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How to Find your Passion (& What You Should be Blogging About)

Posted By Darren Rowse 11th of August 2008 Miscellaneous Blog Tips 0 Comments

In this post Glen Allsopp from Pluginid.com takes a look at passion and how to choose what to write about. I’ve included a few links to other posts on this topic below also. Image by Dario.


“Don’t do it for the money, do it because you love it!”

Sound familiar? It should do, because almost every blog about blogging has said something along the same lines. No disrespect to them though, I completely agree with the point that bloggers should write about what they love, not just what is making money for others.

Sounds great, right? Well, I’ve actually begun to understand that not everybody knows what their passion is. Not everybody knows what it is they should be blogging about. That is why we see 100 John Chow clones and niche saturation where it is clear bloggers are writing for the money.

Why Money is a Bad Goal

You can be as spiritual or as “un-materialistic” as you want, but in a practical world we all need money to survive. So then why is it bad to blog in a niche where there is a lot of money to be made, just because you have no interest? That’s easy:

  • You don’t have the value or expertise to offer others
  • It’s likely you don’t have relevant personal experiences that readers can relate to
  • You will struggle to find the motivation to write and to come up with post ideas

You can hear the following quote time and time again, but 99 out of 100 people who read it won’t believe it until they experience it themselves.

“It took me 5 brand new cars to realise they weren’t making me happy, as soon as I parked them for the first time I thought ‘what now?'”

Russell Simmons (Def Jam Records & Phat Farm Clothing)

If there is large financial potential in the niche you are passionate about then that is great. Or, if you are interested in learning to make money online and want to write about your journey then that is fine too. However, don’t get sucked into writing about something because people are making money doing so.

They say that money can’t buy you happiness, but I believe sharing your knowledge on a subject you love certainly can. Just imagine the feeling of helping the world through your expertise, writing about something you love and making money in the process…you get the point.

Finding your Passion

I wrote about a similar topic on my own blog recently so I’m not going to copy that here. What I am going to show you is some quick questions you can ask yourself to reveal what it is you love.

Before I do that, I want to make clear that your passion may change, but don’t wait till you think you know what it is. What I mean is that if you are really passionate about poker right now, your interests may change in the future and you might turn to digital photography. Don’t wait until you are certain you are going to stay passionate about something, the joy of life is our ever-changing interests. The worst case scenario is that you can pay others to keep the blog going if your passion does change or simply sell it and start a new one; not a bad worst case scenario ;).

Note: Read the following questions and actually write down your answers. That way you can get the most out of this exercise.

1. If you could make the same amount of money blogging about any subject, what would it be?

2. Which subjects are you most knowledgeable about?

3. For the subjects in Question 2, would you blog about any of them even for no financial gain?

That is it, those are the three main questions you need to ask yourself, any more and you may miss the point of this exercise. If there was a level playing-field and no income potential yet you still wanted to blog…what would it be about? Your responses to the above questions should help you discover that answer.

Of course, they aren’t really true as any blogging niche has money making potential, but what you have to see is that it is a bonus. If you aren’t writing on a topic you are truly passionate about then despite the potential of financial gain, you still won’t be happy or enjoy it.

Benefits of Blogging Your Passion

If enjoying the topic and sharing your expertise aren’t enough to show you the benefits of blogging about your passion, what else is there to gain? That’s simple. Just the exact opposites of the earlier bullet points:

  • You have value and expertise you can offer to others
  • You can share personal experiences that will help people relate to your content and connect with your words
  • You will be excited to share new thoughts and discoveries with your readers

What you’ll also start to notice is that you become an authority in your niche, and this is highly valuable. With this authority you can release products, offer coaching or set-up a popular paid membership site depending on your industry. This is so much harder to do in saturated markets where there is a lot of competition.

Need more proof there is potential in any niche?

