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The Minimalist Guide to Choosing a Blog Topic

You can make a quick, gut decision when starting a blog—jumping into a blog topic that aligns with your passions, in a profitable niche that is brimming with potential.

Acting quickly has it’s advantages. You’re putting your emphasis on taking steps forward, rather than getting tied up in analysis.

There are multiple steps to choosing a blog topic, you can take ages going through them, or move quickly, and make an intuitive decision. You could have your blog up and running this week, rather than delaying.

Thin Slicing Versus Slow, Deliberate Decisions

99U has an interesting article about when to go with your gut when making a decision. In this article psychological research on the subject and case studies are compared.

The current consensus is that an intuitive decision, which psychologists refer to as “thin slicing,” has two important components:

  1. It is effective in situations that require holistic understanding. As such, this strategy is useful when the problem can’t be broken down into constituent parts, but rather must be comprehended as an interconnected whole.
  2. The more experience you have, the greater your odds of making accurate gut decisions.

Think of a chess grandmasters who can identify an optimal move just by glancing at the board. Or a less grandiose example of a basketball fan grimacing as a jump shot is released—intuitively knowing how difficult that shot is and how unlikely it is to go in.

Choosing a blog topic to start your blog on requires a big picture, holistic view, so will require some level of intuition when making a decision. It requires a leap.

The more business experience you have, the easier it will be to make a quick decision on a blog topic to start your blog on, and the greater your odds that decision will serve you well.

If you apply your business sense, rely on your intuition, and aim for a blog topic in a market that you have expertise in, you have a good chance of making a quality gut decision.

In any type of business it’s important to know when to refer to making an analytical decision versus an intuitive one. In most cases, it’s a bit of both. Blogging is as much art as science.

You can research concisely and then trust your instincts to make a decision.

7 Quick Steps to Choosing a Blog Topic

Narrow down your options and make a final blog topic decision. You don’t want to look back months from now and find that you failed to start your blog.

Strategically limit the scope of your research and brainstorming. Set a time limit and stick to it. Only do enough preparatory work at this point to make a reasonable decision given the time frame you’ve set.

Quickly run through these seven steps to make a speedy blog topic decision:

  1. Pick a blog topic you’re passionate about. Your passions motivate you. They push you to create. They take over your thinking as obsessions. The more you care about a subject, the more it interests you, the more time, effort, and energy you’ll put into it. Passion is at the heart of where to focus your search for the right blog niche for you to start your blog on. Briskly list the blog topics that interest you most—making special note of your passions.
  2. Focus on a blog topic that aligns with your expertise and skills. If you are an expert, or highly skilled on a topic, take note—that may be the perfect topic for you to start your blog on. It’s an advantage. But, if you aren’t an expert, you can still leverage your enthusiasm, and beginner position to fill your blog with compelling, useful content. Quickly identify your skill on a subject and consider how you could approach expertise for a given blog topic.
  3. Aim for a blog topic that is trending upwards. No matter the topic you choose, running a blog is serving an audience. It starts with pinpointing your tribe’s pain and helping them solve problems. By focusing on an upward moving blog topic, you’re helping people with in-demand needs. This is opportunity present today and tomorrow. Rapidly perform market research on blog topics you’re considering and identify the few that are trending.
  4. Pick a topic that you can carve out a competitive space in the market. Competition always exists in every market. You need to figure out how your site will fit into a blog topic niche. Look for gaps in the market that you can fill. Look at unique business advantages you bring to the table. Expeditiously define your competitive edge and potential position in this competitive space.
  5. Opt for a blog topic that has income potential. If you’re building a blog to earn an income, then you need a monetization plan. You want to identify an audience that is spending money and consider what they are spending money on. Smartly map out a monetization plan of how you will build a profitable blog in this niche.
  6. Decide on a topic you can write about for the long term. Blogging is a monumental endeavor. It requires a consistent, daily effort. Swiftly write down a number of blog post ideas to give you a feel for the type of content you’ll need to create on this blog topic over the long haul.
  7. Choose a topic that fits with your business goals. Ultimately, a blog topic to start your blog on is one that aligns with your interests, purpose, market potential, income opportunity, and your business goals. Run through your high level business goals, writing them down, and make sure they align with the final blog topic you choose.

The Slow Decision Trap

Starting a blog is a daunting task. You can take ages to decide on a topic to focus your new blog on.

You could apply an exhaustive approach to this task. Write a complete list of blog topics that might be a good fit for you, then explore the edges of that list. There are certainly advantages to creating exhaustive lists, such as finding unique business ideas.

There are also advantages to less intuitive tools for making decisions. You could employ an analytical tool like a decision matrix for example and compare your top blog topic options side by side. But there is a downside to slow decision approaches.

They are time consuming and can lead to too much information to act on. You can get paralyzed and stuck in a research phase, rather than focusing your energy on launching a blog and building momentum.

Instead, speed up the process. In most cases, you can shorten the process and rely on your gut to make a quality decision.

Bias To Act

Decide on how much time you’ll spend on research. Put a cap on it. Set aside a morning to do your research. Or limit it to a few days. Then compare and contrast your blog topic options. Put it aside for an hour; go to lunch, then come back and make an intuitive decision with your gut.

Finalize your blog topic. Start your new blog. Jump in. Begin posting.

You can always do more research as you move along and pivot if needed along the way, but by embracing a bias toward action, you’re sure to have something tangible to work with quickly.

Six months from now you’ll have a sizable chunk of blog posts published, rather than a ream of research in your Evernote that you haven’t acted on. You’ll have crafted a business asset, built an audience, and opened up new opportunities with your growing blog.

Graphic Credit: Lotus Flower designed by Carlos Andujar from the Noun Project.