than others. For example, I like fashion but I wouldn’t have enough ideas to make it into a viable category for my blog. And that’s okay – not everything you like will make it to your blog.
Jot down blog post ideas.
Using your topics or your categories, jot down blog posts that come to mind. They don’t have to be perfect and they don’t have to be things you’ll actually write. This is all about getting thoughts on paper. You can trash ideas later if needed. If you don’t write down an idea though, you’re not giving it a true fighting chance and every idea deserves a fighting chance – especially when you’re stuck.
Determine the value of your ideas.
Now it’s time to determine which of your ideas are valuable. Value is in the eye of the beholder in this case and you’re the beholder. So, you’re the one deciding which ideas are valuable. Think about which ideas make you want to write versus which ideas bore you. It’s perfectly okay to scrap the boring ideas. (I do recommend filing them away somewhere in case you want to revisit them at a later time.)
Start writing and scheduling posts.
Now that you’ve brainstormed and determined value, it’s time to start writing and scheduling posts. Your list is probably bigger than what you can write in one blogging session. This is where an editorial calendar is helpful. You can use it to decide when you’re going to write and publish your posts.
This is a process that you can repeat over and over again as needed. I don’t have a set system of how often I come up with ideas. Normally they come to me at random moments, like when I’m doing dishes or in the shower. I always write them down when they come to me. (I have a phone file full of ideas, random post it notes scattered about, and index cards with lists. I’m thinking about getting a whiteboard for my ideas at some point. Future office goals.) I use the method I’ve shared anytime I’m stuck and need to come up with new ideas.
How do you come up with ideas for your blog? Do you have a system you love or does inspiration randomly come for you as well?