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Creating Compelling Content

On Writing ContentI had a heyday today thinking about creating compelling content.  I’m sure you’ve heard the expression “content is king” and that really is true.  Readers come to a blog to find valuable, compelling content…not garbage, so what gives them the value they seek?  What makes compelling content?  How can you keep it coming day in and day out?

Content Purpose

Compelling content should have a purpose.  I’ve recently seen several lists that offer guidance for the types of content to present for example, Ashton Kutcher uses the acronym “ICEE” to provide guidance for his nearly 5 million followers on Twitter.

Ashton’s Acronym;

I = Inspiring
C = Connective
E = Entertaining
E = Education

Another list that I’ve recently seen is “Inform, Inspire, Educate or Entertain” and another “Inspire, Educate, Entertain or Empower”.  These are all great and I think you get the general idea.  I like the idea of using an acronym to make it really easy to remember but I also like the idea of including another “E” : “Enlighten” which is no doubt on someone’s list already.  It’s just too good of a word to leave out.

It could be argued that “to Inform is to Educate”…and quite possibly to “Empower” or even to “Enlighten” however, I believe that empowering or enlightening someone is much bigger than simply educating them.

I’d like to suggest the following to capture the best of all worlds and a few additional nuances;

I = Inspire
C = Connect
E = Enlighten
E = Empower
E = Entertain
E = Educate

and my friend Deborah A Ten Brink suggested “Empathize”…another great “E”.

This list not only covers it all (and then some) but has the added benefit of sounding like someone who deeply understands the concept (“I SEEEE…”) 😉 which is actually the whole point.

Content Generation

Content needs to be fresh, authentic and consistently offered.  I’ve been asked a number of times recently about where to get fresh, compelling content.  My answer to that is “almost everywhere”.  Just about everything that you do as you move through your life can be turned into or used within posts.

Here is a simple example….Cleaning the house?  See how it is similar to cleaning up your workspace or folders on your computer which relates to being organized, time management etc…Have you read a good book or seen a good movie?  No doubt you can draw parallels to online marketing or perhaps it just gives you a great anecdote and so on.

Let the authentic YOU show through by pulling in stories about/from your friends, family, pets, hobbies, interests, or work.  Yes, even (perhaps especially) from work.  Now your friends and family may not want their details spilled on the web but I’m not suggesting that you do that.

I’m suggesting that parallels can be drawn from conversations or ‘anonymous’ stories can become terrific anecdotes to share.  After all, you can always change the name to protect the innocent (LOL).

I do strongly suggest keeping a small notebook with you to jot down all of your ideas, so you always have a well to draw upon, especially when you are feeling a bit ‘stuck’.  (I particularly like the little Moleskin notebooks as they are nice and flexible and small enough to go in your purse or a pocket).

To further inspire your writing and keep it fresh, here are a few more ideas for you:

Create Lists – Readers love to consume short quick lists such as ” Top 10 or 7 etc”  or “Top 10 Money Making Blogs” or “The 7 Hottest…”, “5 of the Most Powerful…”  You get the idea.  Lists are quick and easy to consume making them very popular.

Ask a question – Ask a question of your readers to get a discussion going for example “What is your favorite…(fill in the blank) or “To Blog or not to blog?”  Hector Cuevas recently asked his readers if they use single or double optins on their blogs and the question resulted in quite an animated discussion.

Micro-Blogging – Try micro-blogging on days when you are stretched for time.  If you have been inspired by a great blog post of someone else’s, consider writing about that post, add your thoughts and ideas about it and then include a link pointing to that great post.

Quotes – Quotes are great on Facebook and Twitter so why not add your thoughts about that quote in a post?  Depending upon the quote, it just might inspire an extended discussion.

In General : Pay Attention

Pay attention to what others are sharing on your social sites
What topics seem to be the most popular?
What content gets the most “likes” on Facebook or tons of RTs on Twitter
Which forum topics are getting the most discussion and / or comments

Pay attention to the news. Yes, the news.
This one is almost a no-brainer.  Hot topics (good or bad) that can inspire great content hit almost every day in the news.

