How To Create Content People Want To Read
You badly want it, don’t you?
The power to capture the attention of your audience, make them sit and devour every word you write as if it is the gospel or the ancient secret of living forever.
Unfortunately, it doesn’t happen.
You spend hours choosing the topic, thinking about it and writing, but when you post it, nothing happens.
You refresh the page as if you are waiting for the exam results, still nothing.
It makes you wonder – where did all the people go?
But it looks like people haven’t gone anywhere.
The other guy posted a few minutes after you have gotten a couple of likes and even a comment while your post is still sitting and waiting for the first “like.”
You decide to come back after an hour and see if the fortunes have changed or not.
And no. Nothing has changed. Your post still sits there like a motel in the middle of the desert.
You crumble inside because not even your friends checked the post or liked it.
Why it happens to you alone? Why is no one reading your content and appreciate it?
Akshay, Meenank, Himanshu, and Anmol are killing it on the Facebook group and getting an insane response to their posts.
But no one is reading yours.
It’s not happening to you alone, as you think. As much as 70% of those who publish online content of any form face the same issue. No one reads their content.
And it leads to the million-dollar question – how to create content that people want to read?
After writing 300+ blog posts, creating hundreds of videos, and speaking at lots of events, I learned that it all comes down to 4 things, and I’m going to walk you through them.
1. Focus On The Reader
It might sound cliché, but it’s the truth. It’s the simple thing a lot of people miss when they create.
The truth is, your audience isn’t out there to read what you write and appreciate it. They have real-world problems, and they are seeking answers and solutions to them.
He might be looking for an answer to his question or clarify his doubt or a solution to the problem he is facing at work or home.
He might want to take a break from his hectic schedule and read something entertaining.
He might be out there to learn something new.
Unless your content can help him with that, he isn’t going to give a damn about it.
It’s not that he hates you. It’s that he doesn’t have enough time to spend it on your content.
That’s why you should focus on your reader.
But how to do that?
1. Stop writing for everyone. You cannot please everyone and don’t even try to do that.
2. Pick your audience. You need to know who are you writing for. What do they want to accomplish? Why do they browse? What are they looking for?
3. Now think – how can you or your expertise help them? What’s the content you can create that can help them? And remember, your content should do any of the three – educate or entertain or inspire if it doesn’t it will fail.
4. Before you write a blog post or a social media post or record a video or a podcast without having answers to the following questions:
- Why are you creating the content? Is it to attract an audience or convert them into leads and customers? Define your goals clearly.
- What will the content do? Is it going to educate or entertain or inspire the audience? The answer to the previous question will lead you to answer this one.
- What’s the one thing people will take away from the content? For example, the one thing you’ll learn from this blog post is how to create content which your audience will want to read. I talk about this in detail in this blog post.
If you follow these 4 steps while writing, you’ll easily become the next content marketing superstar or social media rockstars like Akshay or Meenank or Himanshu or Anmol or me or Sanjay.
All you need to do is focus on the reader first.
2. Share Authentic Content
It’s hard to create original content. It takes time and requires lots of effort. And there is no guarantee that your content might work. There is a good chance that all your efforts could go waste.
That uncertainty stops people from creating original content. That’s why there are hundreds of blog posts, webinars, videos, and podcasts that exist on one topic “how to create content people want to read.”
So people look for easy alternatives.
They share the content that other people have published.
Some of them take an even easier route – copy other people’s content and pass it as their work.
Both aren’t a good, productive tactic.
The first approach is kind of OK. People will thank you for sharing the selective, quality content and saving their precious time. But you cannot build a brand on other people’s shadows.
The second is a dangerous one.
At first, people will appreciate you and consider you as an expert. But if they find out you are stealing from others, you’ll lose the credibility and trust, and you’ll never gain it back.
Like that happened to Jay Shetty.
The millionaire and motivational speaker with millions of followers caught stealing quotes from others and sharing them as his work. He lost his credibility in a day and saw his reputation as a motivational speaker transformed into a thief and fraudster.
It’s the worst thing that can happen to you.
Don’t fake it. I’ve seen people doing it a lot of time.
Trust me; it’s not worth it. That instant fame isn’t worth the downfall that follows.
Be authentic. Share authentic content. It’s OK to be inspired and create content on inspiration.
But don’t copy or steal.
It might take a bit of time to build your reputation and brand. You might earn one follower, like, comment, or share at a time. But it’s worth building because it won’t fall like a house of cards.
Keep working, honing your writing skills, and learn the craft. It’s OK to fail but learn from it.
Read a lot of books and blog posts. Follow authentic creators. Watch Netflix. Or just look around you.
There are tons of content inspirations around you enough to help you create content for more than a lifetime.
Open your eyes, ears, and mind. Be open to new experiences and experiments. Be ready to learn what life teaches you.
You’ll have plenty of content that only you can create because you’ll be doing it from your perspective or point of view, and that’s what makes your content authentic.
