That’s one of the big blogger questions.
It’s especially true if you enjoy writing…and traffic to your site.
A magic wand that could make the topic of your next viral blog post appear would be ideal right about now, right?
But since we don’t live in a Cinderella story and catering to your blog audience is not that simple, the reality is, many of us sit in a room racking our brains for the next best piece of content that people will read with gusto (and who knows, maybe share?).
But enough fantasizing. The question still stands.
What do people want to read about??
…do people even read these days? I get a hunch that if they didn’t, blogs wouldn’t work nowadays.
And so finally, the magical answer to solve all your blogger problems at once is….
People want to read things that will bring them bliss. Quick bliss. Enlightening bliss. Practical bliss.
Let’s break it down a bit:
Remember when you were a kid, and all you wanted were instant answers to all your questions?
So what would you do? You’d ask.
Why this? Why that? Why mommy?
And she’d give you either instant answers or instant comfort often in the form of words.
It’s the same as you grow older except mommy doesn’t have all the answers anymore. Your new mommy becomes the internet.
People want usable, practical, clear information that they can use to be inspired, to reinforce an idea they have, or to learn how to succeed. Because at the end of the day, finding answers is blissfully comforting. Everything always boils down to those three basic things: education, entertainment, or inspiration.
So, better phrased, the question shouldn’t be “what do people want to read about anyway?”, the question should be—
“What do people read and reread anyway?”
I remember getting this obscure email one day that sat in my inbox with the sender’s name as “James Clear.”
Sounds like a name for…I don’t know, constipation medicine or something. Or the name of a guy that discovered a new element.
Turns out, after hurriedly opening the email and planning to scroll right to the bottom of the page to unsubscribe, his writing caught my attention.
Titled, The 1 Percent Rule: Why a Few People Get Most of the Rewards, I had to read it.
The rest is history…or basically, I really liked the article. No, loved it (because of its clarity) and decided I needed to include a link to it whenever I could and email it to as many intelligent friends as possible (which is a short list, quite frankly).
It did things. It worked for me. It massaged my brains.
It entertained with the examples given (who knew the top three winners of the world cup were only France, Italy, and Brazil). It educated on an underlying principle present in most of life’s systems. If you really want to know what I’m talking about just read it.
If you really want to know what I’m talking about just read it.
And lastly, but most importantly, by the time I finished, it made me feel smart and that I had learned something.
It made me feel.
I mean let us get real. Making someone feel something over the internet is hard to do (unless you’re in a long distance romantic relationship).
But not impossible. This is where you take your story telling, metaphors, and vivid language skills out of the attic and bang the dust off them.
As a writer, if you can do all three in one piece of writing, you’re winning. But starting off with making sure you first nail one absolutely well is never a bad idea.
Not everyone is going to be into the intellectual things like the Pareto Principle. That’s true.
Maybe what you want to read about is the science in a slam dunk. If that’s still too scholarly, maybe you’re just really interested in reading about puppies…or the lifestyle of a travel blogger you have a secret crush on.
And that’s ok.
It’s not necessarily the subject. It’s about the how. How can you tell someone about something and have it MATTER?
The only way I’ve found is best to do it is the law of relativity.
Not e=mc² but bliss, remember? Making them feel something through relational writing. Things people can adhere to.
Back to the puppies example. If you’re going to write about puppies at all, write about how they’ve changed your life, why having a puppy is like making a child, why animals should matter in every human’s lives.
(for the record I don’t have a puppy).
Those options are much better than writing about five reasons puppies are cute, or five reasons your puppy is the best, or why you own a puppy.
There has got to be a focus on giving value in your writing in some form or another, despite the subject.
That is, the subject doesn’t dictate how good your writing is but the intent of the writing does. That is the challenge to be conquered and used to your writer’s advantage.
So, before you sign off your WordPress editor, here are three questions to religiously ask yourself as you bow your head on your keyboard:
- What value does this piece of writing give to any given reader?
- Did I inform, entertain, or inspire? If so did I do it well enough?
- Can this piece of writing stand the law of relativity? That is, does it have a chance of conjuring emotion through anecdotes and stories?
If you answer positively to all three I’d say you’re well on your way to not-completely-rubbish writing.
Of course, if you really want to dissect the layers of everything writing is we could sit here all day and our coffee would run cold, but it’s always good to pay attention to the fundamentals—to then eventually build on them and get better and better…and greater.
Take a sticky note with the three questions and glue it on the side of your computer screen for a good reminder.
The law of relativity. Make them feel bliss in some way.