During this weekend’s #blogchat, the conversation shifted around the following questions:
- What defines ‘good content’? And...
- How do you write good content?
WITH and FOR, Not AT or TO
To quote Seth Godin:
The best blogs start conversations, they don’t control them.
People have a choice (4.5 million choices, in fact) and nobody is
going to read your blog, link to your blog or quote your blog unless there’s
something in it for them. – Seth Godin
There’s tons of blogs covering similar topics all over the web. Why do you read the ones that you do?
I subscribe to certain ones because I like their style (they’re unique) and they’re helpful. Every time they publish something new, I know I’m going to get something out of it and it’s not just a rehash of what I’ve read somewhere else. I feel like they’re writing content FOR me, not just pushing regurgitated content AT me. There’s a difference. The good blogs write content for their readers (their audience) and engage in dialogue with them. The bad ones write pitches AT and TO their perceived audience. Guess who keeps their audiences attention longer?
Blog about whatever you want all you want, just don’t complain when the world doesn’t flock to your door. #blogchat – @Copyblogger
Your first challenge is to earn people’s attention. Your next challenge is to keep it.
4 Elements of Good Blog Content
There’s several good blogs out there that have earned my attention (I subscribe to several of them via RSS and to a select few via email). When I think back at the characteristics of what makes their content good (from my perspective anyway), here’s what I arrive at…
- They’re Helpful First – several bloggers have affiliate products or products of their own that they’re trying to sell. The good ones, deliver good, useful quality content without trying to pitch me first.
- They’re Unique – the content is written in the writer’s own unique voice and perspective. In other words, the content is not regurgitated. If I’m going to read the same post on your site that I read on say, Mashable, I’d rather read it on Mashable and call it a day.
- They Allow Discussion – To quote Seth Godin again, “A group needs only two things to be a tribe: a shared interest and a way to communicate” You know what you’re doing when you moderate comments? You’re killing your tribe!
- They’re Present – in addition to writing helpful content and allowing discussion, these folks are present in the discussion that take place on and even off their sites. They follow up by replying to comments, Tweets and even email. You know who does this all the time? Chris Brogan. As busy as he is, he always makes time to give a little more to his community.
To sum up, good content (at least to me) is helpful, effective when written in your own unique perspective, and amplified when it allows for discussion that you help carry on.
Should you combine the personal and professional? Yep, I think it’s fair game. After all, it’s nice to see the human side (that personal touch) when connecting with someone (even a business) on the web. Just mind your manners in public (don’t forget, everything you post is public AND permanent).
How do YOU define good content on the web?
What’s ‘good content’ to you (how do you define it)? Do you have a formula for writing your posts? How do you balance the personal and professional?
PHOTO CREDIT: Hugh Macleod