What to Write About To Get a Huge Audience

    what to write about

    Have you ever thought you nailed a piece of writing?

    But no one seemed to care.

    No one shared it.

    No one commented on it.

    And you wonder why.

    If you write enough content, some of it won’t hit the mark—that’s just the way it is.

    But how can we minimize the risk of this happening?

    What can we do before we write that will make our writing connect with our audience?

    The word ‘before’ is the key.

    Ideation and research are essential to writing compelling content. They help you pack a punch with facts, figures and examples—but more importantly, they help you validate your idea before the world ever sees it.

    I use social proof to decide what to write about (typically blog posts, but you can apply it to any writing exercise).

    Social proof means discovering proven topics, already written about by others, to validate your own ideas.

    Let’s dive straight in.

    How to decide what to write about

    What are you going to write about?

    If you write regularly, you understand the importance of ideas.

    [message_box_yellow] Join the FREE online workshop, 5 Powerful  Writing Strategies for More Shares, More Subscribers, and More success. CLICK HERE [/message_box_yellow] But what makes for a good idea?

    You may think something is helpful, but do your readers agree?

    The quickest way to find out is to ask the world’s biggest search engine: Google.

    While it isn’t perfect for all types of writing, if Google attracts many search queries about a topic, this usually means it is popular.

    First, type your topic into Google Trends. (I have used the phrase ‘social proof’ as an example in the screenshot below.)

    Social Proof in Google Trends

     

    The graph shows the number of times people have searched for the phrase ‘social proof’ on Google since 2005. As you can see, interest has increased each year.

    Use your intuition to decide whether or not a topic is on the right trajectory, and worth writing about.

    This works both ways. Below is a search for ‘Blackberry’ which peaked in 2011, but has since plummeted.

    Blackberry Google Trends

     

    To reinforce the insights you get from Google Trends, you can check the search volume for your topic—and the words associated with it.

    Type your topic into the KWFinder.com search tool. Here you will find all the information you need about search volumes, the competitiveness of keywords, and a list of related keywords linking to your topic.

    This can help you decide whether or not a topic is worth writing about.

    Social Proof Search Volume

     

    About 4,400 people search for the phrase ‘social proof’ each month. This is a significant number, so you can safely assume that the term is popular, and worth writing about.

    You can use other phrases that show up in the search in your writing, for instance, ‘social proof examples’ and ‘social proof marketing.’ They may even be interesting enough for you to write an entire piece on them!

     

    Using social proof to validate your idea

    Now it’s time to validate your idea using social proof.

    You need to consider 3 things for ‘social proof’:

    1. Your competitors’ content

    Have your competitors written about this topic? Do you see an opportunity to improve on what they’ve written?

    If you’re unsure of who your competitors are, use SEMrush to find them. Your will learn about your top 5 keyword competitors free of charge. If you invest in SEMrush software, you can discover hundreds more competitors.

    Here are the top 5 competitors for Razor Social, a leading blog focused on social media tools.

    Razor Social - Competitors Analysis

     

    What do you do with this information?

    Go back to Google and check whether these competitors have written about the topic you have in mind.

    Search for “Your Competitor” + “Your Topic”. See the example below for Razor Social as a competitor.

    Razor Social Google search

     

    For each competitor, you can check:

    • Whether they have written about this topic before.
    • If yes, whether they got a lot of engagement in the form of comments or social shares.

    You certainly don’t want to copy your competitors, but they are often a good place to check which topics are doing well and which aren’t.

    2. Relevant social media conversations

    Are your readers talking about this topic on social media? Here’s how to find out.

    1. Twitter advanced search is a good starting point for discovering these conversations. Once again, I searched for the phrase ‘social proof’.

    Twitter Advanced Search - Social proof

     

    It’s easy to over-complicate your search with this function, so my advice would be to keep it simple. Don’t use too many variables, or you won’t get the best results.

    Instead, start with broad terms and only a few variables, and slowly become more targeted as you deepen your search.

    Here is what the search results look like:

     

    Social proof search on Twitter

    Ask yourself these questions:

    • How recent are the conversations on this topic?
    • Are there many Tweets related to this topic, or only a few?
    • Are key people regularly sharing on this topic? (If you include these people in your writing, there’s a good chance they might share it!)

    2. The next place to look for social conversations is to use the search function in Google+. Below, I searched for ‘social proof’ in the general search tab.

     

    Social proof search on Twitter

     

    You can segment your search into ‘People and pages,’ ‘Communities,’ ‘Google+ posts,’ ‘Photos’ and more. This segmentation feature allows you to precisely target what you’re looking for.

    Just as you did with your Twitter search, ask yourself questions such as:

    • How recent is the content on this topic?
    • Are there dedicated communities based on this topic?
    • What is the engagement (number of social media shares) for posts on this topic?

    If there aren’t many conversations on the topic, it may not be worth your time.

    Don’t be afraid to take a step back to the idea generation stage, and start again. The last thing you want is to put lots of work into content creation, only to have no one care about what you’re writing.

    Bonus Tip: As you read through these relevant conversations, capture the language your readers are using to describe their challenges. This can be an effective way of connecting with them the next time you sit down to write.

     

    3. Number of social shares

    BuzzSumo is custom-made for idea validation. It is a search engine like Google, but has a different way of ranking things. While Google ranks searches based on a number of complex factors that no one really knows, BuzzSumo makes it easy.

