Do you ever struggle to come up with relevant content? I do, too. Find out five ways to discover relevant topics to write about on your blog.
“Objection, Your Honor! That question is not relevant to the case,” Mr. Hamilton Burger jumped from his seat at the prosecution table and called out to the presiding judge.
The judge looked to Perry Mason for his response.
“If the court allows, I will show the relevance of the question as soon as the witness answers this one,” Perry Mason said.
“I’ll allow it,” the judge intoned, “but this had better be good, Mr. Mason.”
In case the names of Perry Mason and Hamilton Burger don’t jump out at you, you probably never spent hours watching Perry Mason reruns. I recently discovered that CBS has eight seasons of the show—the first hour-long drama on television—available on its app. We won’t talk about how many episodes I’ve already watched. It wouldn’t be relevant.
Instead, I’ll share what I’ve learned about relevant content by sharing a bit of my blogging journey.
How to Choose Relevant Blog Content
But let’s talk about relevant blog content. I started my first blog back in late 2012 and had a general idea of my audience—cancer caregivers. After hours agonizing over a blog name, I finally chose Blessed (but Stressed). I really had no idea how to blog, what to write, and only a minimum understanding of why people blogged.
My blogging partner and I wrote and posted about once a week on topics relevant to cancer caregivers who needed reminders to take care of themselves. When I discovered the Five-Minute Friday community, I started posting regularly on Thursday nights. I based my posts on the writing prompts given out at the Twitter party, and they often had nothing to do with caregiving.
On a whim, I started the Inspire Me Monday link-up the first Monday of the 2014 #write31days challenge. From then on, I knew I absolutely had to write a post for every Sunday (the day the link-up goes live).
Still, my partner and I struggled to come up with relevant topics—you can only write about self-care for caregivers so many times before you get bored. I started writing book reviews, and other random posts—many of which had no relevance for my intended audience.
At some point, my terrible stats discouraged me enough to take some expert’s advice. He suggested that bloggers have surveys for their readers to answer, so I created a survey. About 19 people responded. I discovered that readers preferred the stories more than the how-to-caregive-without-losing-your-sanity tips.
A More Relevant Blog
I decided to start a new blog and cultivate a new audience in September 2016. For about a year I kept the Inspire Me Monday link-up going in both places, but I eventually focused all of my attention on my new blog. This time I didn’t box myself into such a tiny niche. My new blog purports to give self-care hacks for the stressed-out and overwhelmed.
If you’ve landed on this page, you’ll see that I still have a difficult time keeping to just one topic. I post long-form posts on self-care topics every Sunday, but I also write book reviews (because reading IS self-care, right?), and Granny Geek posts about the technical side of blogging or writing.
Because I set the blog up with a broad enough category, I can write about a variety of things and keep them relevant.
Ideas for Creating Relevant Content
1. Reader Surveys
I might have felt discouraged by only having 19 respondents to my first survey, but the information did help me make the decision to branch out and start a new blog. You can create surveys using Google.docs or SurveyMonkey’s free platform.
Limit the number of questions, and make them as easy as possible for people to answer. Post a link to the survey on your blog. If you have an email list, send it out to your email list as well. People usually answer more honestly if they can answer in anonymity, so you might consider NOT collecting names or email addresses.
You can see my current reader survey by clicking here.
I’d love it if you took the survey, too!
2. Facebook Polls
Facebook allows you to create short polls in a group or on a page. If you have a Facebook group or page, craft a short poll. Once again, keep it short and sweet. You want people to answer without having to click anywhere to see the entire poll.
3. Ask an Avatar
Ok, you can’t really ask an avatar, but once you’ve described your avatar, you can ask someone who fits it to spend ten minutes looking at your blog. When they finish, give them a short list of questions to respond to. You might ask:
- Can you tell me right off what my blog offers?
- Was it easy to find topics that interested you?
- Did your user experience annoy you or make you feel welcome?
- Did you share any posts that you read? Why or why not?
Once again, you want to make the experience as painless as possible for your readers. I once received an invitation to answer a 25-question survey from a blogger. Do you suppose I responded?
4. Ask Questions in Facebook Groups
Make sure you ask in the appropriate group. I belong to a huge Facebook group that has a lot of active participants. When I need to know whether or not someone has a pain point in an area I want to write about, I’ll pose a question. The responses (or lack thereof) help me understand whether or not my topic has relevance for readers.
5. Invest in a Keyword Research Tool
Using a source like KWFinder or WordTracker (affiliate) can help you find relevant content. Both of these sources have a system for identifying the content people have looked for in the past 12 months. Sometimes we have great ideas, but we don’t express them using the terms people search for. Keyword research tools help solve that problem.
You Need a Theme and a Plan
In order to reach the most people, you’ll want to have a theme (your niche) for your blog that all the things you want to write about fits under. Once you establish that, you can come up with a plan. Start small—plan for a month at a time. When that gets easy, try planning for a quarter. Eventually, you’ll find planning for an entire year as easy as unwrapping a piece of chocolate.
And whatever you do, don’t leave your readers hanging for long. Perry Mason always has a plan for his line of questioning, and despite his nemesis’ protests, he always has a relevant question to ask. Be like Perry Mason.Be like Perry Mason. Find out where to ask questions to keep your blog relevent. #write28days #blogger #amwriting Click To Tweet
Come back tomorrow to find out which persistent actions will help your blog grow.