In this post regular contributer Skellie from Skelliewag.org explores the idea of building successful blogs by giving readers value.
Yes, they’re all in the Technorati 100, but there’s something else, too.
Each of the above blogs is dedicated to maximizing value for the reader. Rather than reporting news, or covering an industry, or attempting to persuade, the above blogs are primarily dedicated to making readers more skillful at what they do, whether that skill is blogging, marketing or software coding.
I call this approach value-blogging, and in this post, I want to explain how it can be a powerful model for bloggers to adopt, either fully or partially. I want to suggest that this approach has a number of distinct advantages for the average blogger. Most importantly, I want to outline how you can get started with value-blogging.
Why value-blogging is a powerful strategy
Unlike news or time-sensitive posts, value-blogging helps readers to improve in ways that are continually relevant. Every time you add another value-blogging post to your archives, you’re building up a database of knowledge that should still be as relevant in future as the day it was written.
Value-blogging, by its nature, encourages original and differentiated content. Though two bloggers might both write a post on quick ways to increase your email productivity, those two posts are likely to contain very different advice, influenced by the individual blogger’s personality, experience and writing style. The advice you give and the way you deliver it will help to brand both you and your blog.
The quality over quantity model is well-suited to a one-blogger show. The upper echelons of the world’s most highly trafficked blogs are updated dozens of times a day, often by full-time editorial teams. The average blogger simply can’t hope to compete in terms of volume (at least, not if any shred of quality is to be maintained).
Value-blogging emphasizes quality over quantity every time, and many of the world’s most respected value blogs update only a few times a week. This flexibility is invaluable to anyone who leads a busy life outside blogging.
Value-blogging is ideal for building a loyal and enthusiastic readership. Though I might respect a blogger for updating me with news or sharing her eloquent opinions, I will probably have an even greater fondness for someone who helps me become better at something I love. It’s hard to think of a more powerful way to leave an impression on a reader.
Value-blogging can boost your personal brand and open up direct and indirect sources of income. Value-bloggers are presented with unique opportunities to make money online. As they have proven their expertise on a topic time and time again, they can be in demand for speaking engagements, consulting work, and freelancing. There is also the possibility of producing and selling an eBook. A number of value-bloggers also make good money through affiliate sales because their recommendations are so well-respected.
Sounds great, but how do I start?
Photography: My Hobo Soul
Value-blogging is, at its core, about focusing your energy on helping readers. There are dozens of ways you can do this, but the most common approaches are as follows:
- Provide tips and advice on an important skill in your niche.
- Answer a key question your readers might have.
- Share lessons you’ve learned.
- Provide useful information and resources.
- Write a tutorial or guide.
- Answer the who, where, what, when and why of something.
There are plenty of examples of value-blogging you can use for reference. ProBlogger, for example, is a value-based blog, though the value-blogging is supplemented by some news and commentary. This article is an example of value-blogging, in that it attempts to describe not just why value-blogging is important, but how you can add it to your raft of blogging skills.
The best way to boost your value-blogging skills is to learn by example. Subscribe to value-blogs and pay attention to their most popular articles. Could you transfer that format to your own niche?
For example, one of the most popular posts at ProBlogger is Blogging Tips For Beginners. Could you write: ‘Cooking Tips For Beginners’? Or ‘Karate Tips For Beginners’? Whatever your niche, the idea behind many great posts can be translated over to a topic of interest to your audience, resulting in something very different but (hopefully) equally appreciated.
Give value-blogging a try!
It’s not necessary that value-blogging become the whole focus of your blog, but it can be a useful thing to add to your content mix.
If you’d like some homework, make the next blog post you write a value-post. Teach your readers something, give them some tips, or advice, or share some resources. You might be surprised at the results!
Skellie is a regular writer for ProBlogger. She runs her own blog about blogging at Skelliewag.org. Come by and say hello :)