This is an abstract from my book How to Start a Blog
Content matters. Content is the thing that matters the most, in the context of your blog.
Let’s discuss some of the things I believe are fundamental pillars in a content-centered blog strategy.
Write to your people
Let’s say you are great at cooking. Write about your craft: cooking tips, ingredients, recipes, talking to other people that love cooking. Do you love knitting? Write for other knitters about techniques and everything new that you learn about knitting. Love dogs? Create a blog for dog owners.
Anything you do, the important thing is that you identify a group of people that are as passionate as you about a subject, and you write for them.
There’s no value in what you write if it’s not valuable to other people. Sure, you can write about something that’s only appreciated by you, perhaps. But then there’s no purpose in spending so much time and effort creating blog posts, is there?
Focus on creating value
Once you identify the people you want to write to, it’s key for you to focus on creating value.
Value can take many different forms, of course. It could be how-to posts. It could be sharing your specific experience with some technology. It could be teaching other people how your raw meat diet for your dog works.
It could be telling everyone about your recent trip and what you visited, in detail, so that when someone is searching for tips as they are organizing a vacation, they can find your useful information.
There is no fixed rule on what creates value.
Here’s what I do to create value for the readers of my blog: I create easy-to-follow tutorials, written with a beginner’s mindset. I do not take the perspective of an expert while writing them.
To do so, I learn a new thing, so I’m not an expert in it, and I create a practical guide.
I know it’s very difficult as an expert to write for beginners about the thing we’re expert in. This is because we’ve forgotten what it means to be a beginner and we make too many assumptions, forgetting to mention essential things that are key to understanding a topic.
Other times I describe how I fixed a problem that I just solved while working on some coding project. My memory is very fresh and I can remember what it’s like to have the problem, so I can describe it very clearly.
Sometimes I create less practical posts where I talk about things that relate to my experience as a developer, or common struggles, or tips for productivity, for example. Those are the posts that are normally appreciated the most by my readers.
Focus on being useful and solving problems
Your posts must solve a problem: each post on your blog must have a very specific goal.
This is key, and the post title must perfectly address the problem and solution.
When people search for how to solve that problem, you want your post to be in the top results.
And your content must be awesome.
Exactly what they are looking for.
Focus on creating the absolute best, most valuable content.
Write the blog post that would have helped past you One of my favorite things is writing a blog post that contains the solution to a problem I just solved.
Everyone else solves a problem and moves on.
If you dedicate 10 minutes to document how you solved the problem you had, you are helping other people that might have this problem next week, or next year, or 10 years from now.
They will be thankful that you wrote something that helped them.
And perhaps you can even help yourself in the future.
Sometimes I google for a problem and I find my own post, written many months ago. I completely forgot that I wrote it.
What not to write about
One thing I recommend that you not write about is anything that doesn’t help other people.
It’s difficult to draw a line in the sand, but you should think about what you are writing.
Don’t think of a blog like a diary. You can use it like a diary, posting your rants or opinions or what you ate for dinner.
But is it really helping or creating any value for other people?
I personally only try to write about things that I assume will help anyone. Even if a post helps just one person, then it’s a good post for the blog.
Teach everything you know
I learned this mantra, or motto, from Nathan Barry. He’s famous for his book Authority and for being the founder of ConvertKit, a great tool for bloggers that have the need to build a newsletter.
He has this notion that building an audience is the secret hack to creating a successful business, and I really believe that. And to build an audience, the best way is to share, in one way or another, everything you know.
He did that in the form of books, first with two books about design, as that was his specialty. Then he wrote everything he learned about selling those books in another book.
I make my living teaching everything I know, and since there’s a finite amount of things I do know at any finite point in time, I had to transition to teaching everything I learn.
I found that many people like the way I talk about stuff, with a very simple approach, and this beginner-oriented point of view has been beneficial to me.
Your approach can be different, but the “teach everything you know” mantra is one that you need to seriously think about.
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