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The Importance of Being Useful

Have you ever stumbled upon a blog that felt like it was speaking directly to you, solving a problem you didn’t even know you had?

That’s the power of “usefulness” in blogging, a concept that’s not just a philosophy for me, but the backbone of my approach to blogging and business.

Today we continue my series in principles of successful blogging by looking at usefulness – making your blog indispensable to your readers.

Why Being Useful Matters

Utility is the cornerstone of any successful blog. It’s simple – if your blog isn’t useful, your readers are less likely to come back.

But in the blogging world, it transcends mere usefulness. It’s about creating content that resonates, solves problems, and fulfills needs. When your blog becomes a solution, a go-to resource, or a comforting space for your readers, you’re not just building an audience, you’re cultivating a community.

When you do hit that sweet spot of usefulness, not only do you build a loyal readership, but they also become your advocates, spreading the word about your blog.

Examples of Useful Blogs

Being useful can take on many different forms. Let’s take a closer look at how different blogs have harnessed the power of utility:

  • Mashable – Stays ahead of social media trends, offering both news and practical guides.
  • Lifehacker – The quintessential guide to productivity and tech hacks.
  • TMZ – Your window into the world of celebrities and entertainment.
  • Seth Godin – Offers thought-provoking insights into marketing and business strategies.
  • Treehugger – resources people to live green
  • Seeking Alpha – gives financial news and advice
  • Zen Habits – helps people be more productive
  • CopyBlogger – helps bloggers write better

Each of these blogs demonstrates usefulness in its unique way, catering to specific interests and needs of their audience.

Now you might not read all of these blogs (and there are many thousands more that we could use as examples) and are unlikely to find them all personally useful (I certainly don’t read them all) – but they all have many thousands of devoted fans and daily readers, because they’re producing content that meets some kind of need, fulfils some kind of desire or solves some kind of problem.

How to be Useful

Usefulness in blogging is multifaceted. It’s not just about what you say, but how you say it. Here are some key aspects:

  • Entertainment: In today’s fast-paced world, blogs offer a breather with light-hearted, entertaining content. People are going to them for laughs, for gossip and for fun conversation.
  • Education: From step-by-step tutorials to in-depth courses, educational blogs empower readers and many successful blogs teach people to do or be something.
  • Information and News: . These blogs might not teach you any practical skills but they keep their readers informed about the latest trends, news, and developments
  • Thought Leadership: Blogs that challenge conventional thinking and open new perspectives. Some readers want a place where they can have their minds open to viewpoints.
  • Community and Discussion: Creating a space for dialogue, exchange of ideas, and building connections. Some blogs serve as safe places for people to come together to have dialogue and debate around a topic.
  • Niche Expertise: Catering to specific interests, from gardening to technology, offering specialized knowledge. Many blogs are built more on people having a sense of belonging and feeling that they’re a part of a community than the actual content.

Of course this list could go on and on and will vary from blog to blog with some meeting multiple needs and others just targeting one.

How is Your Blog Useful?

This is a question that I think bloggers would do well ponder before they start blogging as well as during the blogging process (in fact it’s probably a question to ask every day before you publish anything).

Ask yourself: “What value does my blog bring to my readers?”

This question is not a one-time query but a continuous part of your blogging journey. Each post, each interaction is an opportunity to enhance your blog’s utility.

Strive to meet a need and enhance people’s lives in some way and you’ll be taking a step closer to connecting with people in a way that will hopefully be part of a lasting relationship.

Expand Your Blogging Toolkit

Usefulness also extends to the way you present your content. Here are some tools to enhance your blog’s utility:

  • Engaging Visuals: Use images, infographics, and videos to complement your text.
  • Interactive Elements: Polls, quizzes, and interactive graphics can make your blog more engaging.
  • User-Friendly Design: Ensure your blog is easy to navigate and accessible.
  • Responsive Feedback System: Engage with comments and feedback to build a relationship with your audience.
  • Regular Updates: Keep your content fresh and relevant.

 

Remember, the journey of blogging is as much about your growth as it is about serving your readers. Stay curious, keep learning, and always aim to add value through your blog.

 

Further Reading

Read the full series on how to build a successful blog.



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