April 12, 2011 Tony Morgan

10 Ways to Generate Better Content

Later this week, I’m going to be talking about using the web to engage your audience. Improving your content will help you engage your audience. I’ve decided to give away my secrets. Here are 10 ways to generate better content:

  1. Tell stories. The stories about YOU are the best.
  2. Create compelling headlines. I scan headlines and only read the articles with headlines that grab my attention.
  3. Make it scannable. Think bullets, lists, bold type, subheadings, pull quotes, etc.
  4. Use pictures and video. Keep videos under 4 minutes whenever possible.
  5. Become a thought leader. That means you need to start reading something that doesn’t come from another pastor’s blog. And, you need to create time to think.
  6. Meet reader’s needs. You have to develop relationships with your readers to figure this out.
  7. Generate a reaction or prompt an action. Move people or frustrate people.
  8. Be vulnerable. Share what you’re learning including the successes and the mistakes.
  9. Use humor. Like this.
  10. Keep it brief. I don’t read long articles on the web no matter who writes them.

Oh, and #11, start a conversation. What would you add to the list?

Tony Morgan

Tony is the Founder and Lead Strategist of The Unstuck Group. Started in 2009, The Unstuck Group has served 500 churches throughout the United States and several countries around the world. Previously, Tony served on the senior leadership teams of three rapidly growing churches including NewSpring Church in South Carolina. He has five published books including, The Unstuck Church, and, with Amy Anderson, he hosts The Unstuck Church Podcast which has thousands of listeners each month.

Comments (10)

  1. Ask a question (like you did!). This is a good list to print and keep right by the computer during the drafting process of blogging. Thanks Tony.

  2. concerning #10, Tim Stevens writes…

    Length doesn’t matter anymore. Thompson (the dude from Wired Magazine) agrees. He quotes a blogger who says, “I save the little stuff for Twitter and blog only when I have something big to say.” Thompson goes on to say, “I turns out readers prefer this: One survey found that the most popular blog posts today are the longest ones, 1,600 words on average.”

  3. Mark Waltz

    Succinct and helpful list, Tony! And you demonstrate it well. Followed the humor link – laughed again… whatever that says about me…

  4. Tony, these are really helpful. I’ve found it to be important to focus my content. I write a blog for worship leaders and it seems the posts that get the most attention are, well, about worship and/or worship leading in the local church. I’ve seen other bloggers become very successful writing random content, though, so it may not apply to everyone.

  5. #11. Mix it up. Just because you are an “expert” in a field does not mean your readers always want to hear just about one topic.

    #12. Be confident to use guest blogs…be willing to share not just your knowledge…but also your contacts. HECK…I have used Tony’s stuff many times (with permission of course :))

  6. Have a few reoccurring post topics. On Friday do a re-cap or Wednesdays do a list. It gives you some breathing room to turn out more great content.

    Write down everything. Every thought that pops into my head that could potentially become a post, I try to write down. When the well is dry, I scan my notes and something always rises to the surface.

    Thanks for the post. This list was useful.

  7. Brian Dodd

    Tony,

    Great list. Here are a couple of ideas that work for my blog:

    1. Answer the questions your audience is asking. Since I write on leadership, some of my most popular topics have been on family, relationships, Egypt, Japan, and even Charlie Sheen. Though I would only hear crickets if I wrote on Sheen now.

    2. Provide Solutions. I try to ask “If my audience was awake at 2 AM worried about an issue in their life and went to the web for answers, would I be a solution for them?” Understanding their needs and concerns always provides me with good content.

    By the way, your list on blogging in Killing Cockroaches should be required reading for all bloggers.

  8. Tim R.

    For length, you can have both brevity and a depth-allowing length. Political or legal blogs (such as http://www.volokh.com or http://www.abovethelaw.com) often include a short summary or “first look” at subjects on the “main page” of the blog, with a link to expand the post if readers are interested in learning more.

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