Wondering what to write about?
If you are, you aren’t alone. Countless bloggers wonder the same thing as they sit in front of a blank screen and wait for inspiration to strike.
It’s an important question, after all; what you write about will determine whether your post will be read and shared, or sit in your archives, gathering digital dust, not being read by a soul.
And the sad truth is that far too many posts fall into the latter category.
Does that sound familiar? And maybe even a bit scary?
Well, I’ve got good news. It doesn’t have to be that way. You can easily and consistently pick winning angles for your posts…
The Blank Screen and the Muse
Is there anything more inspiring than a blank sheet of paper (or computer screen)?
In theory – no. They represent boundless possibilities, infinite options, and a real chance at genius.
Then you actually sit down in front of one, and try to write. Your palms get a little sweaty, your gaze starts wandering around your desk, and your brain starts running through all of the really important things that you need to do today – after writing your brilliant post.
It’s really hard to get started.
You see, when you sit down in front of that beautiful blank page, you’re putting a lot of pressure on yourself. The possibilities are boundless, and so it’s easy to be stymied and accomplish nothing.
That blank page is your enemy, not your friend. Because it could turn into anything, often we worry that the something we write won’t be good enough. So our brains start looking for something else – something easier – to focus on.
That’s how sitting down to write a blog post turns into sorting your income tax receipts, reading random blogs, or thinking up uses for your leftover roasted squash.
You’ve fallen victim to the myth of inspired writing…
The Myth of Inspired Writing
The trouble is that the inspired writing that we expect from literary (and blogging) greats… doesn’t really exist!
Sure, there may be a time or two when you get a flash of insight, sit down, and dash out 2,000 words of unadulterated brilliance. It’s a great feeling, as though something is writing through you, and you’re just a vessel for a pre-existing and desperate to be known idea.
But it doesn’t happen that often.
Writing is hard work, and so we need to hone our skills, practice our technique, and rely on processes that get consistent, solid results, without needing to wait for unpredictable flashes of brilliance.
And what’s the foundation of these reliable, effective processes? In a word: research.
Wait – research? Really? But that’s so… boring.
Let’s get something straight – research for your writing on the topic that you’re passionate about isn’t the same as research on the evolution of tax law in pre-industrial Germany (unless that’s your thing). Properly conducted research on a topic that you’re passionate about is going to be a hundred times more inspiring than sitting in front of a glaring, malevolent blank screen ever could be.
Besides you’re not researching to find ideas – you’re researching to find your angle.
Finding the Winning Angle
Finding an angle starts with the audience you’re writing for. That can be your own blog, or somebody else’s – it works the same either way.
“Blogs I write for? That’s where my research is going to be? Awesome, I’ve already read them!”
Not so fast, tiger.
You have to do a little more than just read the blogs. See, the blog content is your starting point, but not all blog content is created equal.
Look for the blog’s most popular posts – the ones that have done really well in terms of comments, social sharing, or whatever else the blog is tracking. These are the posts that the blog’s readers responded to the best, and so they’re the posts that you want to model in coming up with your own angle.
Once you’ve got a list of about ten or so of these posts, go through the comment sections. Read all the comments. Look for questions that readers ask. Look for the alternative viewpoints that they express. Look for arguments and discussions that develop surrounding the topic.
You’ll start to get an idea of what angles the readers of your target blog are really interested in and passionate about. Then all you need to do is find the crossover between those particular subjects and your area of expertise.
For example, if you find that readers of a blog on new technology get really hot and bothered about Smartphone apps, and you write about productivity, you can write a post about the very best new apps for increasing productivity that the readers are sure to enjoy, comment on, discuss and share.
That’s the winning angle.
Now that wasn’t so bad, was it?
Putting the Pieces Together
Follow this advice, and you’ll be coming up with winning posts one after the other that your readers will love, whether they’ve known you for ages, or this is the very first they’ve read of your work.
Of course, the angle is just a part of the mind-blowingly effective writing process that will get you there. It’s arguably the most important part, but still not the whole thing.
Like any other real trick of the blogging trade, effective and powerful writing is both and art and science; part networking and part content creation, part research and part creativity… which is why getting it right can be a bit of a challenge.
That’s why I created the Write Like Freddy Training Program that goes over, in depth, every element of mind-blowingly powerful writing, from the idea, angle and pitch, straight through to the writing and reader interaction.
If you’re struggling with your writing, and tired of staring at blank computer screens and sub-par traffic numbers, I urge you to check it out. And either way, take the time to research your target blogs and find those winning angles that will put you ahead of the pack.