Your Agency Blog Probably Sucks, This is How You Can Fix It: Part 2 – Blog Topics

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The sweet spot is where your interest overlaps with your readers' needs.

In our first post in this series, we looked at why agency blogs so often fail. We explained why understanding your audience is critically important in order to write posts that get read. In this second part, we show you how to find the right topics for your blog.

 

The Second Pillar: Find the Sweet Spot Where Your Interests Meet Your Audience’s Needs

Find the Sweet Spot Where Your Interests Meet Your Audience’s Needs

“Where can you be the leading expert in the world that truly matters to your customers and your business?” – Joe Pulizzi

Have no illusions. Writing a blog is a rather thankless endeavor. At least in the beginning, before you have followers who comment and cheer you on. It’s like shouting from a mountaintop, or into a wall and doing it on a regular basis. Effective blogging requires consistency over time. It’s a work of patience.

To sustain that patience you need to write about something you care about. Something that piques your interest. Not a topic for which you run out of things to say about it. It needs to be something you can say something interesting about at least once per week or twice per month.

This topic exists where your interests overlap with the needs of your audience. I’ve referred to it as “the sweet spot” in the chart below.

The sweet spot topics exist where reader needs overlap your passion, skllls and interests.

Your Audience Research Helps You Find the Sweet Spot for Your Blog Topics

To find the sweet spot for your blog, you need to consider the results of your earlier research.

Make a spreadsheet and rank all the blog topics your empathy maps or personas mention and rate them from 1 to 5 on:

  • Difficulty: Does this blog topic require a lot of research or fact-checking?
  • Popularity: Do you expect many more people to want to read about this?
  • Interest: Does this blog topic interest you?

Use Mind-Mapping to Identify Themes

Using the sorting feature in your spreadsheet application, order the spreadsheet by the interest column. Highlight the topic ideas that rate highly on interest and popularity but aren’t too difficult. Write them down on a paper as a mind-map. Using arrows, connect related blog topics to identify overarching themes.

If there’s more than one theme, choose the one that seems to be the least difficult, most popular and which interests you the most.

Use mind-mapping to connect topics and identify themes you can write about.

Now, go back to your research and look for the formats that your audience has stated that it prefers. Look for what they have said about how they consume content. This will give you clues regarding the ideal post length and whether you should focus on writing or creating infographics or do something else.

For example, if they say they prefer reading while on the metro, keep your pieces under 1,200 words or perhaps consider producing audio content.

Blog posts can take many forms:

There are countless blog post formats: infographics, interviews, surveys, tools, apps, lists, faq's, ebooks, illustrations, guides and templates are just some of them.

Clarify Your Blog Objectives and Blog Topics With a Mission Statement

With this information, you can now write a mission statement. This is something I picked up when reading Joe Pulizzi’s “Epic Content Marketing.”

The mission statement for your blog should explain what you write or produce, for whom and how they will gain from it.

Pulizzi gives several examples in his book. This is one of them:

“Welcome to Inc.com, the place where entrepreneurs and business owners can find useful information, advice, insights, resources and inspiration for running and growing their businesses.”

The statement is not a secret. I recommend publishing it on your blog, in the about page or in the sidebar like I’ve done here. It’s a promise to your followers and readers and something to hold yourself accountable to. It’s a filter for what content that may go on the blog and what may not.’

Congratulations, Your Blog Strategy Is 2/3 Done

You now have the second pillar of your strategy: WHAT. Read on to find out how to put it all in action by creating a blogging plan that you can stick to.

This is the second post in a 3 part series.

If you’ve done all this you’re off to a great start. But it will only take you so far. The magic is in a consistent execution over time. In the next and final post, we’ll help you make a blog plan that you can commit to.

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What are the topics that you can be a leading expert in?

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Author: Jakob Persson

Jakob is the founder and CEO of Zingsight, the company behind Bondsai. He's been involved with the web for over twenty years and has previously co-founded and grown a web agency from 4 to 70 people. Jakob holds degrees in media technology and cognitive science. He consults in product design and management, and business development. Jakob is an experienced skier and a learning scuba diver.