Pay attention to what is trending on Twitter and/or in your Tribe
Twitter is already providing this information but you can also add a ‘cloud’ widget to your site to track your trending topics

Enlist a guest blogger – Solicit your favorite niche bloggers to post on your site as a guest
This is a great one if you are feeling a need for fresh content and it provides benefits to not only your readers but to your guest blogger as well.  They get the added exposure to your list and your readers get exposed to more great content.

Interview other bloggers, authors or other authorities in your niche.  Much like the above, this approach provides benefits to all parties and has the added benefits of using multi-media which Google loves.

Add multi-media wherever possible.  As mentioned above, Google loves multi-media but so do your readers and it adds to your site’s accessibility.  Whenever and wherever possible, give your readers a choice in how they consume your information.  Not all people places can consume streaming video smoothly at all times.  Consider adding a transcription in PDF, or an audio MP3 or…heck, why not all of the above?

Tribe – Got a tribe?  (If not, work at getting one going!)
Work with your tribe members to create synergy and syndication among members’ content and /or interview each other for your respective blogs.

On Outsourcing

I am aware that some bloggers outsource articles however, I don’t advocate this approach.  The issue I see with outsourcing the writing is that outsourced writing loses it’s authentic, personal touch.  It is no longer coming from YOU.  If you do need to outsource to increase your productivity, I recommend that you outsource ONLY the research part of your project and do the writing yourself.

Remember to include keywords in your title, description, content and tags for the search engines and you’ll be off and running!

Happy Writing!

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28 Responses to Creating Compelling Content

  1. Kimberly Wagner May 28, 2010 at 8:06 pm #

    If your writing has ICEEEE, it will give your reader chills…good chills! That’s the English teacher in me speaking. LOL

    I agree that the writing MUST come from YOU because you are the personality of your blog.

    I must start adding video to my own blog! It’s a great attractor.
    .-= Kimberly Wagner´s last blog ..Featured Author: Patricia McCormick – Three Time Literary Award Winner =-.

  2. Linnea May 29, 2010 at 5:07 pm #

    Hi Kim,
    LOL love it! .. now why didn’t I think of that..(giving my reader chills)…or I suppose you could say it is a slurpee…
    Now the real question is in remembering which “E” word goes with which “E” :)

    Linnea

  3. Janice Sangha Mitra May 29, 2010 at 10:51 pm #

    This is a very informative article Linnea!

    It’s well written and I like your emphasize on authenticity, paying attention and enlightening your readers!

    Also Moleskin notbooks RULE!! I LOVE EM!

  4. Linnea May 30, 2010 at 8:33 am #

    Hi Janice,

    Thanks so much.
    I’m so glad you enjoyed it and hope you find it to be helpful.
    AHA – another Moleskin fan! You’ve simply gotta luv the Moleskins. I probably have more of those than I”d care to admit but they are just so handy and easy to have everywhere!

    Thanks for stopping by!
    ~ Linnea

  5. Deborah A. Ten Brink May 30, 2010 at 9:30 pm #

    Wow, Linnea:

    This is really a great post! I’m not really that surprised… it’s obvious you’ve been really working hard, considering your reader’s needs, and trying to give good value and make it worth our time to stop by and read more!

    (Gee, you didn’t have to mention me… I was just trying to help — you were well on your way!). Thanks for being so generous. Can’t wait for the next post!

    Warm regards,
    Deborah

  6. Linnea May 31, 2010 at 4:00 pm #

    Thank you so much, Deborah.

    It’s very nice to have one’s work appreciated.
    Yes, I do work hard to find and provide valuable content for my readers.
    I certainly do also appreciate your comments very much.

    All my best,
    Linnea

  7. Chris Bernardo June 1, 2010 at 1:47 pm #

    Linnea,

    Like your ideas on getting inspiration for writing, and also gotta love ICEE!!!! Ill have to ask you to be a guest blogger on my blog as well 😉
    .-= Chris Bernardo´s last blog ..How to have a Successful 30 Day Challenge – From Day 1 =-.