Here are the top 10 blogs in the world according to Technorati:

  1. Huffington Post (General & Politics)
  2. TechCrunch (Web & Startup News)
  3. Gizmodo (Gadgets)
  4. Engadget (Gadgets)
  5. BoingBoing (Random / Weird News)
  6. Lifehacker (Productivity)
  7. Ars Technica (Technology News)
  8. ICanHasCheezburger (LOLCat Pictures)
  9. ReadWriteWeb (Web News & Trends)
  10. Mashable (Social Networking news)

Nothing about marketing, blogging or SEO which are all highly saturated due to people thinking they can make a lot of easy money. All of the websites have some authority status in their niche, whilst making a lot of money in the process. Michael Arrington has worked till 4am for years in order to get news out before anyone else and ensure that TechCrunch is the best source there is. Do you think he could do that if he generally didn’t have a passion for internet and startup related news?

So, what are YOU going to be writing about?

Glen Allsopp writes about finding the real you and expressing it through personal development at PluginID, a site that helps you ‘Plugin to your Identity’. You can help me help you by subscribing to the feed here.

Further Reading from the ProBlogger Archives on Choosing What to Blog About

About Darren Rowse
Darren Rowse is the founder and editor of ProBlogger Blog Tips and Digital Photography School. Learn more about him here and connect with him on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.
  1. Writing about the passions you have is the most important factor for success as a blogger. Most bloggers fail to understand this and choose a topic in which they are good at and get stuck after few days as the motivation level goes down and simultaneously resulting in less exposure to others. The top 10 blogs you have written there are successful because they know what they are doing and writing about and are good at their niche topic. Choosing a niche is very important in the blogs success factor.


  2. Hi,

    Can’t agree more with this…. If money is he only motivating factor, I don’t think anyone would be able to sustain writing for a long time.

    And in any case, I am sure readers can sense if it is not coming from your heart.

    In my case, I really love personal finance and investment planning. And I have also accumulated knowledge about it from my personal experience.

    My job is not related to personal finance, so to fulfill my passion, I write about financial planning. It gives me immense pleasure – just like a hobby!

    I am sure money would follow, but the enjoyment that I get from writing is more than any amount that I can get!

  3. Funny, my first blog was about one of my passions, but it went no where…fast. Of course, with the success of my current blog, I’ve realized that first on was a big steaming pile of…well, you know.

    Blogging something you know about and are passionate about is a lot of fun, but it has to be combined with some blogging skill, or else it’s just a flash in the pan – a few people might notice, but you won’t have any staying power.

    Anyway, good post, and a good reminder to always be re-evaluating.

  4. Fantastic post.

    I only started blogging about 2 months ago, and I had the most difficult time (at first) trying to figure out what to blog about. I knew it would be one of these things that just dies out after a few weeks/months if it weren’t something I was passionate about.

    Seriously, laying money aside, you have to find out your passion and those questions are great ones to ask.

    … and now I have my passion. Unfortunately, it seems like everybody in the world has a personal finance blog.

    Oh well… that’s the fun of it; I’ve got to figure out how to set mine apart.

  5. Yes, yes, yes.

    There are an awful lot of people in the world, and more of us all the time! That means, for every niche, no matter how small, there are “enough” people who are interested in it. And almost invariable, it is simply much more productive to aim to become an authority in one relatively narrow field — to be a big fish in a small pond — than it is to struggle to stand out among thousands and thousands of others in a “popular” broad topic area.

    And if you choose your blogging topic with a cynical eye to its potential for monetization — and not where your “passion” truly lies — you’re almost guaranteed to run out of blogging steam within a matter of months… if not sooner. Blogging is just plain *hard work*; Blogging becomes sustainable for the long haul only when you actually have a genuine passion for your topic.

    We can all use a little reminder of these truths from time to time! Thanks, Glenn.

  6. Blogging is hard work and blogging on something you don’t care about… well, it’s like trying to take a deep breath when you’re neck-deep in quicksand.

    I’m blogging about something I care about and I’m experiencing. I’ve found others who are in a similar canoe and it helps keep the blog posts rolling.

    Am I making money? Not yet. Perhaps someday I will and yes, I have a long list of “to-do’s” for my blog and building an audience. I try and tackle this list a little at a time. Some days it is simply more important to spend the time writing what I care about than spending the time monetizing the pages.

