On my article about increasing blog traffic, a reader asked about reviving her blog. These tips will help you know what to blog about – especially if you want to take your blog in a new direction.
When I was struggling with what to blog about, I read The War of Art: Break Through the Blocks and Win Your Inner Creative Battles. I also read Amanda Lang’s The Power of Why, Maria Konnikova’s Mastermind: How to Think Like Sherlock Holmes, and other books on how to think more creatively. I am almost always reading authors such as Seth Godin and Guy Kawasaki, and dozens of books on writing, blogging, and business.
If you’re a blogger who wants to make money but you don’t read books about business, creative thinking, being an entrepreneur, marketing, or writing…then you’ll fail to create and run a profitable blog. Blogging for money is a business for entrepreneurs who are willing to put time, energy, and money into their venture. Earning a solid income as a blogger is NOT about making superficial comments on blog posts in the hopes of increasing blog traffic, or stealing other bloggers’ work, or creating websites that are solely designed to make readers click on ads.
Here’s what my reader – a travel blogger – said on 4 Ways to Attract Readers to Your Blog:
“How do I resurrect my travel blog? While living abroad, I nurtured a blog for five years describing my experiences as an American expat living in Greece. I really didn’t know how to promote my blog (I was just doing it for fun and to archive my travel memories). When it was featured as Freshly Pressed (twice) my readership skyrocketed and my blog even went to the top of Google search. Now I have returned to the States but would like to rejuvenate my blog and try to earn some money on it. Any suggestions for keeping it going with a different angle since I don’t live there anymore? I just hate to see my blog die because I think the stories I tell are timeless.”
Ah, the timeless question – “What do I blog about?” That’s why I started Putting Parables Into Practice! It gives me a whole new angle and a million different ideas on what to blog about.
My tips to help you know what to blog about are inspired by The Parable of the Two Wolves…
The Parable of the Two Wolves
“A fight is going on inside me,” said an old Cherokee chief to his granddaughter. “It’s a terrible fight between two wolves. One wolf is evil – he is anger, envy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, self-doubt, and ego.”
The granddaughter nodded. She knew the wolf her grandfather was talking about because it was alive in her.
“The other wolf inside me is good,” said the grandfather. “That wolf is patience, joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion, and faith.”
“Yes,” said the granddaughter. “I know that wolf, too.”
“Both wolves are fighting to win,” said the old Cherokee Indian chief. “This same fight is going on inside you – and in every other person, too.”
The granddaughter thought for a minute. Then, she asked her grandfather, “Which wolf will win?”
“The one I feed,” said the chief.
How to Know What to Blog About
These tips – inspired by The Parable of the Two Wolves – are based on my own experience with starting 15 or more new blogs (I can’t even keep track of how many have come and gone!), recreating my Quips and Tips websites, and finding my voice as a blogger.
Feed the wolf of hope and faith
The most important tip on knowing what to blog about is NOT to give up! Don’t starve the hopeful, faithful wolf inside of you, the wolf that believes your blog is simply lying fallow right now. Don’t feed and give into the wolf of defeat, desperation, despair. Learn from me – I went through three years of wandering in the dry bloggy desert. I didn’t know where I wanted to take my blogs, even though I knew I wanted to keep blogging. Three years is a long time to wrestle with the “the how to know what to blog about” question…but I kept feeding the right wolf. I stayed positive and optimistic that my blogs – and myself as a blogger – WOULD be revived!
Write down three reasons you want to blog
Figuring out your main reasons for blogging will help you know what to blog about. Don’t do an internet search for “reasons to blog.” Don’t blog because your sister is a blogger or you found out that I make a couple hundred bucks a day with my blogs. Blogging is NOT an easy way to make money, nor is it a profitable source of passive income. Why do you want to blog? Tell me in the comments section below, or write a blog post about it for your own blog.
If you want to make money blogging, read What Types of Blogs Earn the Most Money? Earning a living as a blogger changes the “how to know what to blog about” question significantly.
Take your time finding your blog’s focus
I love my “Putting Parables Into Practice” theme, but it took me a long time to come up with the idea. It felt like I struggled to figure out what to blog about forever.
Actually, to be honest I rarely struggled with knowing what to blog about. I had no problem coming up with ideas for blog posts. My problem was getting bored with writing tips-based posts (like this one) without having an overarching theme or focus. Since I don’t like blogging about myself and I don’t want to share my experiences as a foster kid, daughter of a single schizophrenic mother, ex-pat living in Africa, teacher of missionaries’ kids, half of a childless couple, failed writer, revived Christian, Big Sister….there are so many interesting parts of my life that I could blog about! But I don’t want to blog about my life.
This tip for knowing what to blog about involves figuring out if you want to write about your life or your opinions or your memories or someone else’s life or other people’s opinions or memories (those latter two options are boring things to blog about).
How to find a different angle to blog about
On my article about increasing website traffic, my travel blogger didn’t just ask how to know what to blog about. More specifically, she asked for suggestions for keeping her blog going with a different angle.
When I added Putting Parables Into Practice to my Quips and Tips blogs, I did exactly that: I found a different angle to blog about. How did I do that? The bad news is that there are no quick and easy answers. If you read the preceding tips on how to know what to blog about, you know how long it took me to find an angle that satisfied my need to blog about something different.
The good news is that the answer you’re searching for is within you – just like the two wolves! I’ve always loved parables and quips and practical tips, so it’s a given that I’d blog about parables and practical tips for life, work, writing, and being in this world. For you to answer the “what to blog about?” question, you simply need to look within you. Explore your personality, interests, hobbies, passions, hates, values, beliefs, experiences, desires. Just like the two wolves, it’s in you. (This is both simple and extremely difficult. It only took me three years to find my answer).
Do other things in the meantime
When I was trying to figure out what to blog about, I accepted a full-time temporary contract position with Big Brothers of Greater Vancouver. Then, after nine months there, I got my Master of Social Work (MSW) at UBC in Vancouver. That took two years. After that, I did some part-time temporary work with a couple of different non-profit organizations. I also learned how to play the flute – and now I play with the North Vancouver Community Band every Thursday night! But through that, all I could think about for those three years was how to get back into blogging without being bored as a blogger. My blogs were hungry wolves that I didn’t let starve to death.
What new, interesting, different, adventurous things can you do while you’re wondering what to blog about?
For more ideas for your blogs or other types of writing, read How to Know What to Write About.
As always, fellow scribes, I welcome your thoughts on how to know what to blog about – or The Parable of the Two Wolves – below.