Today we have a guest post from Davis Masters, a freelance copywriter and storyteller and one of the regular readers of this blog. David's mission is to teach individuals and businesses how to tell better stories. In this guest post, he shows us how we can write blog posts that actually give value to our readers. Take notes and enjoy!
What's the best way to build an engaged audience?
Content marketers say to build an engaged audience with content marketing, you must provide value. But what does value mean?
It means your content – or the information you provide in your content – is valuable to your readers.
Value means your content will do one or more of the following:
1. tells them how to do something
2. entertains them
3. meets a spiritual need by helping them reflect on their life
4. offers an expert opinion from a thought leader
Below, I explain what each type of value-laden content looks like.
My bike tire gets a puncture. I ride my bike everyday. I need to fix it now, but I don't know how. What do I do?
On YouTube, I find a step-by-step video showing me how.
That's what I need to know right now.
What do your readers need to know how to do? What do they struggle with? What might they need to know how to do in the future?
Answer these questions to create ideas for your content. Your readers will find value in what you write, and they'll keep coming back for more.
I'm tired and stressed. It's been a long day.
What's value for me right now?
Something to take my mind off things. Something to entertain me. Even better, something to make me laugh.
I turn on the TV. I read a book.
Entertainment is a difficult way to create an engaged audience.
Still, it can be done. Johnny B. Truant is an example of a blogger who provides value through entertainment. Most of his blog posts are entertaining stories about his life.
You can increase the value of your content, even if the primary purpose isn't entertainment, by having an entertaining or humorous style.
We all need time to reflect on the purpose of life, on our ambitions and goals. We all need time out to connect with our deeper selves.
Helping people work out their goals, find motivation, or learn something new and profound, is a way of creating value.
This is the approach of many self-help, spiritual and life hack blogs.
They don't tell you how to do something practical, like fixing a puncture on your bike, or scanning your computer for viruses. But they help you reflect on life and find meaning and purpose.
If your content helps readers do this, that's value.
A final way to create value is to by being a thought leader.
For many businesses and CEO bloggers, this can work well. You're respected in your field. Your opinion matters to other people.
People want to read your advice, opinions and ideas.
If you're not already a thought leader, and you want to become a respected authority in your field, a blog is a brilliant way to build a platform. The more you write and share your thought-out opinions, the more people will look to you as a person they trust and respect.
The most important thing for thought leaders is to be authentic. Be honest, be true to yourself, and write as well as you can.
How-To Content and Thought Leader Content are particularly effective for businesses.
You can attract readers and build trust by writing:
You can also add value by writing in an entertaining style, or occasionally writing reflective posts that give people a glimpse into your life. Just make sure it all fits together with the brand and image you want to convey.
What other forms of value do you include in your content?
What blogs do you read? How do they offer you value?
David Masters is here to help you tell better stories. Join him at his blog, inkably.
Lexi Rodrigo is a communication and marketing professional for multimillion-dollar businesses, co-author of Blog Post Ideas: 21 Proven Ways to Create Compelling Content and Kiss Writer's Block Goodbye, and host of "Marketing Insights LIVE!." Connect with Lexi on Twitter, Facebook, or LinkedIn.
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