    On BuzzSumo, you choose the type of content you are searching for, and BuzzSumo ranks all the content it can find, based on how many people have shared that content on social media.

    Enter your topic or keywords into BuzzSumo, and it will produce search results like this:

    BuzzSumo Social Proof 2

     

     

    For a given topic, you can clearly see how many social media shares each piece of content has attracted. It also provides information about who specifically has shared the articles, and which sites have linked back to them. (This information is helpful when you are promoting your content or looking for back links to boost your search engine ranking.)

    Simply put, the more shares, the more valid your idea is.

    There is no perfect way to validate an idea.

    Using social proof to decide what to write about saves you both time and energy, helping you create better, more compelling content.

    By looking in the right places, and listening intently to what your readers are saying, you can eliminate the guesswork often associated with writing.

    But if you pick a proven topic and validate it with social proof, your chances of success increase significantly.

    How do you decide what to write about? Share in the comments!

    And please share this post with your friends on social media.  🙂

    About the author

      Will Blunt

      Will Blunt is the founder of Blogger Sidekick, a business who helps digital marketers build authority with the power of blogging. Will is also the editor at both JeffBullas.com and Bluewire Media. Download Will’s FREE bonus, the SEO Content Bundle to start creating the type of content search engines wants to send traffic.

    • I enjoyed over read your blog post. Your blog have nice information, I got good ideas from this amazing blog. I am always searching like this type blog post. I hope I will see again..

    • Really great post, Thank you for sharing this knowledge.Excellently written article, if only all bloggers offered the same level of content as you, the internet would be a much better place. Please keep it up!..

    • Jackie says:

      What a smart and actionable post. I so appreciate having all these resources in one place. Time to save this for many posts to come! Thanks Will 🙂

    • Kimsea Sok says:

      Thanks for sharing…! 🙂

      It was an awesome about finding idea for writing. Well, I’d admit that I didn’t do many thing like what you said above.

      I just focus on my niche and do a bit keyword research with Google Keyword planner. I spent sometime to look at my 10 competitors on the first page, and I got the idea for writing the new post…

      Thanks, for sharing..! I I could reconfigure many new tactics about finding the best topics for my audiences.

    • Helpful for actually responding to a question like: ‘How does the author hold the reader’s attention?’..

    • Juliar Nur says:

      Thanks for the tips about buzz sumo and kwfinder

    • Pimion says:

      Thanks for sharing, Will! You’ve done an amazing research. The article is so relavant and detailed. I’m amazed how you managed with all this information and made it clear and well-structured.

      • Will Blunt says:

        Hi Pimion,

        Thanks for the kind feedback 🙂

        I hope you can put some of the tips in action!

    • Lilian says:

      Great post on content idea generation. Am just starting my website/blog and your ideas will go a long way into helping me be better. Thank you so much.

      • Will Blunt says:

        Hi Lilian,

        That is fantastic news – I wish you the best of luck on your journey.

        Thanks for joining the conversation and sharing your thoughts. 🙂

    • Will,
      This is an incredibly rich post, thank you for sharing.

      I’ve thought that Google+ had to be a good way to validate ideas for content but wasn’t sure until you broke it down.

      One question, do you think these tactics would be helpful for fiction, or would it be limited to non-fiction writing?

      • Will Blunt says:

        Hi David,

        Thanks for commenting (I saw you over at BBT too)!

        The ‘Fiction Vs. Non-fiction’ debate has popped up a couple of times now.

        I kind of avoided the question before, because I’m really just a blogger not a writer – so non-fiction is where I play.

        But a tool is a tool.

        The way you use that tool is dependant on your context and creativity.

        It’s in your hands as the writer how you apply the tips – fiction or not.

        What do you think?

    • Pat says:

      That’s funny. I talk about how you get everyone’s attention by sourcing your own ideas. You, me, everyone has a constant flow of ideas. Because our own ideas seem disconnected, unproven, off topic we ignore, discard and abandon them. I guess I am the voice in the void.

      However, I checked out some topics that lead me to –ideas– on the tools you talked about above and found interesting things. “Power of now” of now peaked in 2008 with sales of the book. Eckhart Tolle is immensely popular. Power of Intention, burning desire, get mixed results.

      Ultimately, I am aware that I need to find avenues to reach people with my message however strange it may seem. These are interesting tools, thank you.

      • Will Blunt says:

        Hi Pat,

        You really drew me in with your comment then… Well written 🙂

        Hopefully some of these tips and tools will guide you in the right direction when you are validating your next writing idea.

    • This is a great post that breaks down the different ways to find valid topics in a way that’s easy to understand and use. But I am wondering if these strategies are applicable to fiction as well as nonfiction?

      • Will Blunt says:

        Hi Jean,

        That’s an interesting thought. I’m not a writer in the traditional sense, just a blogger 🙂

        Maybe you could answer your own question?

    • Virginia says:

      Thanks for the specific places to look for similar content and what to look for in the numbers.

      • Will Blunt says:

        No worries Virginia, I’m glad you took some tips from the post 🙂

    • Jireh says:

      This is one of the best posts on figuring out what to write, or better yet, if my idea is worth writing about that I have seen so far. Thanks for sharing and I have shared it on F/B and buffered it for a tweet later today.

      • Will Blunt says:

        Hi Jireh,

        Thanks for sharing the post on social, I really appreciate it 🙂

        I hope you’ve taken some nice tips and can put them into action.


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