Creating Blog Content Your Readers Actually Want to Read | Theresa Christine | Skillshare

Creating Blog Content Your Readers Actually Want to Read

Theresa Christine, Freelance Travel Writer + Blogger

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7 Lessons (22m)
    • 1. Intro

      2:56
    • 2. Lesson 1: Understanding Your Audience (pt. 1)

      4:51
    • 3. Lesson 2: Understanding Your Audience (pt. 2)

      4:07
    • 4. Lesson 3: Understanding You & What You Offer

      2:37
    • 5. Lesson 4: Elements of Great Content (pt. 1)

      2:44
    • 6. Lesson 5: Elements of Great Content (pt. 2)

      2:35
    • 7. Conclusion

      1:57
24 students are watching this class

About This Class

Oh, I get it: that completely helpless feeling when you've just dedicated hours to putting together a new blog post, only to have it overlooked.

There is no magic formula for creating the best content, but there are some effective things to know and ways that you can certainly craft compelling posts that excite your readers. This course provides you with useful tools and insight that you can utilize right away to craft better posts on your blog every time you hit the "Publish" button. Whether you’re just starting out or have been blogging for years now, this class will provide you with the clarity and the skills to publish amazing content on your blog that actually gets read. 

Going beyond writing, this course covers:

  • Understanding your audience and how this applies to what you write
  • Understanding you and what you offer (and how to showcase it)
  • Elements of great content and how you can create it

If you're wanting your blog to be more focused as well as more magnetic to your visitors, then this is the course for you!

