Generating value is misunderstood. But it's one of the most important things in this creative world.
Over the past few years, the internet has completely changed. Before, people were able to stuff their content with keywords, sum a topic up in 300-500 words, publish it and get streams of traffic. But today, it doesn't work that way. In fact, it's quite the opposite. Now we need to write content that creates value for our readers. That provides them with something, and that makes them take action. Content they can learn from, be inspired from and ultimately, content they want to go back to. This sounds great, I know. The problem is, how do we do it?
We all know that value is crucial in any piece of content we create. It's not enough to just tell your audience what to do. Or tell them the highlight of your weekend. Everything we create should be intentionally providing our readers with something. Whether that is entertainment, encouragement, inspiration - anything. But 'value' is also a buzzword. It's something that's been making its way around the community, with everyone wondering the same thing - what is value?
And more importantly than that, how do we create it?
#1 Listen to What your Audience Wants
It’s so easy for us to write what we want to write. But actually, it’s better if we don’t think like that. Putting ourselves as an audience member, and writing what we want to read is the key.
Lauren from the Elle and Company blog shared a great post recently. In it she said, “Share your secrets.” Lauren called this “radical transparency.” The idea that you are being so open and honest with your readers, they have to keep coming back. It creates trust, and that is something that a lot of online businesses don’t achieve. There is so much we can give to our readers. It’s about sharing your knowledge, skills and experience so you can solve a problem for them.
I am a member of the target audience for the content I create on this online space. So I ask myself, what are my readers struggling with? What do they come across that’s frustrating? What do they wish they could find tips on? Say, for example, a blogger wanted to make a list of all the Twitter chats available in her industry and put them in her diary. But she couldn’t find one list anywhere. She was doing it all manually. What does she do? Create a piece of content, detailing all the Twitter chats. Not only does it solve a problem for herself, but it also solves a problem for others too.
This also relates to what you find difficult. When I’m having a hard time trying to do something, I ask myself if I could turn this situation into a blog post. And if so, how?
The most successful businesses do so well, because they know exactly who they're creating for. They create for their audience and their audience alone. They know what questions these people need the answers to. So they create the answers. Answers that will create value and be valued.
Why Not Try This?
Create a survey. It's so simple to do. Make a list of questions and ask your audience what it is that they want. You could also try taking up opportunities when your readers email you.
A reader emailed me recently asking for social media advice. I advised her, and asked if she’d mind if I took this and turned it into a blog post.
She told me to go ahead, because she thought it'd benefit a lot of people.
That’s a piece of content that my readers want.
#2 Believe in What You’re Doing
You can tell when you read something, whether the author is passionate about it. Discovering they aren't passionate about it turns us off completely. But when we find an author who is passionate about what they’re writing, you can tell. In a big way. And it’s great. It’s motivating and inspiring; because you believe in every word they’re saying.
That's how to create value. Showing you believe in something makes others believe in it too. And showing how something has worked for you is even better. If you can show that something has been of huge benefit to your in your own life, whether it's an app that's made you more productive or a trick you've stumbled across that's grown your Twitter following, your readers will try it out too. Why? Well because it's worked for you, there's a good chance it'll work for them too.
Why Not Try This?
Thin about something you've learnt in your life recently that would also benefit your readers. Got it? Now turn it into a blog post. Share your own advice authentically to create value.
#3 Don’t Think Too Deeply
How annoying is it when you’re in the shower and you come up with a great idea? Or you’re just about to fall asleep and a thought sparks in your mind? That’s when the best ideas happen – when you’re not thinking about them.
Which is why you should never think too deeply about them. If you think so hard about something, you won't get anywhere. Do you find that? Sometimes we need to take a break, go for a walk and forget about it. Then, when you're not thinking about it, the next step of the idea will appear.
Why Not Try This?
When you're working on something and you can't get past a certain point, take a step back from it. But always keep a notepad and pen by your side for when those ideas strike.
Value isn't vague. It isn't a word that's been made up and thrown into this community. The meaning of it is actually right in front of our noses. I think of value as the potential to serve your audience.
So when you end up creating that product that's serving exactly what your customer needs, you can't help but create value.
I'd love to know, what do you think helps to create value?
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