  8. Linnea June 1, 2010 at 2:02 pm #

    Thank you, Chris.

    I’m really glad you enjoyed it and hope you find the ideas useful for you.
    Yes, ICEEE does seem to work especially well especially since summer is eminent.

    Thanks for stopping by.
    ~ Linnea

  9. Karen Smith June 2, 2010 at 2:36 am #

    Linnea,
    This is a great post. People will gain ideas from you.
    Keep up the good work.
    Karen
    .-= Karen Smith´s last blog ..How I show appreciation sometimes! =-.

  10. Linnea June 2, 2010 at 10:07 am #

    Hi, Karen.

    Thank you so much for the kind words.
    Hope you come by again soon.

    ~ Linnea

  11. Jane June 2, 2010 at 11:19 am #

    Hi Linnea:

    I totally agree with you regarding writing your own post instead of hiring someone like a ghostwriter. It is sincere, authentic and from the heart when blogs are written by ourselves. Readers will be able to note the difference if there are any changes.

    Great tip on keeping a notebook handy to write down information.
    .-= Jane´s last blog ..Have You Signed Up For the 30 Day Blog Challenge? =-.

  12. Linnea June 3, 2010 at 8:17 am #

    Hi Jane,

    I don’t think it would serve us (or our readers) very well to outsource articles. It certainly doesn’t help our readers in getting to know us better. Glad you like liked the tip. I always have a little notebook with me. You just never know when inspiration is going to hit. ~ Linnea

  13. James Hampton June 16, 2010 at 2:30 am #

    Hi Lennea! I enjoyed this post. ICEEEE is cool, for creating compelling content! I agree with your position on outsourcing, I believe too much is lost by outsourcing your blog content. For me, my blog has to come from my personal experiences in work and life. No one else can deliver that for me. And I love doing research, it’s an awesome learning experience.

    Thanks for sharing this information about creating compelling content.

    Make it a great day!
    James Hampton recently posted..Stop Procrastinating – Start Your Home Based Business!My Profile

  14. Linnea June 16, 2010 at 8:08 am #

    Hi James,

    I’m so glad you enjoyed reading this post. The research is great fun, isn’t it? Of course, if you are working on a large project, you could outsource the research for that but I don’t see that paying off for most ‘daily’ posts. Thanks for stopping by. ~ Linnea

  15. Bill Cowan August 19, 2010 at 2:33 pm #

    All those tips are great. Now I just need to copy all this and post it where I can remind myself when I discouraged on trying to come up with something. Thanks Linnea
    Bill Cowan recently posted..Do You Have The Slight EdgeMy Profile

  16. Linnea August 20, 2010 at 9:15 am #

    Hi Bill,

    So glad to be of help. Some of these have worked very well for me. It seems as though ideas for content are just everywhere if you relax a bit and let your creativity flow. I hope you don’t get discouraged when looking for content and spend that energy building your site. Thanks for stopping by.

  17. Laura Morris September 2, 2010 at 1:00 pm #

    Hi Linnea,

    Fantastic post. I have been blogging for a while, on a niche blog, and have made the transition now to writing for two others, so “me hands are full!” I love all of your suggestions very much. I am going to give you full credit and post this on my blog. I like the idea of having guest writers, as well as microblogging.

    Thanks for the refreshing inspiration!
    Laura Morris
    Laura Morris recently posted..How To Create An Auto Blog Broadcast With AWeberMy Profile

  18. Linnea September 2, 2010 at 9:27 pm #

    Hi Laura.

    I’ll say you have your hands full. We may have to have a chat about how you do that one day…this is my second and I’m digging into a possible 3rd now so it would be fun to share.

    You are most welcome! I’m so glad you enjoyed my post and am thrilled that you want to share it with your peeps. I look forward to more of your posts as well.
    Thanks for stopping by!

