Once you have a good idea for your blog post, how do you focus it? Why is it important for your ideas to be focused?
In my last post, I talked about where to find good blog post ideas. Ideas are everywhere you look, but once you have a good idea, you need to focus it. The idea needs to be manageable for you to write about, and manageable for your audience to read about.
Focusing is the process of taking a large idea, or a large quantity of material, and narrowing it down until it’s manageable. Although you might have your blog narrowed down a niche, there are still aspects to your niche, and these are what you focus on.
For example, my niche is online communication advice, but online communication is a huge niche, and it’s growing all the time. Blogs, podcasts and videos are constantly being created. So I’ve chosen to focus on content advice – topics such as writing, editing, audience connection and blog post improvement. Within each of those categories, there are numerous subtopics, and those are what I focus on for my posts.
How do you focus your idea?
To focus an idea for a blog post, follow this four-step process.
- Start with a large topic, then think about all of its aspects and angles. Examine it in different ways.
- Find subtopics under that large topic. If it’s still too broad, find subtopics of those subtopics. It’s possible to generate several focused ideas from this process.
- Research will help you narrow your topic. Research can help you determine if the idea is viable, or if your focus is too broad or too narrow.
- As you search for your focus, look for clues to what the main idea of your post might be. A definite point may not emerge until after you find some information or do some interviews, but you still want to consider what the final post will be about.
Why is it important to focus your idea?
Why can’t you just ramble on about whatever you feel like, as long as it relates to your niche?
You can ramble all you like if you don’t want to be seen as a professional blogger. But professionals focus their ideas so that when readers find each post, they’re happy they stuck around to read it.
First, unfocused ideas waste your time. If your idea is too broad, you’ll spend too much time researching, and possibly waste hours wading through websites, databases or books. All of that information will also take way too long to organize and write.
Unfocused ideas also waste your time during the editing process, which I’ve urged you before not to skip. If your post is too long, you’ll spend a lot of time removing unnecessary words, sentences and paragraphs.
Unfocused ideas waste the reader’s time. This is the worst error of all. Many bloggers struggle to get readers, so once you get them, you don’t want to waste their time. If your reader can’t figure out what your post is about in the first few hundred words, they’ll abandon it for something else. There are plenty of other well-focused blog posts out there for them to read.
An example of focusing
Let’s take a sample idea and narrow its focus. Health is a broad topic. Under health, some subtopics are obesity, nutrition and exercise. But those three subtopics are still very broad. You could write thousands of words about each of them.
Let’s take obesity and narrow it further. Some subtopics of obesity are: obesity in children, the rise of obesity in adults, the fattest states in the U.S., or the fattest countries worldwide. If those still seem broad, you can narrow them further. For example, obesity in children could be broken down into the rise of the problem, bullying of obese children, or long-term health risks.
This should help you see how you can take a broad idea that’s related to your blog niche and focus it into a good post. Focusing your ideas helps you not waste your time in the writing and editing process, and it helps your reader figure out what your post is about.
Readers, what is your process for focusing your blog post ideas? Let us know in the comments.