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What is Compelling Content to You?

Posted By Darren Rowse 26th of July 2009 Reader Questions 0 Comments

Over the next week here on ProBlogger I’ll be exploring the topic of ‘compelling content’.

I’ve identified 7 principles of compelling content that I’ll be sharing (actually it could blow out to 9 as the more I think about it the more I realize there’s to say on the topic) but before I do I wanted to open up the opportunity for people to share their thoughts – undistracted from what I’ll share.

My hope is that in answering this question we’ll begin to set the scene for the posts that will come and that the series that follows will be more useful to everyone. I’d also like to use a few quotes from what you share in some of my following posts so please make sure you include your name and URL in the appropriate areas in the comments below.

So What Makes Content Compelling to You?

Looking forward to reading your thoughts on this question and sharing some of mine in the coming week. Make sure you’re subscribed to ProBlogger to be notified of the posts to come in this series.

About Darren Rowse
Darren Rowse is the founder and editor of ProBlogger Blog Tips and Digital Photography School. Learn more about him here and connect with him on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.
  1. All of the above — and easy to find that aformentioned compelling content. Well laid out.
    I don’t go back to a blog where i have to hunt to find it midst all the ads and grapics and mess.

  2. Content that succinctly imparts wisdom (on its particular subject) that enlightens, inspires or otherwise enhances the lives of those who read it. Like all the great stuff from ProBlogger.

  3. The most compelling blog content for me to read are topical posts that blend information on an interesting/emerging topic with the distinct personality and voice of the writer. With so many blogs addressing the same news and links, in the long run it’s those personal intangibles that retain me as a subcriber (two masters of that being Kottke and Conversation Agent. Also, Meg Pickard at meish.org).

    Similarly, a littany of bite-sized posts is ultimately a turn-off. Two-minute reading is nice, but at some point I need to be able to dig in and get to know a writer a little better, even if they are not a “personal” blogger. A few longer, more narrative posts are not a bad thing.

  4. Compelling content to me is anything that follows these standards.

    1. Interesting. Cause I don’t want to read any boring old blog post
    2. True. Because fake information is really annoying.
    3. Informative. What kind of blog (besides mine) doesn’t inform you about stuff?
    4. NOT BORINg. Some posts go on and on, and it get’s really annoying.

  5. Apart from content that has utility (i.e., something i can use related to the blog subject matter), I think I’m looking for a connection. It boils down to creating an organic appeal via stories, humor, self-disclosure, oops!, self-reflection, etc. Even if the culture of the readership isn’t very communal, organics are engaging. I can also identify what is compelling by looking at the subject in contrast to what is NOT compelling. This approach leads me back to the basics of good writing habits (i.e., succinct, visually rich, arresting language) and my own personal turn-offs like self-aggrandizement.

  6. There are some blogs I have been following for ages, way before I had a blog myself and what makes me come back is that I always find some useful content. Problogger for example is where I find tips and ways to improve my non existent [so far] blogging abilities, but there are others where I like to hang out just for the fun of it.
    Might I just add that since I have become aware of Adsence I make a point of clicking on the links, this way I not only help the blogger but often the advertised sites can be very interesting.
    Now what is compelling content? I would find it quite difficult to pinpoint, what attracts me to a blog is quite different to what would attract my daughter, but we both enjoy sites that are fun and entertaining in some way, but I really go for the places where I get a good read and useful information.

  7. Brad Harding says: 07/28/2009 at 11:35 am

    Compelling content elicits a response. It draws me into conversation. It inspires me to react. It is this very post, despite it being nothing more than a question.

    Compelling content also moves me to DO something. It’s the kind of content that I get to the end of and feel inspired to do something with. That response might be to comment on the post (respond) but often it’s much more than that. It might be to change the way I live, to try something new, to share the link to the content with a friend, to experiment with a new technique, to have a conversation, to read more about the topic. The action I take as a result of the content will differ depending upon what it is but compelling content by definition compels me to DO something as a result of reading it.

  8. I look for a personal voice in a web site. One of the things I like about problogger, and Darren’s writing in particular, is the “I” we are all warned so heavily to stay away from. “I’ve identified 7 principles”; what do YOU have to say? Now we’re in a conversation instead of me just dumbly nodding my head and shelling out dough for a magic bullet that only does my business collateral damage and never helps.

    I enjoy reading blogs where the author has actually tried the thing/service/idea they’re referring to. If they’re selling something of their own, I enjoy comparisons to other products/services/ideas they’ve tried, what was good about them, what the new product improves on – with honesty and giving kudos where deserved.

    A passionate spirit and a sincere desire to share truly valuable information, insights, perceptions vs. a wallet-seeking or egoistic blog wins me over every time. Humility and service to others AND making a living (and a good one if you’re good at what you do) and sharing the wealth is not only a great blog, it’s a great way to live and be in the world.

  9. My MMO blog: People want to know how to make money, I try to get to the point quickly.

    My personal blog: My readers like my posts to include lots of humour.

  10. Darren,
    Kudos to you! Your site and its posts are compelling, not only because I always learn something, but you have so many interesting links, it’s hard for me to decide which ones to read. Never enough time for us avid readers.
    The comments from this post are amazing and I will say that compelling content for me is either a story (not a daily diary) and/or posts that inspire me to deep and introspective thoughts. Also ones that teach me something are useful, but it’s the thought provokers that make me want to invest myself with comments and returns to the site.

  11. I always go back to what will the people who are reading my blog want to read about.

  12. To me, compelling content is subject matter that I find extremely applicable to day to day living.

    Compelling content is also “timeless”; for example, great personal development material is timeless, compelling content.

  13. Compelling is about passion. It’s feeling the words and not just reading them. Compelling comes from the heart…it’s authentic…regardless of subject matter.

    Thanks for the opportunity to post!


  14. Grant says: 08/05/2009 at 2:39 pm

    Sometimes compelling content for me is the kind of article that leaves me reeling a little – it leaves me shaking my head and realizing how little I knew about the topic because the author has explored it in a way that I hadn’t considered before. In this way it is ‘shocking’ – not because it’s controversial or bad – but because it’s given me a completely new perspective on a topic I thought I had little more to learn about.

    The other thing that comes to mind about compelling content is that….. it leaves me thirsting for more. There’s something about compelling content that drives me to subscribe, join or bookmark because I’ve had a taste of something I’d like a second helping of.

  15. Very interesting and amusing subject. I read with great pleasure.

  16. My personal blog: My readers like my posts to include lots of humour.

  17. Compelling content makes the difference, and this covers some excellent points on getting through the blogging “dip.”

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