First, I’m not a billionaire so don’t think that just because of the title you’re actually getting writing advice from a billionaire. However, that is one of the first things about writing popular blog content: the title.
What a quick first lesson!
I’m not a billionaire but I do make a decent amount of blogging. I blog in a number of different niches which seems absolutely absurd considering the advice how to make money bloggers give.
According to them you should:
- Find your passion
- Niche down, then down again, then bury yourself underground
- Connect deeply with your audience
- Some other weird shit that I never understand
I can understand why they give that advice. They actually believe it. However, for them, it’s hard to separate what they really love (the money and freedom) versus popular advice.
Since you were little you were told to follow your passions. I have a LOT of passions and none of them relate to blogging. Blogging is just a thing that helps me earn more freedom to live and enjoy my passions.
So that’s the mindset I come from.
Almost every other blogger comes from the mindset of “I want to help people and I love aluminum cans so I’m going to show people all of the cool things they can do with aluminum cans”.
Now, don’t get me wrong, an aluminum can blog might make top bank but I’m willing to put some money down it’s not going to make money as quickly as a bigger niche. That’s just how things go.
If you came to me and said the following then I would argue with you one bit:
I don’t care if I make money. I just want to show people the joys of aluminum cans.
You tell me that, then I’ll pat you on your back, smile, and wish you the best of luck.
However, if you come to me and tell me this:
I plan on making $10,000 a month with my aluminum can blog.
Then things are going to go two ways:
- I’ll walk away
- I’ll sit you down and have a long talk
Why? Your goals don’t match your plan.
Goals, Plans, & Timelines
I tell you that if you can successfully complete a half-marathon that I’m hosting in 2 months, I’ll give you a $1,000 what would you do?
Would you do a small amount of research and then hit the road and start training or would you spend 6 weeks looking at shoes and outfits?
Dumb question, right?
Okay, consider this. You want to make enough money with your blog to quit your job. Solid goal!
You know you need the following to make that happen:
- An audience
- An audience willing to open their wallets
Are your chances better with an audience of 100,000 or 1,000? Without knowing the niche the answer is 100,000 but many bloggers attack the problem and try to get an audience of 1,000.
Their plans don’t match their goals because they are still stuck in the mindset of having to love absolutely every single aspect of what they are doing on this blog journey.
Don’t believe me? Think about this. At the beginning, a blogger really churns out content because they want to make money. As they make more money the blogging becomes a little bit less. Did they suddenly lose their passion for blogging? Nope.
They got money so they got more freedom to do the passions they want.
You can approach your blog journey with a business mindset or a passion mindset. You can be passionate about aspects of it. Be passionate about helping people. Be passionate about putting great content out into the world. Be passionate about learning something new every day.
However, when it comes to your goals and the timeline you have for them then you need to approach things like a business.
A while ago I wrote about the 7 blog niches that I only deal with.
People lost their shit over this post and fell on one of two sides:
- They loved it because it provided clarity
- They hated it because their niche wasn’t on there
Look, there are more than 7 niches you can make money in but I like safe bets. If I invest my time into something I want to know it’s going to pay dividends and that was the purpose of the post. But because YOUR niche isn’t in their you felt hurt by it.
In fact, some people wrote to me and told me they would prove me wrong. They were going to start a blog in a niche that wasn’t on the list. I never hear back from these people.
So before we talk about writing popular blog content you need to consider if the goals that you have for this blog thing match your actual plans.
Absolutely ANY niche can make you $100 a month. If you want to make more you need to consider if your niche is going to match your expectations. There is no point crying about how you only make $25 a month when there are only 2 people in your entire audience.
Does Audience Size Matter?
This is a good question and it has a deceiving answer. Audience size matters depending on the niche.
This site doesn’t get much traffic. Last time I checked (I don’t check analytics enough) it was hovering around 10,000 pageviews a month. That’s not a lot.
However, because people like what they see and sign up for the mailing list, I make over $40,000 a month from this site. Small audience, big rewards.
In contrast, Keto Dash does over 1.6 MILLION pageviews a month and does about $30,000 a month. Pretty crazy, right?
The audiences are different. The goals are different. Everything is different.
You don’t need a big audience to make good money but I only say that depending on the niche that you’re in. Don’t run back to your aluminum can blog and tell yourself you only need 100 people to reach that magical $500 a month.