  7. Man,

    This post really made me feel bad but luckily I’m blogging on couple of different niches, I feel bit better after realizing that. Thanks for reminding me. :-)

    Some passions require a lot of attention. If you are not willing to allocate precious time to blog about your attention-sucking passion, you might as well go for some other niche.

    Tech and Gadgetry for an example is a very challenging niche for bloggers. If you are not up to it, might as well forget it.

  8. My formula for success is always striving for that sweet spot between what I love and what the public loves/needs. : )

  9. Glenn;

    This post really struck a cord with me this morning. And, I guess that’s what the message in it is really all about…blogging about something that “strikes a chord”.

    I read something else this morning from “John G. Lake” out of his sermon “The Strong Man’s Way to God”. It starts out:

    “Musicians talk of an ultimate note. That is a note you will not find on any keyboards. It is a peculiar note. A man sits down to tune a piano, or any fine instrument. He has no guild to the proper key, and yet he has a guide. That guide is the not that he has in his soul. And the nearer he can bring his instrument into harmony with the note in his soul, the nearer perfection he has attained.”

    The ultimate note here in context to this post is the passion, the instrument is the blog. Seeking to tune in with the ultimate note (the passion) and regular practice, posting & reading other “finely tuned” blogs to learn how to perfect the delivery of the message creates resonance of that passion with our readers.

    When our finely tuned message resonates with our readers they return and, I believe, the money will follow.

    Well, perhaps the ability to earn money with a blog is a completely different skill beyond learning how to communicate a passion that resonates with readers. Yes, I do believe that learning how to earn money with one’s passion is different than developing the skill of delivering a message (blogging or playing an instrument) that resonates with an audience. That is the skill that sets the street musician whose melodies & harmonies give you goose bumps apart from the musician with a record label.


  10. I blog about food, especially healthful eating and sustainable agriculture. I do love it, but food is a highly saturated niche, and even though I have tried to specialize a bit on the region in which I live, my numbers have been disappointing. I never expected to make my living at it, but making a little income would be nice. I eliminated the Adsense ads, though, as they tended to fall into the diet and weight loss category, which not only isn’t my interest, but is fairly contrary to my approach to food. Still, the fact that I am enthusiastic about my subject keeps me blogging.

  11. Answers to questions 1, 2, and 3. All yes! I couldn’t write about anything else- I’d run out of content and hate it. Have no idea about my “niche” market, I just enjoy writing about running cycling, yoga and leading a healthy lifestyle. It’s my passion in real life so hopefully it translates in a passion online as well.

  12. Great article.

    I found my blogging niche through playing with lots of ideas. Like a kid who tries on different hats in fun.

    Eventually I found the one that fit me best, where love and duty are joined.

    It’s made all the difference.

  13. A very timely and useful post for myself, Glen, as I carry out the necessary research into blogging, and its associated skills.

    I’m not motivated by any revenue potential of blogs as my main aim.

    My goal would be to share, through my writing, the passion I have for life and to interact with a community who want to share their ideas and experiences with one another too.

    This aspect of connecting with others by way of a blog community is what excites me most about the medium, and it would be the chance to contribute to building such a group of likeminded people that would draw me to do it myself.

  14. @ Home Biss – why did it make you feel bad? Are you blogging about something you don’t love? If so it’s never too late to change, I have quite a successful internet marketing blog and I only started PluginID very recently :)

    @ Melody – Of course, you are very right. Building skills about blogging, content, advertising and marketing are all necessary for a successful blog. But if the foundation is wrong and you have no interest in the topic then I don’t see the point.

    Great comments :)

  15. I think this is so important. It’s fairly easy to see if people are blogging in an area of passion or not. Those that are tend to immediately draw readers in. I have an interracial family, so my blog is about that…our life, our racial experiences, etc. I blog simply because I love to write, and blogging provides a creative outlet.

