Curating powerful blog topics

Writer’s block is a very real thing, particularly for bloggers building a platform. You might have a single, broad topic for your site already. But finding smaller, easily consumed topics for daily writing is a challenge. As topics become harder to find, t’s easy to turn a regular blog into more of a personal journal with filler content.

Wasting keystrokes on fluff pieces will sink your platform before it starts.

Instead, focus on these four, simple strategies for collecting and curating a deep backlog of potential blog content.

Write from experience

You go to work every day and accomplish something. Even if it’s minor, there’s a good chance someone else will find novelty in what you’ve done in your day job.

Like a personal journal, a blog can evolve into a professional diary. Summarize projects you’ve built, approaches you’ve tried, and the lessons you’ve learned along the way. Your experience is real and highly applicable to your professional journey.

It’s also likely a powerful narrative to help someone along on a journey of their own.

Trawl question boards

Whether you spend time on Stack Overflow as an engineer or sites like Reddit or Quora looking for answers, you’ve stumbled upon a treasure trove of content topics. Each of these sites encourage people to ask questions, but the answers they contain are more or less owned by the sites.

Use the questions on the sites as inspiration and build a catalog of topics you want to address directly. If possible, post part of your answer on the site as well – perhaps with a link back to your blog with a richer answer.

Filter your email

Years ago, Scott Hanselman asked a very provocative question: Do they deserve the gift of your keystrokes?

His argument was geared around answering questions via email. Why spend time writing an answer to one person on something a lot of folks need to know? Instead, point them towards existing resources. If no resources exist, change your answer into a blog post and publish it.

Any email you get asking a question is likely filled with potential topics for your blog.

Experiment

Technology-focused blogs are often easier to write for. Rather than building comprehensive tutorials on a topic, you can focus on experiments. Try a new library in your next project and write a review. Spend some time rebuilding a functional component in a new language.

Document your approach to solving a LeetCode challenge.

The key element to any good experiment is to document the results, good or bad. Explaining the journey through a blog will help the next person looking into that topic. That next person might even be a future version of yourself!