The definition of valuable blog content confuses the heck out of most my clients.
In fact, it's one of the top reasons why their business blogs fail.
And that's a problem worth addressing because the average reader spends only 37 seconds reading a blog post.
So if you want to use your blog to sell pretty much anything, you need to learn the definition of valuable blog content.
What you need to remember about the definition of valuable blog content:
Different audiences have different preferences.
However, some aspects of what makes blog content valuable are pretty consistent.
A checklist that can clear up your confusion about valuable content:
Next time you're confused about what the definition of valuable blog content is for your blog, Ahava Leibtag's valuable content checklist will come in handy; the checklist, by the way, has the following criteria:
According to Leibtag, a blog post is valuable if it's:
So how does this apply to your blog?
Here are some of the most common (and effective) ways to offer value to your readers on your blog.
1) How-To Posts
These posts are extremely popular on blogs of all shapes and sizes for one, very important reason:
People always need everything from...
- Advice on special events and purchasing decisions
- To making and operating food and other materials
So what's a "how-to" post & how is it constructed?
It starts with a problem and then ends with one or more solutions.
This kind of post is especially helpful for...
- Product-based businesses, where the consumer is using the product for the first time
- Service-based businesses, where the consumer (or business) may not have hired someone for that specific service before.
2) Posts with a "why" focus
No matter what you sell, creating "why" related content is a great way to answer one of the most important questions on your customer's mind:
Why should I buy this, or more specifically why should I buy this from you or some other company ?
The secret to successfully creating why posts that people read and share is to hone in on what that product or service would look like:
- In their life
- As time passes
In posts like these, it's helpful to back up your points with stuff like stats from websites with authority and influence.
This is also where you'll want to do stuff like throw in relevant screenshots, quotes, and photos of the product or service in a real-world context.
3) Posts that sneak peek life behind the scenes
The web is awesome and all, but it also means that there's a lot less of an opportunity to personalize the customer experience.
That's exactly where posts that show what life is like behind the scenes do extremely well.
But what exactly do I mean by that?
Life behind the scenes posts are anything that covers:
- What your company is working on/ relevant events you're attending
- Your process and approach to the projects and/or interaction you have daily at work.
For example, Bold and Pop recently had a real talk Q&A consisting entirely of reader-generated questions.
But why was it an effective concept?
Because it encouraged their readers to be more actively engaged in their content, and a lot more immersed in what's going on with their business.
4) Definition posts
Definition posts help clear up any confusion readers might have about what something actually is.
For instance, after realizing that there was a lot of confusion within my industry about what copywriters do and how to work with them, I wrote a blog post on that subject.
And if there's a concept or job title within your industry that there's a lack of understanding about...
You can write a blog post that addresses any confusion your readers might have, and then you can share it when people express confusion in the future.
5) Expert opinions
A great way to share content that readers find actionable, readable, and findable is to create an expert roundup.
An expert roundup is a blog post that asks a small group of experts the same question, and then compiles their answers.
This is a great way to mix things up a bit and diversify your audience, by featuring opinions from like-minded professionals on a specific topic.
And if you're not convinced...
My two roundups "Guest Posting Advice from 11 Entrepreneurs" and "Marketing Strategies that 11 Entrepreneurs Use in Their Business" have some of the highest amounts of shares of 2018 so far:
6) List Posts
List posts are posts that compile examples or recommendations into a digestible, shareable format so that people can:
- Compare and contrast stuff like apps, ticket prices, software, etc.
- Find out what's essential for a specific occupation or group. E.G: "college students", "tech professionals", "freelancers", etc.
FYI: I have um...mixed feeling about Buzzfeed. But they are really great at creating lists that go viral.
So just to give you an idea of what successful list posts look like, here are some of the most popular list headlines from Buzzfeed:
The most helpful takeaway that you can get from the Buzzfeed approach to lists is that it really helps to not only list recommendations, but also include a punchy reason why it's relevant.
That structure is what will transform your list from "just a list" to something that is the actual definition of valuable blog content.
7) Answers to FAQs
As I mentioned in my blog post on what to do if you don't know what to post about, answering customer FAQs on your blog is a great way to offer value to your customers.
So next time you start to notice patterns in terms of the questions your customers are asking, write them down, and consider featuring them in your editorial calendar.
Posts that answer customer FAQs will save time over the long-term.
Not only will customers thank you for it, but they'll be much less likely to experience hesitation about buying something from you in the future.
But which format is best for you?
- Why posts did well in September and November
- How-to posts had a high level of engagement in August and November
- What posts (definition posts) did well in October
However, they also found that timing and relevancy are the most important.
So, if you want to create blog posts that get loads of tweets, shares, likes, and link clicks step one is to listen carefully to what your customer is interested in/ struggles with the most, over the long-term.
And then you'll uncover not only the definition of valuable blog content but what content your customer is interested in.
And if you're still scratching your head about your blog content editorial calendar, check out my blog editorial calendar strategy sessions.