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Blogging Step One; What To Write About

Posted by on May 7, 2008

A blog is an online journal of either personal or business ideas that people want to share with other people online. Some people write to get things off their chest. Some people write to journal their day. Some people write to give their opinion on things such as politics or religion. Some people write to show off their expertise in a particular field. And some people blog to make money; nothing wrong with that.

Before even starting a blog, you should take some time to decide what you want to write about. Many people come up with a quick idea, think it’s cool, and decide that’s where they want to go. But if you’re going to blog a long time, or if you have a purpose other than just ranting, you shouldn’t skip this step.

At the same time you’re thinking about what you want to write about, you also have to decide if you’re going to try to make any money off it by adding things such as Google’s Adsense, Clickbank, or any other affiliate or PPC (pay per click) types of ads. It’s an important decision because it helps you to determine whether you’re looking to write a fun blog, a business blog of some type, or a personal blog. If you’re going to use a blog more as a diary and you’re hoping to make money off it, the ads that come up probably won’t help you much.

So, say you want to write a business blog, and you’re a financial counselor; I’m going to use this one because I’ve seen this topic fail a lot. Think about how much you could write on a consistent basis on just that topic if it’s your business. Think about who you might be aiming your posts at. If you’re only looking to talk to people who might use your services and you’re trying to highlight your expertise, you might find yourself starting to struggle for something new to say pretty quickly.

However, let’s say that you want to do that, and talk about financial matters in general. If you’re ready to give your opinion on the status of the stock market, the price of oil, the trading of commodities, CEO compensation, or whatever the latest bit of news is that’s out there, now you’ve given yourself a chance to succeed for a long time because every day there’s something going on that’s fodder for your commentary. Broadening the area of the topic you want to focus on is a key to longevity.

I met a guy a few weeks ago who said he wanted to write a blog, but didn’t want to give opinions because he didn’t want to lead people one way or another. Blogs are either for opinions or dissemination of news; everything else ends up as articles, white papers or tech manuals. If you want people to consistently come to your blog, you have to not only give them information, but there has to be a level of entertainment. You have to be interesting; think about which teachers were your favorite in school. In history class, did you want a teacher who just gave you what came straight out of the book, or the teacher who would intersperse stories that helped bring situations and people to life (having fun memories of one particular history teacher right now)?

So, in review, decide what you want to write about, pick a topic that’s broad enough to give you enough to talk about for a long time, and be interesting. Oh yeah, one more thing; have fun with it, and think of it as fun, because if you think of it as work or as a necessity, you’ll crash and burn quickly. Even with business blogs, you’re allowed to be irreverent every once in awhile; I know I certainly am.

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21 Comments »

Lukeither:

Mitch, thanks for commenting on my post on RYZE, your blog has addressed the key elements to building a foundation for getting started. It’s just like building a house, once you pick out the property you decide on the structure and then you pick out the accessores ( to me SEO-KEYWORDS are the accessories for the house). It is important to drive traffic to a site, but for me I’d like to make sure my content is strong enough to keep people coming back because of the quality of the content because I have other sites/blogs I want them to visit as well. That’s just what works for me and it give me an opportunity to prepare and familiarize myself with blogging tips/techniques.

May 26th, 2008 | 10:35 PM

Great advice Mitch.

One more thing I’d recommend before starting is doing keyword research and developing an seo strategy.

I did that prior to starting my blog, and it’s paying off for me.

May 26th, 2008 | 9:51 PM
Mitch:

That’s a good point, Larry. The only reason I didn’t mention it is that many people who might be thinking about starting a blog won’t know what either of those terms means, and why confuse people before they’ve even decided to start the process, right?

May 26th, 2008 | 10:05 PM

I believe that this step is so important that either we teach them how to do it, do it for them, or refer them to somebody who will.

Organic search engine traffic is so important. It’s targeted, and it’s essentially free.

I personally find seo one of the most enjoyable aspects of blogging. However, if somebody else doesn’t, I totally understand.

BTW, from your blogroll I see that we have a friend in common, the talented Ivo Jackson.

May 26th, 2008 | 10:16 PM
Mitch:

Yes, Ivo is a good person, and she’s really been networking well.

Actually, I think it depends on what someone decides they want to blog on is way more important than the SEO. In your case, you knew up front that you wanted to make money with your blog. If that’s not someone’s interest, and all they want to do is express their thoughts, then SEO means nothing to them.

For a new person, the harder you make the early process, the more likely they will be to not even want to start. Let’s get people writing first, then teach them the rest of it. We wouldn’t teach people how to use Word before we taught them how to turn on the computer after all. 🙂

May 26th, 2008 | 10:27 PM
Mitch:

Thanks for coming by and leaving a message, Lukeither. First, I hope you also saw the rest of the series. Second, your point about the content is spot on, though you can also have fun from time to time. Personality counts a lot.