  19. Kelly Stone November 10, 2010 at 12:16 pm #

    Great Post! I know it is not a new posting, but I really appreciated your insight into creating compelling content. I have had a personal blog for a long time, but just recently started a more professional blog and your post offered some great advice that will help me tweak some things. I look forward to exploring more of your content! Best wishes!

  20. Linnea November 26, 2010 at 12:54 pm #

    Hi Kelly,
    Thanks so much. I’m glad to have been able to provide some guidance and hope you have fun with your content. Great news that you have started another blog. Best of luck with it. Thanks for stopping by and commenting. I look forward to seeing you again.

  21. Yasser Khan January 31, 2011 at 2:50 am #

    Linnea!

    Everyone suffers from Author’s Block at one point or another. One useful tip I read online was to create a blueprint and general outline for posts for each of the 52 weeks, right at the start of that year! That way, you’ve got at least one general idea to expand, and do research on in a week, week in and week out.

    The ISEEEE approach makes perfect sense to creating compelling content. I use it too, and now you’ve given even more ideas!

    Yasser
    Yasser Khan recently posted..How to Sell Anything To Anyone During Good Times…Or BadMy Profile

  22. Linnea February 1, 2011 at 9:33 pm #

    Hi Yasser,

    The content plan is a great idea. I combine that one with brainstorming a list of topics for my avatar and a marketing calendar. That way, I have my topics list combined with calendar events and can plan it all out from there. It keeps it all neatly in hand. Thanks for adding that suggestion!

  23. Pearly Quah June 7, 2011 at 10:21 am #

    Linnea,

    Today I seem to enjoy reading almost everyone’s post on the same group. Gosh, i can’t believe today is my lucky day because many of my questions are answered in most of the post.

    Honestly, I am not an expert in blogging. In fact, I have just recently started my own post about relationship and previously I was just sharing some important or useful content from books to put up on my blog. I can tell that blog is a necessity now and not at all a luxury.

    Your post is definitely excellent and I will have to read again to understand more.

    Thanks a lot for sharing.

    Cheers
    Pearly
    Pearly Quah recently posted..Understanding Building RelationshipsMy Profile

  24. Linnea June 7, 2011 at 10:48 am #

    Hi Perly,

    Good for you! You are obviously exploring lots of different material and learning by leaps and bounds. Keep up the great work.
    Yes, blogs are most definitely a necessity for so many reasons. Not only does Google love them but they give your community a chance to get to know you better while connecting with you and they provide the opportunity to share great content (just to name a few).
    Happy exploring and thanks for your kind words. You are most definitely very welcome.

  25. Mandy Swift July 15, 2011 at 2:17 am #

    Hi Linnea, for me you hit the nail on the head when you said “Compelling content should have a purpose”. As a reader or consumer of content, there is nothing worse than getting to the end of an article or video and going ‘what was the point of that’? It leaves the person with a vague sense of dissatisfaction that they didn’t get what they came for and if nothing else it certainly ensures they won’t be back!!
    Greta tips on finding inspiration and writing ‘on purpose’.
    Thanks :)
    Mandy Swift recently posted..(Semi-Advanced) Social Media TipsMy Profile

  26. Linnea July 17, 2011 at 6:21 pm #

    Hi Mandy,

    Thanks so much. It sounds like we are of like-mind on this one. As a reader it frustrates me as well, along with trying to make sense of a post. I will admit however, that I leave blogs very quickly if I don’t sense a purpose or can’t track the point behind a post. Thanks for stopping by.

  27. Kevin Martineau August 9, 2011 at 9:22 pm #

    Hi Linnea:

    You have given me a lot of inspiration to write! :) I have not had a specific strategy for writing but these acronyms you have shared are great.

    Thanks!
    Kevin
    Kevin Martineau recently posted..ImmersedMy Profile

  28. Linnea August 11, 2011 at 5:17 pm #

    Hi Kevin,

    GREAT! I love that I’ve inspired you to write!
    I’m looking forward to reading your goodies.

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