A Fool-Proof Formula for Easily Creating Compelling Content

A Fool-Proof Formula for Easily Creating Compelling Content

Reader Comments (91)

  1. Thanks Danny. The trick I use to write awesome content quickly is: don’t focus on coming up with good post ideas at all.

    Instead focus on good questions. Answer questions. And convert your answers into posts. This is a better system because when you’re answering a question, you are not in an information sharing frame of mind. You’re in a problem solving frame of mind. Which makes you quicker. Which makes you know what to edit out and makes your posts concise.

    • That’s a great tip, Ankesh. By focusing on good questions, you’re guaranteeing that the post will be relevant to your audience (instead of trying to come up with good content, which can be a shot in the dark). I like it!

      That being said, a good structure and outline to follow can still be very helpful in streamlining the process, and keeping you from going off the rails on a tangent. 🙂

    • Totally agree with you Ankesh, to me this is first step if you want to be helpful blogger not a thought leader. There is another part of this puzzle which is a ” Useful Answer”.

      Good question must accompany by “useful answer” with excellent presentation to crush it 🙂

    • Ankesh, I think that is a great idea! So many of my clients struggle to come up with content for their blogs but it’s not nearly as hard as they make it out to be. Every time they ask me a question I know that I can turn it into a blog post because chances are they aren’t the only ones asking that question. The same can work for them!

  2. Great content as usual Danny, I always, always forget the ‘don’t reinvent the wheel ‘ concept despite the abundance of sites I as can emulate from. Another wake-up call for me and my blog journey, hope I don’t hit the snooze button again.

    Still digesting my FPM course, hope that FREDDY course would still be around when I’m ready for another course..

    RegardsDave

  3. Thanks Danny

    Being quite a new kid on the block I try to spend some time reading posts like yours on some of the larger sites. I am learning all the time and gives me great confidence with all the sharing of valuable information that occurs.

    Will try some of the points you discuss and see what it can do for me.

    I started my online business fulltime in February this year. So I still need to deal with a number of other issues such as attracting traffic, etc. To get back to the point. I have started using a method of writing down a possible title followed by the subheadings I want to use in the post. The next step is to write and edit. More often than not I end up adapting the post title. My pennies worth. (Only have 9 posts on my blogs to date). Hopefully I will be able to refine as I grow.

    Keith

  4. Thanks, Danny, for such great ideas. I wish I had read them before I wrote my last blog post! I especially like your short way of outlining much better than the way I’ve been outlining.

    May I add one more tip? I’m a worrier, and want to get my writing just perfect. To combat “my littler worrier,” I’ve found that my writing flows best when I’m relaxed. I outline a post, think about it, and then actually write it first thing in the morning or just before I go to bed. That way I’m not fully awake and my little worrier stays somewhat asleep.

  5. The thing that made this post brilliant, in my opinion, was the specific strategies. I’ve read a lot (probably too much!) on blogging and marketing over the last few months, and I’m starting to get to the point where I’m thinking, “Ho-hum, not a lot that’s new is being said.”

    You could’ve easily claimed the secret to writing compelling blog posts was to tailor the post to the audience, write a good headline and intro, and have good content – which is true, but not extremely helpful… and a zillion other articles say the same thing. But I love the way you provided a useful, applicable system to put those principles into practice!

    • Yes, absolutely, it comes down to being explicit and applicable in your writing – I’m glad you appreciated that about this post, and it’s really what I try to do with all my posts, and what I try to teach my students as well. Thanks for your comment! 🙂

  6. Thanks for the post, it was very helpful.
    I couldn’t agree more about the importance of developing ‘buyer personas’ instead of listing faceless demographics.
    Examining the most popular posts is an excellent way to discover the strengths of a blog, but not as good for identifying a blog’s opportunities. To unearth opportunities, I like looking at keywords and bounce rates – it helps you find keywords going unaddressed or poorly handled.
    Again, thanks for the post.

  7. Two other tactics that work:

    1. Articles about a social network get shared like crazy on that network (e.g. Twitter articles get shared on Twitter).

    Obvious? Yes. But there’s a hidden tactic here most people don’t realize. It’s about matching your audience with the other blogs audience on a social network.

    For example, let’s say my audience uses Twitter. A lot. Here’s what I’d do:

    1. Find websites with heavy Twitter followers (e.g. Copyblogger)
    2. Write an article about Twitter (e.g. “The Ultimate Guide to Twitter Marketing”) to maximize shares
    3. Direct my own audience to the article via my website and Twitter

    This simple method would increase your social shares and help spread your content far and wide. It also builds credibility with your own audience (“hey, I just posted this awesome article on Copyblogger!”)

