Understanding how your writing provides value to your readers is a crucial step to a successful content creation journey
No one likes to waste their time. Not you, and especially not your readers. So why not save everyone’s time by figuring out before you write or publish a story if it’s worth it for your audience?
I always heard other writers say to “give your readers value.” For a while, I didn’t really know what they meant by that. But now I use a few simple questions to make sure that my stories are providing value to my readers. If your story falls into at least one of these categories, then you are most likely providing your readers with value too.
Is Your Story Engaging?
No matter what you are writing about it needs to be at least a little engaging. Most people want to be entertained even while they are learning a new skill or completing small tasks. Find a way that fits with your writing style to keep your readers captivated and eager to read every word.
A few ways to keep your readers engaged are:
- Tell them an experience you had to create an emotional connection
- Show your own enthusiasm for the topic
- Be extremely honest or vulnerable
No matter which method you choose, more of your readers will read your story in its entirety if your story is truly engaging.
Is Your Story Relatable?
Depending on the type of article you’re writing, being relatable and engaging will be one and the same. People are social creatures. Most of us want to feel like we aren’t alone in our experiences, so sharing yours may be a great way to provide value to your readers. Other than making the story more engaging, it allows your readers to compare their experiences to yours.
A few ways to make your stories more relatable are:
- Write your story authentically
- Don’t be afraid to make fun of yourself
- Let your readers know that they aren’t alone in the experience or problem they’re facing
- Write what you’ve learned from these moments in your life
While your life on a whole is unique, we all face challenges that many others have or will face. Don’t be afraid to share those experiences.
Is Your Story Actionable?
Many people have a problem they are trying to solve. If your story claims to have the solution make sure that it is not vague. Give clear actionable solutions that the reader can take away from your story.
One of the ways that I’ve found helpful is to have bulleted or numbered lists in my stories that give advice or teach my readers something new. This is especially helpful because many readers online are skimmers. People don’t want to waste their time reading something that isn’t going to solve their problem, so make it easy for them to find the solutions they are looking for.
A few ways to make your stories more actionable are:
- Provide numbered or bulleted lists with important information
- Write easy to understand solutions to avoid confusing your readers
- Give a summary of steps that readers can start using immediately
Making it easier for your reader to understand a solution in your article may encourage them to go back to your other writing in the future.
Is Your Story Insightful?
There’s nothing better than finding an article that actually connects ideas together in a unique and meaningful way. Many writers make the mistake of writing articles that have been written many times before, which makes it a little boring for the reader. I’ve made that mistake in the past.
Even though I added a lot of value to that story and it was chosen to be the Editor’s Pick, people didn’t read it because the topic was overdone. If your audience assumes that they’ve already heard what you have to say it is unlikely that they will read, let alone click, on that story. Instead, look for a different angle to approach the topic in a fresh new way.
A few ways to make your stories more insightful are:
- Make sure your story has a clear message it is trying to convey
- Use sources to back up claims that you make in your story
- Avoid repeating concepts or topics that are already widely known without adding your own informative spin to it
Adding your own input into a topic is a great way to make sure it’s unique and insightful. No one has your exact set of experiences and knowledge, so use that to guide your writing.
Is Your Story Concise?
There’s nothing people hate more than wasting their time. Make sure your writing isn’t doing that. This is something I struggle with myself. It’s sometimes hard to make sure that your writing doesn’t have unnecessary sentences in it. But I think it’s very important to be respectful of your audience’s time. They didn’t have to give your story a chance, but they did anyway. Don’t take that for granted. Make your story as long as it needs to be, no shorter or longer.
A few ways to make your stories more concise are:
- Edit your story to only include what is absolutely needed to get your point and personality across to the reader
- Ensure your writing style or examples don’t overshadow your message
Making a story concise also minimizes confusion by only including information that needs to be there. Adding too much to a story can cause the message to become unclear.
I’ve found when I made sure my stories were engaging, relatable, actionable, insightful, and concise my stories were more widely read. These are by no means the only ways to add value to your story. But using these five questions has helped me confirm whether or not my stories were worth publishing. I hope this information helps you. Feel free to let me know what factors you use to decide if your story is valuable to your readers. Happy Writing!