  16. I find that passion, mixed with a little necessity, is the right formula for sustaining a niche blog. My latest blog is one that I keep updated regularly if for no other reason than the fact that it’s on a subject that my success in life depends on…self motivation. I’ve found that when I make myself post, even when I don’t feel like it, I end up rejuvenating my desire to pursue those very passions. So I think if you can blog about something that you yourself need to stay focused on you will find yourself updating it out of need as well as desire.

  17. I went for the baby boomer demographic, as I am a baby boomer and I knew the audience was potentially enormous. I have been writing my blog for two years and I am still interested in the topic, but I do see myself throwing in posts that express my other interests, mostly weird phenomena and how to live more green. Who knows where this will all lead…

  18. The “P” in passion sometimes has to be matched with the “P” in patience. If you’re going to really blog your passion, you have to be prepared to wait longer for monetization.

    I have chosen a niche, Anxiety Disorders, that has this going for it: 40% of the populace will have an Anxiety Disorder some time during their lives. And the ironic truth: 95% of the populace will deny it! So it’s going to take a very, very long time for me to make any money off my blog.

    But could I write about anything else? Not if I follow my passion. It’s the “If you build it, they will come” brand of hopefulness. Joseph Campbell said it in a different way, “Follow your bliss.”

    I have yet to see an article on blogging passion and finding your niche that emphasizes this simple truth: Some niches may take much longer to build up an authority and a readership that will enable effective monetization.

  19. Great post! I’m a social worker working with over 65s in mental health and I blog mostly about my job and issues that affect it.

    Social work in general, mental health, older people.

    I didn’t think that many people would be interested in what I do on a day to day basis but it has been a good experience for me to read more and keep more up to date with developments.

    I have no intention to monetise and it’s not and is never going to be a massively successful blog just because of the area but I am enjoying the process enormously and for me, that’s the greatest benefit.

  20. Finding the right niche to blog about is just like the traditonal “pick a career” scenario. There are people who will go with the popular route but the most passionate always suceed, no matter how crowded the marketplace.

  21. Anders says: 08/11/2008 at 7:04 am

    Hey Darren, question:

    What plugin do you use for “What next? ” section below the article? Is it FeedFlare? I couldn’t find that format there, if that’s what it is.


    P.S Sorry for posting the comment here, but I sent you an email a while ago, so I didn’t wanna bother you again. I know you get way too many emails.

  22. I can totally tell when people are blogging mostly for the money. Their “voice” is hollow or totally non-existent in their posts. All I can say folks is that the truly successful people in this world love what they do. If you can’t find a blogging topic that you love, maybe you don’t love blogging? Just a thought. If you love to write, but you’re not loving your topic, don’t give up. Just keep an open mind and the right subject matter will appear. Keep the faith.

    Great post…definitely one to make people think.

  23. Prior to determining what niche you are passionate about, it is critical that you have a passion for writing itself. Although your niche demonstrates your true passion, the act of writing must also be a strong passion.

    “A passion for writing separates the bloggers and freelance writers who succeed from those who fail and quit. The reason is that when seems like things are going down hill, time is dragging on, and readership levels remain stagnant or decrease, only one thing can motivate you to continue: a passion for writing. If you don’t have that passion, you will most likely give up when things aren’t going well.”

    (SPONSCORE Blog Hub: “Don’t just do it for money” – 8/8/08)

  24. The bloggers who are REALLY passionate about their niche, and who know how to network, are the bloggers who are successful. That’s a connection that isn’t hard to figure out.

  25. I picked my niche because it is what I already do for a living and my goal is to better inform my customers about my industry, therefore, making more and better quality sales in my industry. It has been working wonderfully so far!

  26. I’m a retiree and I share a lot of my photos on my blog. I also, on occasion, offer thoughts and commentary from my retired life. I find myself being drawn toward some difficult social topics that people tend to shy away from. So far it’s interesting and rewarding…, and a little scary.

  27. Nice, my primary aim is to do value add for others and that has been paying off very well till date, I would like to add one more point.

    “You will get an idea about blogging only if you are passionate and have expertise in something which you can share” thats why the idea of deciding to blog first and choosing the topic next doesn’t reflect your passion at times.

