One of the most common pieces of advice within the blogging industry is to ask your audience what they’d like you to write about… and then write it.
But I couldn’t disagree more.
Let’s assume you’re a travel blogger who focuses on European destinations. You ask your audience if they’d prefer that you focus on describing countries, such as “10 Things I Love About Romania” or more practical topics, like “How to Apply for a Passport” or “How to Select Excellent Luggage.”
Your readers reply and request more articles about the logistics of traveling: how to exchange currency, how to use the train system, can you use Uber or Lyft in a foreign country?
You write a few articles about these topics, but your heart isn’t in it.
But you also write an article about the time you tried to use a laundromat in Spain, but, through a translation error, accidentally ended up at a car wash. Your article is funny, warm, and relatable. Even people who’ve never visited Spain can relate to your description of feeling lost in your new surroundings. The story gets shared on social media. It receives dozens of comments. It deepens your relationship with your audience. It attracts new readers to your blog.
When you write about the stories and ideas that you want to share, rather than writing the articles that you think others expect you to write, you’ll often have more success—and more fun in the process.
No audience survey will ever say, “I’d like you to tell a funny story about getting lost in another country.” Your audience doesn’t know to ask for that. How could they? They don’t know what stories are inside of you.
The best blog posts are the ones that express what’s on your mind and in your heart. When you have something to say—when your fingers are itching to write because there’s something that you must express—that’s when you create a masterful blog article. And that’s something that can’t be quantified through an audience survey or chosen through keyword research. It’s something that comes from within.
Writing is the expression of thought and feeling. Share your stories and ideas, and don’t worry about over-strategizing the rest.
You’re the chef. You’re the artist. Don’t worry about writing the articles that you think people expect from you. Write from a space of expression, and the rest will follow.