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U is for Useful

U is for Useful
This entry is part 21 of 27 in the series A to Z

Entertain, educate, or empower.

Good content needs to do at least one of those things.

Any of those three is also useful. They give you joy, teach you, or give you strength or ability. They are of some use to you. But there are varying degrees of usefulness. An easy way to measure is how much (if anything) you would pay for something to entertain, educate, or empower you. There’s quite a bit we no longer pay for, we’re now used to that, and it can come as a surprise when we’re asked to (e.g. the YouTube video of a song is free, but to have the song on your iPhone, you have to pay $0.99).

Just how useful is it? Are you willing to pay for it?

So great, if I just write about how to hammer a nail into a piece of wood, it’ll be “good content”? Well, yes, but then we get into uniqueness. There’s an important balance between being so unique that no one knows what you’re talking about and in the online world, no one is searching for you and writing about popular topics–with the danger of writing in a saturated market. Where to go? Unique or popular? If you can swing both, you’re a starlet.

Angle, Perspective, Twist

Take a popular topic: what’s your angle on it? Why is your story/information/post about a, for example, juice cleanse different or more interesting than the next one? Does it entertain, educate, or empower? I wrote about a 3-Day Juice Cleanse the other day and the search results are quite surprising. Why does that post come up in the search engines more than another site with more “authority” on the subject? We’re getting into the mathematics and analytics of search engine optimization here, but without getting into math, why does my post come up so high in the rankings? Ah, that’s the beauty of it: it’s (also) about the math. But it’s about the usefulness and the uniqueness. I wrote about the juice cleanse from a specific product that I used, researched, and talked about. I had my popular topic and my angle on it.

When you’re writing, creating, producing or otherwise doing, ask yourself, Does it entertain, educate or empower? Is it useful?


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