There are two main considerations to the question of what makes a blog worthwhile: 1) is this activity worth an investment of your time and effort; 2) will it be a good use of someone's time as a reader. The answer to both revolves around the definition of useful.
Why would anyone bother reading? What invites people back? Here are some responses I have seen online:
- good information
- timely content
- consistent writing
- allows comments
- good discussion by readers
- authentic voice
- domain expertise
- interesting perspective
- discussion of business problems
- tips about a specific subject matter
- layout and fonts
I could go on. The truth is we read the most disparate things, even stuff we would never admit spending (or wasting, if we judge) time on when polled. We read those in the same way we slow down and look when there is an accident -- with utter fascination, possibly to have a story to share later, and, in some cases, grateful it wasn't us who wrote it. Reality TV thrives on this concept.
How to define useful
Given that there isn't a universal definition of what works, and that the best way to learn it is to get started, you can begin with the people you should know the most -- your customers. What kinds of things do they read most? Are you already offering a newsletter, for example?
Can you tell from click throughs? Have you experimented with landing pages from articles? I'm a big fan of A/B testing whenever I want to have a better idea of what resonates. This is also the best way to show what works to management.
You should also look at search results for your Web site -- how do people find you and your business? And if you're wondering why you should even start a blog, I wrote a very popular post explaining why and 25 ways to make it work.
What is worthwhile to you
Editorial calendars will help you stay the course. However, the most interesting content is the topic you like. Do you enjoy story telling? That's how you should write. And if you run out of ideas, here are 50 content ideas that create buzz.
Your turn. What works for you as both a reader and a content producer?