The phrase, “to attract and build a loyal following, you have to add value” is over said too many times. The most difficult thing to wrap our minds around is probably the fact that the online blogging scene is constantly changing while the definition of value is subjective, intangible, and ungraspable. Yet there are still a few common elements that make your content engaging, your articles clickable, and your readers coming back for more. And yes, it will take more than one value-packed article — we cover why your branded content is an investment here.
But still there are a few elements that makes a blog article easier to read and more helpful while having your readers coming back for more.
Have you seen the massive difference between a 90’s website and a Squarespace one?
The difference between the two is literally groans and awes, respectively.
The online influencer space is competitive, but unless you are a graphic designer or lifestyle blogger, visuals, a premium theme, and powerful landing pages that convert are probably low priority on your to-do list. And that’s okay.
It matters, but it becomes critical once you begin to have an engaged audience. In the beginning it’s easier to get away with a basic minimalistic template (hopefully you can afford a customizable one), but as you grow your personal brand, there are much more layers to add. Unless you are in the lifestyle, fashion, beauty, or traveling niche, visuals aren’t your highest priority. But if you are, don’t wait. Visuals are your bread and butter — have a DSLR ready to capture every drool-worthy moment!
Write with purpose.
I love a website with beautiful aesthetics because frankly, I can’t do it better than them. Well, most of the time. And people are usually inspired and awed by what they either can’t have or don’t have yet. Still, visuals only get you so far if your blog doesn’t have substance.
The most useful content will always be stories that inspire and drive us towards a certain direction or a step-by-step guide that teaches us how to accomplish something. It is educational, purposeful, and substantial. What else makes evergreen articles so shareable?
I use to be a lifestyle blogger and while I still follow and love reading those blogs, I realized that my love to read them doesn’t transfer over to write about the topic. I’m inspired by quite a few lifestyle bloggers, but that’s not where my talent lies because I’m constantly looking to write about topics that serves a purpose for others. And to me, a goal that is purposeful is measurable and achievable by others as well.
Begin with a story.
Everyone loves a good story. Oxytocin is the chemical that is released in our brains when we hear an inspiring story. Empowering stories inspire us to spring into action and motivates us to cooperate and empathize with others. Facts are great, but they can be hard to remember when there isn’t a story to anchor them.
The next time you struggle to write a post with substance, start with a strong anecdote or story where you or someone you know went through a struggle and how he or she overcame it. The purpose of a blog is to share more personal content and stories while being a valuable resource or inspiration to others. We all love stories where people are heroes. Why else do we love Batman?
And the word hero is used loosely here. No ninja kicks or blood dripping from the forehead. Your story just has to relate to your audience.
I love YouTuber Claire Marshall for her down-to-earth, reflective and storytelling videos. Watch a few of her videos and you’ll see what I mean. 😉
Be inspirational, solutions or results-driven.
There are generally two types of content that’s highly popular: inspirational and informational. Inspirational content is generally aesthetically-pleasing, aspiring, and is highly desirable but it’s usually something we have hope for, but don’t quite have yet. Then there is the informational content that is more tangible with a how-to or step-by-step guide that leads us through the way.
The most valuable and successful blogs usually have a blend of both. Think about all the times you have followed a lifestyle vlogger or style blogger and after a while their glamorous lifestyles doesn’t resonate with you anymore. Sometimes it’s because their content have become more manufactured, repetitive, and almost even dull. Other times, you realize how pointless it is. After all, you are watching someone else live their life instead of living your own.
My favorite blogs (unless it’s something like Lifehacker) almost always has a blend of both. What’s so good about a blog that can’t help you achieve something you set out to do? In order to help your readers, have a blend of both inspirational and informational content. For example, income reports can be inspirational, but it’s usually comprehensive of a goal achieved that month. Perhaps you can share a step-by-step guide on how you achieved that and what you did different so you can help them achieve a result as well.
On the other hand, too much informational content can be dry and boring if there isn’t hope at the end of tunnel.
Finally, whether you’re offering inspirational or informational content, always strive to make that person’s life better (or easier) after they read your blog. That’s blogging with purpose.
Make it a listicle.
How many times have you clicked on an article so you can skim over the main points? I know I have. There are tons of content out there, some outdated and others not very relevant or helpful. If you can’t tell by now, most of my articles are listicles because I’ve learned they are well-received by my audience. For example, if I was writing an article about the “6 Tools I Use to Increase My Productivity”, I will section off my blog article with six tools. Readers can skim the list and decide to read whichever tool they don’t already know about.
Listicles (like popiscles) are also easier to digest as readers can bookmark the exact spot to go back to reference if necessary.
Add a video element.
If writing is persuasive and photos can lead us to make an emotional purchase, then interactive video is double the wham when we can interact with our audience face-to-face. The connection is one step closer and more personal when we are sitting in front of them and speaking to them directly.
It varies a bit from niche to niche, but the bottom line is everyone wants value. From your experience, what types of content do your readers engage with the deepest?