    If my audience used Facebook more, I’d find Facebook friendly blogs and post Facebook related content there. Simple, huh?

    2. Schedule your posts to launch simultaneously.

    The “Freddy Krueger of Blogging” did this exceedingly well. Instead of publishing one guest post a week, ask publishers to schedule it for a certain day (the further out the better… major blogs are backlogged a few months in some cases).

    This is very doable. My wife and I have already scheduled 24 guest posts to go live on May 1st, and we’re hoping to get that up to 50.

    Guest posts are marketing. Marketing works in blitzes. Damn, I gotta get back to work 😉

  8. I may be in the minority, but to me the whole “What [SOMETHING] can teach you about [SOMETHING]” approach to subject lines is beyond it’s expiration date, or at least so overplayed (or perhaps so cliched) that it has lost much of its inherent appeal. The tipping point for me came when this tactic spilled over to twitter, with an overabundance of “what the hog dog vendor can teach you about social media” style tweets jamming up my stream. This tactic may still be pulling strong conversion rates when done well, but at least for this consumer of content, it turns me off more often than not when writers are too clever by half in their subject lines.

    • It’s not about being clever, Terry – that’s the problem, I think. When people try to make it clever, it fails. The point is to be interesting and useful. And when it is, it works like a charm. 🙂

      • I have no doubt that you are on point with your differentiating between clever and effective. Seems to me I am seeing more imitators that originators on the subject line front – subject lines, tweets, titles and headings where the author either cut-and-pasted in someone else’s phrase, then tweaked without much apparent thought, or tried to be too cute with their metaphors vs. thinking of the needs of the audience. “6 Things Family Guy Can Teach You About Hashtags” reeks of laziness, and an instant add to my email filter.

        Regardless, excellent topic, follow-on dialogue and food for thought – does make one appreciate those that do things well vs. those that do things by rote. Cheers.

        • At some point I also think we need to remember that we’re smack in the middle of the social media echo chamber — we read many more blog posts, articles, tweets, etc. than normal people do.

          If your customer is also part of that group, then your own sensitivity about what’s overdone may well apply. If your customer is not part of the echo chamber, then what feels tired to you may work very well for them. That’s one reason I thought Danny’s advice was so sound — it starts with the audience, not with our own personal peeves or likes.

          • I believe we are all of the same mind here Sonia, I also believe we are all saying effective copy writing takes thoughtfulness of words and attention to customer or audience. I do stand by my position, and regardless whether one is within a social media echo chamber or not, however one defines that, it is a disservice to the audience to give preference to cleverness for the sake of cleverness over thoughtfulness (as Danny mentioned above).

  9. Having a system for your writing is grossly underated. It makes it so much easier to let your creative side out if you dont have to deal with how your going to stucture it in the post.

    Another headline structure that I like is [Subject][Hook]. You first write what the topic of your post is and then something that will make the reader want to read it. My article IM Resources: The Only List You Will Ever Need is a good example. It lets the reader know wxactly what its about and what they are going to gain from it.

  10. Thanks for this post, Danny. I’ve probably read about 5 of the guest posts you’ve done for this launch in the past two weeks and this is by far the best and most detailed of the ones I’ve seen.

    I often have difficulty coming up with post topics for my blog, and I don’t think my titles always have the biggest punch so this is a big help for me.

  11. Great post Danny and thanks for laying out the process in such a straightforward way. You always do a great job of testing new things and systematizing them. Thanks for sharing this system with us!

  12. Awesome post. Not only a great method by inadvertently inspiring as well. I’ll try it out on a few posts at Academy Success and see how it goes!

  13. Awesome article! Thanks so much for your wonderful big picture view of the blank screen problem and the details on solving it permanently!

  14. Hey Danny – Great job in developing a solid plan of action. It reminds me of my college days when our teachers drilled into our brains the 5 paragraph essay. An outline is so effective, and these tips can easily be used across a wide body of content from white papers to e-books.

    • Thanks, Heather. Yeah, it really is just about the power of a really solid outline, and you’re right, it applies to anything you’re writing. I’m actually in the process of putting together a manifesto right now, using pretty much the same process. 🙂

  15. I’m rarely stuck for an idea (if anything, I often have too many.) But when I do need inspiration, I go to the terms people use to find my blog. Often, they’ve thought of a use for my content that never would have come to my mind.

