If you’re an inspiring new blogger surfing the net you’ve probably come across a whole heap of blogs telling you that to succeed you need to supply killer content and how Content Is King! It must be pretty damn frustrating though when everyone is telling you how important content is but no-one is really telling you what constitutes good content. It’s a little bit like Obi-Wan Kenobi telling Luke Skywalker, Use the force Luke. Man, if I was Luke I’d be saying use the force, what the frak is that and slapping Obi-Wan around until he came up with the goods.
My mate Mitch has a great post dealing with this subject called What Is High Quality Content but before you head off there or I give you my version of what good content really is I highly recommend you read Blogging It’s All About Presentation. You’ll find this post very important because no matter how good your actual content is if you don’t present it properly you’ll lose your reader before they even get a chance to see how good your content really is.
So, what is good content? Well, I can’t speak for everyone else but I’ll tell you what I look for in a blog, or website, when I’m looking for something on the Net. One thing to keep in mind is that like beauty, content is in the eye of the beholder. What is good content to one reader may be complete gibberish to another, so when writing your content keep your reader in mind by asking yourself one very simple question, what is it you want your reader to gain from your post? If you can supply that you’re on your way to providing some killer content. Now let’s look at some different types of content.
How To Guide: There are a lot of how to guides on the Net and if you want yours to stand out you want to make it better than the rest. Some people like to show others that they are a wealth of knowledge, that they know their subject and they try to do this by using jargon that only another expert will understand, Unfortunately these experts already know what you know and probably aren’t going to bother searching for your particular solution so your time has been wasted.
When writing your post you should write it in such a way that someone without your extensive knowledge will find it easy to understand. Give examples that are easy to follow and if it involves a step by step process then so be it. To promote discussion it’s also a good idea to let your reader know that you’re happy to answer any questions that they may have.
Be Factual: Don’t just make things up because I hate reading something that has no factual basis behind it. I don’t believe everything that I read on the Net and if something doesn’t make a whole lot of sense I’ll check it against other sources and if they disagree with the one I was reading I will frown upon the site that wrote all that BS and will more likely than not never go there again.
If you’re not completely sure that your knowledge on any given topic is up to scratch it’s important to research it thoroughly before posting your article, listing your resources so that others can see you’ve done your homework. It’s also a great idea to give your personal opinion, if warranted, as this is more likely to generate discussion, and discussion is something all good bloggers crave for.
Entertainment: A blog can be many things and they have come a long way since those early days when they were little more than an online journal. There are a lot out there who write merely to entertain others and do it so well that they have amassed quite a following. If this is your purpose for having a blog then my best advice is to be yourself because doing anything else will only work against you.
These blogs naturally aim to entertain the reader. They may take the form of story telling or provide other forms of light entertainment like posting humorous or entertaining videos. Whatever the content the aim is to bring some sort of joy to the reader. If I come away from one of these blogs with a smile on my face then the blogger has indeed written some good content.
Useful Content: Different from the ‘how to guide’ point listed above, by useful content I’m referring to content that answer a readers need. A good example of this is my post that resolves the problem of Safari not working on the iPodTouch. That particular post gets about a hundred views a day and with the aid of MediaPass is now earning me a steady income, not as much as I would like but we all have to start somewhere.
Many people may not believe that they have anything of use to offer anyone but if you’ve ever found a solution to a problem then you should write about it because there is every chance that someone else has or will come across the same problem and will look for a solution online. That solution may well be the content you’ve provided and if that’s the case they will consider your content to be of the good kind.
The problem is that although you may provide the best content on the Net it’s all pretty well useless unless others get to see it. When it comes to blogging good content is only one part of the equation of having a successful blog. Another very important part of the equation is drawing people to your blog. There are many ways of doing this, the most important of which would have to be SEO because done properly this will guarantee that the search engines will send you the targeted traffic that you require to have a popular and perhaps even a profitable blog. As far as SEO goes you’ll find in your wanderings that one of the most important facets of SEO is selecting the right keywords and you’ll find Market Samurai to be the most popular and efficient keyword research tool in your arsenal of blogging tools.
Other than paying for advertising a great free way of getting your name out there is to comment on other people’s blogs. Teaching others the proper way to comment on blogs has been one of my most popular articles, and if you want your comments to count you will want to do it properly. Rather than me listing all the free ways of getting traffic I reckon Adrienne more than adequately covers this in her post Free Methods For Driving Traffic To Your Blog.
Phew, this is way longer than I intended this post to be, reckon I got a little carried away. So, what do you consider to be good content when you’re surfing the Net?