No matter what niche you’re in and what your goals are, you need to attract an audience and that’s the difficulty that a lot of bloggers face.
So how do you attract an audience?
Write the content that people want + Promote that content to the people that want it.
This post is about finding and writing that content.
Finding the Content That Your Audience Wants to Read
The #1 problem that bloggers have isn’t an ugly site or terrible promotion strategy. It’s that nobody cares about their content.
I don’t have multiple successful blogs in different niches because I’m an expert in many things. Far from it.
They work because I know how to find what the people want. After a while, I get a feel for the audience and I’m able to come up with content without doing any more research but I always need to do some type of research to begin.
So how do you find this content? Ask yourself who is making money in your niche.
This is where a lot of people will look at other bloggers but I say think bigger.
I went to Lowe’s the other day to grab some nails and I walked by their magazine section. I never pay attention to this section but I knew I had to talk about finding popular content eventually so look what I did:
I bought a ridiculous amount of magazines and books. I didn’t take a pic of the books but the principle is the same. Large Media Companies don’t waste time writing about things their audience doesn’t care about.
The magazines in the pic are about cooking, gardening, and homesteading. If I wanted to start a homesteading blog I could easily go through 3 of these magazines and find 30+ content ideas.
And from those 30 I can see what parts of a topic they didn’t tackle and write even more posts. I have no doubt that from 3 magazines I could easily come up with 60+ posts to write and they could do pretty well.
Go to Amazon and search for magazines in your niche. I’m not talking your super small niche that you wanted to niche down in. I’m talking about the bigger niche that your niche is a part of.
For example, you might say you only write about homeschooling 3-year olds with red hair. Great, but I’m talking about the parenting niche so look at the parenting magazines. You don’t even have to buy the magazines. You can just look at the covers to see what they are talking about!
You can do the same thing with book titles.
If you can’t find any magazines or books on your niche then you have to ask yourself if somehow you’ve outsmarted for-profit companies that are constantly hunting down the next hot topic and found a topic that they don’t know about.
You know what else is awesome. A lot of times, magazines have websites where they post even more articles! Head on over to those websites to see what stuff they are writing about.
You don’t have to rely on finding other bloggers or trying to hunt down social shares. The big players make it pretty obvious what is working and what isn’t.
Successful bloggers are pretty transparent. They’ll let you know what’s working for them even if they are trying to hide it.
If you spend time reading a lot of blog posts on a particular blog you should start to spot a trend. Smart bloggers always return to the topics that work for them and recycle them.
If you don’t notice any type of pattern on a blog then odds are they blogger hasn’t found success yet.
One of life’s eternal blogging questions is why do bloggers post income reports?
After reading this post you shouldn’t have to ask that question anymore.
Some bloggers are gracious enough to have their most popular post in the sidebar or some other section of their site. When that happens, give them a thumbs up and then go on and write your own version of the post.
Back in the days when Pinterest showed you repin counts, finding popular content was super easy. But they took those away and made us fend for ourselves.
There are still tools you can use like Buzzsumo but if you don’t want to pay for that then you can just keep an eye on the things that people are sharing across the different social networks.
If you’re on Reddit you can sort links by “Top” and view what people love to talk about.
The answers to your questions are out there if you really want to look.
One reason why bloggers aren’t really looking though is that they want to be unique.
You Ain’t No Unicorn
Everything. Is. A. Remix.
Your blog topics don’t have to be unique. In fact, when you’re starting off and wanting to grow quickly they shouldn’t be unique. If you have specific goals in a set timeframe you can’t waste time trying to find what works.
You need to work on things that you’ve seen others have success with. What’s going to make your content is awesome is you.
What spin are you going to put on things? What aspects of your personality are going to show?
Every single day I come across a piece of popular content and I think “let me put my spin on that” and then I write my own blog post. You know how many people come to me and say “you just write the same stuff that everybody else writes”?
Nobody does because when I write, it’s helpful.
This probably isn’t the first blog post on writing blog content that you’ve read but it’s probably different from the rest, right?
Take what works (write the content that people want to read) + Add you to it = Good shot at success
That’s it. If that’s too hard for you then it’s because you’re making it hard.
This post isn’t finished but I have other things I need to work on. I’ll return to it and talk about the actual act of writing popular content.