  16. I am afraid of what Depeche Mode is going to teach me but I am listening. These formulas are wonderful. The headline is both the first impression and the curiosity inducer. Make people think while getting them to engage is the key. Setting your goals,that’s the easy part… (Headline) ‘How to be a Better Blog Writer’. (First line of the post) ‘Write more blogs’.

  17. I was just reading something on iwillteachyoutoberich.com about creating systems for lead generation, and really what we’re talking about here is no different.

    When you have an outline like this, it really does help get your writing process down faster, but beyond that, it also helps to “program” your readers as to what to expect next.

    This is why prime time tv shows, news broadcasts, and other forms of media all follow a similar format. In many cases, the program has to get written and shot either daily or weekly, and getting overly “creative” with the format would make the entire production process incredibly difficult.

    This helps to simplify the process, and become a master of your style. Thank you for an incredibly insightful post Danny.

    • Tommy, that’s a really great point, and I think it works particularly well because we “train” people to expect solid, valuable stuff – it’s a win-win. Thanks so much for your comment! 🙂

  18. Thanks for this awesome content. I’m sort of a systems guy, and having it broken down into small actionable steps is very helpful. It’s all about helping people fix their problems!

  19. This is one of the most helpful posts I’ve read in a while – especially since I’m presently in a content slump.
    I just changed the main focus of my blog, and am finding it hard to get new posts out that focus on my new angle.
    Usually I’m a prodigious writer, but your outline is brilliant: I’ll be able to whip up new posts without having to rack my brain about what to write.

    Thanks – and love your site! You answered a question of mine a while back in a “Readers’ questions answered” feature, and it was right on target.

  20. When I was a kid, I loved writing and it was easy. When I became an adult, I struggled with writer’s block for years.

    The breakthrough was not any technique. It was getting back in touch with my inspiration and my life purpose, which came – honestly – through meditation, self-help, and various ways of tapping in to my intuition and spirituality.

    Now I have article-worthy “a-ha” moments multiple times every day, and it’s just a question of whether I actually sit down and write about them, or have other priorities at that moment. I think the structure you offered for the articles is beautiful and will help people a lot. For basic inspiration, I recommend people meditate daily and get in touch with the “reason you’re here.”

  21. Thanks again for providing valuable content. I have used your tips before and have made measurable improvements on my content, but they still need improvement. My headlines are mediocre at best. Your tips for headline improvement make sense. Afterall, it was your headlines that brought me to your blog in the first place. Your site has consistently brought me good info. Thanks again.

  22. Very informative post Danny! This is a great blueprint, I like how you’ve laid out the structure of a good blog post and how talked about each section. I think I can definitely use a lot of your suggestions to create more great content for my blog.

  23. Hi Danny, I have been writing a lot of posts lately and having some difficulty. I really needed these tips will be valuable in my future articles. Thanks!

  24. This is probably one of THE best content writing blog posts I’ve ever read (and I’ve read a lot). Thanks so much for sharing your insight on this subject and for making writing good content look and feel a bit more attainable. We’ve just recently “relaunched” our blog and I would love your feedback on our content. (blog.willowmarketing.com)

  25. I’ve found that some of the better blog posts tend to come from a good story…either they open with a compelling or funny story or the lesson is one based on a story. People tend to connect to your lesson more when there is a story thrown in for good measure!

  26. Phenomenal post Danny! I needed an outline so that I could improve my blog posts! You delivered exactly what I was looking for.

  27. Absolutely love this! Thanks for the help, especially with writing a title. I’m just getting started with blogging and want to do it right. This point stuck out to me the most:

    “Following a system helps you stop wasting time wondering how to get started and what to do next — and allows you to spend your time and energy actually writing. This is the opposite of staring at a blank screen waiting for inspiration to strike, which is the death knell of creativity and productivity.”

    I love how easy you make this out to be. Ive been missing a system for writing.. thanks for the help!

  28. Hi Danny, thank you for this!!

    I just started a new website which I need to build from scratch.
    This will definitely will help me create content much faster than I was used too.

    Will share when relevant.

    (and thank you all for some great comments too)

  29. Enlightening post. I found the way that you break down the steps to writing content very useful, as its acts as constant reminder to retain some sort of structure.

  30. Thanks for sharing this… I found the link to this post on Income Diary…

    I’ve been struggling with creating compelling post and I think this post has really given me tips that i will start applying… Thanks

  31. Love this post. i remember reading it a while ago but gave it a re-read because it was linked from Problogger. I have several different formats I like to go to when I’m struggling to come up with ideas for posts. Good stuff here.

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