  28. This is a great post. I have struggled a lot with what I want to do in life let alone for a blog niche…I’m generally a pretty creative person and while this can generally be a good thing, I sometimes find myself going into overdrive and coming up with far too many ideas for what I would ever be able to generate. I have now found the balance of three blogs. Yet I still come up with ideas for more….hey I just got an idea…”an idea blog for people who need to find ideas for what to write a blog about”….

    anyway…thanks for the post…the questions really registered with me a lot..


  29. I love to write and that is my passion but to have writing as my profession and only writing would be double the pleasure.

  30. It’s pretty hard to monetize my blog topic, because there’s not much of a niche for world domination, plus you have to keep paying to change your identity when people who are really trying to take over the world email you with their detailed plans asking for assistance.

    I write because I love it, and because it keeps me motivated to keep learning, just to keep up with the rest of the online world.

    Thank you for the post, and also for going into the details of your story – I’ve just read your extended story of how you started your blog, and it’s an encouraging reminder that blogging takes time, effort & persistence. It’s also great to have reinforcement that all that work can lead to living your dream.

  31. Thanks for this information.I appreciate it.

  32. This is a great article, and I’ve always believed in the principle of “blog about what you love, not about what sells”—which is why I write a personal (non-niche) blog. However I haven’t seen many personal blogs succeed so much. Is there really no “real” future for personal/non-niche blogs? (If there are any ‘successful’ personal/non-niche blogs you read, please send a link my way, kthxbai!)

  33. Very true… but even with all that, it is so difficult to narrow it down to one passion. And just because you are passionate about a certain subject, it does not necessarily mean that you have tons of experience or knowledge about the subject. My two passions are music and web design, but I am hardly an expert on either.

    I guess the key is to find a way to be able to express yourself and connect with your readers, even if you don’t know everything about your niche. You can even document your learning, success, and failures. Ask for hints and tips from your readers, ask for reader responses, have guest posts intermingled with your own. That is, atleast until you become more comfortable with your subject.

    Anyway, I wish you all luck with your blogs, whether they make you money or not!

    – Jack Rugile

  34. Glenn, you are right but only for the right type of person.

    SPONSCORE Blog Hub is probably closer to the truth.

    I believe, like him or her, you must first have the passion (hate that word) for blogging. Many a passionate person’s blog has failed simply because they weren’t passionate about the writing.

    But what is passion?

    It’s a horrible word. I hate it because its use implies something long term. Like if you’re passionate about something, you always will be.

    For me, my passions come and go with the seasons. I don’t fit into the box of the passionate person, so articles about “writing about your passion”, rather annoy me. I hoped yours would be better coz it was about how to find your passion, but sorry, nothing I haven’t tried before.

    I just gotta accept that I change my mind a lot. And so won’t ever be passionate about anything to blog about it for any decent length of time. And consequently, I don’t stay passionate about blogging either.

    It’s a real bugger! And I’m sure I’m not alone. Maybe I could start a blog about it, a blog for people who keep changing their passions… :)

  35. I started my current blog as a way to stay accountable to myself for getting my act together, and thought that I might inspire others – specifically because I’m not an “expert”.

    I’m planning a new blog and have found nothing else like it (yet) which makes me wonder if the niche is so tiny that I won’t have any readers at all!

  36. I’ve tried blogging about things I’m not passionate about, but still interested in, and they just flopped, so I definitely agree with the OP. And like a fellow commenter above said, you need to have a passion for writing to blog as well. You can develop it as you go along, but you need that initial push to write to keep the blog going.

  37. People fall into the trap about making money first and then think about something else. There are several people in the world who are earning by doing the stuff they love

  38. Wonderful.. This is what I tell my readers as well. Darren, thanks for allowing this post. In face, if you check out my site, you will see that I started it with passion for creative writing. Not for blogging for money. But a little bit of blogging for money can be included within to make some money, actually.

    Because otherwise we may not be blogging at all and will be stuck with the dayjobs won we

  39. From what I’m reading, it sounds like consistently good blogging comes from those that are not only passionate about a particular subject but that are equally passionate about writing/blogging/communicating their thoughts and ideas in general. So when your particular feelings about the subject come and go, your blogging is sustained by the foundation of your desire to blog.