3. Write Content That Gives People Hope
What? Giving hope? But I’m not a motivational writer. How the heck am I supposed to do that?
I hear that, and I’ll get to that in a minute.
In the beginning, we discussed that your content should do any one of these three – educate, entertain, and inspire, right?
Let’s go a bit deep into each of these.
First, why people want to learn or be educated?
People want to learn or be educated so that they can grow their careers, earn more, and improve their lifestyle.
Or simply put, they want to live a better life.
They want to get out of their current life. They want to overcome their limitations. They want to achieve their dreams.
So, we can safely say that they are hoping that your content will help them to do so, right?
That’s the hope you should give.
Consider this post. It gives you hope that if you follow the tips mentioned here, you’ll be able to create content that people want to read.
If you publish a blog post on “how I write and publish an awesome blog post in an hour or less,” then your audience will be hoping to learn the trick and publish a blog post in less than an hour.
- How to learn to program
- How to learn to write a song
- How to handle your kids
- How to have a great first date
- How to train your dog
- How to write social media posts that get thousands of likes
- How to become an entrepreneur
- How to start your own business and thrive
All those “how-to” educational posts or videos give the audience hope that they can do it too and remains as the most frequently used content approach all over the web.
Next, why people want entertainment?
People want entertainment so that they can forget their worries for a while, relax, and energize themselves to face what life throws at them.
That’s why people watch even the dumbest movies, stand-up comedies, tv shows, Netflix, and HotStar shows.
But deep down, people aren’t picking entertainment to escape from reality; they are also looking for “hope.”
When the hero in the movie overcome all the hurdles and succeeds in the climax, it gives them hope that they, too, can overcome their issues and live a better life.
It’s the same with tv shows and stories. All of them give the audience hope that no matter whatever struggle someone faces, in the end, there is peace, a better life, and happiness waiting for them.
Inspiring content automatically provides hope to the audience.
When people watch my “How Blogging Changed My Life, Twice” TedX video, it gives them hope that blogging can also change their life and help them live a life as I do.
When people read a successful campaign case study, it gives the reader “hope” that they can produce similar results and success.
No matter whether your content educates or entertains or inspires, people read it because they are hoping it will help them, solve their problem and improve their life.
That’s why you should create content that gives them hope.
Don’t produce hollow, meaningless content for filling the calendar or meeting the deadlines.
Produce something useful. Your audience will want to read it.
4. Apply Storytelling
If you look at the successful social media posts, emails, and blog posts, what’s common among them all?
They all are well written, and what else?
The secret is they use either stories or storytelling approach.
Because there is no better way to engage your reader than telling stories, and we are all hardwired to listen and appreciate stories.
A good story engages the reader, unlike anything else, and he’ll remember it for a long time.
You can remember those stories your mom or grandma or grandpa or friend told you when you were a kid and even can narrate them today, but you can’t remember and recount the awesome stats-filled blog post you read yesterday.
Because we retain stories 10X more than anything else.
That’s why all big brands like Coca-Cola, RedBull, Nike, GoPro, and Apple are producing stories. In fact, that’s the only content they create, and the trend is spreading.
And the trend is spreading across.
Let’s take the recent Bisleri ads?
Or the ads featuring the funny twins Ramesh & Suresh?
Or all those Flipkart ads featuring the kids as the elders?
You probably don’t skip them or switch the channels when the ads are played. You can’t resist the chuckle or smile when the ads end. You remember them because all of them featured stories or used a storytelling approach.
And because of those stories, you remember the brands.
But that’s not where it ends.
When you look at a water bottle or drink from one, it might trigger the Bisleri ad.
When you look at the “5 star” chocolate, you might recollect what Ramesh and Suresh did in one of those ads.
And when you need a water bottle or chocolate, Bisleri and “5 star” might top the list if they are available.
Because well-told stories are compelling, they go deep inside and create and build associations.
Or just take this blog post.
If I just presented the four things you need to get your content read by more people and wrote a thousand+ words about them, would you have read it this far?
I don’t think so.
Because in that approach, there is no connection between you and content, and without the connection, you don’t have a reason to spend your precious time reading it.
But I took a different approach.
I started with a hook about you wanting something.
Then I walked you through the problem you are facing, and it resonated with you, and you continued reading.
And then I presented the solution – four ways you can make people read your content.
Now you have a reason to continue reading because it gives you a solution to your problem.
If you look deep, you’ll find that I have applied all the 4 tips I mentioned so far in this very blog post.
The content focuses on you, the reader, because it talks about the problem you have and provides a solution.
The content is authentic because it gives you the tips or lessons I learned from my experience.
The content gives you hope because when you apply them, it solves your problem and helps you create content that your audience will want to read.
And I’ve used the storytelling approach so that you’ll keep reading it till this sentence.
Now you’ve read this far, all the 2000+ words, which means what I teach in this blog post really works.
It’s your turn now.
Go out, create content using the tips, publish them, and get those likes and comments you always wanted.