Transcripts

1. Intro: Hi there. My name is Theresa Christine, and I am a freelance journalist and the travel blogger behind the Tremendous Times. I'm thrilled to have you join this skill-share course, creating blog content your readers actually want to read. Whether you're just starting out or have been blogging for years now, this class will provide you with the clarity and the skills to publish amazing content on your blog that gets your readers coming back to you. Trust me, I understand that incredibly frustrating feeling when you publish a post on your site, you've poured in hard work and so much time, and then you just feel like it goes completely ignored. This felt like the first six months of blogging for me to be honest. Beginning bloggers often encounter this. It's really why a lot of people don't stick with blogging. After all, the best thing that you can get as a blogger is reader engagement. When you're not receiving this time and time again, it can feel rather discouraging. This is not a course about writing per [inaudible]. It is actually a course about blogging. Blogging entails a lot more than just writing well. This class will include writing tips but more importantly, it will give you the tools to craft a better blog overall, so that you can provide posts that are well-written, resonate with your readers and showcase your strengths. In this course, I will cover understanding your audience, understanding you and what you offer, and elements of great content, and how you can create it. If you're a beginner, then this is a wonderful way to start off your blog very strong. If you're more experienced, then use this course as a way to refine your work and improve upon what you're already doing. What you'll need before you move on to the next video is a blog post. You can take an idea that you've written about before and use this course as a way to revise it or you can go ahead and use an idea that you've been thinking about and finally, put pen to paper or fingers to keyboard. Don't stress about putting this post together or choosing the perfect blog post to work on. Remember, the whole point of this class is so that you can become a better blogger. Any post will do and I promise that by the end, it will be much better suited for your blog. Alternatively, you can take any other piece of your writing if you'd prefer or you can go through the course first and then use your new found knowledge to write something awesome. Go with whatever choice is most comfortable for you. Let's get started. I am excited to have you join me and when you're ready, move on to video 2 for the first lesson. 2. Lesson 1: Understanding Your Audience (pt. 1): Hi, and welcome back to "Creating Blog Content Your Readers Actually Want to Read." In this video, I'm going to talk about understanding your audience. I'll be honest. When I started my blog, I gave no consideration at all to whom these posts were directed. I was just writing the posts that I wanted to write, and really, this is a perfectly fine approach if you truly don't care whether or not anyone else reads your blog. In fact, I am pretty sure for a long time that my two biggest and only fans were my mom and dad. But, if you hope to build a readership, use your blog to help boost your business, or monetize your blog in anyway, you'll want to build an audience who likes reading your posts. The first step to doing that, is to truly understand them. When you're starting out, it can be tempting to try to please everyone and attract as many different types of people to your site as possible. You just want the page views, right? So, so wrong. Page views are nice, but reader engagement is far more valuable, and you'll only get this from the readers that you resonate with on a more personal level. It's actually incredibly helpful and quite a relief to keep in mind that not everyone is going to want to read your blog. You know the saying, "If you market to everyone, you sell to no one"? Well, the same thing goes for blogging. If you write for everyone, you are actually writing for no one. Think about it. We don't really care for impersonal interactions in real life. They feel fake and make us feel forgettable and not important. We want to feel like special snowflakes. So why would we want to read an article from someone who gives no consideration to our needs, our struggles, or our interests? So here's the trick. When you sit down to create your posts, you should be creating them for one person. Yes, one. While that may seem counter-intuitive, specificity is key. It will help attract the type of people to your blog who will love your work, who will feel engaged, who will share your content, and who will return for new posts in the future. You will want a very clear picture of this person in your head. What they look like, how old they are, what they wear, what their income is, what they love, what they hate, and everything in between. By honing in on one person, you'll actually increase the number of people interested in your blog. You see, although not every reader will be exactly like your ideal reader, they will be able to relate on some level to this person, whether it be through their interests, life experiences, job situation, dreams, social media preferences, or hobbies. Your ideal reader avatar, as it is called, must be completely fleshed out so that other people will find qualities of themselves in this very real person. They'll say, "Oh, hey, I like computer programming too" or "I totally remember that TV show from the sixties" when they read your blog and then they'll think, "Oh my god, this person gets me." I struggled for years actually, to define my ideal reader, and everything clicked once I started asking the right questions. I've compiled a list of these questions into a PDF for you. But if these don't really click for you, then feel free to turn to the world wide web for other resources. There are tons out there and it really does help to find the questions that get you seriously thinking about this person. For this video's task answer the questions in the document or a resource you find online if you so choose, to help you better understand your ideal reader. When you know this person's habits, routines, history, preferences, and experiences, you will be able to create blog posts that have an emotional appeal, rather than just a broadcast for the masses. As a final note, I'd like to remind you of something that Dita Von Teese once said, "You can be the ripest, juiciest peach in the world, and there's still going to be somebody who hates peaches." Trust that by being true to yourself, and to your ideal reader, that you will attract an excited and engaged audience to your blog. Once you know more about your ideal reader avatar, it's time to move on to video 3. 