Updated: February 16, 2019
Alright, so you've read about worldviews, the Why and a smallest viable audience. It all makes sense but that doesn't negate the fact you still need to pick a topic(s) to write about.
In fact, sometimes you might not even be able to come up with your why until you know what you're going to write about.
Most people just pick a topic or two and dive right in.
They see other people have success with a topic so they start to write about it.
3 months later, they hate the topic and pick another topic.
2 months later, they hate the topic and pick another.
1 month later, they hate the topic and quit.
You probably understand this is a long run. It's not a short run. You can't write about something for 3 months and expect people to love you. You have to continue going in on a topic and when you think you've written enough about it, go in even more.
The question then becomes what topic do you actually write about?
It's a good question but what if we didn't ask that question? What if we asked a completely different question.
Focus on the Problem
Is it easier to have a discussion with someone when you know the problem they are having or is it easier when you have to just talk about a million different things in the hopes that they like one of those things.
If you see someone is writing about keto and kicking ass with it then it makes sense to want to write about keto. You want that easy path to success.
So you start to write about keto. You begin to get a little bit of traffic and you're happy.
For a bit.
After 6 months of writing keto recipe round up posts though, you're a bit sick of it all. What will you write about next?
You don't know and you're terrified to switch topics because you're scared you'll lose your audience.
You've built up a mailing list that doesn't care about you because they never hear from you.
You're kind of stuck in this weird space of being a keto blog.
How do you get out?
It can be as simple as switching your mindset. Instead of focusing on a topic, why don't you focus on a problem?
You aren't writing about keto, you're writing about the difficulties of losing weight and keto just happens to be your solution to that problem.
If you're writing about the difficulties of losing weight then aren't there a million other topics you could write about as well that address the problem?
Successful businesses know how to focus on the problems their audience are having and that becomes what drives them.
When your focus is on the problem, your audience begins to focus more on you.
Understanding the problem(s) you are solving can help clarify your Why (if you didn't come up with one yet) but can also help you see what you need to be writing about.
This is a great exercise to uncover SEO keywords and something that I cover in the SEO Course.
A Problem Example
Let's see if I can practice what I preach here.
In this example, I'm going to pretend I love crafts. I just love them to death so I'm thinking maybe I'll start a site around crafts.
Taking my own advice I want to figure out what the problem for crafts is so I can know what value I should be creating.
Looking at other craft sites it seems most of them post tutorials on how to make things. That's great. I can do that.
The problem with this approach though is that the niche (every other craft site) does the exact same thing and they all give away their patterns. I thought I could sell my patterns but if everyone else is giving them away that probably means unless mine are completely unique nobody is going to buy them.
I want to make good money with this business and not rely on ad revenue so I need to figure out this problem that people are having.
My theory is that people like to do crafts because they love the feeling of creating and being creative.
Maybe a problem is that people don't feel creative or they just don't know how to create.
So if I can help them create and feel more creative then I'm doing something great.
Because of this I'm no longer just writing about how to make a flower, I'm not going through all of the different tools that they will use to make things (maybe a book or course going into more detail).
I also create a course around making your own patterns because you might not want to download 1,000 freebies. Remember, people want to create and feel creative so if they can learn how to make their own patterns it kills two birds with one stone.
If I'm feeling spicy I could create a membership site where I only put special patterns. Give out a ton of freebies but the super special stuff goes into the membership site.
Of course, none of this includes the other revenue streams like ads or affiliate marketing.
All of this came from trying to understand the problem that I'm trying to help my audience solve.
Because I know the problem I know the topics that I'll probably write about and the products that I'll probably create. These things can change over time as I interact with my audience, but you'll notice that understanding the problem also doesn't limit me to just crafts.
My niche isn't crafts. My niche (aka my audience) is people wanting to be creative. So if I wanted to go beyond crafts it wouldn't look unnatural if I did so.
Other niches/topics/audiences have more obvious problems to solve.
Also, now that I know some of the problems that I'm going to solve I can reverse-engineer a Why.
I believe that having the freedom to be creative allows you the freedom to find happiness.
Come up with a list of the different problems your audience is trying to solve.