When people read your blog, they’re looking for value. Just like you reading this right now—you’re wanting to learn and take something away from this post.
Without valuable content, your business and brand will not grow.
So what is valuable content?
What’s the difference between fluff and the good stuff? Let’s break down the difference first, then we’ll dive into a simple system to help you churn out the best value to your readers (and keep them coming back for more.)
Fluff (n.) – a bunch wasted words that from the outside may look important, but once you read them you realize you didn’t learn a thing and often leave more confused + frustrated because it was such a waste of time reading what you just did. Fluff typically does not relate to anything your brand is about, it does not feed off of your company services and vision, and it does not provide any valuable takeaways or lessons to your readers.
Fluff can range from 200 words to 2,000 words—but more does not always mean better. It leaves readers feeling like they lost a few(hundred) brain cells by reading this junk that every other “content writer” and their cousins charge for their “professional copywriting and blog writing services” on Fiverr for $5. Fluff leaves people who purchased a $5 blog post on Fiverr realizing they got what they paid for and now understand why real professionals charge $.50-$1.00 per word.
Good stuff (n.) – words that actually mean something and are important. Blog posts that serve a purpose, the existence of the post is clearly identified, and the reader knows exactly what to expect when they click to read the post. Good stuff posts contain actionable items that teach the reader and leave them feeling smarter and more empowered than they did before reading the post. Readers feel like they can take what they read and apply it to their own brand, goals, and business. Good stuff builds trust with readers and will make them want to keep coming back to you for more of your information.
TL;DR: Quality content is what really matters when it comes to utilizing the blog medium to build your brand authority and ultimately grow your business as a result.
How can you forget the fluff and start producing the good stuff?
Here are 3 simple strategies you can take with you to start pushing out solid content for your readers:
1 – Create an outline + plan ahead
If I’ve learned anything through my experience writing, it’s that writing on a whim doesn’t take you very far. There’s a reason professionals use content calendars or software products to manage their editorial calendars. If you’re simple like me, you can just create a google spreadsheet and keep track of your schedule there.
Action Item: Take an hour to create a content calendar and brainstorm topic ideas you want to write about. Go ahead and schedule out the dates that each post will go live on your blog. Not only will this help you become more organized and have a vision for your site, but writing down the publish dates will hold you accountable to actually get the content produced + ready to go live by that date (instead of procrastinating—which I’m sure you can find a fluff article about limiting procrastination on Pinterest.)
2 – Write down all your blog post titles ahead of time
When it comes to blogs or any type of digital editorial publication, the title is the first thing (besides a really good blog photo) readers see. The title has to be good enough to convince a potential reader to click to go to your post and spend time reading it. After creating your content calendar and planning which posts will go out when—don’t just stop at post topic ideas.
Action Item: For each topic you wrote down in your calendar, give every post a title. Make sure the title is informational and gives the reader enough details on what to expect from the post. Avoid titles like “How to make Instagram pictures look better” and instead try titles like “5 Free Photo Editing Apps To Step Up Your Instagram Brand.” The more descriptive the better. (BTW—using numbers in your blog post titles increases conversion, just saying.)
3 – Write meaningful content
This is vague… I know. Kind of ironic that I’m writing a post that encourages you to be specific and informational, and here I am leading point 3 with a vague title like this! But see what I did there? It’s a useless title!! You’re probably thinking “like, what is meaningful content anyways?”
Meaningful content, aka “good stuff”, is information the reader can consume and learn from. You can write all day about “How employer branding is really good to hire talent”—like, yeah, obviously. But how can someone interested in that topic learn to implement employer branding? How can we put employer branding to work? What are ways to use YouTube for employer branding and what are 3 types of content to post on YouTube to position yourself as a thought leader (and establish your brand?) Get specific.
Action Item: Go through the post topics and titles you created and narrow them down even further. Avoid broad topics, because broad topics are easy traps to turn good stuff into fluff on accident. Write down 3 specific points you will cover for each topic and a piece of solid information for each point that someone can learn. Think micro.
4 – Provide actionable items, worksheets, takeaways, etc.
People come to your blog to learn something. They want to read what you have to say about the topic… they want your tips + tricks and advice… they want your way of thinking about a particular subject. Leave your readers thirsting for more with something they can take with them. Doing this also extends that experience they have with you. For example, if someone reads your blog post and downloads your free printable to use after, then your message + branding will still be alive and well with them when they go to take action using that printable.
Action Item: After creating your content calendar, posting dates, and descriptive titles, write down 1 freebie to include with each post. Choose the takeaway that makes the most sense for your blog topic (and make sure to create the printable you design with your branding to develop authority!)
Examples below of printable checklists, worksheets, free resources, etc.:
“Action Items”: like I am providing in this post. After each segment of information I write about, I list an “action item” for you to take with you to implement these strategies on your own.
Checklists: like this How To Grow Your Employer Brand with Pinterest Checklist
Free resources: like this 2017 Social Media Size Guide I designed or this list of my favorite stock photo websites that don’t suck
There is major power in a blog that provides value—it’s up to you to implement the strategies above to plan ahead, create + schedule content, write meaningful content, and leave readers wanting more.
Do you have any strategies for creating valuable content for your blog? Share in the comments below!