  40. this is an awesome post. i love to blog nowadays because of so many reasons. First reason is, i love to write. Second, i wanna earn online.

  41. blogging is about making money and doing something you love

  42. My writing has always been my outlet, I was blogging long before a girlfriend told me about “blogging for money”. My passion right now lies in my education and my writing is my outlet about topics that I just need to get out – its like standing up on my soapbox without anyone interupting what I have to say lol.

    If my blog makes some money – great! If not, I’m ok with that too.

  43. Passion, passion and passion! This is what makes the world go round!

    I am not a professional marriage and family counselor but it has been my passion to communicate with others about having a happy family. Being a father and a product of a broken family, I am so passionate to help other families to maintain happiness in their families.

    My 11-month old family tips blogspot blog is not making much money but I must admit, I really want to and even want to blog about it for the rest of my life. To somehow help my expenses, I do paid posting but still it is not enough.

    Now, I decided to have my own domain hoping that it will have a better exposure than free hosting.

    My off-line friends are discouraging me to continue since I am already spending but not yet earning. But since I really love what I am doing, I know someday somehow, I will earn the fruit of my hard work simply because of passion.

    Great post, by the way.

  44. Juels, I think you’re attitude about blogging is one that even full time bloggers could benefit from. You said, “If my blog makes some money – great! If not, I’m OK with that too.” I think this mindset allows for the best content creation. When you are partially focused on monetizing your blog you can’t be fully focused on producing the best content. Now, of course, for the full time blogger, thought needs to be put into the monetizing aspect but I think, for some, the thought becomes a distraction and takes away from the content. The fact of the matters is that quality content, presented in the right way, wins out over the long haul.

  45. Great point, passion in everything we do is really what life is about. Life is a playground, play well!

  46. I think blogging is also a kind ‘visual’ art form. You are not only creating written content but a visual atmosphere as well. When I go to a blog site for the first time my first impression comes from the images and colors that I see. If I view a site and it’s drab, disorganized and has a bunch of junky adds everywhere I will probably skip reading it all together. And even if I do read it, it will be with a bias toward my impression that the blogger is either a complete novice or just doesn’t care about his or her site. But when I come to a well put together, clean, nice looking website I am already halfway sold on the blogger. But don’t get me wrong, the quality of the written content is what seals the deal!

  47. I recently started a blog called http://www.NicheDigging.com – and unfortunately, the title suits me well. I don’t know and/or haven’t found the niche that best fits me, so I keep ‘digging.’

    I appreciate the article’s elaboration on blogging your passion, as the cliche’ is highly used. But it does open a mindset that all thought paths have potential – what that potential is is mostly up to the writer!

    Thanks again for a great topic.

  48. It took me so long to understand the difference between just having an interest and having passion. Having an interest alone on a topic may not necessarily sustain blogging over an extended period; whereas in passion, staying up late into the night to blog is not an issue.

  49. Excellent post. I only started blogging earlier this year, and have had difficulty narrowing down my focus due to too many interests. As a result, I have seven different blogs, which all interconnect in the theme of living well with enjoyment and gratitude. However, writing so many blogs have been hard to keep up with, and sooner or later a few will have to be dropped. As a writer, my inability to focus on one thing used to be a point of frustration for me, but recently I’ve decided to embrace it and throw myself into what inspires me for the moment and try to gracefully manage multiple projects at once. It’s been a very rewarding process.

  50. Glenn I agree, being passionate about what we write about is essential. The same goes for finding your true calling, which is what I write about.

    “I want to make clear that your passion may change, but don’t wait till you think you know what it is.”

    This is excellent advice. Finding our authentic passion is a slippery slope. It doesn’t come easy for most. It’s very important to get in the game with your best guess if you have to. That’s better than staying on the sidelines and not even coming close.

    It’s the pursuit of passion that’s important. You’ve got to begin walking down the corridor to see what doors may open.

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