3. Lesson 2: Understanding Your Audience (pt. 2): Hello there and welcome back to creating blog content, your readers actually want to read. In the last videos task, you've answered some very thorough questions about your ideal reader avatar. In this video, I'll be talking about how you can translate that valuable information into useful, wonderful, and amazing content. There are so many helpful things you will be able to figure out once you know who your ideal reader is. For example, how to reach this person via social media. If you know that your ideal reader is in their late teens, Snapchat is a great way to connect with them. If you know they love photography, try Instagram. When to post? Knowing the geographical location of your reader will be helpful in deciding when to publish new content. What types of outside interests you can tie into your blog? When you're aware of what hobbies they have, you can hone in on those interests and tie them into your blog in some way, even if it's just through casual mentions in your content. If you're able to somehow mix in those interests with the focus of your blog, they will love you. How long your posts should be? For example, one of my readers' biggest struggles is time. With this in mind, I try to avoid long-winded posts that are over a certain number of words. What kind of references are appropriate for them? What kind of historical references, memes, jokes, and other social commentary will they recognize and what will go completely over their head? How to talk to them? Of course, you should be yourself, but do they prefer to be talked to like a friend or a student? Do they want scientific evidence to backup your content, or do they simply want to hear your honest opinions regardless of proof? Do they appreciate sarcasm, or do they dislike it? Probably the most important one of all, why they need your blog. People visit blogs and read articles because it helps them in some way and it gives them something that they desire. Whether it's juicy celebrity gossip, stunning photography from your travels, hilarious anecdotes of the life of a cat wrangler, sound business advice, fun DIY ideas for the whole family or whatever your blogs focus is, why does your reader read your blog? Is she currently far from home in her first year of college, wanting celebrity gossip to feel like she's back at home with her best friends? Is he retired and living vicariously through your photographs, looking to plan his bucket list dream trip? Does he want to escape a 9-5 job that makes him miserable by reading funny tales from your workplace experience? Is she a new business owner searching for professional and personal help as she stumbles through the difficult first few years of entrepreneurship? Is he a single dad looking for fun things to do with his two young children on a rainy day? In my case, my reader is seeking travel inspiration and wants to feel like she has a confidant and personal travel planner. She wants both motivation and encouragement from someone that she considers a friend. She desires many things in life that pull her in various directions and my blog helps to give her balance. Take a good hard look at your answers from the previous videos task and answer this, why do my readers read my blog? Does a blog post that you chose to work on for this course deliver something of what they're looking for? How can you improve upon it? What does it currently provide, and how can you build on that knowing what you now know about your audience? Once you've given this some consideration and recorded your thoughts, you're ready to move on to video 4. 4. Lesson 3: Understanding You & What You Offer: Welcome back to creating blog content your readers actually want to read. In this video, I want to talk to you about what it is that you yourself offer your readers. With all the blogs out in the world, you might be feeling a little distressed and wondering what makes yours special. The answer is simple. You, you are what makes your blog special. The tricky part is creating posts where you and your personality shine. Similar to the way some vivacious people freeze up once they step in front of a camera, make sure that you don't overlook your own amazing qualities as you sit down to write a post. Blog posts where readers can get a sense of who you are, are much more enticing than flat, lifeless ones that could be written by just about anyone. One of the best pieces of advice I've ever received is to always remember that flaws are what people really relate to. It's what makes people real. There's certainly this trend to appear Instagram perfect all the time and I really want to encourage you to just throw that out the window. Do not try to be perfect. Perfect is so boring. People want to know about your mess ups, about your history and about the mistakes and imperfections that you possess and that you have in your life. By embracing all of your best and worst qualities, you will resonate with your readers on a much more personal level. For this video's task, make a list of your personality traits, both good and bad. I know that this is a difficult thing to do. Sometimes, so if you feel like you need help, ask someone that you really trust to give you honest answers. Then once you've done this, pick three and think about how you can bring those quirks of your character into your blog post. It doesn't have to be a huge thing either. For example, if you have a wry sense of humor, one well-placed comment can charm your readers and make them laugh. In regards to my blog, I know that I'm a relatively hot or cold person. I really don't have a middle ground. So when I write my posts, I never hide my complete love or total disdain for something. I'm very honest about how I feel. Once you've gone through this task and recorded your responses, you're ready to move on to Video 5. 