The way you should think about the individual blog post topics is very similar to how you should be thinking about the overall niche or subject for your blog as a whole, except on a far more detailed or specific basis. The content on your blog should be there for a specific purpose.
Give Me a Reason
In the context of an individual blog post, it should answer a particular question or be useful in a rather specific kind of way.
Given the constraints of a blog post, the topic shouldn’t be so broad that you can easily expand on it into a whole book on its own. At the same time, it needs to be specific enough that you can provide readers with a suitable amount of value within the limited space that you have for each blog post.
Of course, there are no real hard and fast rules here. For instance, you could just as easily take a single idea that you might have for a blog post and expand it into a whole series of posts instead, culminating into a summary or conclusion post at some point in the near future.
The Shopping Series
If we were to take the hypothetical example of shopping for an affordable family sedan, you might start with one post that highlights some of the key considerations someone should have when shopping for a car of this type. You can talk about horsepower, cargo space, technology, connectivity, and so on.
From there, you can have individual posts highlighting some of the top cars in that segment, providing your key opinion on each. And finally, you may have a concluding post that picks a “winner” from the “candidates” you proposed.
It would be neither all that reasonable nor particularly useful to your readers if you tried to cram all that information into just 300 words. There’s no value there, because it’d be far too superficial. By expanding it into a series of posts, readers can direct their attention to where they are most interested and you have the added benefit of return traffic too.
You could write one extra long post, but some readers may get overwhelmed and you could cut yourself short in terms of future post ideas. This also depends largely on the nature of your blog too. If you’ve got a lot of other material to cover, then maybe one larger piece as “pillar content” might serve you very well.
Your mileage, no pun intended, may vary.
What’s In It For Me?
The other part of this is choosing topics that readers actually want to read. Just as when you were first choosing a niche for your blog, you can use tools like the Google AdWords Keyword Planner to research the keywords and keyword phrases that are coming up in Google searches. Tap into those and get yourself ranked, but don’t feel limited by these options either.
You could actually uncover a very niche topic where you are the only useful resource. That’s a total web traffic win too. If the search volume isn’t that high, but the competition is very low, you could rise up to the top of that results page and become the definitive source of information on the subject.
Making a List, Checking It Twice
I highly recommend that you maintain a list of potential post topics, saved to the cloud in some way. You can use tools like Evernote or Google Keep for this purpose. You never know when inspiration might hit you, so get these apps on your smartphone so you can jot them down right away.
If you ever hit writer’s block and can’t come up with a great idea for a post, you can always refer to your list and always have an excellent topic idea ready to go. I find this is far more useful than keeping a series of “drafts” in WordPress, as those get buried under new content and are mixed in with everything else. Keep your collection of future ideas separate until you’re ready to explore one.
What ideas do you have simmering on the back burner?