The world is full of people looking for something useful to help them in their lives: work, hobbies, career plans, parenting, blogging, you name it.
And you have something useful you can share with them. All it requires is work and some thinking:
1. Find out who you can help:
You can’t help everyone. Some people are not interested in your topic. Some think they know more about it than you do. But then there is the group of people who are interested in the same things as you and want to learn more about them. Pick a topic you already have a relationship with: your hobby, your job, some specific things you have had to go through in life. I’m sure there is someone who needs to hear your experiences.
2. Find out how you can help:
Quite often, just telling what you have learned through your experiences is enough. The problem here, however, is that you need to have those skills. If you blog about something you have little or no prior experience on, you will need something more. It’s still possible to be useful, but it will require more work: Visit Wikipedia, read lots of other blogs, go to the library, talk to people, read books, do experiments. In other words, you need to learn new things so that you can teach them to your readers.
3. Be practical:
Don’t forget that your reader won’t stay for long (even in the best case). That means that you’ll have to work hard to make everything as quick to digest as possible. And when it comes to the content itself, one of the best ways to make your reader happy is by practically presenting the topic. Tips and how-to tutorials are nice because they give the reader a set of clearly defined things to do and try out without making her over think. Theoretical thinking might lead to bigger ideas but unfortunately a much smaller audience as well.
Put yourself in the shoes of the reader and ask yourself, “Is this going to give her a new boost in [blogging/coding/cooking/insert your topic here]?” Quite often the answer is the same as the answer to another, similar question, “Is this information useful to me? What would I gain from reading it?”
When your readers have finished reading your post, they will have additional questions. Listen to them.
If their questions come through your blog comments and can be answered in a relatively quick comment, answer them right there on the place.
If the questions require a longer answer, write a new blog post to cover the question.
If the questions come through e-mail, answer the e-mail and consider if the answer would be something others would also like to read on your blog.
Sometimes crafting a good answer will require some background work, but it pays off because when someone asks you a specific question, that’s your best chance in being useful: you know exactly what your reader needs. You just need to go and find the information.
After publishing a post that you think should be useful, take some time to see how people reacted: did they Digg or Stumble your post? If they did, what did they comment on it? Did they comment on your blog?
How did the new post affect your visitor stats?
Also, if you have a direct way of contacting your readers (through e-mail, for example), it’s a good idea to ask them for their opinion. If they didn’t find your post that useful, the chances are that most other people didn’t either, and you should have done something differently.
Then try again. Write a new post and concentrate on different ways of making it more useful to the reader: make the post easier to skim and more captivating, organize it so that it’s easier to understand, look for some more background information on the topic.
Keep it simple, be useful and make your readers love you.