This post was submitted by Chris Garrett from ChrisG.com
Valuable content. Most people know this is the way to be successful in blogging.
Sure there are other important factors too. Traffic, design, usability, community … All the good stuff.
Whatever reason people have for visiting, they stay for the content.
Here is the catch. Have you actually sat down and worked out what “valuable content” means?
- Is it a one-off post that gets to the front page of Digg?
- Articles that get lots of links?
- Posts that attract comments?
- Is it that top 100 list you bookmarked?
- A funny cartoon that gets pinned to a cubicle wall?
- Flash games you just can’t put down?
- All of the above?
Value is tough to pin down. The definition depends entirely on point of view. What is valuable to the creator could be subscribers and AdSense clicks, while the reader could be just looking for a solution to their plumbing leak.
What is valuable depends entirely on your audience. Before you work out what you need to create, you need to get inside your audiences head and have a really good poke around. Solve their problems, motivate, educate and entertain.
While most people would love to have millions of visitors, thousands of subscribers and maybe a top 100 spot in the technorati list, if you are not supplying value then all of these lovely high-scores and stats are hollow at best.
How do you know when you have created a valuable blog? The biggest test of all is to ask yourself would anyone miss your blog if it disappeared over night? Look around your niche, I am sure you can pick one or two blogs that you would miss. This blog you are reading right now is on my personal list of daily resources. Some blogs go beyond being useful and interesting and enter the holy grail of “required reading”.
Feed readers are getting more and more cluttered. All the time I am hearing of people culling their feeds, housekeeping down to a manageable number. Like most people I have subscribed to a ton of blogs, can’t recall half their names, wouldn’t miss 90% of them if they stopped posting.
If you want your blog to keep its subscribers you have to earn that place. Create a pen portrait of your typical subscriber. Ask your readers what they want you to write about. Take care of your comments and notice what people say. Most of all work out what they need and supply it to them, because of you don’t you know there are another ten blogs just like yours waiting to take your place.