Creating content that people like, trust and share
Writing content consistently is one of the best ways that you can increase your online profile and grow your business. Creating content that really helps your audience, will naturally be shared and bring in more people. Over time, it will also attract people from search engines like Google.
When I started blogging, I didn't really have a plan or set of guidelines. I just wrote on the topics I was interested in (online marketing, web design and development). Over the years, I have changed the way I write and who I write for. I didn't fully realise it but I have been developing a set of guidelines, internally, on how you can create content that people will like, trust and share.
These are my guidelines on creating content.
Don’t overwhelm readers or assume too much
When people blog, they often assume too much of the reader. Don't assume that the person reading your article is at the same level as you. They may be 2, 3 or even 5 levels behind. So don't miss a step because you assume the reader should already know it. Chances are, they don't. That is why they are reading your article in the first place!
Teach the basics
I used to worry that my posts on BeFused.com (my technical blog) were too basic. Instead of writing about the challenging work I am currently doing, that really pushes the boundaries, I am writing about stuff that I have been doing for years. That is because the goal for the blog is to teach people. It's not about bragging rights for coming up with the latest and greatest technique. There are many more people who are trying to learn what you learnt years ago than there are people at the same level as you today. Those people need your help. So don't be afraid to teach the basics.
Illustrate with graphics
Graphics can often explain concepts better than words. Not only that, they break up walls of text making the blog posts easier to digest. People often have an allergic reaction to a wall of text, especially with longer articles. Graphics can be photos, screenshots, sketches or diagrams.
Use a proof reader or editor (use draftin.com)
Nobody likes reading posts with spelling mistakes or bad grammar. I know I'm not the best speller in the world and I often suffer from poor grammar. All of my blog posts are edited by my awesome wife, Vaani, who corrects these mistakes and improves the flow of each article.
To make this much easier, we use an online writing tool called DraftIn which includes a wonderful line by line comparison of changes your editor or proof reader has made.
Write daily. Publish weekly
The more you write, the better you get at doing it. You also get better at sharing what you know when you get into the habit of doing it daily. This doesn't mean you have to write a complete blog post and publish it every day. Quality always trumps quantity. I aim for a weekly publishing schedule. This means that I try and publish an article or tutorial once a week even though I am writing every day.
You don't need to start out writing daily and publishing weekly. Perhaps try writing once a week at the same time and publishing once a month. The important part is consistency. You can always make it more regular over time.
Include some evergreen content
BeFused is aimed at web developers. Almost all of the content is technical. Online technology changes at break neck speed, so technical posts can become out of date very quickly. It can be a lot of hard work for a short shelf life.
In contrast, evergreen content doesn't go out of date. Most of the content I write on this blog is evergreen. Depending on your field, aim to have at least a portion of evergreen posts so that they can stand the test of time.
Create a resource
There are millions of blogs out there. You don't want yours to be just another blog. Instead, create a resource. This means going above and beyond a typical blog post. Go in-depth. Really teach a concept. Spend days creating a single post. Think of your website as a library of resources, rather than an online journal.
Mix of long in-depth posts & short posts
Long in-depth articles tend to get shared on social media, rank better in Google and convert better than shorter posts. But they do take much longer to write. So I recommend writing a mix of short and long posts. Try to stick to a regular publishing schedule and write enough that you have time for that schedule. But then every now and again, write much longer, in depth resource that can draw in a lot more traffic and stand the test of time.
Creating content to help people in your audience is one of the best ways to grow your online profile and business. This is by no means an exhaustive list of writing best practice. It is simply a set of guidelines for creating quality content.
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