May 27th, 2008 | 2:00 AM

Great advice Mitch!

I agree with all that you have said both in your blog and within these comments. SEO can be important if your goal is really to make money and it can be done FREE. Not so important if your intention is to just blurb about something you love. This gives me something to think about as I go forward with managing my own 4 blogs.

July 12th, 2008 | 12:17 PM
Mitch:

Glad you got something out of it, Niquenya. Can’t wait to check out your blogs, once you start writing in them again.

July 12th, 2008 | 3:35 PM
MC:

Thanks for this series of blogging, really very useful and informative..

February 22nd, 2010 | 5:32 AM
Mitch:

Glad you enjoyed it, MC: I hope it helps as well.

February 22nd, 2010 | 2:36 PM
RROD:

Always write certain thing that you like and interest in. For instance, you love to cook, so write down your favorite recipe or your culinary experiences. People always do great things on something that they’ve currently mastered in.

February 23rd, 2010 | 4:41 AM

hey Mitch
some great points here but the one that caught my attention was
“Blogs are either for opinions or dissemination of news”
I’m relatively new in this arena and my blog is more a story or bi-weekly update of the journey so far
I wonder what your thoughts would be on that? – maybe your would take a minute to cast your eye over our blog – (my wife Dawn and i actually do this as a joint venture so even your thoughts on that would be interesting)
and you are so right about this having to be fun and not work
anyhow, back to writing our next exciting post
keep posting
allan

August 14th, 2010 | 3:24 AM
Mitch:

Hi Allan,

Glad you found us here, and glad to be a part of your homework assignment. lol Your story fits into my point of “opinion or news”, but I’m also glad I wrote earlier on that it’s a place to share either personal or business ideas as well. In general, a blog is what one decides to make of it, and I see you’re talking about the journey towards, I expect, making money online. You’re covering it in a different fashion than most, but others have written about this type of journey as well. It’s still fresh, though, because now it’s your experience.

I have to admit, though, that if it’s both of you writing that I can’t tell the difference in style. If you want people to be able to discern the difference, you could create two users so each of you has your own voice. If you don’t care one way or the other, then what you’ve got going works just fine. Good luck with it all; I’ll be looking in from time to time, and if I have something to say, you know I will. 🙂

August 14th, 2010 | 10:30 AM

hi Mitch
we both thank you ever so much for visiting our blog – but more so for taking the time to give us your honest and sincere thoughts
it is this type of feedback that will fast track our progress
we are going to sit down and review all your suggestions
isn’t it wonderful that the internet allows us to share all this knowledge
with much appreciation
allan

August 14th, 2010 | 10:06 PM
Mitch:

It certainly is, Allan, and I’m glad to be a part of your knowledge base. 🙂

August 14th, 2010 | 10:56 PM

Hi Mitch,
Nice post.I think if we write blog for high traffic then we have to consider our readers first and your are right that a content should be interesting and informative for readers otherwise they will not come back again.

July 26th, 2011 | 9:04 AM

I think this an interesting topic. Creating a blog is one thing, what to write about is another. From my years of blogging experience posting unique and interesting content is the key while targeting for high PR.

August 22nd, 2011 | 4:09 AM
Justin:

Hey Mitch, Just found your site, start looking at it from a couple minutes 1 hour later I’m like oh need to get back to work. Any way you have loads of good content on here, my friend..Looking through step 1, what to write about. It’s so true many newbie bloggers including my self when I first started just chose a quick idea to get started with, but once time progressed didn’t realize that oh yeah I’m still doing this… if you actually plan on writing for a while, you will definitely want to pick a topic that you are genuinely interested in. There is absolutely no point in rushing at this stage because it set the foundation for everything we do as bloggers……blogging is a commitment and if were going to commit to something it might as well be to something that you actually like… thanks for sharing my friend. I look forward to more of your content.

September 29th, 2011 | 4:46 AM

Thanks Justin; got a lot of content already here! lol And blogging is definitely a commitment, but it should be seen as fun and I hope most people do view it that way.

September 29th, 2011 | 9:36 AM

Thanks Mitch I enjoyed reading your article even it is posted in 2008 but it still alive I discovered your blog through your guest post in basicblogtips I already subscribed and started reading your series on blogging.
Salah Messaoud recently posted…What Makes Up A Good BlogMy Profile

October 25th, 2011 | 8:48 AM

I hope the entire series works well for you Salah. That’s what it’s there for.

October 25th, 2011 | 11:11 PM