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Tuesday, October 4, 2011

5 Ways to Create Compelling Content

You've created a blog with a title and you know who your audience is. You're going to 'wow' them with great content (of course) and you know you're supposed to post every week, or even better, every day. But what are you going to say? Creating meaningful, relevant content so we can gain more readers and build our platform is one of the largest challenges all bloggers face. Bloggers who can't come up with content will soon see their blogs fail. So how do you prevent this scenario?

First, since you're a writer, you're used to coming up with ideas and with being resourceful. But as a writer, you may also be too careful with posting. What I mean is that you may feel what you have to offer isn't good enough or you're afraid of what others might think of your post. You need to get over this fear right now, or you'll never see your blog or your writing career grow. Yes, some of your posts may not work, but that's OK-you can always follow up with fresher and better content.

I've listed five ways to create content. I've used all of them and it's a good reminder to even experienced bloggers that by having a content methodology we should seldom have a dry spell.

1. Use third-party content, which means you use other bloggers' posts in your blog with their name and website tagged at the beginning or end of the post. This means that you'll need to follow others' blogs and implement Google alerts so that their information comes easily to you. I recommend you write a lead-in before you add the other writer's post so you achieve some context and you make the post fit your theme and personality.

2. After you've been blogging a while, pick up ideas from your comments. Be reader-centered, and above all, ask yourself why should someone else care? Perhaps you can survey your email list or issue a poll to see what is on your readers'/clients' minds. You can even say, "Hey, I need content! Be the first to respond and you'll be in my next post. Plus I have a special bonus for folks who respond to me in the next 24 hours."

3. As you go about your day, read the paper and not just the sports or the entertainment section.  Read the paper both for content ideas and to know what's going on in your local and global community.

4. Take a few notes every time you and a colleague have lunch or chat on the phone. I bet there are five ideas-in-waiting. You can even say in your post, "So-and-so and I were having lunch and we discussed this topic..."

5. While you're coming up with these ideas and they're flowing like crazy, try to write as many posts as possible in that time (not just one post) because you're in the "zone" and you need to maximize your time and energy at this moment.

And finally, make every post count. Don't phone in your copy and bore your reader. If you don't feel up to posting and your writing feels sluggish, take a break and attack it the next day. Be open to new ideas and always right from the heart. You're reader will know what you stand for and will engage with you. That's what blogging is all about providing great content to build engagement, community and knowledge. Now get out there and create compelling content.

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