5. Lesson 4: Elements of Great Content (pt. 1): Hi there, and welcome back to creating blog content your readers actually want to read. In this video, I will be covering three elements that can help you make really awesome posts. First of all, make sure that what you write is original. This is a no-brainer and I know that I don't need to tell you, but plagiarism is bad. Definitely, read other blogs and use them as inspiration, but whatever you create needs to be uniquely yours. If you're so inclined to include information from other blogs or sites, just make sure that you give credit where it's due. Second, strive to write evergreen content when you can. This means content that isn't going to be out of date in a few months or even a few years. If readers come to your site six months after you write something really amazing, you still want them to be able to get something out of those posts. Actually, one of my most popular posts didn't even gain traction until a year after I published it. This doesn't mean that every single post you write has to be devoid of pop culture references, statistics, current news, or seasonal information. These types of posts certainly have their place and are very valuable, but if everything you write quickly becomes less applicable to your audience as the days go by, make sure that you throw in some useful evergreen content from time to time for a bit of a foundation; how-tos, handy guides, FAQs, case studies, and lists are a great place to start for evergreen posts. Third, get readers involved and engaged. while you might be thinking that page views are the best thing ever, it's actually reader engagement, comments and shares, for example. So really try and engage them. Many bloggers do this by simply asking a question at the end of their post. It's a super easy way to get your readers more invested in what you're writing about. For the responses, you can have a comment section on your blog or if you'd prefer to turn that off, you can direct them to your social media channels to discuss it further there. Go ahead and take a look at the post that you chose for this class and analyze it for these three qualities; original, evergreen, and engaging the reader. You definitely want it to be original. Then brainstorm what ways you can make it evergreen or more evergreen, and/or to get the reader involved. Once you've done this, you're ready for video six. 6. Lesson 5: Elements of Great Content (pt. 2): Hello, and welcome back to Creating Blog Content Your Readers Actually Want To Read. For this video, I will be talking about two aspects of your posts that relate to the look and feel of it. You want to keep these in mind and try to apply them before you hit publish. First, try to incorporate quality images and photographs when you can. We are visual creatures and a post that starts off with a strong photo definitely stands out more than one that doesn't have an image. Additionally, photographs helped to break text up, making posts so much easier to digest. You've likely already got a great camera in your pocket, the one that's on your phone, but if you don't, you have so many other options still. First, you can check out Flickr Creative Commons for pictures that you can actually use for free, just make sure that you credit the image properly. There are also stock photo sites and sites like Unsplash or Death to the Stock Photo that offer an endless amount of beautiful photographs you can use for cheap or for free. Whatever you do, do not simply take images from other sites, even if you link to the source. Unless you have the authors and photographers explicit permission, the rights to those images do not belong to you. I know that the Internet can sometimes feel like a free for all, but this is just a definite no. Second, create posts that are scannable. This is something not images will definitely help with, but even without any images, your posts should not really entail large, tiring paragraphs. When I stumble across posts that seem like a chore to read, I often tell myself, "I'll come back to them," and sometimes I do, but sometimes I don't. You want to keep your readers on your site and reading your content, not bookmarking them for later. Even if your posts are lengthy, they can still be broken up into smaller chunks that make them a little easier to tackle. For this video's task, take a look again at your blog post and decide if there's any way, either with nice images or by breaking up text, that you can make it a little easier on the eyes. If you don't already have an image to use for this post, hop on over to Flickr Creative Commons and look for something you like. Make sure to credit it of course. Once you've done this, you are ready for the final video. 7. Conclusion: You have officially made it to the end of creating blog content your readers actually want to read. Congratulations. Hopefully, you have a clear idea of how to craft enticing and interesting posts, as well as how to better relate to your audience. When you're writing and revising your post for this project and any posts in the future as well, make sure to go through a few important pieces. Consider your ideal reader avatar and how this person plays into your writing and content. Also ask why they need this particular post. Include some of your personality. How can someone discern this piece of writing from another person's? Aside from making sure that what you write is 100 percent your own, make sure to polish it as you see fit. Add in great images, make it a little more evergreen friendly, edit content so it's more scannable, or add in a question or invitation to get your readers feeling more involved. Just keep in mind that putting all of these tips into practice is a lot of work and it will take time. But the more you do it, the better you will get at anticipating your reader's needs, letting your personality shine through your writing, and organizing your information in the best way possible. Feel free to ask any questions that you might have here on Skillshare and also give me your feedback and let me know how this course has helped you. Of course, make sure to update your project with the final revised post that you have and even share the URL of your blog if you'd like. I am so excited to read your work and see how this has improved your blog. Thank you for joining me for this course, and I hope to see you in another class here on Skillshare.